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Thass suffun wuff seein

REVIEW
The Nimmo Twins
Norwich Playhouse

Twenty five years is a long time, hintut?
And that is precisely how long Norfolk’s beloved Nimmo Twins have been entertaining us.

Their current show – A Load of Old Squit – is a celebration of that milestone and mixes old favourites with some new work which will be shown in its full glory in August.

Councillors Vern Gurney and Ken Steggles keep us up to date with goings on “up See Hall” and single mum and cultural icon She-Goo fills us in on her latest activities (Destiny Aguilera is 18 – can you believe it?) as well as joining forces with Professor Newton Flotman for a phonetic guide on how to understand the “looguls”.

Karl Minns brings She-Goo to life…

That would have been handy for “incomers” if they hadn’t already been shown the door by Cyril and his heartfelt message to Londoners, who will need to set their sat-navs to comply.

Keen poet Anne makes a return with her haikus and sonnets and there’s a useful recap of a special sex guide for Norfolk men… Grab your copy of the Cromer Sutra and head for Cley to look for tourists, apparently.

As always, the main brunt of the jokes are Norfolk people ourselves, and Karl Minns and Owen Evans spare nobody their rapier wit.

And the good folk of Eaton and Cringleford have their turn in the genius observations in the old classic Newmarket Road Blues…

As always, local news stories and celebrities take a hit – Mike Liggins appears to be loving his ride on the snails – and Ipswich is in line for its usual battering.

A lot of it is undeniably near the knuckle, and often below the waist, but it is clever and very funny – so funny, in fact, that we lose Karl to laughter at one point where, he admits, he came across material he hadn’t actually seen before… And this honesty and warm rapport is precisely why we love him.

He admits to having had a hard two years during the pandemic, which makes this return even sweeter.

Owen tends to be the less flamboyant of the two, but his poignant lament to The Prince of Wales Road and flawless delivery prove two halves make the perfect comedy pair.

There are still tickets available for the current show, which is at Norwich Playhouse until January 23 and Holt? Who Goes There? will run from August 3 until August 21.

Festive pier show is a cracker

REVIEW

by RICHARD BATSON

Variety is the spice of life – and it is also giving us a bonus covid “booster” this Christmas.

For the Cromer Pier’s festive cocktail of comedy, music, magic and dance serves up a real tonic as the coronavirus lingers on.

It is a selection box of tasty treats that opens with a flurry of snowflakes, feathers, glitz and dancers signalling the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.

The finale is an all-singing, all-dancing, all-clapping Sister Act routine. Sandwiched in-between is a slick slideshow including rock and roll, Christmas classics, ballet, illusion, fire-eating and laughter.

Magician Taylor Morgan. Picture: WILLIAM JARVIS

There is something for all tastes – whether you like hard-centre stand-up gags and pulsing dance music, or soft-centre seasonal sentiment in the shape of haunting harmonies and gentle but gasp-inducing tricks.

The glue holding it all together is resident compere Olly Day, whose cheeky banter with the audience, dad and cracker jokes, conjuring and crooning put him in the role of favourite uncle at the Christmas party.

His sidekick is pocket rocket 4ft 8in comic Jo Little, another pier returnee, who has an endless pot of quick-fire gags, many of them man-baiting, some self-deprecating. Her slightly edgy comedy is combined with a powerful singing voice shown in an impressive Edith Piaf song,

The main vocalists are a well-matched pairing of pier favourite Rob McVeigh, a versatile all-round performer  who also directs the show, and newcomer Hayley Moss – best known as the busking “street soprano” from Norwich but whose debut at the venue shows another  dimension to her talent.

As well as an angelic classical voice, she joins in the pop and rock numbers showcasing her dancing moves, too. Katherine Jenkins and Kylie Minogue in one package.

A sprinkle of magic comes from Taylor Morgan, who mystifies with cards, rings, balls and a disappearing lady; his performing partner Rebecca Foyle who fire eats in one stunning routine that combines her flaming sticks with cool ballet.

The cast in full festive feathers.
Heavenly voices sing Hallelujah.
Olly Day with Jo Little. All Pictures: WILLIAM JARVIS

But there is also magic in another show newcomer, a giant video wall where projections ranging from snowy mountains to Santa’s factory provide a stunning backdrop. Top marks to backstage crew member Will Jarvis for creating it.

A six-strong ensemble of dancers and singers add extra energy, atmosphere and spectacle, with musical direction from pier legend Nigel Hogg, stunning costumes from Rachel Dingle and some fantastic lighting, including some “performing icicles” from Amanda Hill.

Other highlights for me included spellbinding versions of Leonard Cohen’s Halleluiah, and a song I had never heard before, Light of the World by Lauren Daigle.

