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

Peter Brathwaite and Donna Bateman in English Touring Opera's The Wild Man of the West Indies. Pictu

Peter Brathwaite and Donna Bateman in English Touring Opera's The Wild Man of the West Indies. Picture: William Knight - Credit: Archant

English Touring Opera give a UK premiere to Donizetti's The Wild Man of the West Indies, plus music, comedy, theatre and sculpture, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.


English Touring Opera

Norwich Theatre Royal, La bohème, March 23-24/The Wild Man of the West Indies, March 25, all 7.30pm, £35-£6.50, 01603 630000,

English Touring Opera's latest visit is extra special, boasting Donizetti's The Wild Man of the West Indies, his opera which depicts slavery in the Caribbean, never before performed in the UK. The rare opera will be performed by the Olivier Award-winning company on March 25, alongside two performances of Puccini's masterpiece, La bohème, on March 23 and 24. The Wild Man of the West Indies (originally titled Il furioso all'isola di San Domingo) was just as popular as La bohème when it was first performed in 1833. However, it has never been performed on these shores before, making it an intriguing prospect for Norwich audiences.


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The Handsome Family

Norwich Arts Centre, March 23, 8pm, £15, 01603 660352,

Husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks' embrace a wide sweep of musical references, from medieval ballad and Appalachian holler to Tin Pan Alley and punk rock. Over the last two decades the New Mexico duo have recorded nine albums that has established them as one of America's finest song-writing partnerships. Handsome Family songs have been covered by many artists. Last year T Bone Burnett chose their 2003 song Far From Any Road as the theme tune to the HBO TV series True Detective. Support from Daniel Knox.


KL Comedy Club

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, March 26, 7.45pm, £9.50, 01553 764864,

The latest King's Lynn Comedy Club features Quincy, a stand-up, presenter, writer, actor and compere with broadcast credits that include Comedy Central's Comedy Blue and BBC Radio 1Xtra. Luke Benson, the Geordie giant an incredibly talented stand-up, Steve N Allen an experienced comedian, his material ranges from an observational look at life to up to date topical comedy and Danny Buckler who started performing his mirth-filled magic on the shop floor of Harrods of all places.


The Elephant Man

Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, Lowestoft, March 26-28, 7.30pm, £10 (£9 cons), 01502 589726,

The Quaysiders Dramatic Society stage the play based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the 19th century. A horribly deformed young man, who had been a freak attraction in travelling side shows, he is taken under the care of young doctor Fredrick Treaves, who educates him and introduces him to London society. The play, a production of which recently ran in New York starring Bradley Cooper, follows his change from a sensational object of pity to the urbane and witty favourite of the aristocracy and literati, and his belief that he can become a man like any other. It is also at Beccles Public Hall (Apr 3) and Diss Corn Hall (Apr 10).


Four Owls

Epic Studios, Magdalen Street, Norwich, March 25, 8pm, £10 (£8 NUS), 01603 727727,

Ornithologically obsessed UK hip hop super group comprised of four members who have each achieved an impressive amount of recognition from past projects of theirs. The group is comprised of Leaf Dog and BVA of the three amigos, High Focus label founder Fliptrix and Verb T (who is undoubtedly one of the most prolific MCs out of the UK). They visit with their follow up Natural Order, which marks a collaboration with legendary hip hop producer DJ Premier, responsible for hit after hit from his group Gang Starr and known for his work with Nas and M.O.P.


Spadeworks 15: Bob Catchpole

Fermoy Gallery, King's Lynn Arts Centre, until April 11, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, free admission, 01553 764864,

Proud of his Norfolk agricultural ancestry, Bob Catchpole's ironic sculptures are made from actual tools intriguingly modified by the artist to serve as a metaphor for man's relationship with landscape. In the Middle Ages in Norfolk, much of the huge wealth that came from working the land was dedicated to the building of churches - and the masons and the agricultural labourers worked in tandem. Bob, who studied Fine Art at Newcastle University before post-graduate studies in sculpture at the Slade School of Fine Art, aims for his sculptures to reconstruct the relationship between the landscape and the churches.

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