Years roll by in pier show celebration

Seaside Special @ Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

Seaside Special @ Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier

By RICHARD BATSON

A century of entertainment in just 2½ hours. Even time traveller Doctor Who would be proud of it. But it is one of his enemies who uncorks this year's vintage variety show.

All-round entertainer Richard Gauntlett once played Dr Who baddie Urak, but Cromer's pier-end show is the perfect world for his talents.

Able to work the audience with warmth and wit, he can sing, dance, do music hall tricks, and dress up as a woman – all part of the essential CV for Cromer variety – and throwing down the Gauntlett for others.

His sidekick – in a popular duo back from last year – is impressionist and ventriloquist Wink Taylor, armed with a cheeky manner, a wardrobe full of voices and a dodo puppet who sprinkles laughter across the audience.

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The show's opening sequence was more pageantry than pizzazz, as it charted the pier's 100 years. Some costumes were spectacular and one piece of scenery drew applause in its own right.

As ever it is the full-company chorus numbers where the show sparkles under the direction of Robert Marlowe, aided by the powerful vocals of Kerry-Jane Beddows and Chris Harley and a good-looking line-up of dancers. Best of the lot was the pantomime finale to the first half.

Twinkle-toed tap dancer Maurice Kachuk and nimble-fingered banjo player Steve Galler earned some of the biggest solo applause of the night.

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