Thursford Spectacular delivers again
'Tis the season to be Thursford... once again impresario John Cushing has started delivering his Christmas song and dance "present" to audiences drawn to Norfolk from all over the country.
It is the 42nd year of the festive jamboree that has firmly put the tiny rural hamlet of Thursford, a few miles from Fakenham, on the entertainment map.
This year the Thursford Spectacular is as good as ever - a three-hour tour-de-force of the festive season in music, song, dance and comedy.
Over more than four decades this sparkling show has developed into an extravaganza of fast-paced entertainment full of constantly changing light and colour.
And the full house audience on Thursday just loved every minute of the electric mix of the sacred and the secular with many rising from their seats at its close to offer the talented cast a standing ovation.
In his introduction in the large, glossy, programme the show's founder producer and director, John Cushing, expresses his wish that the show becomes part of the audiences' festive celebrations, "bringing back happy memories as well as making many new ones".
Quite simply this show takes your breath away, as the colourful kaleidoscope of magic unfolds across the 100-feet wide stage. The talented cast looking wonderful in a range of stunning costumes and outfits.
There is so much happening on the stage ... one minute we are listening to a haunting, Christmas fanfare, the next we are being entertained with sounds of soul.
Through all this we see comedian and compare Paul Eastwood, appearing again by popular demand, creating laughter with his line in original patter some of it of the 'ooh, er, missus' variety.
Just when you think there is nothing more to be savoured, along comes specialist act Vanessa in an awesome balancing act with a large guitar...yes, I I did say a large guitar (no, need to fret, I suppose) that she cleverly keeps in the air with her feet.
There's also a ballet sequence thrown into the mix for good measure.
And what Thursford Spectacular would be complete without Phil Kelsall, displaying his musical dexterity on the centrally located Mighty Wurlitzer organ.
It is hard to believe that all of this is being performed in a giant barn-like building (the Thursford Museum) in the middle of agricultural fields in the tiny hamlet of Thursford and not in the West End of London.
The decorations adorning the auditorium leave you open-mouthed by their dazzling designs.
The appeal of this show, combining sheer magic and mirth, shows no sign of waning.
The 'feel good factor' is writ large on the happy faces of the audiences as they flood out of the auditorium and head home - for them, their Christmas has really begun.