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

Cromer Pier Summer Show

Cromer Pier Summer Show - Credit: Archant

Europe's last remaining end-of-pier variety show returns to Cromer with comedy, singing and dancing, former Goodies and I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue favourite Tim Brooke-Taylor is in conversation, a comedy play is spun in the inimitable style of Jane Austen and based entirely on audience suggestions, and izzy wizzy Sooty returns. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Cromer Summer Show

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, runs from June 21-September 20, with dates on June 21, 24, 26-28, July 1/4, all 7.30pm. Tickets £21-£10 (£2 off cons), £23 premium seats, £10 children/carers, £50 family, 01263 512495,

Comedy, singing and witty impressions will be just some of the attractions as the annual Seaside Special — Europe's last remaining end-of-pier show — returns and runs throughout the summer season with three different shows, including 'The Best Of'. This year's all new line-up will feature comedian Paul Eastwood, impressionist Adam Daye, multi-instrumental and vocal duo Andante, as well as singers Louis Yssel and Jane Watkins. It will also, as ever, include the popular Seaside Special dancers. Organisers promise the production, now in its 38th year, is 'back to its best' — returning to its traditional variety-show format of three years ago and promising a spectacular, entertaining visual journey packed full of comedy, music, song and dance.


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Audience with Tim Brooke-Taylor

Norwich Playhouse, June 20, 8pm, £15 (£13 cons), 01603 598598,

From The Goodies to Radio 4's I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Tim has been delighting audiences with his gentle, zany humour ever since he rocketed from the Cambridge Footlights into West End stardom trading custard pies with John Cleese and one-liners with Bill Oddie in the hugely successful Cambridge Circus revue. He has also appeared in countless stage productions and written several books. Here he will be in conversation with former That's Life! co-presenter Chris Serle.


Austentatious: An Improvised Novel

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, June 20, 7.30pm, £20-£8.50, 01284 769505,

Jane Austen famously wrote six novels — or did she? In the hands of the cast of Austentatious: An Improvised Novel — a comedy play spun in the inimitable style of the novelist and based entirely on audience suggestions — an extra novel is added to the canon every night, not that she would recognise their weird and wonderful premise even if she did recognise the costumes, music and character traits. The show's format is simple: audiences are asked to place imaginary titles of a novel by Jane Austen into a hat; one is picked out at random and there follows an improvised performance in the distinctive style of Austen, complete with Regency costume, fluttering fans, strong-minded girls and their silly mothers, arrogant men and witty repartee.


Catherine May and Matthew Andrews

Salle Church, Reepham, June 21, 7.30pm, £16-£10 (£15-£9 cons), £5 under-18s, 01603 628319,

For their annual midsummer concert, the Academy of St Thomas brings a varied programme presented by husband and wife duo Matthew Andrews and Canadian-born soprano Catherine May. The programme includes Mozart's exhilarating Exsultate Jubilate for soprano and orchestra, and also features a work by Samuel Barber, Copland's Quiet City and Ives' Unanswered Question. These atmospheric pieces for Salle feature solo parts for trumpet and cor anglais, played by Cameron Johnson and Susan Simmington. The concert will concludes with Haydn's popular Symphony No 85 'La Reine'.


Kiss Me, Figaro!

Norwich Playhouse, June 21, 7.30pm, £15 (£12.50 cons), 01603 598598,

The latest production from Merry Opera, who have previously toured to region with their 'burlesque' version of La Traviata and last year's acclaimed Magic Flute, is effectively a 'jukebox' opera including a wide range of favourites by Mozart, Handel, Donizetti, Puccini, Monteverdi and Delibes, together with songs by Irving Berlin and his contemporaries. A romantic comedy set backstage at the opera where offstage romance and drama is played out for real. Created by Lowestoft-born-and-bred director John Ramster, it features 12 singers with organ accompaniment.


The Sooty Show

Princess Theatre, Hunstanton, June 22, 11am/2.30pm, £12, £10 children, £28 family, 01485 532252,

Izzy Wizzy look who is back. Long-standing furry favourite Sooty returns in another fabulous new show. As ever he will be joined by Sweep, Soo and Richard Cadell who will be attempting to keep Sooty from getting up to mischief. Good luck with that. It's Sooty's Birthday party and things aren't going to plan. Sooty and Sweep get messy baking the Birthday cake and will Soo ever decide which dress to wear? Special party guests include legendary Sooty favourites Butch the bulldog and Ramsbottom the snake. Join in the fun and games and there's also a chance to meet Richard and Sooty after the show.

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