Six of the Best: Cultural highlights not to miss this Bank Holiday weekend

Private Peaceful

Private Peaceful - Credit: Archant

A revival of the acclaimed stage adaptation of Michael Morpurgo's First World War novel Private Peaceful, restless punk-pop performer Toyah Willcox, a joint exhibition of paintings and of abstract sculpture, two shows featuring the hits of soul favourites The Drifters and a magical Pinocchio. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this Bank Holiday weekend.


Private Peaceful

Norwich Theatre Royal, May 1, 2pm, May 2, 11am/2pm, May 3, 11am, £15-£5.50, 01603 630000,

Taking on a one-man show is tough at the best of times but playing a First World War soldier reflecting on his life during the final hours before his execution requires an even greater ability to draw on inner strength. Actor Paul Chequer played the lead role in the original production of Private Peaceful and also appeared as a corporal in the film version of Michael Morpurgo's popular novel. To mark the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War, a new tour of the celebrated stage production comes to Norwich Theatre Royal. Private Peaceful relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. During the night he looks back at his short but joyful past growing up in rural Devon: his exciting first days at school; the accident in the forest that killed his father; his adventures with Molly, the love of his life; and the battles and injustices of war.

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Toyah Willcox

Aquarium, Claremont Pier, Lowestoft, May 3, 7.30pm, £17.50, 01603 805050,

The restless punk-pop performer returns to the region again. In a career spanning more than 30 years, Toyah has had eight Top-40 singles, released over 20 albums, written two books, appeared in over 40 stage plays and 10 feature films, and voiced and presented numerous television shows. Between 1977 and 1983 she fronted the band Toyah, before embarking on a solo career in the mid-1980s. It will focus on most recent album, In The Court Of The Crimson Queen, alongside a choice selection of well-known hits including It's a Mystery, Thunder in the Mountains and I Want to Be Free.


The Drifters/Roy G Hemmings Motown Show

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, May 3, 7pm, £25 (£24 cons), 01553 764864, Theatre, Hunstanton, May 3, 7.30pm, £20.50-£13.50, 01485 532252,

Something of a The Drifters clash. At King's Lynn Corn Exchange, the latest official touring line-up of the soul band, featuring the current line-up will be running their the hits. Meanwhile in Hunstanton, original and longest serving Drifters member Roy G Hemmings brings his Motown Hits Show with hits by The Supremes, The Four Tops, The Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Lionel Ritchie.


A Bad Penny

Granary Theatre, Wells, May 3, 7.30pm, £9 (£8 cons), 01328 710193,

The year is 1964 and the place is the quiet village of Nether Claybourne where the Trubshaws run the local GP practice. Morris came to the village soon after the Second World War to take over the practice from local girl Doreen's father. And well, one thing led to another. The arrival of the new vicar and the mysterious but charming Micky Greenaway, manager of up and coming pop group The Bad Pennies, threatens to shake things up. Day-Star Theatre weave a comic and thought provoking tale of one small rural community at a time of emerging social change.


Leigh Davis & Barry Stedman

Bircham Gallery, Market Place, Holt, May 3-June 4, Mon-Sat 9am-5pm, free admission, 01263 713312,

Joint exhibition by painter and of abstract sculptor Leigh Davis and bold ceramist Barry Stedman. Using references to the work of 20th century artists, layering and building texture and colour, Davis creates bold, expressive, paintings that focus upon his inherent love of abstracted form and structure. He works predominantly in oil, taking his inspiration from the figure and landscape, often finding relationships between the two. Stedman works with red earthenware clay, usually wheel thrown and altered or constructed from soft slabs and then painted with coloured slips, stains and oxides. He works with simple vessel forms, exploring relationships between colour, texture and form.



Norwich Arts Centre, May 4, 2pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 660352,

Hiccup Theatre returns following their last two successful performances of The Owl and a Pussycat and Rumpelstiltskin. The company has joined forces with acclaimed writer for children Michael Rosen to bring Carlo Collodi's classic tale Pinocchio to life in a sparkling new version. Follow Pinocchio and his grasshopper friend as they set out on an adventure – to find some fun! Live music, puppetry, physical storytelling and longer and longer noses combine in a magical combination for children and their grown ups.

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