Summer show brims with energy and fun

Just Regional
Jul 3, 2024 3 mins read

The annual Cromer Pier Show is a Norfolk highlight.  Richard Batson was at this year’s opening night. 

Dynamic. Colourful. Funny. Surprising. Spectacular. The acts and adjectives just keep on coming at Cromer Pier’s summer show just like the waves breaking underneath it.

North Norfolk is lucky to have had this unique end-of-the-pier entertainment package on its doorstep for 47 years.

It has evolved in the 30 years I have been reviewing it by blending traditional old school saucy seaside humour and variety fun with slick song, dance and speciality acts given extra sparkle by ever- improving West End quality production values.

This year’s modern twist on a time honoured recipe is one of the most energetic and hi tech yet.

Kiss Me Quick hats off to the often unsung six-strong dance ensemble who smash their way through lung-busting number after number from rock and musicals, to flamenco and Irish. Georgia Phelps, Jordan Farrell, Milly Glynn, Lewis Hemstock, Emily Salles and Callum O’Brien deserve their name in lights.

SWEET SUCCESS: The cast in Willy Wonka mode

And special mention to the tech team who provide some memorable moments, using clever lighting and projection including an amazing sci fi second half opener.

But the key to any successful pier show is the rapport with the audience that comes from the comics.

Phil Reid returns as headliner host with a cocktail of cheeky humour, silly sketches and audience banter. His sidekick comes in a series of guests rotating through the season. The first was the hilarious Britain’s Got Talent finalist Steve Royle who combines wit, visual humour, joke ventriloquism and guitar juggling.

HEADLINER: Comic compere Phil Reid

Versatile singers Kristel Herrera and Joshua Mumby led the all-cast musical numbers which are always the show’s highlights, especially the Grease first half finale and a clap along Irish and Shanty session.

SINGERS: Joshua Mumby and Kristel Herrera

I did find a couple of the modern mash-ups which lurched from Latino rhythms to Roxanne and Moulin Rouge to heavy metal a bit noisy, confusing and jarring, but that’s probably just a sign of my age as the show moves its cross-hairs to younger audiences.

The One Show style rapid gear changes bring calmer moments including the aerial and acrobatic skills of Circus artists Vice Versa, aka Becky Neal and Victoria Skillen.

Before the season ends on September 28 other guest comedians will be Danny Lee Grew, John Archer and Kev Orkian.

There was a standing ovation from the opening night audience, who also saw the venue presented with the UK Pier of the Year award. That’s not just because the iconic steel and wood landmark jetty is a special and spiritual place to walk above the waves, but because of this colourful kaleidoscope of a vibrant variety show which is its beating heart.

Pictures: Cromer Pier

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