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What not to miss on the Norfolk and Suffolk stage in 2017

PUBLISHED: 17:12 10 January 2017 | UPDATED: 17:12 10 January 2017

The company of Jane Eyre in Sally Cookson's  bold, tumultuous staging, coming to Norwich. Picture: Manuel Harlan

The company of Jane Eyre in Sally Cookson's bold, tumultuous staging, coming to Norwich. Picture: Manuel Harlan

Manuel Harlan

From dramas to musicals, family shows and dance, there are plenty of hot tickets for theatrical treats in 2017.

Amanda Abbington will be starring as Beverly in Abigail's Party, which is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal in March. Picture: SuppliedAmanda Abbington will be starring as Beverly in Abigail's Party, which is coming to Norwich Theatre Royal in March. Picture: Supplied

THEATRE

• Frankenstein

Norwich Playhouse, January 31/Bury Theatre Royal, March 9-10

Having previously tackled Dracula, Blackeyed Theatre return with that other Victorian monster in this brand new adaptation of Mary Shelley’s Gothic horror masterpiece. Victor Frankenstein obsesses in the pursuit of nature’s secret, the elixir of life itself. But nothing can prepare him for what he creates. Ensemble storytelling, live music, puppetry and stunning theatricality.

• The Machine Stops

Bury Theatre Royal, March 14-15

Written by E.M. Forster in 1909, his short story is a chilling prediction our relationship with technology. It tells the story of a world where humans have retreated underground and are completely reliant on the Machine for their every need. This staging includes a soundtrack composed by electronic music pioneer and founder of Ultravox John Foxx and analogue synth specialist Benge.

Les Petits Theatre Company's The First Hippo on the Moon, based on David Walliams story. Picture: The Other RichardLes Petits Theatre Company's The First Hippo on the Moon, based on David Walliams story. Picture: The Other Richard

• The Strange Undoing of Prudencia Hart

Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, March 17/and touring

Regional company Eastern Angles are back with David Greig’s life-affirming story of self-discovery. Prudencia Hart sets off for a folk music conference in the Scottish borders. As the snow descends her journey becomes more magical and the characters more devilish. It promises a vibrant mix of theatre and live music.

• Abigail’s Party

Norwich Theatre Royal, March 21-April 1

Amanda Abbington steps into the role of the appalling Beverly who first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesy-pineapple ones, plied her guests with alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos and slow-danced her way across the shag-pile 40 years ago. The drinks party from hell begins when Beverly and estate agent husband Laurence invite round new neighbours, Tony and Ange in Mike Leigh’s hilarious and horribly compelling classic.

Liam Riddick and Oihana Vesga Bujan in Tangent, to be performed by Richard Alston dance. Picture: Chris NashLiam Riddick and Oihana Vesga Bujan in Tangent, to be performed by Richard Alston dance. Picture: Chris Nash

• Burton

Sheringham Little Theatre, April 28

Game of Thrones’ star Rhodri Miles takes on the role of the younger Richard Burton in this Edinburgh Fringe award-winning show that vividly presents the life of the great Welsh actor in his own words from humble beginnings to Hollywood mega-stardom. Beautiful women (not least Liz Taylor), alcohol, wealth, stage and screen are the threads woven into this sad, happy, exuberant often hilarious one-man show.

• Cyrano

Bury Theatre Royal, May 2-6

Cyrano de Bergerac, a brilliant poet and swordsman, finds himself deeply in love with his beautiful cousin, Roxane. But afraid of revealing his true feelings…for who would love a man with such an enormous nose? Set in the golden age of musketeers, Deborah McAndrew’s lively new Northern Broadsides’ adaptation brings fresh vigour to this swashbuckling tale of unrequited love.

• The Marked

Norwich Playhouse, June 7

After an acclaimed sell-out run in Edinburgh Fringe, Theatre Témoin’s striking production, spinning together mask, puppetry and physical theatre to navigate a haunting, mystical wonderland inspired by real-life stories of homelessness. Living on the streets of London, when a ghost from Jack’s past turns up, he must harness the power of forgotten myths to defeat her.

• Jane Eyre

Norwich Theatre Royal, July 17-22

Following a critically acclaimed season at the National Theatre, this innovative re-imagining of Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is directed by Sally Cookson is bold, tumultuous staging focuses on the life-story rather than love story of the spirited heroine as she faces poverty, injustice and the discovery of bitter betrayal. The design is boldly stark with live music played on stage.

• The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Norwich Theatre Royal, August 29-September 2

Olivier and Tony award-winning stage production of Mark Haddon’s best-selling novel. Christopher, a teenager with an extraordinary brain is ill-equipped to interpret everyday life. When he falls under the suspicion of killing Mrs Shears’ dog, it takes him on a journey that upturns his world.

