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Review: Thursford Christmas Spectacular

Norfolk's home-grown celebration of the festive season was unwrapped to an enthusiastic first-show audience on Wednesday afternoon when the curtain went up on the 2019 Thursford Christmas Spectacular.

And the show, in its 43rd year, is the music, song and dance extravaganza which seems to be as popular as it ever was with many of its twice-daily shows between now and December 23 completely sold out.

It is the creation of Thursford boss John Cushing for whom it is Christmas all year round as he rings the changes in the show's format each year so there is something new and fresh for audiences, particularly those who attend every year.

It's a case of glitz, glamour and glitter all the way entwined with frolics, feathers and fun but always with John's amazing attention to detail in creating a quality product.

And as scene after colourful scene unfolds across the 100-plus-wide stage in the lavishly decorated giant barn-like auditorium located deep in the North Norfolk countryside. no doubt memories of Christmases past will come flooding back to the thousands of people who will see the show and delight in its clever fusion of the scared and the secular.

It is a tried and tested formula that for more than four decades has been attracting audiences to Thursford from all over the country and Europe. Now that John's sons, Charlie and George, are actively involved in the production team, its future looks secure.

Each year, in putting the content together Mr Cushing and his creative team come up with new ideas to keep it fresh and exciting for the new generations who will see it in 2019. Speciality acts and popular ventriloquist, Steve Hewlett, add to the rich variety mix.

An integral par of the show is the talented Phil Kelsall now in its 39th season playing Thursford's mighty Wurlitzer organ displaying his dexterity on the keys and pedals. Phil is also now in his 42nd season as the resident organist at the famous tower ballroom in Blackpool

At one minute scantily-clad high-kicking girls entertain with a "Tiller" girls style routine while the next we are watching a lavish costumed extravaganza in the Masquerade number.

It a variety show like no other with something for everyone in its festive selection box of favourite musical numbers and creative routines.

It has often been said about the Thursford Christmas Spectacular that you would not see the like of it in the West End and thanks to its founder and director John Cushing, it has been developed as very much a Norfolk product for which the county can be truly proud.

Wishing John and the show many happy returns in the years to come.

Full ticket details and availability for the show's run can be obtained by calling the Thursford box office on 01328 878477.

Richard Parr

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