“ With its varied, quality programming, unprecedented pricing policy and a Friends membership numbering over 9,500, Norwich Theatre Royal is one of the country¿s most admired and successful receiving theatres. „
Knowing that I have wanted to see him for years now, my boyfriend bought me tickets to see Derren Brown for Valentine's Day earlier this year. Unfortunately though, we had to wait until the middle of June until we could actually go to the show at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
The Theatre Royal is located in the city centre of Norwich, which is easily accessible by bus, car and train. Although there is no parking at the theatre itself, there are plenty of parking options nearby. If you are coming to the theatre from the train station, you can look to take about a 20-25 minute walk. What I like about this theatre is that it is really easy to get to from pretty much anywhere in the centre of Norwich.
As you walk up to the theatre, it doesn't exactly look like much in comparison to other Theatre Royals, such as the one in Nottingham which does look very impressive. The theatre is a very long building which, on first appearances, could look like any row of shops on a high street if it wasn't for the show posters outside. In the day time especially, it would be quite easy to walk past the theatre if you didn't know where you were going. However, at night time with the outside all lit up, it does look much better but with light evenings in the summer, I didn't get to see this until after the show was finished.
Walking inside the theatre lobby didn't have the best first impressions either really. As you walk in, there are elevators to the right and ticket desk to the left. Also on the right are stairs heading up to the circle level. Following the corridor to the left will take you to the refreshments counter, customer toilets and the bar, as well as another set of stairs to the circle level. Even though the lobby was quite plain looking, the downstairs bar was very nicely decorated and had a great atmosphere once filled with a fair amount of people. Upstairs, there is another refreshments counter and toilets as well as areas to sit and stand around whilst waiting for your show to start.
It isn't until you get into the actual seating area of the theatre that it becomes more impressive. This particular theatre is split into two sections; the stalls in the lower section and the circle in the higher. We had seats about 8 rows into the circle section and before getting there, I was worried about the view I was going to have. However, the seats in the circle are nicely placed so that each row is slightly higher than the one below it. Even with these kinds of seats, they can still be too close together meaning if you have someone really tall in front of you, they can block your view. This, luckily, was definitely not the case at the Theatre Royal, Norwich.
From our seats, we had a fantastic view of the stage. Derren Brown's 'Infamous' wasn't the kind of show that had a big screen behind him like some do so that people right at the back can see better. However, from our seats in the circle, we had a perfect view and we could see everything that was going on. There were a couple of parts of the show that were a little trickier so a projection was used during these times but it still wasn't the size of the back of the stage. In front of most seats in the circle are binoculars which can be rented for 50p if you are having trouble seeing the stage though.
Another thing to mention about the seating is the comfort. 'Infamous' was nearly two hours long but I was extremely comfortable staying in my seat for the whole show. The seats were also plenty big enough/ wide enough and they were very easy to relax in. Some other theatres have tiny seats that look and feel worn out but these seats were in perfect condition.
Although we didn't use all of the facilities, the theatre does also have a café which serves lunch and dinner before evening shows. These tables can be booked in advance and meals begin from 5pm. Your table will also be reserved throughout the show in case you want to sit there during the interval or have dessert during this time. I did have a look at the menu online and the prices were more than what I would be willing to pay. For a burger and chips, you would be looking at £12. We chose to go to Wetherspoons not too far away as it is a much cheaper and quick option.
Overall, although the outside of the theatre doesn't look impressive, the actual theatre and seating areas are. I had a thoroughly enjoyable time watching Derren Brown and I would definitely go back to the Theatre Royal, Norwich to see something else.
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Well what can i really say, yes this amy be my local theatre but i tell you something it doesn't seem like a local one. In my opinion it really lives up to west end standard and the pantomime this year and last, was uterly fab. The pantomime blew me away i watched it four times it was just so well put together. With stars such as Lisa Goddard and Obliblivion from Gladiators i actually feel bad about not telling you about it sooner. All i can say is that if the other shows are anything like this one then you'd better be quick cause there going to sell out. I was looking the the brochure only the other day and i just couldn't make up my mind what i wanted to see, there was just such a variety from Joseph and evita to Scooby Doo! and Le Cirque Glace and so many molre. I think i would live at the theatre if i could i just love it. Its strange i've been to a lot of theatres being a huge lover of musical theatre but still i keep coming back. I actually think i prefer this to some of the well known west end theatres, don't get me wrong theres nothing wrong with these theatres theyre pretty fab, but norwich theatre royal just has something that extra bit special.
