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

Nigel Fairs as Chief Inspector Morse in House of Ghosts. Photo: Kellie Colby

Nigel Fairs as Chief Inspector Morse in House of Ghosts. Photo: Kellie Colby - Credit: Archant

Inspector Morse is brought to the stage by a Norwich theatre company, plus dance, theatre, music and an Easter concert, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.

THEATRE

House of Ghosts

St George's Theatre, Great Yarmouth, April 2, 7.30pm, £10 (£9 cons), 01493 331484, www.stgeorgestheatre.com/Granary Theatre, Wells, April 7-8, 7.30pm, £10 (£9 cons), 01328 710193, www.granarytheatre.co.uk

Inspector Morse may no longer be us on screen but Colin Dexter's much-loved detective lives on both in the books and now also in a new production by Norwich-based Baroque Theatre Company of the only play written specifically for the stage to feature the eponymous sleuth. Baroque's first touring production for 2015 is House of Ghosts, an Inspector Morse mystery inspired by the Dexter's novels by Alma Cullen, writer of several episodes of the original TV series. The play opens with a performance from Shakespeare's Hamlet. A young professional actress playing Ophelia dies suddenly mid-performance and Inspector Morse is immediately on the scene.

DANCE

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Vienna Festival Ballet

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, April 4, 6.30pm, £20, 01263 512495, www.cromer-pier.com

Vienna Festival Ballet celebrate 35 years with their Anniversary Gala, a special show featuring highlights from the world's most beloved Tchaikovsky ballets that have been part of the company's repertoire over the past three an a half decades. Highlights of the show include Rose Adagio and Bluebird pas de deux from Sleeping Beauty, as well as Clara's journey to the glittering land of snow in The Nutcracker. Gershwin's ground-breaking Rhapsody in Blue is also featured, as is the famous lakeside scene from Swan Lake, including the Dance of the Cygnets, which opens the second act. The highly successful hip hop scene from Vienna Festival Ballet's Snow White, the Dance of the Mirlitons and the Trepak Dance from the Nutcracker are also included. It closes with the Corn pas de deux from Coppélia and a grand finale. There will also be an 'Introduction to Ballet' workshop at 4pm.

CONCERT

Messiah

Great Yarmouth Minister, April 5, 2.30pm, £12, £8 under-16s, 01493 331484, www.stgeorgestheatre.com

The Merry Opera Company's highly acclaimed and deeply moving performance of Handel's extraordinary meditation on faith comes to Great Yarmouth for Easter. John Ramster's insightful and ingenious staging explores the human dimensions of this compelling story, unlocking its spiritual magnitude afresh. Director John Ramster's dramatisation focuses on the universal themes of Birth, Death and Resurrection. Twelve strangers find themselves in church. Each has their own story and is seeking help and comfort. Some have faith, some do not. As the oratorio unfolds each has a distinct path to follow and a part to play – right here, right now, in this church. Starting as strangers they come together finding hope, fulfilment and serenity through The Messiah, reaffirming their faith.

EXHIBITION

The Colours of Norfolk

Gallery Plus, Warham Road, Wells, April 4-18, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun/Bank Holiday Monday 11am-4pm, admission free, 01328 711609, www.gallery-plus.co.uk

Two well-respected East Anglian artists join forces to produce an exhibition celebrating the colour and diversity of the Norfolk landscape. Paul Evans is one of the region's leading landscape painters working. He is widely known for his highly individual watercolours and acrylic paintings inspired by landscape. Trevor Woods is a popular contemporary artist, whose strong, graphic paintings of Norfolk, London, and Italy, branch the link between a distinctive modern style and instantly recognisable scenes. For this exhibition he has looked again at Norfolk, specifically for the colours that are all around us on a daily basis, as well as the changing light of the land, sea, and sky, and this has resulted in a collection of rich and colourful paintings.

THEATRE

The Poisoners' Pact

Fisher Theatre, Bungay, April 3, 7.30pm, £10 (£9 cons), £6 students, 01986 897130, www.fishertheatre.org

When they were brought to book, as many came to watch them hang as turn out for your average Norwich game.

Frances Billing and Katherine Frary brought terror to Burnham Market in the 1830s. They killed three people and planned to add to their grim tally before the finger of suspicion pointed their way and the hangman intervened. Now their crimes are the subject of a new black comedy, The Poisoner's Pact, which tells their story in songs, spells - and even a recipe or two. The Poisoners Pact has been produced by the East Anglia-based Stuff of Dreams Theatre Company, whose previous acclaimed productions include Patrick Hamilton's Rope and The Bricks of Burston, which similarly brought to life local history, the Burston school strike. Catherine Fray is being played Kiara Hawker in the production which begins its tour in Bungay, while Joanna Swan plays Fanny Billings.

MUSIC

Dreadzone

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, April 4, 8pm, £15, 01284 758000, www.theapex.co.uk

Electro-dub pioneers who enjoy a devoted fan base, due in part to their storming live shows. Celebrating 20 years, as well as live favourites from their back catalogue, they will be playing tracks from latest album, Escapades, recorded at Mick Jones' London studios and co-produced by original Dreadzone member and co-founder Tim Bran. Dreadzone formed in 1993 when ex-Big Audio Dynamite drummer Greg Roberts teamed up with Tim Bran, with the duo soon joined by bassist Leo Williams and keyboardist Dan Donovan, also formerly of Big Audio Dynamite, completing the group's first line-up. The core members Greg Dread, original bassmaster Leo Williams, the unmistakable MC Spee, legendary reggae vocalist Earl 16 alongside Chris Compton on guitar and Bazil on technology make up the current live line-up.

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