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

Jeff Koons' Winter Bears, 1988. Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through Th

Jeff Koons' Winter Bears, 1988. Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008 - Credit: Archant

Influential and controversial artists Jeff Koons is the subject of a major exhibition, plus dance, opera, comedy and music from the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


Jeff Koons: Artist Rooms

Norwich Castle Museum, May 9-September 6, Mon-Sat 10am-4.30pm, Sun 1pm-4.30pm, £6 (£5 cons), £4 children, 01603 495897,

Widely regarded as one of the most important, influential, popular and controversial artists of our time, Jeff Koons is famous for iconic works such as Puppy, a 40ft sculpture which stands outside the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao. This exhibition will be the only chance to see his work in the UK this year and includes some of his best known pieces such as Winter Bears, 1988. Drawing together a range of styles and spanning a broad chronology from early 1980s to the late 1990s, the works highlight some of the artist's most important series, including In New Hoover Convertibles, Encased, from the artist's famous series of basketball works, and the Bourgeois Bust, a marble sculpture which depicts the artist and his wife, Ilona.


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Tormenta Flamenca

Sheringham Little Theatre, May 8, 7.30pm, £12, 01263 822347,

An exhilarating evening of authentic Flamenco

A dramatic one-woman dance show exploring a range of human emotions, starring Ana Dueñas León. The show has been created to express the emotion and experiences of life including joy and celebration, love and loss as well as humour and sorrow. With lightning footwork, driving rhythms of the guitar, haunting song and explosive energy, the dancers create a flamenco performance that is spellbinding, connecting with the audience in a way

that is intimate and unique. It offers a modern twist on flamenco dancing traditions with atmospheric guitar music.


I Believe in Unicorns

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until May 9, various times, £16.50-£8.50, 01284 769505,

Tomas didn't like books or stories. He was happier clambering in the mountains like a goat or tobogganing with his Dad. That was until the Unicorn Lady came to town and reeled him in with her irresistible magic tales. But then disaster struck and put everything that mattered most in Tomas's life in terrible danger. From the best-selling book by Michael Morpurgo, adapted by Daniel Jamieson, this is a spellbinding and moving story by one of our greatest storytellers brought to the stage by Theatre Alibi, who last worked with Morpurgo on Why the Whales Came to great critical acclaim.


The Virtues of Things

Britten Studio, Snape, May 9, 7.30pm, £18-£15, under-27s half-price, 01728 687110,

Conceived by composer Matt Rogers (aka Gameshow Outpatient) and writer Sally O'Reilly, this new opera commissioned by Aldeburgh Music, Opera North and The Royal Opera is a witty dissection of how operas unfold their fictions and how objects themselves carry meaning. When a long-established family prop-making business, struggling to adapt to modern pressures, is struck by a mysterious illness, a slick outsider steps in to help, but his attempts to modernise their methods place the family in peril. Directed by Olivier Award-nominated Bijan Sheibani (associate director at the National Theatre), the members is here performed by member of the Aurora Orchestra.


Fat Cat Comedy Club

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, May 10, 8pm, £12, 01284 758000,

Irish stand-up Andrew Maxwell, a familiar face from Mock the Week and Live at the Apollo, leads a trio of top talents at the latest Fat Cat night. His forte is producing strong and logical arguments that you may not necessarily agree with, tantalisingly contentious social commentary. Crazy Canadian Phil Nichol also returns. His energy is infectious and you cannot beat a bit of musical talent too, his songs will have you in stitches. He thrives on spontaneity and improvisation, the perfect kind of stand up. Offering something different from your standard stand-up, The Boy With Tape On His Face is exactly what his name implies. His is an extremely unique style of comedy that has won much acclaim.



Norwich Playhouse, May 10, 7.30pm, £16, £7.50 under-25s, 01603 766400,

Ethiopian-born, San Francisco-raised vocalist Meklit Hadero specialises in warm, playfully idiosyncratic folk-pop with more than a hint of jazz. Internationally-renowned the singer-songwriter turned bandleader will delivers a soulful and provocative showcase of her most recent album We Are Alive — a passionate brew of jazz, folk, and East African influences. First seen in the UK as part of the Southbank Centre's Women of the World Festival, she is passionate about challenging preconceptions about women and her African roots.

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