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

Dial M For Murder

Dial M For Murder - Credit: Archant

Frederick Knott's intense and darkly gripping thriller, Dial M For Murder, famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock, arrives on the Norfolk stage, Edinburgh-based, Irish folk songstress Heidi Talbot visits, four more gagsmiths take to the King's Lynn Comedy Club and there's a new exhibition by renowned British painter John Virtue. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.


Dial M For Murder

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 29-May 3, 7.30pm, 2.30pm April 30/May 3, £15-£5.50, 01603 630000,

Frederick Knott's intense and darkly gripping thriller, famously filmed by Alfred Hitchcock, is revived on stage starring Christopher Timothy as Inspector Hubbard. Tony is convinced his wife is having an affair. We watch mesmerised at Tony's precision in planning what must surely be the perfect murder, until it falters in the most unexpected way. Wisely, Hitchcock resisted the temptation to open the play out knowing that a lot of the tension came from the claustrophobia created by the single room setting of Sheila and Tony Wendice's London flat. Lucy Bailey, director of this stage revival, takes a similar view. Claustrophobic and frightening, her production reclaims this brilliant and erotic tale of betrayal, passion and ultimately, murder.


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Heidi Talbot

Norwich Arts Centre, April 29, 8pm, £13 (£10 cons), 01603 660352,

Mark Knopfler, King Creosote, Karine Polwart and Julie Fowlis all guested on Angels Without Wings, the latest album from this Edinburgh-based, Irish folk songstress with the voice of a more girlish Kate Rusby. Having started out in all-female group Cherish The Ladies and guested on Idlewild's Post Electric Blues, she's spent the last couple of years touring with folk supergroup Drever, McCusker and Woomble (she's married to John McCusker, who also produces her). A real community seems to be mustering around her humble, bluegrass-tinged folk-pop compositions.


Aliens Love Underpants

Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, April 29-30, various times, £12.50, £45 family, 01553 764864,

This zany and hilarious tale based on the best-selling children's book by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort is delightfully brought to life on stage. Written and directed by Adam Bampton-Smith, the adaptation features effects, madcap action, original music and lots of aliens (of course!). Acclaimed as a fresh and funny production for the whole family.


The Cameron Pierre Trio

Lakeside Country Club, Quarry Lane, Lyng, April 30, 8pm, £10, 01362696741,

Raised on the island of Dominica, guitarist Cameron Pierre grew up in the reggae tradition. However, his approach to jazz guitar influenced by his two heroes, Wes Montgomery and George Benson, is infused with a bounce and

vitality belonging only to him. With a style that dazzles many a jazz fan, he has received glowing reviews from all over the world for his warm, dexterous sound and his self-deprecating, engaging stage presence. For this date he is joined by Sam Gambarini on Hammond organ and drummer Rob Fordjour.


KL Comedy Club

Kings Lynn Corn Exchange, May 1, 8.45pm, £8.50, 01553 764864,

The popular monthly Corn Exchange comedy night welcomes four more gagsmiths. Heard the one about the deaf comedian? Steve Day hasn't, but he's the first to crack a joke about his disability. Marlon Davis is a bright young improviser who embodys his characters and delivering his material with skilful observations and has appeared on The Steve K Amos Show and The Five O'Clock Show. Sometimes an established comic suddenly finds something extra, and one of these comics is John Moloney who has been a headliner at top clubs like the Comedy Store for a decade but like a fine wine is just gets better than ever. Linking things will be Leicestershire funnyman Jim Smallman who is a natural-born compere with an easy rapport and plenty of tall tales.


John Virtue - The Sea

Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Norwich, April 26-August 24, Tues-Fri 10am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-5pm, £5 (£4 cons), £4 children, £20 family, 01603 593199,

Renowned British painter John Virtue produces works that are vast in scale and have a powerful presence, black and white paint freely applied to the raw canvas surface with brushes, hands and rags. This exhibition features a new body of work: nine canvases, 25 drawings and 70 sketchbooks, all executed in the last three years, displayed in two galleries. Virtue works solely in black and white: all his paintings are executed on canvas, using white acrylic paint, black ink and shellac. He abandoned colour — which he considers to be a distraction — for the monochrome palette that reveals the draughtsman as well as the painter. Drawing remains a daily discipline and the exhibition features some 70 sketchbooks that testify to Virtue's time on Blakeney Point – walking and drawing this stretch of coast each week, immersed in the sea and sky whatever the weather.

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