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Best 2017 Christmas shows in Norfolk that aren’t panto

PUBLISHED: 09:59 12 December 2017 | UPDATED: 12:33 12 December 2017

Non-panto festive shows The Selfish Giant, Ebenezer, Little Shop of Horrors and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Photos: Submitted

Non-panto festive shows The Selfish Giant, Ebenezer, Little Shop of Horrors and The Wolves of Willoughby Chase. Photos: Submitted

Archant

From A Christmas Carol to seasonal circus spectaculars, via a winter adventure full of wolves, a very hungry giant plant and an Oscar Wilde’s short story, not every festive family show is a pantomime this Christmas.

Little Shop of Horrors

Norwich Playhouse, until December 16, £20 (£18 cons), 01603 598598, www.norwichplayhouse.co.uk

Feed me Seymour! The multi-award winning Sound Ideas Theatre Company, who have previously staged innovative productions of Into The Woods and Sweeney Todd, return to Norwich Playhouse with this cult-classic with boasts music from the legendary Alan Menken (best known for his numerous Walt Disney film scores). Well-meaning florist Seymour manages to create a carnivorous plant that feeds on human flesh. Nobody knows about it until the wisecracking plant, Audrey II, needs food and convinces him to start killing to satisfy its craving for human flesh. Ages 12+

Ebenezer

Seagull Theatre, Pakefield, Lowestoft, December 14-24, 6.30pm, 2.30pm Dec 16-17/23-24, £10 (£9 cons), £7 children, 01502 589726, theseagull.co.uk

A musical family play based on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol comes to the Seagull Theatre. As the snow falls outside, and distant carollers sing, the audience will be watching the aging Ebenezer as he learns the hard way the true meaning of Christmas. Adapted by Malcolm Sircom from Dickens classic Christmas story, which pretty much invented lots of our seasonal traditions — the story’s been recreated by everyone from Albert Finney to the Muppets — it will have all the elements we’ve come to love. Will the Cratchitt Family be able to afford a decent dinner this Christmas Day? Will Ebenezer come to regret his miserly ways?

Cromer Christmas Show

Pavilion Theatre, Cromer Pier, until December 30, various times, £20 (£19 cons), £7.50 children, £46 family, 01263 512495, cromerpier.co.uk

Now in its 13th year, Cromer Pier Christmas Show is back to dazzle us with Christmas sparkle and fill audiences with goodwill and cheer. Olly Day returns once again for his ninth year armed with lots of new gags and magic to perform. He is joined by “music man” Leo Shavers whose musical entertainment sees him playing everything from hosepipes to bagpipes. Vocal sensation Emily Yarrow is back for a fourth consecutive Cromer season alongside Rob McVeigh and the sensational Seaside Special Dancers.

A Christmas Circus Carol

The Oak Circus Centre, Oak Street, Norwich, December 15-17, 5pm, £5, 01603 568 634, theoakcircuscentre.org

World record holding professionals and enthusiastic amateur students will be amongst the cast of a unique circus take on Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol. The Oak Circus Centre will host three performances of seasonal cabaret show for all ages from the Norwich-based multinational company Lost in Translation Circus. The professional performers set to bring the show to life will include co-director Massimiliano Rossetti and core artist Roisin Morris who are the Guinness World Record holders for most somersaults on a Korean Cradle in one minute.

The Selfish Giant

Westacre Theatre, River Road, Westacre, December 16/20-23/27-30, £12, £8 under-12s, 01760 755800, westacretheatre.com

Last year Andy Naylor adapted and directed A Christmas Carol for the Westacre Theatre. For this year’s Christmas show he has turned to something less obviously festive with Oscar Wilde’s short story brought magically brought to life. While the giant’s away summer comes and the children play in his garden. But his return brings the chill of winter and he wants his garden back! Using live action, puppets and music, this re-working promises to be a heart-warming, visually rich, seasonal feast for the family.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase

Maddermarket Theatre, Norwich, December 16-31, £15/£10, £42 family (£21 adult/child), 01603 620917, maddermarket.co.uk

The Christmas show at the Maddermarket this year is this thrilling fast-paced adventure for winter time. Long ago, at a time in history that never happened, England was overrun with wolves. Cousins Bonnie and Sylvia must escape their new governess, the horrible Miss Slighcarp, and avoid the beasts as they make an epic journey through the snow. Originally a celebrated children’s book by Joan Aiken, and then a big screen hit, this tale now takes to the stage. Expect quirky characters, panto-style villains, a sprinkling of spookiness and generous doses of fun. Ages 7+

Christmas Spectacular

Hippodrome, Great Yarmouth, until January 7, £23-£19 (£18-£15 cons), £15-£11 children, discounts for families, VIP tickets available, 01493 844172, hippodromecircus.co.uk

The Christmas Spectacular at Great Yarmouth Hippodrome is packed again with festive fun, thrills and excitement boasting an array of international artists who have come from all over the world. The line-up boasts the Globe of Death with the daredevil motorbike riders direct from Chile and Argentina, and the breathtaking Wheel of Death from Bulgaria and Moldova. Other performers set to amaze fire breathers, trapeze artists and a debut from new comedy character Hugo Miro, plus dancers, swimmers, acrobats and a large children’s group from Dance Estelle.

A Christmas Carol - The Musical

Norwich School Chapel, December 20-23, £15-£10, book tickets via planettheatreproductions.co.uk

With Music by Alan Menken, composer of A Little Shop of Horrors, Sister Act and Aladdin’, this musical version of Charles Dickens’ magical Christmas tale will be singing and dancing its way onto a specially constructed stage at Norwich School Daynes Sports Centre, uust off Tombland. It is being staged by local amateur group Planet Theatre Productions under the direction of Peter Beck and producer David Rees, after the sell out success of their shows Return to the Forbidden Planet in 2016 and The Producers by Mel Brooks in 2017. There are a range of shows at 2.30pm, 7.30pm and a couple at 5pm (no performance on Dec 24, 25 or 26). On December 23 there will also be a Victorian Father Christmas from 12.30pm–2pm.

The Steadfast Tin Soldier

Norwich Puppet Theatre, December 21-30, various times, £9, £9 children, £30 family, 01603 629921, puppettheatre.co.uk

There was once a remarkable tin soldier who fell in love with a beautiful paper dancer. After tumbling out of a window, our faithful hero must go on a perilous journey into the unknown. This playful retelling of Hans Christian Andersen’s poetic story, originally devised by Banyan Theatre, uses light, projected animations and simple materials that are skilfully transformed through puppetry to create a theatrical experience touch young hearts and minds. Ages 3+

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