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Sure to leave a lasting impression; CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR highlights some of the big shows and big names coming to Leamington.

Byline: CATHERINE VONLEDEBUR

SELL-OUT Edinburgh Fringe hit The Only Way is Downton amd a one-man show by Madness frontman Suggs are two of the acts appearing at Leamington's Royal Spa Centre this spring.

Some of the best new and old school comedians will also be returning to the Warwickshire venue.

Jimmy Carr is back in March with Work In Progress, more warm up material ahead of his new Funny Business tour. Also coming back with new material are comedy legends Pam Ayres, Ken Dodd, Billy Pearce, Jo Caulfield, Miles Jupp, Sean Hughes, Mark Thomas, Rich Hall and Shappi Khorsandi.

There will be intimate stand-up gigs from emerging talents Simon Evans, Gary Delaney, Rob Beckett, and Hal Cruttenden.

In June, new recruits Susie Blake and Katie Robbins will be joining Jenny Eclair in a live version of the hit TV show Grumpy Old Women while Robin Ince and Josie Long team up with special guest Grace Petrie to perform Shambles, a night of "politics, science and grisly excerpts of gory killer crab novels".

Their Utter Shambles Comedy Central podcast has had more than 500,000 downloads per episode and now they are taking the show on the road.

Award-winning comedy sketch group Clever Peter and three hit Edinburgh Fringe comedy stage shows - How to Make A Killing in Bollywood, Eric & Little Ern and The Only Way Is Downton - are also coming to town.

Actor and impressionist Luke Kempner plays 32 characters from ITV's popular period drama in his acclaimed one-man show mixing Downton Abbey with reality TV; while in How to Make A Killing in Bollywood, two best friends decide to quit their jobs in a fast food restaurant and head to Bollywood.

Britain's Got Talent ventriloquist Steve Hewlett, who shot to fame with his Arthur Lager and ''little'' Simon Cowell dummies, will perform a brand new show, Thinking Inside The Box, in March.

The death of Suggs' beloved cat on his 50th birthday triggers a personal quest to discover what happened to the father he never knew in the charismatic Madness frontman's very funny and moving critically acclaimed one-man show, My Life Story in Words and Music on May 16.

Younger audiences can look forward to three new live roadshows in February half-term by Cbeebies' Chris & Pui from Show Me, Show Me, Barney the Dinosaur and The Chuckle Brothers In a 2014 Space Oddity.

And in April, Postman Pat returns with a new live show - It's Showtime. Pat has a new karaoke machine to deliver but when it breaks down it looks like the talent show is in jeopardy.

Other shows include the tremendously visual and highly exciting Tap Factory, combining percussion with dance and acrobatics and The Moscow State Circus.

Prolific musicians, big bands, old favourites and tribute acts range from The Drifters to Paul Carrack, The Elvis Years, Fairport Convention, Jack Bruce & His Big Bluesband, Talon, The Searchers and Purple Zeppelin.

For tickets go to www.royalspacentreandtownhall.

co.uk or ring 01926 334418.

CAPTION(S):

Ventriloquist Steve Hewlett (above), one-man Downton Abbey Luke Kempner (right) and Postman Pat (below)

Grumpy Old Women Katie Robbins Jenny Eclair and Susie Blake

Madness frontman Suggs

Comedian Jimmy Carr
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 24, 2014
Words:527
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