What’s On in Ryedale, York and beyond food, glorious food. Here’s Hutch’s List No 17 for 2024, from Gazette & Herald

Jeanette Hunter’s Wicked Witch, right, in rehearsal for York Musical Theatre Company’s The Wizard Of Oz with Daan Janssen’s Lion, left, Rachel Higgs’s Scarecrow, Zander Fick’s Tin Man, Sadie Sorensen’s Dorothy and Toto puppeteer Adam Gill

FOOD for thought for the cultural week ahead, from the Yellow Brick Road to Heaven revisited, a foodie festival to Laurie Lee, seascapes to coastal Dexys, as Charles Hutchinson reports.

Musical of the week: York Musical Theatre Company in The Wizard Of Oz, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

YORK stage stalwart Jeanette Hunter will play a villain for the first time next week, starring as the Wicked Witch in York Musical Theatre Company’s The Wizard Of Oz.

Following the Yellow Brick Road will be Sadie Sorensen’s Dorothy, Rachel Higgs’s Scarecrow, Zander Fick’s Tin Man and Daan Janssen’s Lion, while further principal roles will go to Liz Gardner as Glinda, Marlena Kellie as Auntie Em and Martin Hunter as the Wizard. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk. 

Velma Celli’s Show Queen: Celebrating the best of London’s West End and Broadway musical theatre hits at York Theatre Royal

Cabaret celebration of the week: Velma Celli’s Show Queen, York Theatre Royal, tomorrow (23/5/2024), 7.30pm

DRAG diva Velma Celli, the alter ego of York actor Ian Stroughair, goes back to Ian’s roots in Cats, Chicago, Fame and Rent for a new celebration of the best of London’s West End and Broadway musical theatre hits.

The show “takes us to every corner of the fabulous genre, from Kander & Ebb and Lloyd Webber to Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked and Schönberg’s Les Miserables and many more,” says Velma. “Like, more than Six!”. Special guests will be burlesque star Miss Betsy Rose and belting York singer Jessica Steel. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Rebecca Ferguson: Liverpool soul singer’s last album and tour at 37

Soul gig of the week: Rebecca Ferguson, Heaven Part II Tour, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

LIVERPOOL soul singer and The X Factor alumna Rebecca Ferguson is touring her fifth and final album, Heaven Part II, released last December 12 years to the day since her debut, Heaven.

Working with new contributors and original Heaven writers and producers, Ferguson sings of love, family, joy, liberation and her journey to happiness over the past seven years. She is, however, calling time on recording and touring to “find a way to have a relationship with music which is positive”. Friday’s support acts will be York country singer Twinnie and Eloise Viola. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival: Look out for the festival guide and map on site

Festival of the week: Malton Spring Food Lovers Festival, Saturday, from 9am; Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, from 10am

ON the streets of “Yorkshire’s Food Capital”, Malton Food Lovers Festival celebrates Yorkshire’s supreme produce and cooking over three days of 120 artisan stalls and street food vendors, talks, tastings, chef demonstrations, brass bands and buskers, festival bar, food shops, sculpture trail, entertainment, blacksmith workshops, vintage funfair and family fun with Be Amazing Arts’ Creativitent, Environmental Art’s Creative Chaos and Magical Quests North.

The live musicians will be: Saturday, Malton White Star Band, 11am to 1pm, The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Oz Ward, 6pm to 8pm; Sunday, White Star Training Band, 11.30am to 12.30pm, and The Rackateers, 1pm to 3pm, and Monday, The Acoustic Buddies, 11am to 12pm and 2pm to 3pm. Festival entry is free.

Kirkby Soul: Playing outdoors at Hemsley Walled Garden on Saturday

Fundraiser of the week: Kirkby Soul, Helmsley Walled Garden, Helmsley, Saturday, 7.30pm

RYEDALE eight-piece band Kirkby Soul present an evening of soul music in aid of Helmsley Arts Centre and Helmsley Walled Garden. Bring chairs, cushions, blankets, dancing shoes and picnics. A paying bar will be operation in the orchid house. Come prepared for the British weather! A marquee will be erected just in case. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Anton Lesser: Performing in Red Sky At Sunrise, Laurie Lee in Words and Music at Grand Opera House, York

Literary event of the week: Red Sky At Sunrise, Laurie Lee in Words and Music, Grand Opera House, York, May 26, 7.30pm

AUTHOR Laurie Lee’s extraordinary story is told in a captivating weave of music and his own words in Red Sky At Sunrise, performed by actors Anton Lesser and Charlie Hamblett, accompanied by David Le Page’s musical programme for Orchestra Of The Swan.

