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Music, Drama and Dance in Norwich This Autumn

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And that’s not to mention a touch of the paranormal next year. After the two main musicals this summer – Never Forget from 11 to 15 August and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang from 18 August to 5 September, more serious far arrives at the Theatre Royal for the week beginning 7 September with Rik Mayall in Balmoral. This is the new Michael Frayn play about what might have happened if the 1917 revolution had happened in Britain rather than in Russia.

Quadrophenia is the Pete Townsend mods’n’rockers musical which roars in from 15 to 19 September. A calmer note is struck by the excellent David Wood adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, which has morning, matiné and early evening performances between 22 and 26 September. That’s followed by Northern Ballet Theatre in David Nixon’s Wuthering Heights to a commissioned score by Claude-Michel Schönberg from 29 September to 3 October.

A different approach to dance and obsession is the 25th anniversary production of Stepping Out by Richard Harris with a cast that includes Jessie Wallace, Brian Capron and Rosemary Ashe. You can follow Mavis’s dance class as it stumbles towards stardom between 13 and 17 October.

Down the road at the Norwich Playhouse and also from 13 to 17 October, the Theatre Royal’s own professional ensemble The Actors’ Company is staging David Harrower’s dark story about love and abuse Blackbird</>. It concerns the aftermath of an affair between a 12-year old girl and a man 18 years her senior. Dan Gordon’s stage adaptation of the film Rain Man comes from the West End to the Theatre Royal, running from 19 to 24 October. It stars Neil Morrissey and Oliver Chris.

The end of October marks half-term and Lazy Town Live! The Pirate Adventure obliges for morning, matinee and early evening performances between 28 and 31 October. Lee Hall’s drama about the coal-miners who learnt to paint and then to sell their work in the 1930s is based on the book by art critic William Feaver. The Pitmen Painters was a great success earlier in Newcastle and London and comes to the Theatre Royal from 10-14 November. It’s directed by Max Roberts.

Opera, dance and another musical provide the varied fare preceding this year’s pantomime of Robin Hood which runs from 15 December to 17 January. Glyndebourne On Tour bring three contrasted productions – Mozart’s Cosi fan tutte on 17 and 20 November, Verdi’s Falstaff on 18 and 21 November and Janácek’s Jenufa on 19 November. All three operas are given in their original languages with English supertitles.

Comedy of Change, commemorating the centenary year of Charles Darwin, is the main offering in Rambert Dance Company’s programmes between 25 and 27 November. Chicago fires onto the stage on 30 November for a week, starring Gary Wilmot as Billy Flynn, the lawyer whose skills may keep two murderesses from death row. It may seem an unlikely theme for a hit musical, but you know – “all that jazz”…

We're still just over half-way though 2009, and you may not yet have bought your 2010 diary. If you have done so, you might want to pencil in three dates for February and March. The first is on 7 February when Living TV’s Most Haunted team visits the Theatre Royal to winkle out any ghosts still haunting the building, perhaps from previous playhouses on the same footprint. The blockbuster production is, of course, the 25th anniversary new staging of Les Misérables (16 February to 20 March with John Owen Jones as Jean Valjean, Earl Carpenter as Javert and Gareth Jones as Marius.

About which, of course, there’s more to come over the next few months.


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