Six of the Best: Norfolk cultural highlights not to miss this weekend

Stephanie Cole stars in This May Hurt A Bit at Bury Theatre Royal.

Stephanie Cole stars in This May Hurt A Bit at Bury Theatre Royal. - Credit: Archant

A comedy about the NHS based on personal experience, a comedic histoy of heavy metal and groundbreaking stars of flamenco and African music, SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.


This May Hurt A Bit

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, until March 15, £20-£8.50, 01284 769505,

When your life collapses around your ears, it's difficult to think straight. For playwright Stella Feehily everything came to a shuddering halt in 2006 when her husband, acclaimed theatre director Max Stafford-Clark, suffered a series of strokes which left him stranded in hospital for six months. The experience inspired Stella to begin this biting, buoyant new political comedy, which here gets its world premiere ahead of its West End run. Although the play contains autobiographical elements, it's not the story of Max's hospital stay but it does include observations Stella made while he was there. Nicholas James is in and out of hospital thanks to his ageing mother and unruly prostate. Feehily's play explores one family's journey through the NHS. The cast includes Stephanie Cole.


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Andrew O'Neill's Heavy Metal: A History

Norwich Arts Centre, March 13, 8pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01603 660352, Theatre, Pakefield, Lowestoft, March 14, 8pm, £10 (£8 cons), 01502 589726,

Andrew O'Neill is a heavy metal loving, vegan, transvestite stand-up comedian, who you may have seen on Never Mind The Buzzcocks and Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle or in Steve Coogan's Saxondale. He was last in the region with his stand-up show that looked for spookily good laughs in the occult. This time he returns with his new show that aims to give us an alternative history of heavy metal — the music genre that many would claim is already a spoof of itself. From Andrew its coming from a fan however as he aims to share his passion by passing on tips on how to headbang, what happens in a moshpit and just what is the difference between blackened thrash and grindcore?


Juan Martín Flamenco Dance

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, March 14, 7.30pm, £18 (£16 cons), 01284 758000,

Juan Martín, guitarist, composer and all encompassing musician, returns with a new show including singers and dancers direct from Spain for this date, part of a UK tour. Martín was voted into the top guitarists in the world by US magazine Guitar Player. He has toured the world playing from Beijing to Vancouver and Sydney and back to Morón de la Frontera, the very heartland of flamenco. He has composed and choreographed this latest show to display the various aspects of flamenco from its dark and moody intensity to the macho technical display of today's furious flamenco. Joining him will be award winning singer Amparo Heredia 'La Repompilla', the dance of Miguel Infante and Luisa Chicano and the flamenco of Raquel de Luna.


Professor Peter Aston Memorial Concert

St Andrew's Hall, Norwich, March 14, 7.30pm, £12 (£8 cons), 01603 628319,

This special large-scale memorial concert is dedicated in to the late UEA Emeritus Professor Peter Aston by the UEA Symphony Orchestra and Choir, joined by professional soloists, Lisa Cassidy (soprano), Eleanor White (alto), Iain Milne (tenor) and Andrew Weeks (bass). The programme includes Beethoven's final complete symphony, Symphony No.9 in D minor, Op. 125, alongside Elgar's Nimrod (from Enigma Variations Op. 36) and three Peter Aston pieces, including The True Glory).


Sahara Soul

The Apex, Bury St Edmunds, March 15, 7.30pm, £18, £5 under-25s, 01284 758000,

Sahara Soul brings some of Mali's most talented contemporary musicians to the stage to showcase the rich artistic heritage of this West African nation. Bassekou Kouyate was winner of the 2008 BBC Radio 3 World Music Award for Best Album and Best African Group. Sidi Toure is a singer-songwriter and descendant of royal griots from Gao, an ancient city on the banks of the River Niger. He has released two critically acclaimed albums, Sahel Folk and Koima on the indie American label Thrill Jockey Records. After they sold out the Barbican last year to rave reviews, this promises a good night with wonderful musicians.


Richard Herring

Norwich Playhouse, March 15, 8pm, £15, 01603 598598,

Richard Herring likes taking on a subject that on the face of it isn't very funny. And after sorting out politics (Hitler Moustache), religion (Christ on a Bike), love (What is Love, Anyway?) and penises (Talking Cock), his latest show — We're all Going To Die! — sees him tackling the subject of dying; and not in the comedy sense either. Is death a tragedy or an excuse to have an extended lie-in? Are we snuffed out or forced to endure eternity without bodily pleasures? The show mines the funny and philosophical side and won him five-star reviews at last year's Edinburgh Fringe. Death is inevitable, so we might as well laugh in its face.