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

Edouard Manet Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus (1868, oil on canvas) on display at Norwich Castle Muse

Edouard Manet Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus (1868, oil on canvas) on display at Norwich Castle Museum. Image: Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford - Credit: Ashmolean Museum University of Oxford

The Manipulate Festival returns with world class visual theatre, innovative puppetry and animation, comedy returns to the Diss Corn Hall, Manet's paintings featuring in major exhibition, the Julian Costello Quartet and Geno Washington visit, and there is an exciting collaboration between the Eaton Concert Series and the Norfolk Composers Group. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Manipulate Festival

Norwich Puppet Theatre, January 31-February 7, performance pass £65 (£55 student), 01603 629921,

Norwich Puppet Theatre once again hosts this international festival of world class visual theatre, innovative puppetry and animation, which includes work by both acclaimed artists from around the world to local art students. The festival programme features companies from as far afield as Russia, Austria, Belgium and the US, as well as across the UK, as well as featuring styles of puppetry and visual art from places like Japan. It starts with Dutch artist Sabine Molenaar giving a UK preimere to her first solo work That's It (Jan 31, 7.30pm, £16, £14 cons), an offbeat piece inspired by dreams: where does a dream end and hard reality begin?


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Corn Hall Comedy Club

Diss Corn Hall, January 30, 8pm, £9, 01379 652241,

A comedian for over 20 years, John Moloney has headlined at pretty much all the major comedy clubs, including the London Comedy Store, and here he visits the Diss monthly comedy night. He has twice won Best Live Performer at The London Comedy Festival. He will be joined by that man again Christian Reilly who will be bringing his comic songs, improvisations and sharp wit, and is perfect for fans of Bill Bailey or Rich Hall, with whom he has toured internationally three times. Compère for the night is exceptional comic improviser Nicky Wilkinson.


Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band

Epic Studios, Magdalen Street, Norwich, January 31, 8pm, £20 seated/£18 standing, 01603 727727,

Geno Washington is a genuine full-on cult hero on the 60s soul scene. He enjoys legendary status for R&B and Northern Soul fans due to his unsurpassable reputation as a live performer. Kevin Rowland and Dexy's Midnight Runners were such fans they named one of their biggest hits after him. He was originally recruited to the band as a US airman stationed in East Anglia in the 1960s. Last year he celebrated his 70th birthday, but he's still an energetic and irrepressible performer, and has turned from soul to top-of-the-range, down-home and raucous blues.


Homage to Manet

Norwich Castle Museum, January 31-April 19, Mon-Sat 10am–4.30pm, Sun 1pm–4.30pm, exhibition only ticket £5 (£4 cons), £3 children, 01603 495897,

This major exhibition explores the influence and legacy of one of the most important and controversial artists of modern times, the French artist Edouard Manet. Focusing on the period from 1860 to c.1914, it comprises approximately 40 works including oils, prints and drawings on loan from national, regional and private collections. Manet's stunning Portrait of Mademoiselle Claus, painted in 1868, is the undisputed star and is shown alongside selected works by fellow artists and supporters such as Claude Monet, John Singer Sargent, Walter Sickert and Philip Wilson Steer.


The Silver Chain of Sound

St Andrew's Church, Eaton, Norwich, February 1, 3pm, £7, £3.50 students, children free, 01603 705022,

An exciting collaboration between the Eaton Concert Series and the Norfolk Composers Group. The theme of the concert is taken from the text of George Meredith's poem The Lark Ascending which inspired Vaughan Williams' famous violin piece of the same name. The concert represents a chain of sound from JS Bach to the present day, including the Vaughan Williams piece, as well as music by members of the Norfolk Composers Group including the world première of Michael Finnissy's 'Fantasia, Fuga e Corale'. Performers include violinist Adrian Adlam playing movements from Bach's D minor Partita (including the famous Chaconne). They will be joined by David Morgan, playing Martin Craft's '5 Blue & White Studies' and Andrew Lowe Watson's 'Angels' and Geoff Cummings-Knight playing two of his piano 'Preludes'. The concert concludes with 'Concert Piece for Percussion and Piano' by Malcolm Arnold, who spent the latter years of his life in Norfolk.


The Julian Costello Quartet

Milestones Jazz Club, Hotel Hatfield, Lowestoft, February 1, 8pm, £7 (£6 cons), 01502 568684,

Original and contemporary ECM influenced jazz from tenor and soprano saxophonist Julian Costello. Strong, evocative compositions with a nod to the work of Jan Garbarek and Ralph Towner, he is renowned for creating compelling music. This is his first time at the Milestones since 2004 in a change to the previously advertised line-up. His quartet features the wonderful Patrick Naylor on guitar, Dave Jones on double bass and drummer Tim Giles.

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