Review: Richard Digance at Sheringham Little Theatre

Just Regional
Feb 19, 2013 3 mins read

Richard Digance has been there, done that and bought the tee shirt. So why, you may wonder, would he entertain a much reduced sized audience than he’d normally command in an unobtrusive little theatre in north Norfolk?

I dare say many in the audience besides me were asking themselves that very question. Richard Digance must have known we might be wondering this, for he enlightened us almost with relief.  It seems that after a lifetime of proving his capabilities on television, the London Palladium, cruise ships, after Bafta nominations and many musical and entertainment awards, after rubbing shoulders alongside great names such as Steve Martin and Robin Williams and more, he now feels he no longer needs to prove himself or his capabilities.

Now, at last, he can indulge his musical and literary passions in the way he enjoys best, leaving behind his past and often unpleasant necessities, like the cruise ship circuits for instance. Amazingly it seems performing in small intimate theatres, where the audience is within touching distance and razzamatazz absent is what suits and pleases him the most.

Somehow as soon as he entered that unadorned stage in his unpretentious clothes and tie up canvas shoes you knew he was comfortably at home without a vast stage, glitzy effects, and blaring music. All he required was a microphone, a glass of water and his beloved guitar, which he played both gently and soothingly.

He had the audience in his thrall, chattering away as if he was sitting in their own front rooms and certainly the intimacy of Sheringham Little Theatre added to this. There wasn’t any customary hesitation when he requested the audience to join him in singing the choruses to his self written songs. Neither was there any hesitation from them to laugh with genuine glee on listening to his stories, anecdotes and poems.  

Although much that Richard Digance does is of a humorous nature he proved his mastery and versatility when it comes to creating audience emotion. His performance of The Ballad of Johnny Puller, depicting one of Britain’s WW1 soldiers who played in that all famous football game with the enemy on Christmas Day (and who didn’t make it back home) was moving enough to raise chilling goose pimples.

He told the audience of his concern that theatres in Britain are closing down faster than Public Houses and of course, once they do close it is unlikely that they will ever open again. He is now on a four month tour of little theatres and said he would love to return to Sheringham Little Theatre (despite the freezing outside temperature!)  

Let’s hope he does, for he has a timeless and unique talent which is suitable for young and old alike.  I’m sure everyone who saw him that evening would be keen to see him return. Sheringham Little Theatre is a quaint and delightful little theatre and to lose it would be a travesty. How lucky Sheringham is to boast of this little Norfolk gem, long may it continue.

Arlene Todd

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