Six of the Best: Norfolk cultural highlights not to miss this week

Ben Palmer as Munkustrap in the musical Cats, coming to Norwich Theatre Royal this week Ben Palmer as Munkustrap in the musical Cats, coming to Norwich Theatre Royal this week

Tuesday, April 1, 2014
9:42 AM

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s puurfect musical Cats returns to the Norwich stage, Norfolk rockers Deaf Havana kick off their UK tour and Shakespeare’s As You Like It gets a psychedelic 1960s spin. SIMON PARKIN picks six cultural highlights not to miss this week.

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THEATRE

Cats

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 2-12, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Apr 3/5/9/10/12, £39.50-£6.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

Cats isn’t just a show, it’s a phenomenon. People have it stowed away in their memories as the great West End theatre experience of their lives. With a plot based on T.S Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats and award-winning music composed by Andrew Lloyd Webber; it tells the story of the night a tribe of cats, known as the Jellicles, choose which one of their number will ascend to cat heaven, called the Heavyside Layer, and return to live a new life. Lloyd Webber’s clever score of remarkably differing styles throbs and swirls with cat-costumed dancers from beginning to end. The songs are almost entirely Eliot’s Old Possum’s verse set to music, the exceptions being the big hit number from the show, Memory, for which Trevor Nunn wrote the lyrics from an Eliot poem called Rhapsody on a Winter’s Night, and a brief song, The Moments of Happiness, taken from Eliot’s Four Quartets.

CLASSICAL

Orpheus and Euridice

Auden Theatre, Holt, April 2-5, 7.30pm, £14 (£12 cons), 01263 713444, www.northnorfolkchamberopera.co.uk

Gluck’s delightful Orpheus and Euridice revolutionised opera in the 18th century, removing conventions and integrating words and music to enhance the drama. The opera is based on Greek myth, the musician Orpheus is allowed to enter the underworld to retrieve his recently deceased wife Euridice. This colourful North Norfolk Chamber Orchestra production will be sung in English with chorus, soloists and dancers from the Baroque Dance Unmasked.

MUSIC

Deaf Havana

UEA NRLCR, April 1, 6.30pm, £15, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

The last 12 months have been quite a year for Norfolk band Deaf Havana, with their third album Old Souls debuting at nine in the UK chart, and sold out tours taking in London’s prestigious Roundhouse, dates with Muse and a support slot to Bruce Springsteen in Hyde Park. The album, which marked a shift in direction from previous alt-rock album Fools and Worthless Liars towards more chorus-driven classic rock, has just been released in America, and the six-piece are set to head over the Atlantic for a major tour to promote it. Before that though there is the small matter of their biggest UK headline tour to date, which suitably enough begins in Norfolk at the UEA. It’s all a far cry from the band’s origins at the King’s Lynn campus of the College of West Anglia.

THEATRE

As You Like It

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, until April 5, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Apr 5, £12-£8, 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

What do Shakespeare’s Globe and Norwich’s Maddermarket Theatre have in common? Both opened with a performance of As You Like It: the Globe in 1599, the Maddermarket in 1921. To celebrate the 450th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth, here it returns in a colourful psychedelic production set in another year of cultural awakening: 1967, the summer of love. “Our 1967 setting provides a juxtaposition of formality abandoned in favour of freedom” said director Chris Bealey. “The production’s music includes new settings for Shakespeare’s original songs and taps a rich vein of Summer of Love anthems, including California Dreamin’, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and Somebody to Love.”

ART

Waveney Springs

Stables Gallery, Diss Corn Hall, until April 12, Mon-Fri 11am-4pm, Sat 111am-2pm, free admission, 01379 652241, www.waveneysprings.co.uk

Once again Waveney Springs Art Collective exhibit at Diss Corn Hall with a variety of art, from oil paintings, watercolours, etchings, linocuts, textiles, ceramics and 3D sculptures in glass, metal and wood. Some of the artists such as Issy Coe and Rebecca Douglas Whatley paint local views. The latter loves to paint in oils ‘en plein air’ so that she can capture the ‘smells, sounds and essence of the place.’ Silke Schelenz produces fine etchings based on images which have caught her eye, especially playing with the ideas of light and dark and shadows. Frances Beasley in contrast enjoys pattern and colour and works in oils, acrylics and with lino cuts. David Mitchell’s work again is a complete contrast, since he specialises in landscape miniatures, while Graham Newcombe produces fascinating ceramic pots.

SHOW

The Elvis Years 1954-1977

Marina Theatre, Lowestoft, April 4-5, 7.30pm, 2.30pm Apr 5, £19.50 (£18.50 cons)/matinee £18.50 (£17.50 cons), 01502 533200, www.marinatheatre.co.uk

West End musical Jailhouse Rock original star Mario Kombou brings his band led by Ivor Novello award-winner David Mackay, for this concert show dedicated to the hey-days of the King. Mario delivers a tour de force performance in this spectacular show packed with over 50 greatest hits, from the early days of Sun Studios, through the Hollywood years, the 1968 TV special, culminating in the legendary Vegas concert, with In The Ghetto, Suspicious Minds and American Trilogy.

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