Review: Joy as Seaside Special returns to Cromer
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.