It’s a cracker of show that is a super seasonal  gift for all ages. No need to keep the receipt.

Cromer Pier Christmas Show runs until December 30. Tickets and timings at www.cromerpier.co.uk

The Pier summer show will open on July 2.  

Omicron case confirmed in north Norfolk

One of the eight cases of the new Omicron covid-19 variant announced yesterday has been confirmed as being in north Norfolk.

While the exact location of the case has not been revealed, officials said they had been in contact with the person who had tested positive and their household. Louise Smith, Norfolk’s director of public health, said the case was linked to known travel to South Africa.

She told the BBC that finding a case in the county was not a surprise.

“While new information is still coming in on this variant, the early evidence has clearly shown a high level of transmissibility, and as such we can expect positive cases to be identified across the country, including in our county,” she said.

She urged people to get vaccinated “as soon as possible” and to take up booster offers, which she said would help to “break the chain of transmission”.

The UK Health Security Agency says this brings the total number of confirmed cases of the new variant in England and Scotland to 22.

Traders to meet MP over market place plans

Angry traders in North Walsham are holding a meeting in the town centre on Friday to air their concerns about the scheme to pedestrianise Market Place.

Under the scheme – part of the Heritage Action Zone project – there will be no through traffic, with set times for deliveries and just a handful of parking spaces for disabled drivers.

Business owners complained about the plans when they were first mooted in 2020, when covid-19 regulations were labelled as “pedestrianisation through stealth”, and once again they are worried that the plans will hurt their livelihoods. But those behind the scheme believe it will actually improve business.

Alan Kelly, who owns Kelly’s Plaice fish and chip shop, said the changes would not help his business, which relied on customers being able to stop outside and pop in to pick up their food.

“They want to turn the Market Place into some Parisian-style café society but this is England. It rains more than the sun shines.

“Yes, certain aspects need upgrading or renewing, I can understand that, but in essence this will stifle trade. Within the last three or four months two shops have become vacant and if they stop people driving through the centre it will make things worse.”

MP Duncan Baker will be at the meeting, which will be by the clock tower at 10am, and said he had been approached by several worried traders and residents.

“My office has received a petition with 600 signatures on it, concerned over the proposals,” he said. “I am meeting with those worried to hear their concerns and we ask that the council listens for once to what people who use the town day in and day out, really want. We saw in the pandemic the council shut the town centre, which was a job to get it back open. We really need far better engagement with the town centre so people feel the businesses are being listened to.”

Alan said he had spoken to businesses in the town, who said nobody had asked their opinion, but North Norfolk District Council said there had been plenty of consultation.

Richard Kershaw, portfolio holder for sustainable growth, said: “After a long period of consultation with residents, visitors and business owners there is definite support for a more pedestrian-friendly marketplace and town centre. We absolutely recognise there has been, and continues to be, challenges for business owners in North Walsham and we are actively working with them to establish their exact individual needs when it comes to this specific project such as the requirements for deliveries and loading.

“With this once-in-a-lifetime injection of funding for the town it is hoped that the regenerated high street will actually bring more customers to their shops and that visitors will want to spend more time in the town taking advantage of the goods and services on offer.”

North Walsham Town Council also said it had engaged with townsfolk throughout and that the plans had changed as a result of responses from local people.

“North Walsham Town Council have at all times tried to consult with the public through meetings, social media postings, canvassing at the market and in media articles encouraging people to engage and let their views be heard.

“We are aware that there are people in and around the town who are unhappy with the proposed changes, as well as the majority who have supported it in surveys and public engagement.

“The current plans produced by NNDC’s designer have changed significantly since the earliest concepts, reflecting concerns raised by public, traders and by the town council. Deliveries to shops are now to be permitted at all times, disabled parking will remain in the Market Place and free parking spaces will be provided in Bank Loke and Vicarage Street car parks.”

Trophy to remember inspirational chairman

An inspirational chairman of Mundesley Golf Club has been honoured through a new trophy in his memory.
Donald Stuart died in August at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer, during which he continued to lead the club through a successful membership drive and the challenges thrown up by covid-19.

Donald enjoying a drink at the 19th hole.

And a trophy in his name has been presented to its first winner, Lewis Crosby, following a five-week season of Friday night social golf competitions for under-40s.
Donald’s daughter Fiona, who came up with the trophy idea, said: “The trophy was a good way to encourage younger golfers to join, meet and compete. Dad had enjoyed a similar competition when he moved from Scotland to Leicester aged 33 and made a lot of friends.”

Lewis Crosby receives the trophy from Donald’s brother, Micky.

