Ten of the Best: Cultural highlights not to miss this week

The music of Michael Jackson lives on in Thriller Live. Image: Irina Chira The music of Michael Jackson lives on in Thriller Live. Image: Irina Chira

Saturday, July 5, 2014
8:20 AM

The music of Michael Jackson lives on in hit musical Thriller Live, glamtastic stage show Viva La Drag struts into Norfolk, Norfolk comedian Rebecca Humphries tackles her Disney obsession, Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star Joseph Marcell yackles King Lear and there’s a digital arts tour around the hidden architecture of Norwich. SIMON PARKIN picks 10 cultural highlights not to miss this week.

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SHOW

Thriller Live

Norwich Theatre Royal, July 7-12, Mon-Thurs 7.30pm, Fri 5pm/8pm, Sat 2.30pm/7.30pm, £20.50-£6.50, 01603 630000, www.theatreroyalnorwich.co.uk

We’ve just passed the fifth anniversary of the death of Michael Jackson, but music of the late singer lives on. Nowhere is his enduring musical legacy more obvious than in the continuing success of Thriller Live, the West End show based around his music. Not a musical in the strict West End sense of the word, it is more a musical tour de force, showcasing great voices from a variety of singers, combined with great choreography and effects. Don’t go expecting was a chronological look at the singer’s life, it features vocalists, male, female, black and white, bringing their own musical style to celebrate MJ’s influence. At times there are three or four “Michaels” on stage at a time, all with their own unique style.

COMEDY

Terry Alderton

Norwich Playhouse, July 5, 8pm, £15, 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Following his critically acclaimed national tours over the last three years, award-winning comedian Terry Alderton is back to the audiences to roller-coaster ride through his greatest hits. The footballer turned comedian, who after stints on Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow and Dave’s One Night Stand has seen his popularity grow, is described as ‘a human jukebox, beat-box and jack-in-a-box’ his comedy is a mixture of stand-up, uninhibited digressions, caricatures, impressions and sound effects. He also has a soft spot for Norfolk. Not only do his parents live in the county but this is also where his comedy career began, back in the late 1980s at Potter’s Leisure Resort at Hopton.

SHOW

Viva La Drag

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, July 6, 7.30pm, £22.50, 01263 512495, www.cromer-pier.com

Fresh from its critically-acclaimed West End run, the glamtastic stage show struts it way into Norfolk. Richard Rhodes, aka Sheila Simmonds plays close harmony group The Supreme Fabulettes’ razor-tongued manager in the show, with a special guest performance from Sam Buttery of BBC1’s The Voice. The show involves the character having to navigate band splits and solo hits against a backdrop of backstabbing, love and tears played for laughs by top UK drag artistes Vicki Vivacious, Vanilla Lush, Portia De Fosse and Silver Summers. Described as the ultimate girls’ night out with added extras, the cross dressing comedy cum musical is directed by Kylie Minogue’s creative director William Baker and features songs specially composed by Boy George.

THEATRE

King Lear

Theatre Royal, Bury St Edmunds, July 8-12, 7.30pm, 2pm July 10, £20-£8.50, 01284 769505, www.theatreroyal.org

Geoffrey would be quite impressed. Joseph Marcell, who became famous playing the sarcastic, Oxford-educated butler of that name in the American sit-com The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, tackles one of the pinnacles of classic theatre for the Shakespeare’s Globe tour of King Lear. It follows the Globe’s previous Bury visits with, among others, The Taming of the Shrew, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and As You Like It. Lear is altogether much stronger meat with the king tired of the burden of royal duties and deciding to hand over his kingdom to whichever of his three daughters, Goneril, Regan and Cordelia, he feels loves him the most.

JAZZ

The Tori Freestone Trio

Milestones Jazz Club, Hotel Hatfield, Lowestoft, July 6, 8pm, £7 (£6 cons), 01502 568684, milestonesjazzclub.co.uk

Tori Freestone is at the forefront of the UK improvised music scene as both a sidewomen and highly regarded bandleader. Her playing is and has featured in a number of the UK’s most exciting contemporary bands such as The Ivo Neame Quintet and Octet. But it is this new trio that has been gaining the most attention for her as of late. Comprised of long-time musical associates in uber-creative drummer Tim Giles and the highly original bassist Dave Manington, Freestone has been developing her own repertoire which explores the openness that the saxophone trio allows while taking inspiration from some of the non-chordal sax led trios of the moment.

