Review: Joy as Seaside Special returns to Cromer

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, also known as the Seaside Special.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

It's back! The all-singing, all-dancing Cromer Pier Show has returned to the stage after 18 months, possibly the longest break the Seaside Special has seen in it's venerable 40-plus year history. 

Thanks to the end of pandemic restrictions, the show was able to premier on July 19 in all its glitzy glory to a fairly full house at the end-of-pier Pavilion Theatre. 

Performers in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Performers in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

I've got to admit that when I took my seat inside it felt slightly off-putting being back in a crowded environment again without any social distancing. 

But when the house lights went down I quickly relaxed and tuned out to everything but the on-stage action.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

It kicked off with a short black-and-white film depicting an empty and shuttered Cromer during lockdown, springing back to life and switching into colour as restrictions ended - à la Alice in Wonderland.


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Masquerade from The Phantom of the Opera was the first musical number (a bit of a tongue-in-cheek selection?) and blasted the audience back to a celebratory era of ballgowns and fancy wigs. 

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

The cast of the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

Phil Butler ably both compered the show and had a few solo spots of his own, putting his hand to everything from creating a touching sand painting'of Cromer to a mind-boggling Rubik's cube magic trick. 

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The specialty act was DUO Fusion, whose performers Connor Byrne and Tiffany Gaine literally bent over backwards to entertain with a stunning series of contortions and suspended derring-do.

Marina Lawrence-Mahrra in 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Marina Lawrence-Mahrra in 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

The show is featuring a different special act each week and we were treated to comedian Paul Jenkins, known as Tucker, who had the one-liners coming thick and fast. 

Rob McVeigh, lead vocalist, returns for his sixth season at the pier and is directing the show for the first time. 

Dancers in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Dancers in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

He's a commanding presence in many of the musical numbers, which also draw on a line-up including fellow singer Marina Lawrence-Mahrra and the dancers, some of whom including Emily Hardy and Reiss Thompson, are also familiar to audiences from past years. 

The staging and song selection this year were first-class, and performances of A Million Dreams, Cuban Nights and a Les Misérables medley were a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. 

It's brilliant to have the Cromer Pier Show back.

*The show runs until October 2, visit www.cromerpier.co.uk for more.

Cast members in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Cast members in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special.

Duo Fusion UK in the 2021 Cromer Pier Show, which is also known as the Seaside Special. - Credit: William Jarvis


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