Thursford Christmas Spectacular

RICHARD PARR Thursford Museum

RICHARD PARR

> Thursford Museum

'Tis the season to be Thursford . . . Yes, it may be only mid-November but this festive fantasy opened on Saturday evening and the show was enjoyed by a capacity audience.

Over the years, the show's founder John Cushing has become synonymous with creating a first-class production that cleverly fuses the sacred and secular in a light-and-sound spectacular and this year he has surpassed himself with a show that simply takes your breath away.

Across the 100ft-wide stage, a colourful canvas in music and dancing is created. For the audience, it is like looking through a kaleidoscope as one visually stunning scene slickly switches to another. One minute we are watching a breathtaking Bolero routine with dancers in their vibrant red gowns and fans, the next we are watching a parade of cute snowmen in a 1920s-style set piece.

Even in mid-November, the true meaning of Christmas is a pivotal part of the programme and the living Nativity scene, surrounded by big- screen images of the Christ child, reinforces the powerful message of peace and love.

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The production is a pre-Christmas cracker full of goodies galore, from exquisite dance routines, songs from soloists, instrumental pieces and comedy, all presented with style and panache.

Popular Norfolk farmer Keith Loads is back again this year and his refreshing original comic routine brought plenty of laughs.

Mr Cushing, who is responsible for devising the entire production, is known to be a perfectionist. He ensures that his 100-plus team of professional musicians, singers and dancers, many of whom have appeared in top West End shows, know their roles inside out.

There is an ever-present feelgood factor and as the audiences file out into the night, they chatter excitedly about the wonder they have just witnessed.

It is difficult to pick out highlights but certainly the Bolero dance sequence, the Nativity scene and the vibrancy of the rhythm-of-life set linger in the memory.

Between now and December 23, a record-breaking 104,000 people will converge on this small Norfolk village to sample some of the magic that is Thursford. Limited tickets for some dates are still available. Contact the box office on 01328 878477.

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