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

Luke Wright: Stay at Home Dandy

Luke Wright: Stay at Home Dandy - Credit: Archant

Poet and performer Luke Wright returns with his latest hilarious show as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, plus Noël Coward, folk award winners, concert and exhibition, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.

COMEDY

Luke Wright: Stay at Home Dandy

Norwich Arts Centre, May 15, 8pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

One of the funniest comedy poets, performer and broadcaster Luke Wright returns with his latest show as part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival. He would love to spend his life flouncing around looking fabulous, but back in rural Suffolk he's got the school run to do. Naval-gazing is all very well, but other people can be magic. Wright tells stories in visceral verse from neglected corners of Britain. Meet the cane-swinging, merlot-glugging 'Bastard of Bungay;' spend half-term with lonely science teacher Mr Hooper; and cry 'Not In My Name' with the irate villagers of Much Harpingon. By turns funny, poignant and political.

SHOW

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Cowardy Custard

Sewell Barn Theatre, Constitution Hill, Norwich, May 14-16/20-23, 7.30pm, 2.30pm May 23, £9 (£7 cons), 01603 697248, www.sewellbarn.org.uk Devised and first staged during the last year of his life, Cowardy Custard is an affectionate celebration of Noël Coward's career from the 1920s to the 1960s. Weaving together songs and dialogue with autobiography and poetry, his legendary wit and acerbic humour are tempered with sensitivity and wistfulness, it is both a revue and a review of the life of the man known as 'the Master'. The Sewell Barn production uses a range of performing styles and a blend of songs with the spoken word. The show is also a broadly biographical review of Coward's own life and career, using not only many of his songs (familiar and less so) but also scenes from plays and diaries extracts.

FOLK

Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar

Norwich Folk Club, Christ Church Centre, Magdalen Road, Norwich, May 15, 8pm, £10 (£7 members), norwichfolkclub.net

Two time BBC Folk Award winners Greg Russell and Ciaran Algar released their debut album, The Queen's Lover, in 2012, won the BBC Young Folk Award in February 2013 and then the Horizon Award, for best newcomers, at the main event at the Royal Albert Hall a year later. Numerous tours followed as the duo developed and honed their stage craft, becoming one of the most sought after young acts on the English folk scene. Their second album, The Call, released last year, won ecstatic reviews and here they play Norwich Folk Club is a much anticipated performance.

PERFORMANCE

My Champion Heartache

Norwich Arts Centre, May 16, 8pm, £8 (£6 cons), 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk

A non-linear, cross-disciplined, mongrel performance about people and their pets from Odd Comic, aka cross-genre artists Dot Howard and Holly Bodmer who use their backgrounds in live art, experimental theatre and performance art with a passion for devising unconventional performances that are observational, humorous and for intimate audiences in unusual spaces. My Champion Heartache finds them searching for a missing pet and interpreting the familiar yet absurd commitment between a pet, their owner and sometimes the neighbour. The result is a grotesque, nostalgic, teasing, playful, moving, humorous and frank interaction between audience, performer, animal, human and the formal mechanisms of live performance.

CONCERT

Brahms, the Great Master

King's Lynn Corn Exchange, May 16, 7.30pm, £16, £8 children, 01553 764864, www.kingslynncornexchange.co.uk

Norfolk Symphony Orchestra's latest concert is a celebration of Brahms. Elgar's music owes much to his love of Brahms and his Froissart Overture his also on the programme. Dvorak revered him and wrote his 7th Symphony, also being performed, in response to Brahms' demand that he write a 'good German symphony'. We experience English heroic chivalry, Bohemian warmth and, between these, one of the master's greatest and best loved works - his stunning Violin Concerto. Soloist is violinist Simon Smith, who is also the artistic director of Chamber Orchestra Anglia.

EXHIBITION

Open Studio Show/Pandemonium

The Old Workshop Gallery, The Street, Corpusty, until June 7/July 5, Tues-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm, admission free, 01263 587268, www.corpustygallery.com

Two exhibitions running concurrently at the Old Workshop Gallery. Covering the Norfolk and Norwich Open Studios period this years' Open Studio Show features Joan Wooll, whose paintings document her daily life almost like a diary, primarily working in acrylic and other water-based medium; Lilian Shaw's lively pastels and Jill Hill's original and unusual garments from her hand-dyed and embroidered textiles. Meanwhile Pandemonium features large works by Anna-Lise Horsly, seven impressively large canvases and several smaller ones, that are a glorious feast of colour, details from a vast variety of souses, ceramics, plants, animals, formed into surreal dreamlike wonder.

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