COMEDY

Dizney Rascal, The Talk, Oak Street, Norwich, July 6, 7.30pm, £5 adv/£6 door, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

Norfolk performer and actress Rebecca Humphries has seen Disney movies as role models. Only now is she beginning to see Disney for what it really is — and it’s not all fairy godmothers, dashing princes and flying carpets.

Now the Thorpe St Andrew-born actress is tackling her Princess complex her first live musical comedy show Dizney Rascal, which gets its world premiere on home soil in Norwich this weekend ahead of a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival next month. With live accompaniment, Rebecca, who is best known for her starring role alongside Inbetweener Blake Harrison in Comedy Central’s Big Bad World and will soon be appearing alongside Jack Whitehall in the ITV2 series Cockroaches, takes on her cartoon-induced complex through a mix of sketches, stand-up and song.

ROCK

Steve Harris British Lion

Waterfront, King Street, Norwich, July 8, 7.30pm, £15, 01603 508050, www.ueaticketbookings.co.uk

Iron Maiden bassist and founder member Steve Harris brings his solo/side project British Lion to Norwich, the first date on a 10 date European tour. British Lion was Steve’s debut album outside Iron Maiden. It features songs he and his collaborators worked on between Iron Maiden tours and releases and is described by Harris as “’70s-influenced, British-sounding hard rock. I’d say it’s more mainstream rock than metal.” Featured alongside Steve on bass are Richard Taylor on vocals, David Hawkins on guitar and keys, Grahame Leslie on guitar, and Simon Dawson on drums. Support comes from The Raven Age.

SHOW

Mr Gilbert & Mr Sullivan

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, July 9-11, 7.30pm, £12 (£10 cons), 01603 620917, www.maddermarket.co.uk

Gilbert and Sullivan songs that have stood the test of time and are still avidly performed today. In this compilation meet Mr Gilbert and Mr Sullivan on their journey through two decades of the late-19th century with excerpts from their successful operetta’s performed in modern day style. Written by George Baker this production is a collaboration between The Norwich Players and Tarantara, a group of well known local G&S artistes. Directed by Trevor Thurston it gives an insight into the lives of two great men.

CONCERT

The Bach Players

Octagon Chapel, Colegate, Norwich, July 10, 7.30pm, £17.50-£12.50, £5 students, under-18s free, 01603 628319, www.thebachplayers.org.uk

A fascinating summer concert of unusual instrumental music on unusual instruments with a fascinating programme exploring 17th-century links between Italy and Germany, in the exuberant style known as Stylus Phantasticus, including works by Marini, Froberger and Schmelzer. Many of the composers are not well known, but it is wonderfully imaginative music and also a chance to discover the exciting sounds of lesser known instruments including the sackbut, theorbo and dulcian, with players Nicolette Moonen, Gawain Glenton, Emily White, Krzystof Lewandowski, Lynda Sayce and Silas Wollston. The concert has been entitled ‘17th-century jazz’.

ART

Look Up

Norwich Arts Centre, until August 1, Mon–Fri 1pm–5pm, Sat 10am–6pm, free admission, 01603 660352, www.norwichartscentre.co.uk/lookup

Look Up is an innovative digital arts tour around the hidden architecture of Norwich. Experience and explore the city streets from a fresh perspective through digital photography and audio clips by local artists. The digital photographs present some of our greatest historical buildings to the latest graffiti. The audio clips include snapshot interviews and compositions of everyday sounds, such as noise produced by a printing press, the chimes of bells, and birdsong. Begin your trail at Norwich Arts Centre where there will be a photographic exhibition and a physical map of the trail provided, so those without a smartphone or tablet can also enjoy the local artists’ photographs, audio clips and historical insights.

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