Together they celebrate Lee’s engaging humour, as well as portraying his darker side, in a performance that has startling resonance with modern events, tracing Lee’s path through Cider With Rosie, As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning and A Moment Of War as he ended up fighting with the International Brigades against General Franco’s forces in the Spanish Civil War. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Jo’s Place, seascape, by Carolyn Coles, from her Home Is Where The Heart Is exhibition at Bluebird Bakery, Acomb

Exhibition launch: Carolyn Coles, Home Is Where The Heart Is, Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, York, May 30 to August 1

CREATING atmospheric, impressionistic and abstract seascapes, South Bank Studios artist Carolyn Coles paints mostly with acrylics on stretched canvasses, using an array of techniques and implements.

Known for evoking emotional responses, Carolyn reflects her love for the Yorkshire landscape, offering a direct response to the feelings and connections to places that feel like home. Everyone is welcome at the 6pm to 9pm launch on May 30, when Carolyn will be happy to answer questions.

Dirty Ruby: Ryedale Blues’ headliners at Milton Rooms, Malton

Blues gig of the week: Ryedale Blues presents Dirty Ruby, Milton Rooms, Malton, May 30, 8pm

NOTTINGHAMSHIRE five-piece Dirty Ruby have drawn comparisons with Seventies’ bands Stone The Crows and Vinegar Joe in their energetic, sharp-edged blues rock, combining Hammond organ and bluesy guitar with soulful lead vocals. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Dexys: Showcasing The Feminine Divine at Scarborough Spa

Coastal trip of the week: Dexys, Scarborough Spa Grand Hall, May 30, doors 7pm

AFTER playing York for the first time in their 45-year career last September, Dexys return to North Yorkshire on the latest leg of The Feminine Divine Live!

Led as ever by Kevin Rowland, Dexys open with a theatrical presentation of last year’s album, The Feminine Divine, to be followed by a second soulful set of beloved hits, from Come On Eileen and Jackie Wilson Said to The Celtic Soul Brothers and Geno. Box office: 01723 376774 or scarboroughspa.co.uk.

In Focus: The 1879 FA Cup clash of Darwen FC and the Old Etonians in The Giant Killers at Milton Rooms, Malton

The tour poster for Long Lane Theatre Club’s The Giant Killers

MANCHESTER United meet “noisy neighbours” Manchester City in the 143rd FA Cup final on Saturday, coinciding with the tour launch of a fitting theatrical tribute to the competition’s early days.

Staged by Long Lane Theatre Club, The Giant Killers tells the story of how Darwen FC came to the public’s attention in 1870s’ Lancashire to proclaim Association Football as a people’s game and not only the preserve of the upper classes.

Good news for Malton, the story of Darwen’s FA Cup clashes with the toffs of the Old Etonians is booked to appear at the Milton Rooms on July 4 (now confirmed as the date for another battle, the 2024 General Election).

The Giant Killers recounts how a ragtag bunch of mill workers in Darwen took on the amateur gentleman’s club of the Old Etonians in the FA Cup quarter-final in 1879. The Old Etonians were winning 5-1 but Darwen rallied to force a replay after a 5-5 draw. 

One replay turned into three, with one abandoned through bad light. Forced to travel to London a very expensive three times and with team members losing a day’s work, Darwen eventually succumbed 6-2, but their story of working-class men inspiring a nation enabled the top hats in football crowds to turn into ‘’a sea of flat caps’’.

Kick-off – or kick-toff! – will be at 7.30pm for Andrew Pearson-Wright & Eve Pearson-Wright’s story of how Darwen FC rose up against prevailing social prejudice and the might of the Football Association to earn a place in history as the first real ‘‘giant killers’’ in English football. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Beverley & East Riding Early Musical Festival: Who is taking part in concerts, workshops and talks from May 24 to 26?

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival director Delma Tomlin

THE 2024 Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival opens on Friday with a 7.30pm concert by rising stars El Gran Teatro del Mundo, sponsored by the Embassy of Spain.

Based in Spain, this young instrumental group captivated audiences on their British tour last year and will be visiting Beverley for the first time to perform Life Is A Dream (La Vida Es Sueño) at St Mary’s Church.

Undertaking a magical musical journey through the night, these specialists in French music from the time of the Sun King bring to life the operas of the Grand Siècle with instrumental interpretations of scenes where darkness will be the best ally of love and sleep, death’s best friend.

The National Centre for Early Music (NCEM), the charitable York organisation behind the festival, welcomes the new sponsorship. Director Delma Tomlin said: “This is the first time we have received sponsorship from the Embassy of Spain, in London, and we are absolutely delighted to be working together to promote Spanish music through the ages.

