25th November 2018 2:48 pm
The Cromer Pier Christmas Show, varied, energetic and unexpected as reviewed by the Eastern Daily Press
Visiting the Grade II listed Pier at night is always a magical experience, with the lights of the gem of the north Norfolk coast – including the newly installed Christmas tree in the forecourt – twinkling behind you and the waves lapping beneath your feet.
But the festive season has well and truly arrived in Cromer, and from now until December 30, the Pavilion theatre’s hard-working cast and crew will be transporting audiences twice a day to a festive fantasyland in the only end-of-pier show of its kind in the world.
Once the curtain rises in the 500-seat auditorium, young and old alike were whisked away on a magical journey taking in A Winter Wonderland and a Jesus Christ Superstar medley, via a brief rendition of YouTube sensation Baby Shark and a series of Cromer in-jokes that had the crowd in stitches at the expense of everyone from district councillors to residents of Mundesley.
From tap dancing reindeer and slapstick comedy sketches to opera, pole dancing elf puppets, and breathtaking magic, the show is a classic Christmas selection box, with something for everyone.
It’s varied, energetic and unexpected. Time, as I did, taking off your jumper in the wrong moment, and in an instant, the action seamlessly switches from a futuristic cello solo performed by a musician in a shimmering, space-age silver gown to a rustic Russian ballet with sets to put The Nutcracker to shame.
And while it can’t be accused of lacking nostalgia, it’s clear show director Di Cooke knows exactly what keeps audiences coming back season after season; creating a throwback to the variety shows of yesteryear, expertly mixed with contemporary touches.
Highlights included the phenomenal dancers, whose energy never flagged during the two and a half hour runtime; the stunning costumes, culminating in glittery gold flapper dresses which wouldn’t have looked out of place on Strictly Come Dancing; and the fantastic lighting design.
And closing the show with host Olly Day singing Dreaming of a White Christmas was the perfect contrast to the high-octane finale.
Reviewed by Jessica Frank-Keyes at opening night Saturday 24th November 2018