‘Tis the season to see Olly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la.
Norfolk’s multi-talented Olly Day has hosted this annual festive frolic for 14 years. His cocktail of “dad joke” comedy, warm repartee with the audience, magic tricks, tomfoolery and tuneful singing are a distillation of what the show is all about – live family-friendly variety with a seasonal flavour.
This year’s show has all the elements of traditional Christmas entertainment such as music, dance, magic and comedy sketches, but with modern trimmings including a stunning Irish dance routine, jaw-dropping woman in a box illusion, and even a new Singing Postman song.
Olly reminded the audience that, while Cromer is the only place in the world to be hosting a full-season end-of-the-pier show, it was keen to “not to be a museum piece” and aimed to keep “whizzy and up to date.”
Stand-out moments are some colourful all-cast song and dance numbers enhanced by eye-catching costumes, along with clever scenery, atmospheric lighting and some enchanting video back projections including a mesmerising nativity sand art backdrop to a haunting vocal number.
The lead vocalists see pier regular, and show director Rob McVeigh, joined by newcomer Avalon Lilly, from Dereham, making an impressive debut at the “shed on stilts” as Olly calls it.
Illusionist duo Amethyst, also returnees, astounded with their “how on earth did they do that?” sliding box routine.
Saxophonist Chloe-Edwards-Wood, who also appeared last year, gave a jazzy twist to Walking The Air, and the six-strong dance ensemble switched effortlessly from graceful elegant ballet, to energetic feet-clattering Celtic tap.
But in true Cromer Pier tradition many of the cast members show other talents and muck in with routines – such as the If I Was Not Upon the Stage musical sketch. And watch out for Olly and illusionist Danny dipping their terpsichorean toes into Swan Lake.
The show starts with a Dickensian Street scene and ends with a clap-along finale complete with snow flurry. And even an appearance of The Grinch cannot take the shine off a sparkling evening of live entertainment to brighten up anyone’s Christmas.
The two-hour runs until December 30, six days a week, with matinee and evening performances. Prices from £25 (adult) and £17 (child) from www.cromerpier.co.uk or the box office on 01263 512495.
REVIEW: Richard Batson.
PICTURES: Will Jarvis.