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Film hits right notes for Morris dancing

PUBLISHED: 09:36 13 March 2009 | UPDATED: 08:02 01 August 2010

MORRIS dancing may conjure up images of beer-swilling men with beards dancing about, crossing sticks and jangling bells attached to their ankles.

But a new film about the traditional pastime of Morris dancing is set to take a tiny Norfolk cinema by storm, and reveal a world of not only bells, sticks and breeches, but also of betrayal, intrigue, and a zest for life.

MORRIS dancing may conjure up images of beer-swilling men with beards dancing about, crossing sticks and jangling bells attached to their ankles.

But a new film about the traditional pastime of Morris dancing is set to take the tiny the cinema at Geldeston by storm, and reveal a world of not only bells, sticks and breeches, but also of betrayal, intrigue, and a zest for life.

The film, Morris: A Life With Bells On, is not showing in mainstream cinemas across the country but so far, 160 tickets have sold like hot cakes at a screening at Geldeston Village Hall.

Many of the bookings coming from dance “sides” from across Norfolk and Suffolk, and even beyond.

After the initial date sold out within two weeks, organiser Brian Norman said he had to book a second, then third slot to cope with demand.

“We thought, we have to have it for the sheer fun of it.

“At the last film showing we had a nice preview of it and lots of people thought it would be a nice movie - people want a bit of fun in these dreary times.”

Inundated with bookings, he said: “I've actually had to put a new showing on to enable locals to get in. There are three village halls in Norfolk showing it and I don't think anyone in Suffolk is showing it, so we are one of a few. It's certainly a coup.”

Earning rave reviews, the film, which stars Derek Jacobi, Naomie Harris and Greg Wise and is set in south-west England, looks set to be a cult hit, and fans have already started lobbying for it to go on general release.

The documentary-style comedy looks into the world of Morris dancing, following the fortunes of the leader who is cast out for trying to modernise it with his radical form, Extreme Morris.

Blockbuster Mamma Mia was the first film shown at the village hall in Geldeston, near Beccles, in October after Creative Arts East Village Screen agreed to hire out equipment. And with a steady level of interest in general releases since, Mr Norman was taken aback by such a reaction to a little-known film he chose from a shortlist.

Tickets are still available for March 24 at 7.30pm, and March 25 at 6pm and can be bought by calling Mr Norman on 01502 712364 or brian@ftfarm.co.uk

Anyone interested in joining Rumburgh Morris can call 01986 782455.

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