Two successful plays by Alan Bennett are highlights in the first half of Norwich Theatre Royal’s 2010 season. Enjoy comes from its West End run with the same cast, headed by Alison Steadman and David Troughton. If you saw this David Luscombe production in Cambridge in November 2008 or later on in London, you will know that this story of an elderly couple waiting to be re-housed is part comedy, part nightmare It’s on from 22 to 27 March.

The second Bennett piece is a return visit from The History Boys, which sold out very rapidly on a previous tour. Full casting for this (24 to 29 May) has yet to be announced. Enjoy is preceded by yet another West End success – the launch of the UK tour of Stop Messing About. Robin Sebastian reprises his portrait of Kenneth Williams first unveiled in Round the Horne…Revisited and is also set in a BBC recording studio. Just four evening performances between 27 and 30 January, but there are two matinees.

Les Misérables
in the brand-new 25th anniversary production also comes to Norwich as part of a major national tour. The extended run is from 16 February to 20 March. And the cast includes John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert and Gareth Gates as Marius. Two contrasted shows follow in April – the first is a stage version of the popular children’s television series Peppa Pig; Peppa Pig’s Party comes from the same production company which stages Lazy Town Live! and The BFG. Just four matinée performances on 17 and 18 April. The 39 Steps as adapted by Patrick Barlow won awards in 2007 and 2008; it comes to the Theatre Royal for the week of 19 to 24 April with its four performers playing 139 roles between them.
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More comedy is billed for the following month with Jus’ Like That! in which Clive Mantle plays Tommy Cooper on 17 and 18 May. It’s written by John Fisher and directed by Patrick Ryecart. A contrasting show is announced for 1 to 5 June in the shape of Glyn Robbins’ adaptation of Tolkien’s The Hobbit directed by Roy Marsden. That’s followed by the popular rock’n’roll musical The Rocky Horror Show between 7 and 12 June; the narrator is played by Christopher Cazenove. A complete contrast is provided from 21 to 26 June by The Woman in Black who has been stalking the West End now for over 20 years.
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Dance and opera interleave the plays, musicals and comedy. Moscow City Ballet bring Cinderella to the theatre from 19 to 23 January. The choreography is by Victor Smimov-Golavanov and the score is that of Prokofiev. The Richard Alston Dance Company returns on 30 and 31 March with Overdrive, Light Flooding into Darkened Rooms and To Dance and Skylark. Northern Ballet Theatre bring David Nixon’s ballet based on Peter Pan from 27 April to 1 May.
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Quite different again is Tap Dance Fever between 19 and 22 May, from the team which created Spirit of the Dance. Routines re-created include those from 42nd Street, Singin' in the Rain, A Chorus Line as well as Tap Dogs and Stomp. Opera is represented in this season by English Touring Opera with Donizetti’s Don Pasquale on 12 April and The Marriage of Figaro on 13 April. Both are sung in English. At the Norwich Playhouse on 11 and 12 March Unexpected Opera live up to their name; following last year’s The Barber of Savile Row comes Orpheus Down Under on 11 and 12 March.
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Staying on the other side of  town the Playhouse also has some intriguing plays in their spring season. Theatre Paradisum stages Brecht’s Man is Man in the Gerhard Nelhaus translation and with Dessau’s music from 19 to 23 January. Other live versions of popular children’s television series arrive for performances on 18 February when Rainbow: Zippy Superstar DJ makes his presence felt; Pete Hillier is the star of Boogie Peter Live! on 7 April. Yet more Tolkien on 19 and 20 February with Charles RossOne Man Lord of the Rings. On 16 and 17 March Practical Productions stages A Midsummer Night’s Dream with the twist that Bottom is to be played by a comedian from the Jongleurs circuit.
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Poe and Hitchcock are the inspiration behind Les Enfants Terribles and Ernest and the Pale Moon. It was  a success at this year’s Edinburgh Festival and can be experienced on 27 March. The Norwich Theatre Royal Actors Company revive David Hare’s Skylight between 20 and 24 April and that’s followed on 27 and 28 April by London Classic Theatre’s production of Pinter’s The Caretaker. Just before the Norfolk and Norwich Festival hits the town – 7 to 22 May – the excellent Morecambe with Bob Golding turns up for one performance on 4 May.