Bums, bees and bikes in the best show I have seen in Norwich for ages

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. 

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. - Credit: Mike Kwasniak Photography

The Birds and the Bees has opened at Norwich Playhouse and I left the theatre with a very sweet feeling indeed.

Theatre was one of the industries hit hardest by the pandemic, but out of the struggle has come great innovation and collaboration.

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. 

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. - Credit: Mike Kwasniak Photography

This show, conceived during lockdown, is the first co-production between Norwich Theatre, New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds and John Stalker Productions.

The play was written in 2016 by Canadian playwright Mark Crawford, but it has been relocated to the outskirts of Cromer in north Norfolk by James McDermott.

Despite its two-and-a-half hour running time, including an interval, I was kept engaged throughout with its sitcom-style of comedy with many laugh-out-loud moments interjected with Norfolk dialect.

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. 

The Birds and the Bees comes to Norwich Theatre Playhouse. - Credit: Mike Kwasniak Photography

It features just four actors, mother and daughter Gail (Louise Gold) and Sarah (Laura Doddington), Gail's neighbour Earl (Sion Tudor Owen) and university student Ben (Richard McIver).

Sarah, a turkey farmer, has temporarily moved home to live with her beekeeper mother after separating from her husband.

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Ben is studying Gail's bees for his university thesis and farmer Earl rents fields off her.

Sian Tudor Owen as Earl and Louise Gold as Gail in The Birds and the Bees. 

Sian Tudor Owen as Earl and Louise Gold as Gail in The Birds and the Bees. - Credit: Mike Kwasniak Photography

The frisky farce features a few flashes of bums and boobs, which is done very tastefully, with a particularly funny scene when Gail buys Earl some new boxers to replace his tired Y-fronts for his birthday.

Gold and Owen have fantastic chemistry and the dialogue between them is fast-paced and fiery. 

The whole play is set in Gail's home, with the props and lighting cleverly used to represent different rooms and the passing of time.

Louise Gold as Gail and Laura Doddington as Sarah in The Birds and the Bees. 

Louise Gold as Gail and Laura Doddington as Sarah in The Birds and the Bees. - Credit: Mike Kwasniak Photography

The show is a celebration of love, farming and family and Gold and Doddington delicately portray the mother and daughter relationship, which although strained is clearly a very loving one. 

McIver is sickly sweet as university student Ben from California, who loves cycling and wheatgrass smoothies, and there is a brilliant moment when he gets stung down below. 

This is one of the best shows I have seen in Norwich for a long time and I would not be surprised if it ends up touring the UK. 

So make sure to head along to The Birds and the Bees while it is here - it will leave you buzzing. 

The show runs until April 30.