Karl Minns

For more than a decade Karl Minns has kept Norfolk entertained as part of the Nimmo Twins, but his new solo show is a very different beast.

With three sold out nights at the Norwich Playhouse it’s fair to say much of the first night audience may have been expecting something akin to the trio’s Normal for Norfolk shows – but there was not a Look East joke to be found here.

Instead, Raining Diamonds is the story of Miles, a boy afflicted from an early age with a permanent electric charge; his difficult childhood; finding and losing love.

It’s a poignant tale and Minns gives an impressive performance, filling the stage with a rounded character that re-tells his surreal story with grace and humour – sometimes too much humour. With an audience over-eager to laugh, there are points where Minns relies on a comic crutch when he should be kicking it away: he is capable of some joyful lyricism, but also some awful puns.

Images like school for the troubled teen being like a fairground mirror – normal on the outside but a freak reflected back; and that of road markings as minus signs reducing the distance between him and his beloved demonstrate the depth of his skill as a writer. ME5 as the security service for over-tired spies gets a giggle but doesn’t do much for the narrative.

It’s an inventive and enjoyable story, engagingly told: holding an audience rapt for 90 minutes is no mean feat, and Minns appears to do it with ease. With a little more polish as the run progresses, it could be a real gem.