“The Embassy’s generous financial support – supporting the travel costs from Spain – makes all the difference and we are thrilled to be able to welcome such fabulous musicians to perform here in the East Riding of Yorkshire.”

José María Robles Fraga, Minister Counsellor for Cultural and Scientific Affairs at the Embassy of Spain, said: “This newly stablished partnership provides a unique opportunity for Spanish musicians performing in the UK.

“We are very proud to support this initiative and we are confident that audiences at the Beverley Early Music Festival will enjoy the immense talent of this Spanish ensemble”.

Running from May 24 to 26, this year’s festival takes the theme of Threads of Gold, weaving together stories of Beverley’s remarkable history through music and song, combined with a distinctly Spanish twist.

“This year we are threading together music, history and song – designed to entertain, to engage and to intrigue,” says Delma.  “There’s a wealth of music and drama in store and as always, there are plenty of opportunities to make music as well as enjoy it – so we hope to weave you a tapestry of delights for 2024.”

Further concerts with a Spanish theme include Nigel Short directing the award-winning choir Tenebrae in their acclaimed interpretation of Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Requiem Mass for six voices – a masterpiece of the Spanish Golden Age – at Beverley Minster on Saturday at 7.30pm.

In the festival finale on Sunday at 7.30pm at East Riding Theatre, Beverley, The Telling present their heart rend(er)ing music theatre show Into The Melting Pot.

Written by Clare Norburn and directed by Nicholas Renton, it tells the stories of the women of medieval Spain torn apart by religious intolerance, performed by actor Suzanne Ahmet as Blanca, Patience Tomlinson as Queen Isabella (offstage voice), singers Clare Norburn and Avital Raz, Emily Baines, recorders and doucaine, Giles Lewin, oud, and Jean Kelly, harp & percussion.

Music and theatre collide in this fully staged show that heads back to 1492 Spain for a story of migration, community and conflict. At twilight on her final night in Seville, a Jewish woman lights the lamps. She is being forced to leave Spain and set sail for an uncertain future.

Her tale echoes down the ages to the personal stories of people of all faiths and backgrounds affected by politics and war today, as she tunes into a community of stories told by Jewish, Christian and Muslim women, soundtracked by plaintive Sephardic songs and lively Spanish medieval music.

The newly appointed BBC Radio 3 New Generation Baroque Ensemble Augelletti make their sold-out Beverley festival debut with A Curious Mind at St Nicholas Church, Beverley, on Saturday at 10am.

Focusing their musical lens on an ever curious and well-connected York clergyman and musician, Edward Finch, Ensemble Augelletti tell his singular story and perform some of his compositions and arrangements alongside music by his friends Purcell, Handel and Geminiani.

On Saturday, harpsichordist Steven Devine returns to Beverley with virtuoso violinist Bojan Čičić in a 4pm programme of Handel Sonatas at Toll Gavel United Church, melding GF Handel’s violin sonatas with those of the Italian-born violinist and composer Giovanni Stefano Carbonelli.

In A World Of Inspiration at Toll Gavel United Church on Sunday, the London Handel Players present a 3pm programme of Baroque works from Baroque composers from Poland, Italy, Spain, Portugal, the Canary Islands, India and the British Isles.

The festival’s opening illustrated lecture by Dr John Jenkins at St Mary’s Church on Friday at 4pm has sold out. Under the title of “…and oil dripped from the golden tomb”, the University of York co-director of the Centre for Pilgrimage Studies and Fellow of the Royal Historical Society recalls a Medieval Pilgrimage to St John of Beverley.

From his death in 721, to the destruction of his golden shrine in Beverley Minster in 1541, John of Beverley was the most important saint in the East Riding, prompting pilgrims to flock to his golden and bejewelled shrine from near and far.

By the close of the Middle Ages, thanks to the miracles he worked for the kings of England, St John had become a saint of national importance on a par with St George. Dr Jenkins’s lecture reveals why pilgrims came, or in some cases were forced to come, to Beverley, and the unique and wonderous spectacle the Minster canons provided for medieval visitors.

In the festival’s second lecture, at Toll Gavel United Church Hall, on Sunday at 4.30pm, Professor Melanie Giles, from the University of Manchester, reveals more of the ancient history of the East Riding in Ancient Threads and Enchanted Garments: Stories of preserved textiles from Iron Age and Roman Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Ancient textiles, made of both vegetal and wool fibres, are rarely preserved in archaeological contexts because of their organic and fragile nature. In this talk, Prof Giles shares the story of some rare examples, ranging from the edge of Iron Age cloaks, bags and containers from Arras burials in East Yorkshire to threads and garments found with bog bodies dating to the early Roman period in North Yorkshire and Lincolnshire.

