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Comedy duo's witty words and silly songs to be brought back to life on Sheringham stage

PUBLISHED: 12:01 03 May 2018 | UPDATED: 12:06 03 May 2018

Duncan Walsh Atkins, left, and Tim Fitzhigham and as Flanders and Swann. Picture: Steve Ullathorne

Duncan Walsh Atkins, left, and Tim Fitzhigham and as Flanders and Swann. Picture: Steve Ullathorne

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The witty words and silly songs of comedy duo Flanders and Swann are soon to be brought back to life on a north Norfolk stage.

The work of the pair, who were famous in the 1950s and 1960s for comedy ditties including the Hippopotamus Song (Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud), the Gnu, Madeira M’dear and The Gasman Cometh, will be featured at Sheringham Little Theatre on Saturday, May 12.

The performance will be part of a touring show involving Norfolk-born comedian Tim Fitzhigham, who takes the part of bearded singer Michael Flanders.

Mr Fitzhigham said: “Their songs are among my first memories as a child and I have always loved them.

“They are clever and funny, and work, like a Pixar film, on different levels that entertain adults as well as children, which means we attract a family audience.”

The show, At the Drop of a Hippopotamus, was born in 2001 when he and musical partner Duncan Walsh Atkins staged it as a one-off charity show for a hospital.

But it took off, and has seen the pair touring wide and far, including to Australia, as well as perform in Swann’s house for the International Flanders and Swann Festival.

Mr Fitzhigham said: “The success of the show also led to a record company releasing the original duo’s songs on CD for the first time, after we proved there was a still a demand all over the world.”

“Some of the songs are timeless, such as the Gasman Cometh - about a man trying to improve a house and all the tradesmen getting delayed.”

Mr Fitzhigham, who was born in west Norfolk and has now returned to live in the region, is also well known for mentoring a Radio Norfolk project for up-and- coming new comedy talent, which could throw up comic geniuses such as Flanders and Swann of the future.

While Mr Flanders performed in a wheelchair after contracting polio, Mr Fitzhigham’s reincarnation does not because he said he wanted to: “remember Michael for the songs he wrote rather than simply the chair he sat in.”

The show starts at 7.30pm. For tickets and information, call 01263 822347 or visit www.sheringhamlittletheatre.com

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