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

Lee Nelson, the stage persona of Simon Brodkin, will be at Laugh in the Park. Photo: Shamil Tanna

Lee Nelson, the stage persona of Simon Brodkin, will be at Laugh in the Park. Photo: Shamil Tanna - Credit: Archant

Sepp Blatter bating prankster Lee Nelson is among a host of comedy big names at Laugh in the Park, plus music, cabaret, theatre, a kids show and exhibition. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.

COMEDY

Laugh in the Park

Chapelfield Gardens, Norwich, July 23-26, gates open 6pm, shows start 8pm, £18.50 July 23/26, £20 July 24-25, 0844 8261902, www.redcardcomedyclub.com/laugh-in-the-park

Norwich this weekend welcomes the return of Laugh in the Park, organised by Red Card Comedy Club, running over four nights in Chapelfield Gardens. The line-up on the opening Thursday night includes Jo Caulfield, The Boy With Tape On His Face and MC John Mann. Friday features Seann Walsh and Mark Simmons, while Saturday includes Simon Evans, Gary Delaney, Sara Pascoe and Nish Kumar. Lee Nelson, fresh from ambushing Sepp Blatter and his impromptu appearance on stage at the Kanye West set at Glastonbury, stars on Sunday alongside Tom Deacon and MC Carl Donnelly. As well as the comedy extravaganza there is also a mighty fine beer tent and barbecue food.

MUSIC

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King Pleasure and the Biscuit Boys

Guildhall Theatre, King's Lynn, July 24, 7.30pm, £16, £8 under-18s, 01553 764864, www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk

Larger than life and twice as rambunctious, the King Pleasure and The Biscuit Boys' zany stage show has made them one of the country's best and most authentic rhythm and blues bands never to come from the US. The band's all action no-holds-barred approach to jump, jive and swing has spanned 10 albums and over 7,000 performances. They have shared the stage with such legends as the late, great BB King (several times) and Cab Calloway and his Cotton Club Orchestra. They've even, somewhat bizarrely, featured in episodes of the Teletubbies! Rough, tough and always rocking, their zany stage show sometimes belies the fact that they are fine musicians.

CABARET

Covert Cabaret

The Atrium, North Walsham, July 24, 7pm, £10, 01692 400080, www.theatrium.org.uk

The decadent world of cabaret and the dodgy world of politics come together in this latest show from Headless Entertainment, their third cabaret night at The Atrium. Expect plenty of surprises, entertainment and cocktails by candlelight as the theatre is again transformed into a dusky cabaret lounge. Host for the evening will be Herr Hans Hoffyer and special attractions will be Chris North as mindreader and mentalist Baron Von Northwink, singer Mi Mi D'Nice and international songstress Ivanna More who made a big impression at last year's show. The evening is strictly for over-18s only and will involve the audience as conspirators in an underground plot to overthrow the powers-that-be in an unnamed European country!

THEATRE

Quartet

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, July 23-August 1, 7.30pm, 2.30pm July 25/August 1, £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

Cecily, Reggie and Wilfred reside in a home for retired opera singers in Kent, England. Each year, on October 10, there is a concert to celebrate Verdi's birthday. Jean, who used to be married to Reggie, arrives at the home and disrupts their equilibrium. She still acts like a diva and refuses to sing. But the show must go on in this funny and poignant play by Ronald Harwood, author of Another Time, The Dresser and Interpreters. There are parallels between the four characters in the play and the four actors playing them at the Maddermarket. Three of the cast are aged over 70 in real life and all of us are retired or semi-retired. They have all had a long association with the theatre.

FAMILY SHOW

Oddly

Norwich Puppet Theatre, July 25, 28 and 30/August 2, 3 and 5, all 2.30pm, £8, £8 children, £28 family, 01603 629921, www.puppettheatre.co.uk

A fun, whimsical tale based on the much-loved children's book written by local author Joyce Dunbar. Three unusual creatures hold onto their special treasures and ponder questions which they are unable to answer. The Lostlet twirls a golden leaf and asks what do I hope for? The Strangelet holds a smooth white pebble and wonders what do I dream of? The Oddlet listens to a seashell and thinks what do I wish for? Suddenly a little boy appears who seems stranger, odder and even more lost than they are. Together the new friends find surprising ways to make their hopes, dreams and wishes come true. Norwich Puppet Theatre's adaptation visually re-imagines the story with traditional and contemporary puppets, inventive design and original music. Ages 3+

EXHIBITION

Paper & Sticks

Salthouse Church, until July 26, 11am–5.30pm, admission free, www.cleycontemporaryart.org

North Norfolk artists Beth Groom and Jack Wheeler transform Salthouse Church with a showcase of contemporary installation and sculpture. Coinciding with Cley 15, Paper & Sticks is the first collaborative exhibition by the artists. The common theme in the exhibition is elevating humble objects and materials to a new status. Groom's sustainable approach is inspired by a love of everyday, found objects. Her curious and playful installations breathe new life into collections of eye baths, umbrellas and cake tins. A skilled carpenter, as well as an artist, Wheeler works predominantly in Norfolk wood; revelling in the whole process from selecting and extracting a tree at source, to using traditional hand carving tools and techniques.

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