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

Milton Jones brings his work-in-progress to Norwich Playhouse

Milton Jones brings his work-in-progress to Norwich Playhouse - Credit: Archant

Ahead of his big tour later this year, surreal comedian Milton Jones plays a low-key date, Beyond The Barricade returns to celebrate the West End musical, artist Zheni Maslarova Warner exhibits works using a variety of lights and there is music from Devon-based alternative singer-songwriter Tobias Ben Jacob and jazz tenor man Kevin Flanagan. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.


Beyond The Barricade

Norwich Theatre Royal, January 12, 7.30pm, £20.50-£5.50, 01603 630000,

Back in its 16th year with a sensational new show, this ever popular production re-creates original West End and Broadway musical hit songs with amazing authenticity and features a cast of past principal performers from the West End production of Les Miserables, and the 25th Anniversary Concert at the 02 Arena. Including songs from Miss Saigon, The Lion King, Phantom Of The Opera, West Side Story, Jesus Christ Superstar, Blood Brothers, Wicked, Jersey Boys and many more, climaxing with a spectacular finale from, of course, Les Miserables!


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The Psychosocial Gathering

The Garage, Chapelfield North, Norwich, January 12, 7.30pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 598646,

After their huge success with The Librarians at the Edinburgh Fringe, Minotaur Theatre Company returned in 2014 with their crowd-funded original comedy The Psychosocial Gathering. It proved to be equally successful, and next week the UEA-based company give local theatregoers the chance to see it for themselves at a special one-off performance at The Garage in Norwich. Dan wakes up in an apartment, on a sofa, in his mind. His new subconscious flatmates take it upon themselves to assess the situation, figure out what happened and save the day. They do so by throwing an impromptu party, and everyone's invited. Irresistibly odd and absurdly mundane.


Milton Jones

Norwich Playhouse, January 12, 8pm, £12.50, 01603 598598,

If you can get a ticket this is truly an expected January treat. Milton Jones will be back on the road in 2015 with another tour but unfortunately it isn't quite ready yet. Don't panic though, he's a professional. The guy with the loud shirts and messed up hair from Mock the Week, Live at the Apollo, Michael McIntyre's Roadshow and multiple series on Radio 4, arrives with a don't-miss-it chance to see this Work In Progress version of his new show before he brings it to Norwich Theatre Royal later in the year. As usual it will be an evening in the company of an idiot. Or is he? Only go if you like jokes though, the dafter, the better. He will also be bringing along a upcoming support act too.


The Light of the World

The Hostry, Norwich Cathedral, until January 24, Mon-Sat 9.30am-4.30pm, Sun 12pm-3pm, free admission, 01603 218300,

A series of new paintings by Zheni Maslarova Warner form this exhibition that incorporates a variety of light sources, including LED's, neon, light boxes and the intrinsic light of the paint itself. Born in Bulgaria, Zheni Warner first came to England in her early twenties. The daughter of the well known Bulgarian artist Violeta Maslarova, widely accepted as the most painterly of Bulgarian artists, and like her she is known for her exuberant use of colour and subtle approach to surfaces and the rhythm of the painting. She sees this exhibition as reflecting the colour of the cathedral's stained glass windows. She said: 'The Chapter has been very brave in commissioning new windows by contemporary designers and I want my work to add to that.'


Tobias Ben Jacob

The Bicycle Shop, St Benedict's Street, Norwich, January 12, 7.30pm, £4, 01603 625777,

Devon-based alternative singer-songwriter hailing originally from Preston who last year released his seven-track EP The St Sidwells Session recorded live on location at a Grade II listed church in Exeter. The EP was conceived as a precursor to a more studio-based album. His live shows are dynamic and emotionally charged affairs, ranging from high-crystalline falsetto led tracks to more driving riff-driven earthy numbers. He arrives in Norwich currently putting together a new live band which features Lukas Drinkwater on upright bass and backing vocals.


Kevin Flanagan

The Cottage, Thunder Lane, Thorpe St Andrew, January 13, 8.30pm, £10, £5 under-25s, 01603 614169,

Originally from Massachusetts, the now Suffolk-based tenor man, composer and educator settled in the UK in the mid-1980s, working with some of the top names in jazz and pop, and touring the UK and European festivals with the Tommy Chase Quartet. Recent projects include his Riprap Poetry Collective, a poetry/spoke word project whose music ranges from burning neo-groove jams and blues to haunting and atmospheric 'free' jazz, and performing with Chris Ingham's Rebop. Expect a hard-swinging set with the house trio at this visit to Norwich Jazz Club.

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