Six of the Best: Cultural highlights not to miss this weekend

The Lord Chamberlain's production company rehearse Romeo and Juliet at Norwich Cathedral cloisters.  Picture: Denise Bradley The Lord Chamberlain's production company rehearse Romeo and Juliet at Norwich Cathedral cloisters. Picture: Denise Bradley

Thursday, July 17, 2014
9:00 AM

Norwich Cathedral hosts the annual Shakespeare Festival, there is a local production of The Merry Widow, Clare Teal joins the National Youth Jazz Orchestra, the KL Festival Chorus perform Brahms dramatic and beautiful German Requiem, and Tim FitzHigham explores the 10 barmiest bets in history. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this weekend.

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THEATRE

Shakespeare Festival

Norwich Cathedral, until July 19, all 7pm, £19 (£16 cons), £16 under-16s, 01603 630000, www.cathedral.org.uk

The hugely popular Shakespeare Festival in the shadow of Norwich Cathedral returns with not one, but two touring companies. Shakespeare’s Globe perform one of Shakespeare’s liveliest comedies, Much Ado About Nothing on July 17 and 18; while The Lord Chamberlain’s present their action-packed production of the world’s greatest love story, Romeo and Juliet on July 19. The Globe, based of course at the open air theatre on London’s South Bank, offer some of the most traditional, yet most inventive Shakespearean productions and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Max Webber and starring Simon Bubb as Benedick and Emma Pallant as Beatrice/Verges, has been critically acclaimed.

THEATRE

School For Husbands

Diss Corn Hall, July 17, 7.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), 01379 652241, www.disscornhall.co.uk/Granary Theatre, Wells, July 19, 7.30pm, £10 adv/£12 door, £8 under-14s, 01328 710193, www.granarytheatre.co.uk

Having previously delighted with She Stoops to Conquer and Lady Windermere’s Fan, DOT Productions return to the region with this commedia dell’arte romp – or ‘Rom Com in Corsets’ – by Moliere. The plot centres around the suitors of two sisters. Sganarelle is controlling and overbearing of his intended wife, Isabella. Ariste treats his intended wife, Léonor more as an equal. Ariste finds success in his pursued relationship, while Sganarelle fails miserably. So much so, in fact that that he is unwittingly used by Isabella in seeking her preferred courter, Valère. Fun, witty and punctuated with political satire.

OPERA

The Merry Widow

Norwich Playhouse, July 18-19, 7.30pm, £11 (£9 cons), £7 under-16s, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Wymondham-based Livewire Opera Company return to Norwich Playhouse to perform this operetta of romance and amorous intrigue and glittering Parisian couture, with music adapted and arranged by Ronald Hanmer. First performed in 1905 in Vienna, The Merry Widow is a story of romance, and amorous intrigue, set in the heady champagne days of decadent, 19th-century Paris. It has continued to delight audiences with its whirl of elegant ladies, eligible bachelors, and suitors seeking the coveted hand of rich widow Anna Glavari. The original book was by Victor Léon and Leo Stein, but this version features a new book and lyrics by Phil Park.

MUSIC

NYJO & Clare Teal

King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, July 18, 7.30pm, £19 , £14 under-18s, 01553 764864, www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk

King’s Lynn Festival

The National Youth Jazz Orchestra are one of Britain’s longest running and most successful ensembles for young people under 25 playing big band jazz. For this special King’s Lynn Festival they are joined for selected numbers by BBC Radio 2’s Clare Teal, star of swing and jazz, who returns after her sell out performance at the festival in 2012. Yorkshire-born Clare is one of the most successful female British jazz singers in decades with a string of albums behind her, including the Top 20 hit Don’t Talk.

SHOW

The Gambler

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, July 19, 7.30pm, £16-£8.50, 01284 769505, www.theatreroyal.org

Tim FitzHigham embodies the spirit of derring-do. He describes himself as an author, performer and adventurer. His latest one-man show sees him exploring the 10 best or most barmy bets in history and along the way tries to discover if, with a little planning, these bizarre wagers could ever be won. Among the feats that Tim has attempted has been racing against a racehorse, cross-country cheese board rolling, a 25-mile wheelbarrow marathon and rowing across the English Channel in a bathtub.

CONCERT

KL Festival Chorus

King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, July 20, 7.30pm, £18-£15, £5 off under-18s, 01553 764864, www.kingslynnfestival.org.uk

Marking the start of the Great War, the KL Festival Chorus perform Brahms dramatic and beautiful German Requiem. They will be performing the ‘London Version’ for Piano four hands with John Byron and Anna Le Hair. There will be a welcome return of soprano Elenor Bowers-Jolley, joint winner of the prestigious Kathleen Ferrier Prize, performing with baritone Gareth Brynmore John. Alongside Brahms’ masterwork, KLFC will perform Schütz Psalm 84 and Gareth Brynmore John will sing Brahms magical Vier Ernste Gesänge.

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