There are so manty other facilites available atthe theatre includng the restaurant, bar, toilets and the close proximity to many car parks. You just can't go wrong wth a trip to Norwich Theatre Royal. I recommend it to everyone!!!!!
It has been a while, dear old friends and hopefully new ones, since I have felt compelled to write an opinion. In fact I thought I had sheathed my pen, oh ok my keyboard, for the last time; but a visit to the Norwich Theatre Royal a few weeks ago has changed all that and I find that I simply must write about it. Not out of any desire to vent my spleen on the state of regional theatre but to share my sheer delight at a performance that may well be near you very soon. Have you ever wondered what happens to all those "slivers/left over from Joan Rivers"? Or to one of those houses after Changing Rooms have left? Asked 'Is It Me, Or Is It Hot In Here?' Or been kept awake at night by a love thousands of miles away? If you've thought 'yes' to any of those questions then an evening in the delectable company of 'Fascinating Aida' may well be for you. 'Fascinating Aida' are Britains' foremost cabaret trio, and as such have toured the world many times. Formed exactly 20 years ago, the trio has had many a change in line-up but the current girls are 'The Originals', back together for just one last tour before finally hanging up their sequins. They combine savage satire with complex harmonies and bawdy lyrics with glamourous sophistication to engage and entertain their audience. But perhaps, before I go on, I should give a word of warning: this is not 'mainstream' music (although I firmly believe it ought to be), you'll find no homogenised pop or even show tunes here and certainly no gimmicky 'novelty' songs; just three extraordinarily talented women who are capable of both writing and performing haunting music and clever lyrics with wit ~ a versatility very rarely seen. Although they've written about practically every conceivable subject they are possibly most famous for the very adult content of their shows, and 'One Last Flutter! Fascinating Aida: The FA Final' is
no exception. For those of you who've never heard of Fascinating Aida maybe I should begin with the members themselves. Ms Dillie Keane has a deep, emotionally charged voice who creates memorable comic characters and plays the piano so magnificently that the keys talk. Ms Adele Anderson has an enormous vocal range and power and a great rapport with the audience. Ms Marilyn Cutts is the groups' soprano who has a rich, textured voice unlike any I have ever heard. This tour also sees that arrival of Mr Russell Churney as the new pianist and unofficial "fourth member" of Fascinating Aida. He plays a mean piano, introduces songs and even gets to trip the light fantastic in 'Yes, But Is It Art?'; one of F.A.s most biting cultural satires answering, in typically explicit style, the questions many people would love to ask the Art Establishment. When I first heard that their new pianist would be male, I have to admit I was a little concerned; 'Fascinating Aida' are an all-female group and the addition of a bloke could very easily have tipped the delicate balance, but, as with everything else the FA girls do, it works wonderfully and 'Yes, But Is It Art?' is a real highlight of the evening for me, I've been singing it on and off for weeks. 'One Last Flutter' opens with Dillie Keane sidling alone onto the stage and taking her customary position at the piano, which apart from a gigantic copy of the music to 'Sew On A Sequin' and some black drapes forms the entire set, before gently easing us into the evenings' entertainment with a comical explanation for Fascinating Aidas' farewell: quite simply they are the 'Colleagues From Hell'! Marilyn Cutts enters to take the second verse and as soon as I heard her marvellous tones I felt my spine shiver. Finally Adele Anderson slinks on to offer her thoughts on the others and ask "where's the noose?". We are firmly
in FA terr itory. Those of you who are familiar with 'Fascinating Aida' will be pleased to hear that two of their most popular signature songs flank the new show. After the groups comical account of the reasons behind their imminent split we are treated to Adele's dulcet tones belting out 'Sew on a Sequin'; a sort of self-help mantra extolling the therapeutic virtues of adding a little glitz to life. After all "a bit of heaven on your frock" is sure to "cheer your heart", a claim not quite as frivolous as it seems at first. On the other hand 'Lieder', another song resolutely embedded in every F.A. fans heart and which is this show's encore, is a glorious and affectionate parody of German Cabaret. Anyone who's ever heard Marlene Dietrich or Lotte Lenya sing will instantly recognise "Doesn't matter if you sing out of tune, so long as you're German"; Weill and