• Shirley Valentine

Norwich Theatre Royal, September 5-9

Now, on its 30th anniversary, Jodie Prenger stars in a major revival of Willy Russell’s heart-warming comedy, which premiered in 1986 and took the world by storm, being adapted into the much-loved Oscar nominated film. Liverpool housewife Shirley spends her time making egg and chips for her husband while talking to the wall. Out of the blue, her best friend offers her a trip to Greece where she starts to see herself very differently.

FAMILY SHOWS

• A Real Mermaid’s Tale

St George’s Theatre, Great Yarmouth, February 15/Dereham Memorial Hall, February 17/Diss Corn Hall, April 29

The latest from Ripstop Theatre, who previously brought us A Real Fairy Story, is this exciting adventure on the high seas with pirates, monstrous sea creatures and mermaid treasure. Follow our intrepid explorer, Amelia Buttersnap, on a journey full of magic, puppetry and mutinous rats.

• Babe

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 16-17/Bury Theatre Royal, August 17-19

Adapted by David Wood from the book by Dick King-Smith, which inspired the Oscar-winning film, Babe arrives on stage brimming with laughter, some stunning puppetry and original live music. When Babe arrives at Hogget’s Farm he is taken in by the trusty sheep dog Fly and discovers a talent for herding. With the help of his adopted Mum, he soon wins over the most suspicious of sheep.

• The First Hippo on the Moon

Lowestoft Marina, April 26-29

Two big hippos have one enormous dream: who can make it to the moon first? David Walliams explosively funny space adventure for children aged three and up is adapted for the stage by acclaimed award winning Theatre company Les Petits hot off the heals of their hugely successful Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs. Puppetry, music and mayhem.

• Fantastic Mr Fox

Norwich Theatre Royal, June 21-24

Sam Holcroft’s re-imagined stage version of the Roald Dahl tale about the fox who outwits a trio of greedy farmers. A juicy tale of greed, pride and the power of friendship, this flagship production for the Roald Dahl centenary celebrations, it captures all the spirit of Dahl’s original with live music and songs but also emphasis farmers Bean, Boggis and Bunce antipathy to nature itself.

• Horrible Histories

Lowestoft Marina Theatre, June 28-29

Could you beat battling Boudicca? Will you lose your heart or your head to Henry VIII? Can Parliament survive gunpowder Guy? Stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin? The Horrible Histories team return with a potted and potty fast forward though British history with the nasty bits left in! The Best of Balmy Britain is their greatest hits.

• The Railway Children

Norwich Theatre Royal, July 31-August 5

Adapted by Dave Simpson, E. Nesbit’s classic novel The Railway Children is brought thrillingly to life in a stunning new stage production. Complete with beautiful period costumes and ingenious stage design to bring to life the railway, this best-loved tale, made famous by the iconic 1970 movie, delivers both a compelling coming of age story and a fascinating insight into Edwardian rural life.

DANCE PERFORMANCES

• Richard Alston Dance

Norwich Theatre Royal, February 10-11

Richard Alston Dance returns with a programme of works bearing all the choreographer’s hallmarks of musicality and sculptural grace. Chacony, his newest dance, is inspired by the powerful Chaconne of Henry Purcell. An Italian in Madrid is inspired by the sonatas of Domenico Scarlatti and features BBC Young Dancer grand finalist Vidya Patel. In Tangent, Martin Lawrance explores Tango with four couples dancing to Four Seasons of Buenos Aires by Tango master Piazzolla.

• The Red Shoes

Norwich Theatre Royal, February 21-25

Twenty years after turning the classical-ballet world upside down with his gender-bending Swan Lake, Matthew Bourne brings his magic to a new stage version of the classic Powell and Pressburger film. Victoria Page lives to dance but her ambitions become a battleground between the two men who inspire her passion in this tale of obsession, possession and one girl’s dream to be the greatest dancer in the world. It features a new score arranged by Terry Davies using the mesmerizing music of Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann (famous for his Hitchcock scores).

• Peter Pan on Ice

King’s Lynn Corn Exchange, March 15-19

The world-renowned Russian Ice Stars return with this new adaptation of this famous fantasy adventure by J.M. Barrie. Wendy, Michael and John are visited in the nursery by Peter Pan himself, who teaches them to fly with the help of Tinker Bell, and takes them on a magical journey to Never Land. Packed with all your favourite characters including Tiger Lilly, Mr Smee and the vengeful Captain Hook, all on ice.

• Casanova

Norwich Theatre Royal, April 4-8

Consumed by his desires, Casanova lived every minute in a whirlwind of scandal and excess. But there’s more to the man. Northern Ballet’s latest production unmasks Casanova in a spectacle of 18th century decadence choreographed by Kenneth Tindall and adapted from the biography of Casanova by Eye-based author Ian Kelly.

• The Light Princess

Bury Theatre Royal, May 27

Award winning Ballet Cymru bring their new family ballet The Light Princess featuring a specially commissioned score by internationally acclaimed Welsh harpist and composer Catrin Finch. Combining circus elements with classical ballet, it is the story of a princess afflicted by a constant weightlessness, unable to get her feet on the ground until she finds a love that brings her down to Earth.

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