The start of the pier show!

RICHARD BATSON The curtain goes up on Cromer's Seaside Special end of the pier show on June 17 – with its traditional blend of comedy, music, magic, song and dance.


It was show time in the sunshine yesterday as Cromer put on the greasepaint and costumes for another summer season.

The curtain goes up on the Seaside Special end of the pier show on June 17 - with its traditional blend of comedy, music, magic, song and dance.

Pre-season ticket sales were already 18pc up on last year's record breaking summer, said Rory Holburn, commercial director of pier managers Openwide International at yesterday's launch.

And he was confident the World Cup would not stop people coming out and enjoying an evening of live entertainment.

A new family ticket this year reflected a trend towards more younger people in the audience, he added.

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While the core audience still tended to be the over-50s, there were signs that the number of family showgoers was increasing, he said.

But the content of show was evolving naturally, and not seeking to target younger generations.

Director Di Cooke said the challenge was to find fresh ideas and talent for what was a unique show.

This year's would include popular musical Oklahoma, some Judy Garland, Tamla Motown, and a bit of ballet “with a different twist”.

Pulling together a cast for Seaside Special meant looking for qualities beyond their speciality skills.

“Cast members need to have talent, but they also must be adaptable to all the different styles of music in the show, to be able to pick up words, tunes and movements quickly, to fit in with the small team, and have charm, stage presence and a warm persona,” she added.

Comic Barnaby returns after a successful Cromer debut last year to headline the show again with his mix of comedy and patter, which has also seen him appear in pantomime and as a television game show host.

His foil is comedy magician Andy Leach, from Ipswich, who also does ventriloquism, has appeared in the Royal Variety Show and shares a passion for big motorbikes with Barnaby, who has worked alongside him on cruise ships.

Singer Harvey James is a Wisbech man, whose parents used to run the Buck Inn at Tilney St Lawrence. He has been lead vocalist in production shows, including on the Queen Mary 2, and with big bands including Joe Loss.

Mezzo soprano Alexandra Turchyn has a background in drama and song, having appeared in Shakespeare, panto and musicals, including a Grammy award nominated revival of the Amazons, in which she played a housekeeper.

Classical musician Joanne Rozario has played clarinet and saxophone with orchestras in Hong Kong and South Africa, and is a newcomer to seaside summer shows, but has visited Norfolk before during tours with Northern Ballet.

They are joined by the Seaside Special dancers, four returners from last season - Nicola Salt, Carolyn Maitland, Natasha Keely and Andy Young - are joined by Amy Lee and Adam Jenkins.

Musical director Nigel Hogg is back in the pit, but there is a new face at the drums, with former Irish Guards bandsman Keiran Parker replacing long-serving stick wielder Andy Pook.

Seaside Special runs from June 17 to September 16. Tickets are £14.95, (OAPs £11.75, groups £11.25, children £7, family £40) through the box office on 01263 512495 or at

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