Review: Strictly Christmas at Cromer Pier
- Credit: William Jarvis
There's nothing like heading to the end of Cromer Pier at the start of December for a blast of cold air and a sackful of Christmas cheer.
And although this year's festive event has taken a much different form to the traditional Cromer Christmas Show, just the sight of the brightly decorated Pavilion Theatre still gets me in the seasonal spirit.
The venue's usual Christmas production could not go ahead due to social distancing, so the show's straight-faced piano man, Nigel Hogg, stepped in to produce an alternative.
What makes the Cromer show special is the intimacy and banter the performers build up with the audience. It's a bit like watching the family clown getting up after Christmas dinner to make everyone cackle. And despite the different feel of this year's show, that hasn't changed.
In front of a smaller gathering, Strictly Christmas features compere Olly Day and a number of a smaller acts.
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Charming and cheeky Olly got things rolling with a string of one-liners, presenting the whole cast before the individual acts took the stage.
Olly returned for a couple of his own segments, including a hilarious bit where dressed as a vicar and a 'mindreading' act later on.
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Magic was added to the mix by illusionist duo Amethyst. Their best trick involved Stephanie Clarke getting inside a sealed box which was then split in two and had a series of rods pushed through it by her partner, Danny Hunt.
Each show will have a different 'guest' act - and this time around it was the young couple, Tommy J and Lucy.
Their energetic stint featured some impressive juggling - partly on a high unicycle - and a baffling but hilarious bout of throwing netted handkerchiefs into the air.
Rob McVeigh, himself no stranger to the Pavilion, brought his booming vocals for a number of festive classics including Bing Crosby's It's Beginning to Look a lot Like Christmas.
But his most memorable number was a rolled-up mesh of Queen classics sung in tribute to Freddie Mercury, the beat getting everyone clapping along.
The medley ended on a Queen classic with an apposite message for this show, the arts industry and life in general - The Show Must Go On. We certainly hope it does.