Thursford Christmas Spectacular is a show that you can’t fail to love

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Archant

Thursford Christmas Spectacular. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

Outside, it was grey and dull. Inside, it was the polar opposite.

Dancers rehearsing an Irish dance section, ready for this year's Christmas Spectacular at Thursford.

Dancers rehearsing an Irish dance section, ready for this year's Christmas Spectacular at Thursford. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt

It may only be the second week of November, but at Thursford, Christmas has arrived in style.

From the moment you arrive (and if you've never been before, you'll panic that you're lost just as you get there) it's literally impossible to be miserable – the trees are festooned in lights, there's festive music and everyone is in high spirits. This place should be available on prescription.

Yesterday was the first show in a sold-out run and the audience were, in the main, regulars: 'I say I won't cook Christmas dinner if I'm not taken to Thursford every year,' said the lady next to me. That's talking turkey.

Comedian Paul Eastwood summed up the year that preceded this 41st show: 'It's been a year of bad news but we forget all that here,' before adding: 'I'll be having a Brexit Christmas dinner this year – the same as normal but without the Brussels.'

Dancers rehearsing an Irish dance section, ready for this year's Christmas Spectacular at Thursford.

Dancers rehearsing an Irish dance section, ready for this year's Christmas Spectacular at Thursford. Picture: Ian Burt - Credit: Ian Burt


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We launched into an absolutely packed show which brought the West End to the East with a jaw-dropping variety of song, dance and musical numbers plus the fabulous juggling of John Udry (who at one point juggled behind his own back – I've never see that before, the man must be made of the same rubber as his juggling props).

Orchestra, singers, dancers – all are wonderful and rehearsed to perfection.

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Costumes, sets and lighting are absolutely stunning, the pace is just right – I imagine it's like a blur backstage as penguin costumes are abandoned for dinner jackets, marching band outfits for tutus.

If I had to pick my favourite bits, it'd be the Barbershop routine which took us from the 12 Days of Christmas via Toto's Africa, Allan Sherman's Hello Muddah, Hello Fadduh in a (perfect) Norfolk accent and the hilarious dancing percussionist.

But the biggest cheer of the afternoon came for the Riverdance routine and the breathtaking finale (many Mother Christmases, doves, balloons, glitter cannons – you name it, Thursford had it).

Director John Cushing has gifted Thursford audiences another fabulous show that you can't fail to love.

I'll sum it up by my seat number: A1.

STACIA BRIGGS

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