Mr Stuart, who stepped down only two months before his death, led a club membership drive during his nearly five years in the chair, during which it more than doubled its membership.
“I am really proud of the legacy dad created. He put a lot of time in and sacrificed a lot for the good of the club.”
The trophy was presented by Donald’s brother, Micky, who flew in from Dallas for the occasion and for the funeral in Ludham, his home village, where the church was packed with people from the golfing, banking, business and charity worlds. Donations were in aid of Cancer Research UK and Mundesley Golf Club.
Donald, who was born in Edinburgh to a golfing family, began playing at the age of four. His career with Bank of Scotland saw him working in Leicester, London and Norwich, where he was the regional director for the east of England.
Current club chairman Andrew Keates called Donald an inspiration, saying he was “a man who never complained and always endeavoured to find a fair and equitable way forward”.

Just Regional sold to US firm

A successful hyperlocal publishing company has been bought by an American media group in a deal which will boost local news in Norfolk.

Just Regional, founded in 2008, produces 10 monthly magazines, covering six Norfolk towns and four Norwich suburbs. Over those 13 years the company has grown, achieving national recognition for its service and products, which have led the field of local news publications.

In 2019, it caught the eye of US company Medici Media, which made an approach and after many months of negotiations a deal has now been finalised.

The acquisition of Just Regional will be the first foray into news publications for Medici Media, which procures and distributes news content worldwide, in addition to providing film project development support for animated, specialty and feature films, with offices in Plymouth, Chicago, Las Vegas and London. Medici Media intends on moving a portion of its operations to Aylsham which is close to Norwich.

CEO of Medici Media, Timothy Mucciante said he was impressed with the company and its products, saying he had never seen anything of a similar quality in the US.

“We had been wanting to start in the newspaper business and I realised there was nothing like Just Regional in America. The magazines look really good and there’s an obvious passion for local news.”

The Covid-19 pandemic delayed negotiations, but enabled Mr Mucciante to see how the company adapted to the conditions, moving its news coverage online and – unlike many larger, less agile media companies – retaining advertisers, readers and staff as a result.

“I’m delighted with the acquisition of Just Regional and looking forward to carrying on the great work that everyone has been doing,” he said.

Just Regional founder Lee Todd said: “This is going to be a great opportunity for local news and I am very pleased to be connected with Medici Media. We have moved with the times and are looking to continue with our excellent service to local communities.”

Mr Todd will be staying at the helm of the Aylsham-based operation, which employs nine office staff and over 100 distribution staff. Tracey Bagshaw will also be continuing in her role as group editor.

Mr Todd said: “Readers and advertisers will still be dealing with the same people with the same community values we have always had. That will never change.”

The Just Regional offices in Aylsham.

Ready for your close-up?

Fancy your five minutes on the silver screen?
Well you could have your chance as a new film being shot in Sheringham is looking for extras.

Norfolk-born film director Ella Glendining will be filming her BFI-funded short film in the town next Wednesday and Thursday (September 8 and 9) and is on the look out for extras for a couple of scenes.

Would-be actors of all ages are sought to for funeral scene and those in their 20s and 30s are needed to appear at a beach party.

Ella was named among Screen International’s Screen Stars of Tomorrow in 2020 and her new project tells the story of a disabled woman returning to her sleepy seaside hometown for a friend’s funeral.

Ella said: “I grew up in Elsing, near Dereham, but spent a lot of time in Sheringham in my late teens and early 20s as one of my best friends lives there. I am interested in telling regional stories about growing up in small towns and villages as ‘other’. I am disabled and all my work is somewhat linked to the disabled experience.

Ella Glendining is shooting a film in Sheringham.

“I adore Norfolk and Sheringham and, although I live in Brighton now, I am always looking for excuses to return.
“I am very inspired by the beauty of the Norfolk coast. The film is about a new mother feeling torn between her old life and her new, trying to discover her identity as a parent, and it’s also about love.”
Extras will not be paid but Ella hopes they will enjoy the experience of being on a film set.
If you’d like to be involved you can email ellaelsing@gmail.com

Police officer admits making indecent images of children

A 26-year-old police officer from Stalham has pleaded guilty to seven offences relating to indecent images of children.

George Ince appeared at Norwich Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, August 3, where he admitted three counts of making an indecent photograph of a child, three counts of distributing an indecent photograph of a child and possession of an extreme pornographic image relating to incidents in May 2019, April 2020 and July 2020.

He pleaded not guilty to a further count of attempting to cause/incite the sexual exploitation of a child.

Ince was bailed to appear before Norwich Crown Court on Tuesday, August 31.

Ince is a police constable based in Great Yarmouth and has been suspended since July 2020. Misconduct proceedings will now begin following yesterday’s hearing.