20 things not to miss in Diss Corn Hall’s spring season
PUBLISHED: 11:37 04 March 2019 | UPDATED: 11:37 04 March 2019
From comedy magic to local stories and a swashbuckling Easter family show, and music ranging from folk stalwarts to jazz and a celebration of Led Zeppelin, the spring promises some top treats as the new season is unveiled at Diss Corn Hall.
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Having visited Diss with their production of Terence Rattigan’s The Browning Version at the end of last year, East Anglian touring company Open Space Theatre return Tennessee Williams’ great play. On a steamy night in Mississippi, a family gathers to celebrate the birthday of cotton plantation owner ‘Big Daddy’ Pollitt. But the scorching heat is almost as oppressive as the lies that are told.
Having won plaudits for their festive fun with Dick Whittington, LP Creatives, the producers of the Corn Hall annual Christmas pantomime, return with a special production for Easter. Stars of children’s TV will be playing pirates and performing some favourite songs to tell the swashbuckling adventure story on the seven seas. Laughter and lots of suitably panto-esque pirate fun promised in what will be a perfect holiday show for children aged 3+.
The Hut People
Instrumental duo The Hut People — Sam Pirt and Gary Hammond — are UK folk scene favourites and here will offering up a musical journey around the world. Global rhythms will be mixed with folk tunes from Quebec to Spain, Scandinavia to Sussex and everywhere in between. A quirky celebration of our rich musical heritage. Expect feel-good dancing tunes, audience participation, Quebecois foot-percussion and humour.
Specialising in adaptations of classic texts, Cyphers Theatre Company here turn their playful style to Jane Austen’s timeless tale of growing up and getting it all wrong. Catherine Morland has grown up in the country, with only sensational novels and pop culture to inform her of life beyond the village. Leaving home for the first time, she finds reality is more complicated.
Broad Horizons stage Karen Forbes’ play that gives a rare glimpse at the private lives and the personal cost paid by the leaders of the Suffragettes. Mrs Pankhurst is not a well woman and terrified of being returned to prison her only sanctuary is with the composer, Ethel Smyth. But Ethel’s love for Emmeline is threatened by the arrival of young firebrand, Grace Roe, fresh from turning East Anglia into a hotbed of Suffragette protest.
The Noise Next Door
The acclaimed improv comedy troupe, who have previously appeared alongside the likes of Michael McIntyre, Al Murray and Harry Hill, return with Remix that sees them take audience suggestions and create fantastically funny scenes and songs. With a perfect blend of ludicrous characters, witty one-liners, epic stories and explosive physicality expect lightning-quick wit and totally original comedic tales.
Luke Wright’s Stand-Up Poetry Club
Fresh from bringing his own one-man show, poet Luke Wright returns in his other guise overseeing the spoken word evening. He will be introducing Tim Turnbull, who does bold rhymes, caustic commentary and mucky jokes, all in an affable deadpan, and Molly Naylor who will be will be reading from her collection Badminton.
Iceni Botanical Artists
May 4-June 29
With a membership of almost 30 artists, all based in East Anglia, Iceni Botanical Artists specialise in painting the world of plants in inks, oils and watercolour in styles varying from detailed botanical plant studies to natural habitat landscapes. Renowned for creating botanical paintings of rare and endangered wild flowers of the Breckland area, this seasonal showcase is titled Spring into Summer.
Thomas Paine’s To Begin the World Over Again
Writer and performer Ian Ruskin’s acclaimed one-man play brings Thomas Paine home to Diss. Paine changed the world with his wit and vision, sparking the American and French Revolutions. He was one of the world’s greatest writers and worst politicians. Would it prove a deadly combination? Elliott Gould provides the narrator’s voice.
His Way: The Frank Sinatra Story
Award-winning singer Robert Habermann charts Sinatra’s career from big band singer and pop idol, to his fall from popularity in the late 1940s, through to his hugely successful return. It is a show to feature all the big Sinatra classics including Come Fly with Me, Fly Me to the Moon, New York New York, and, of course, My Way.
Highly respected band – they were nominated for Best Album at the FolkWords Album Awards 2018 – who are renowned for their high-energy live performances. Their vibrant and powerful mix of Celtic-inspired fiddle and intelligent lyrics backed by intoxicating, energetic tribal rhythms and electronica-infused dance grooves are a heady cocktail of Celtic and world music with a social conscience.
Whole Lotta Led
Marking the 50th anniversary of the release of Led Zeppelin II the hard-rocking tribute visit offering a special celebration of the album that boasts classics including Whole Lotta Love, Ramble On and Heartbreaker. The first half of the show will include songs from Led Zeppelin’s back catalogue. The second half will feature the whole of Led Zeppelin II played in the original sequence.
An Honest Gentleman
Cordelia Spence and Tim Lane musical play about East Anglia’s very own Dick Turpin, performed by Stuff of Dreams. Born in Aylsham in 1715, the highwayman Thomas Easter was hanged at Tyburn 24 years later. His life was packed with adventure and intrigue as he plied his trade from North Norfolk to Putney Heath. A rollicking adventure about a dashing and charming rogue.
The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists
Robert Tressell’s semi-biographical tale is here given an unusual telling. Actor Neil Gore uses Edwardian magic lantern and projected animation; political conjuring tricks, live music and song, as we meet the famous characters from Tressell’s book that follows the events that surround the painters and decorators who are charged with the renovation of a large town house for local Mayor Sweater.
Sondheim & Me
Acclaimed chanteuse and long-time mentor to pop superstar Sam Smith, Joanna Eden – supported by Gerry Hunt on saxes/guitar, Russell Swift on bass and George Double on drums – presents her personal take on the work of musical theatre genius Stephen Sondheim. Songs from A Little Night Music, Into the Woods, Sweeney Todd and many other shows.
Martin Newell and The Hosepipe Band
The Jigsaw Coast a selection of singer-songwriter and poet Martin Newell’s shorter poems about East Anglian places, people and events, is here performed with Green Children, a longer poem about two children of “unusual skin colour” who appeared in Woolpit during the 12th century. Both pieces will feature original music composed and played by the Hosepipe Band.
James Phelan: Trickster
Nephew of Paul Daniels and Debbie McGee, James Phelan continues the family tradition that has seen him perform to sell out audiences including at the London Palladium. He is bringing his latest show promising an evening of hilarious, traditional, mindblowing magic where anything can happen - and quite often does. People are tricked, phones are destroyed, needles are swallowed and much more.
The Story of Doo-Wop
During the early 1950s, quartets sung on street corners, in barbershops and churches in a style which became known as Doo-Wop, paving the way for rock ‘n’ roll. Top quartet The Testosta Tones will take audiences on musical journey detailing the history of Doo-Wop in this show. They will perform favourites such as Blue Moon, Earth Angel, Runaround Sue, Teenager in Love and many others.
Ollie and Jill want to tell you about their dream home. Some of the things they did to get it, you might find shocking. But they want you to know they did it all for their baby. Peter Sowerbutts directs Philip Ridley wickedly comic satire performed by Emma Martin and Jake Kubala. Provocative and viciously sharp.
All Hail Macbeth
East Anglia-based Packing Shed Theatre offer up a unique look at the Scottish play, hell hath no fury like three women scorned as The Three Witches try to make sense of their lives in the 21st century. Mixing comedy and high drama with more than a little bit of magic, a cross between Harry Potter, Macbeth and Top Girls.