Brecht fans will also have a field day with this song but it isn't necessary to know any of these in order to enjoy 'Lieder'. It's amusing staging; Adele's Off-Key voice; Marilyn's bored expression; Dillie's piano gymnastics and now Russell's new visual gag to end it will have you chuckling for days at the memory. The Fascinating Aida girls have always included old favourites to satisfy their fans; but this show, by dint of the fact that it is their 'farewell', contains far more than in the past. Substantial chunks of both Act I and II are Medleys. Beginning, if my memory serves me correctly, with one of their earliest songs which was taken up by BBC Records, who had some absurd idea about turning the trio into pop pap, and which took a meteoric meander through the charts. Characteristically it was about relationships, in this case gettting over an ex-lover, called 'Get Knotted!' This was followed by one of their more eccentric numbers. It's name: 'My Fav
ourite Tool'; it's subject: tights! An hilarious romp through a day in the life of Britains most useful and, in FAs' world, versatile undergarment. You'll never look at your hose in the same fashion again. Unfortunately, due no doubt to the constraints of time, we are not treated to all of these selected songs in their entirety. We hear snatches of 'Boring', a remarkably funny number where the girls sing of how boring their song is ~ an unusual premise, I'm sure you'll agree; 'The Magazine Song' excerpt, sung by Ms Cutts, is a marvellous evocation of "Middle England" ~ beware all you jeep drivers; we hear only tantalising snippets on such subjects as being 'Politically Correct' and 'Saturday Night''s spent in alone as well as 'Taboo' subjects (wickedly filthy is all I can say) and the late Princess Diana! We are treated to slightly more than the odd reference of two other FA standards. The marvellously tragic Country and Western style 'Sid' in which Ms Cutts tells us all of her dismay at watching her luv Sid fall under the wheels of lorry. In any other hands a topic such as this would be dealt with in an obviously serious manner; 'Fascinating Aida', however, are not known for adopting the most obvious path and thus we hear a song that leaves us all chuckling, not least at the tragedy to be found in C&W music. The other famous number retold in almost all, well ok part of, it's glory is the 'Herpes Tango'. A Spanish Tango about, yes you've guessed it, STDs complete with flamenco moves. What more can I say? One of 'Fascinating Aidas'' most enduring sources of inspiration has always been their own lives, something which is greatly in evidence in 'One Last Flutter'. Songs bemoaning the problems of relationships litter (in the best possible sense) the evening and each one gives the impression of having been deeply felt. Ms
Cutts sings wistfully of falling "in love with a man in love with 'Another Man'"; Ms Anderson laments the effects of irrational 'Jealousy' and Ms Keane d eclares 'I Fancy The Pope'! Nothing stays serious for too long. Meanwhile, elsewhere in FA-Land the passing of the years is marked by the inclusion of 'Is It Me, Or Is It Hot In Here?' in which number we discover the real reason behind the popularity of Cardigans. If you've never heard anyone sing: "Felt the perspiration trickle down my leg", you haven't lived! 'Goodbye Old Friends' is also clearly a heartfelt piece. Ostensibly the story of the ups and downs of their friendship it is, like the majority of their work, applicable to anyone. If you've ever lost a once dear friendship then the sentiments expressed here, of "careless words that wound and bruise" and binding "the true and trusted to our hearts/ with hoops of steel" may very well bring a lump to your throat. As you may have gathered it is not just the amusing in which this trio excel. Like all top Comediennes, 'Fascinating Aida' can switch from the achingly funny to the searingly painful in the time it takes to change key. In fact their poignant life snapshots are just as much a highlight as signature songs like 'Lieder' or 'Sew on a Sequin'. In 'Modest Dreams' Adele Anderson sings of "...a heart that has learned to survive all alone" to a gentle, mournful piano accompaniment quietly supporting the tone of enforced resignation as this songs' character battles to accept "the pittance one is worth". By the time she reached "Why does a heart that asks for so little get less" I found myself surreptitiously wiping away a tear. The opening chords of the next song immediately transported me to the Orient in the form of 'Little Shadows' performed by Dillie Keane, a song in which we pee
