Cromer Pier Show review: Performers return in spectacular style

The cast of the Cromer Pier Show performing the Carnivale number. 

The cast of the Cromer Pier Show performing the Carnivale number. - Credit: Supplied by the show

It was a stunning way to kick off this year's Cromer Pier Show - a taste of the exotic when most of us haven't been able to experience much of that. 

The dancers and singers had donned dazzling outfits topped with feather headpieces for the 'Carnivale' number at the start of the show - belting out Shakira's hit Waka Waka, but substituting every mention of 'Africa' for 'Cromer Pier'. 

The Cromer Pier Show ensemble performing songs from Oliver!

The Cromer Pier Show ensemble performing songs from Oliver! - Credit: Supplied by the show

The message was loud, clear and full of verve: We're here to entertain you.

After a couple of years of cancellations and uncertainty due to you-know-what, the latest incarnation of the world's only end-of-pier variety show is very much back with the volume turned up to 11.

The host is Ben Nickless, a Britain's Got Talent finalist. He's a natural entertainer, pulling laughs with everything from stand-up gags to his impressions of a damaged Elvis vinyl. But prop-jokes are Nickless' forte - his tiny Freddy Mercury and big Dolly Parton get-ups have to seen to be believed. 

Ferdinand De Leon was the lead male vocalist in this year's Cromer Pier Show.

Ferdinand De Leon was the lead male vocalist in this year's Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

This year's lead singers are a couple of newcomers - Ferdinand De Leon - who came all the way from LA - and Holly-Jane Crowter.

A charismatic pair, they led the cast of dancers through tributes to James Bond, Oliver! and Run Boy Run, with slower performances of Lady Gaga's Shallow and It's All Coming Back To Me Now a fitting counterpoint. 

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Nadia Lumley also joins the cast as a specialty performer, showing off her amazing acrobatic skill with a stack of hula hoops, and later spinning herself around inside a cyr wheel, which if you don't know, is like one very large hula hoop. 

Nadia Lumley impressed with her hoops in the Cromer Pier Show.

Nadia Lumley impressed with her hoops in the Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Nadia Lumley in the Cromer Pier Show.

Nadia Lumley in the Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

The show will feature a new guest performer each week -  kicking off the run was Steve Hewlett, who, with his crusty geriatric companion Arthur Lager, has to be one of the best-loved ventriloquists in the UK right now.

Audience participation was the key to his routines, and those in the front row were more than happy to banter and even get on stage to take part in the act. 

The evening finished with something I'd never seen at the Cromer Pier Show before - a medley of patriotic song and dance a la the Proms, the audience waving Union flags that had been slung over our seats to create a stunning red, white and blue effect. 

It was a fitting tribute in this Platinum Jubilee year, and a welcome reminder that the pier show - itself a great British tradition - is well and truly back. 

Ben Nickless, host of the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

Ben Nickless, host of the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Dancers strut their stuff in the Cromer Pier Show.

Dancers strut their stuff in the Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Dancers in the Cromer Pier Show.

Dancers in the Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

The cast of the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

The cast of the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A performance in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A performance in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A performance in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A performance in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Oliver! being performed at the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

Oliver! being performed at the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Dancers in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

Dancers in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A James Bond medley in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A James Bond medley in the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

Host Ben Nickless in character as Ozzy Osbourne at the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

Host Ben Nickless in character as Ozzy Osbourne at the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show.

A scene from the 2022 Cromer Pier Show. - Credit: Supplied by the show