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

Northern Ballet's The Great Gatsby

Northern Ballet's The Great Gatsby - Credit: Archant

Twenties decadence is brought to the stage in Northern Ballet's The Great Gatsby, plus comedy from Andy Parsons, Jimmy Webb, theatre, opera and art, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.

DANCE

The Great Gatsby

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 14-18, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Apr 18, £36.50-£8, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

The Jazz Age, flapper dresses, cocktails and the Charleston, the decadence of 1920s New York is brought to the stage in Northern Ballet's adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's classic American novel The Great Gatsby. Choreographed by David Nixon, with gorgeous Chanel-inspired costumes and a sweeping, filmic score by Sir Richard Rodney Bennett, played live by Northern Ballet Sinfonia, it captures this classic tale of 1920s hedonism, desire and tragedy is Northern Ballet's inimitable dramatic style. The super-stylish production proved to huge audience favourite on its previous visit to Norwich Theatre Royal, as part of its critically acclaimed debut tour; and this week returns for seven performances.

COMEDY

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Andy Parsons

Norwich Playhouse, April 13-15, 8pm, £17, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

The Mock The Week star hits the road with his fifth national tour, Live and Unleashed - But Naturally Cautious, stopping off in Norwich for three nights. He continues to enjoy huge success as a writer and performer on TV, radio and the stand-up circuit. The comedian already has four sell-out national tours, three DVD releases and a special for Comedy Central already under his belt. He's also known for appearing on Live At The Apollo, QI and many more. One of the UK's most informed satirists, he was also lead writer on ITV's hugely influential Spitting Image. He will back at Lowestoft's Marina Theatre on May 14.

THEATRE

Macbeth

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, April 14-18, 7.30pm, 2pm Apr 15/16, 3pm Apr 18, £20.50-£8.50, 01284 769505, www.theatreroyal.org

Macbeth, one of Shakespeare's darkest and most powerful plays, has come to us in a number of guises over the decades. This new production puts the tale in a rather different context. The Bury Theatre Royal has joined forces with seven other regional theatres dedicated to cross-cultural productions and the result is Tara Arts' Macbeth, given a distinctly Asian flavour. The witches, for instance, will have an unusual edge of showbiz to them. They are based on Hijras. A strand of society little-known in the west, Hijras are a centuries-old third gender community.

MUSIC

Jimmy Webb

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, April 14, 7.30pm, £22.50, 01284 758000, www.theapex.co.uk

Legendary songwriter performs 'An Evening of Songs & Stories', which is sure to feature Wichita Lineman, By the Time I Get to Phoenix, MacArthur Park, Up, Up and Away and more of his classic songs that, having first emerged in the 1960s, soundtracked that American sound of the 1970s. He will be performing from five decades, resonating with his longtime fans as well as newer devotees introduced through covers by Rumer, R.E.M., Urge Overkill and more.

OPERA

The Elixir of Love

Auden Theatre, Gresham School, Holt, April 16-18, £14 (£12 cons), £12 children, 01263 768934, www.northnorfolkchamberopera.co.uk

The North Norfolk Chamber Opera celebrate 25 years together this year, and to celebrate with this special staging of The Elixir of Love (L'elisir D'amore'), the best of Donizetti's operas, at the Auden Theatre in Holt. It was his 41st opera and an instant success. The story revolves around Adina a young lady of independent means, local country lad Nemorino and Sergeant Belcore.

EXHIBITION

Life Is But a Dream

Diss Corn Hall Gallery, until April 30, Mon–Fri 10am–4pm, Sat 10am–2pm, admission free, 01379 652241, www.disscornhall.co.uk

Exhibition of wood engravings by Jonathan Gibbs covering literary themes, pattern design and natural history. The selection of work includes illustrations made for Mark Cocker's book Claxton, describing flora, fauna and the environment, as well as engravings for Landmarks, by Robert Macfarlane. Jonathan grew up near Lowestoft and Beccles and studied at the Lowestoft School of Art before moving on to the Central School of Art & Design, and the Slade in London. He exhibits regularly in Edinburgh and London.

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