k through net curtains into the lives of a childless couple. In a deep and emotional voice she sings of the "little shadows, hidden grief ... one has to resist" as the pair struggle to fill the void with friends, exhibitions and holidays ~ the photos of which are "All captured by strangers, who wouldn't have seen". Theirs is a music of understated emotion: small topics relevant to many. One of the more remarkable things about Fascinating Aida's past topical songs is their prescience to events which have occurred, in some cases nearly 20 years, after they were written. The song with which F.A. themselves point out this curiosity is 'Socialist Britain'; a wistful number written during the Tory's long tenure in which the girls' sing longingly of a country where "the water is clean", "prescriptions are free", "privatised trains run on time", and "Margaret Thatcher was just a bad dream". And yet somehow it's still so fresh! But there are two other songs from the girls' past repertoire included in the Medleys which are also highly relevant. 'The Song of Genetic Mutation' tells of a "dear little two-headed baby" born to a woman of 108! and echoes the fears behind current headlines of designer babies and IVF morality. While 'Radiating Love' deals with the possible consequences of Nuclear fallout and it's effect on romance by asking the question: "Would you still hold my hand if my skin wasn't there?". The theme is carried on into more modern territory with two brand new songs reflecting the same concerns, albeit from a different angle. 'Stick Your Head Between Your Legs' is Fascinating Aida's inimitable answer to the question of what to do in your last moments before "confronting Armageddon". Set to a rousing World War II style anthem more usually associated with rallying troops, we are informed
that the best way deal with the situation is to "stick your head between your legs and kiss your a*** goodbye" Erm ... I'm not sure what else to say to that, it speaks for itself! On the other hand, 'Suddenly New Zealand' is a beautiful, if somewhat rude, number extolling the virtues of "attractively remote" and "dreary" New Zealand in a catchy chorus while juxtaposing the dangers of Bush's Western society in brilliantly fast, gloom filled verses. Of course, if anything ambles too close to actually depressing F.A. know how to lighten the mood and it is at this juncture that audience participation enters the evenings proceedings. Chorus lyrics descend from the heavens and the generally embarrassed, mostly willing, occasionally impassive audience are divided, pantomime style, into groups to compete against each other in more than just lyrics. A word of warning: anyone shy intending to see the show may wish to consider avoiding the central sections as this portion was asked to take on the role of the "springs and geysers" with accompanying actions. I leave that your imagination. ;) There are, of course, many other highlights far too numerous to detail here but without which no opinion (even one that is in danger of turning into a novel) would be complete. Not least of these being Ms Cutts haunting solo 'You Keep Me Awake At Night', written by Adele Anderson, a song chronicling the difficulties of long-distance love which showcases the mellow beauty and effortless power of her voice. Then there's 'Poor Lizzie' for whom "the 21st Century makes her dizzy"; a 'Stately Semi-D' involving Grannies in formaldehyde alongside a Denim Blenheim; and a lampooning of the current obsession with remaining youthful where we are informed that "mobility's the 'Enemy of Beauty'". With wide-ranging musical influences stretching from Gilbert and Sullivan throu
gh Noel Coward to Tom Lehrer and from Spain to Switzerland taking in many other people and places along the way then you're more than likely to find something to your tast e in this show. If, however, you are unable to make it to one of these final dates then there is always the CD to tickle your fancy (priced £15.00, in the Theatre Foyer). Unlike most of their previous offerings this album has not been recorded at a live performance with the result that the unique atmosphere of shows such as 'Live At The Lyric' is not present, although it is much easier to hear all of the words. You may not be able to feel as though you're with them in an auditorium but you can hear the music uninterrupted by anything except your own laughter. Unfortunately the brilliant Medleys are not included but it does have the advantage of three bonus tracks of previously unrecorded popular songs: 'Viennese', 'My Dearest Wish' and 'Ealing Broadway Baby'. Even though it may be no substitute for seeing the show live the CD would make a great introduction to F.A. and at the moment is the only other way to catch a fleeting glimpse the show. Of course this may not remain the case; the past two shows have been filmed live on stage and released on vhs and although there are no concrete plans as yet to film 'One Last Flutter', it may still be a possibility. Keep an eye on their web site for more details. Which brings me, rather neatly, to the compulsory more info paragraph. The Official Web site, located at www.fascinating-aida.co.uk contains a wealth of information about the Tour (including telephone numbers of venues and performance times) and group members as well as such enjoyable titbits as tour diaries (often almost as hilarious as the songs) and a Photo History (wonderful frocks!). It is also a great place to go if you'd like to sample a few songs before embarking on a full-scale show, CD or video. It's possibl
y the best place to obtain FA merchandise, also usually available at the theatres. www.planetaida.com is another excellent site with facts and lyrics galore, as well as more songs to download and enjoy. Elsewhere www.onelastflutter.co.uk is the Tours' official site and contains details of dates and venues as well as a Mailing List and Dillie Keane answers 20 Questions for Whatsonstage.com at http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=greenroom&chan=wos&story=E88210579473 47 In a world full of manufactured pop bands and instant stardom it is refreshing to discover a group that utilises intelligent, witty lyrics mixed with complex harmonies demanding more of it's audience than inertia. The pace, particularly of the medleys, may at times baffle the Fascinating Aida virgin but there is never a dull moment in this excellently performed and brilliantly structured show. The group are never less than dazzling; the highs and lows engaging and well measured. These are three women who know their craft. In short, it's a treat. A night I will remember for many years to come and I hope that you'll experience that pleasure too. And if the current plans for a West End run come to fruition there may be many opportunities yet. Thanks for reading. This opinion has not been sponsored Ms's Keane, Cutts or Anderson. © monalipschitz 2003 Tour Dates: August 3rd London Open Air Theatre, Regents Park 8.00pm 5th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 6th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 7th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 8th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 9th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 10th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 11th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms <
br> Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 12th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 13th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 14th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 15th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 16th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 17th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 18th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 19th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 20th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 21st Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 22nd Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 23rd Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 24th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm 25th Edinburgh The Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival 9.00pm September 4th Colchester Mercury 7.30pm 5th Colchester Mercury 7.30pm 6th Cardiff St. David's Hall 7.30pm 9th London Queen Elizabeth Hall 10th London Queen Elizabeth Hall 11th London Queen Elizabeth Hall 12th London Queen Elizabeth Hall 13th London Queen Elizabeth Hall 14th Exeter Northcott 8.00pm 15th Street Strode Theatre 7.30pm 16th Northampton Derngate 8.00pm 17th Leicester De Montfort Hall 7.30pm 18th Antibes Private Event 19th Antibes Private Event 20th Antibes Private Event 21st Antibes Private Event 23rd Nottingham Royal Centre 7.30pm 24th High Wycombe Swan 8.00pm 29th Bury St Edmonds Theatre Royal 7.30pm 30th Bury St Edmonds Theatre Royal 7.30pm October 3rd Dublin Dublin Theatre Festival 8.00pm 4th Dublin Dublin Theatre Fe
stival 8.00pm 5th Dublin Dublin Theatre Festival 8.00pm 6th Dublin Dublin Theatre Festival 8.00pm 7th Dublin Dublin Theatre Festival 8.00pm 8th Dublin Dublin Theatre Festival 8.00pm 10th Eastleigh The Point 7.45pm 13th York Theatre Royal 7.30pm 14th Dartford Orchard Theatre 7.45pm 15th Barnstaple Queen's Theatre 7.45pm 16th Tonbridge E.M. Forster Theatre 7.30pm 17th Basingstoke Anvil 7.45pm 20th Epson Playhouse 8.00pm 21st Reading Concert Hall 8.00pm 22nd Billingham Forum 8.00pm 23rd Tewksbury Roses Theatre 7.30pm 24th Tewksbury Roses Theatre 7.30pm 25th Shrewsbury Music Hall 8.00pm 26th Birmingham Hippodrome 7.30pm 27th Taunton Brewhouse 7.45pm 28th Taunton Brewhouse 7.45pm 29th St Albans The Alban Centre 8.00pm 31st Huddersfield Lawrence Batley Theatre 7.30pm November 2nd Lincoln Theatre Royal 4th Jersey Opera House 5th Jersey Opera House 16th Hornchurch Queens Theatre