Instrumentalists are invited to The Birth Of The Orchestra, a day-long workshop led by members of El Gran Teatro del Mundo at Hexagan Music Centre, Beverley, on Saturday at 9.30m.

This workshop on Baroque orchestral performance practice, based on the writings of George Muffat with additional music by Corelli and Lully, will be directed by Julio Caballero in the company of fellow El Gran Teatro del Mundo musicians Miriam Jorde, oboe, Bruno Hurtadoviol, cello, and Andrés Murillo, violin.

The workshop is open to players of Baroque oboe, traverso, bassoon, recorder and string players with Baroque instruments or modern instruments with gut strings and Baroque bows. Music will be provided and is available to download on the NCEM website, ncem.co.uk, for private practice before the event. Participants should be confident sight-readers.

Singers have two workshop options: festival debutants SongPath’s uplifting blend of walking, talking and music-making, setting off from Hengate Memorial Gardens on Saturday at 1.30pm to 3pm, followed by Tenebrae’s choral workshop, Music of the Spanish Golden Age, at Hexagan Music Centre on Sunday at 9.30am.

Contralto Jess Dandy, mezzo-soprano Joanne Harries and recorder player Olwen Foulkes lead a 90-minute singing walk around Beverley in Songpath, inviting participants to “immerse yourself in an outdoor experience that transcends conventional concerts, exploring mental well-being through the transformative power of music and nature”. Wear suitable clothing and footwear and bring a brolly, they advise.

Choral singers are invited to join Tenebrae’s experienced workshop leader Joseph Edwardsto work on some of the repertoire from Saturday’s n their programme. Music for the day includes Alfonso Lobo’s Versa est in Luctum and Tomás Luis de Victoria’s Taedet Anima and Astiterunt Reges Terrae.

The workshop is open to all voices with some sight-singing experience. The afternoon concludes with a short informal performance of music studied during the day, open to all, free of charge.

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival runs from May 24 to 26. Box office: 01904 658338,  ncem.co.uk or in person from Beverley Tourist Information Centre, Customer Service Centre, Cross Street, Beverley. Full programme: ncem.co.uk/whats-on/bemf.

Beverley & East Riding Early Music Festival: the back story

ESTABLISHED in 1988 to celebrate Beverley’s historic association with musicians from medieval times.

Blessed by a wealth of ecclesiastical buildings and musical carvings in stone and wood in both Beverley Minster and St Mary’s Church, making it the “perfect place for a festival of early music”.

Supported by East Riding of Yorkshire Council and administered by National Centre for Early Music, York.

Annual festival combines concerts, illustrated lectures and associated workshops.

Drag diva Velma Celli sings praises of show queens in York Theatre Royal cabaret night

Velma Celli: Returning to York Theatre Royal to celebrate West End and Broadway musical queens. Picture: Sophie Eleanor

YORK drag diva deluxe Velma Celli will be in regal voice at York Theatre Royal in her new cabaret concoction of music, risqué comedy and generally fabulous entertainment on May 23.

After God The Save The Queens’ celebration of British music icons, from Cilla Black, Shirley Bassey and Kate Bush to Adele, Amy Winehouse and Dua Lipa, here comes Velma Celli’s Show Queen.

“It was going to be called just ‘Show Queen’, but then I discovered there’s a famous drag act in Australia who’s done a show with that title, so ‘Velma Celli’s Show Queen’ it is,” says Velma, the flamboyant creation of West End musical actor and cruise ship star turn Ian Stroughair, 41.

“I’ll be touring it next year when it’ll be called ‘Show Queen’ but with a tag line. It’s a title that’s open to any interpretation.”

Offering an invitation to the new show, Velma says: “Grease up your voice boxes, head to the glorious Theatre Royal, York and come Hear the People Sing the Sound Of Music worthy of royalty or Hamilton himself in this greatest of Cabaret shows.”

Velma Celli: Presenting “the greatest of cabaret shows”

What’s in store? “It’s a brand new show going back to my own musical theatre roots, having appeared in iconic mega shows such as Cats, Chicago, Fame and Rent. I’ll be celebrating the very best of London’s West End and Broadway musical theatre hits in a show that takes us to every corner of the fabulous genre, from Kander & Ebb and Lloyd Webber to Stephen Schwartz’s Wicked and Schönberg’s Les Miserables and many more,” says Velma. “Like, more than Six!

“I first did it at Crazy Coqs [the London cabaret club], but only with piano, so not the full version that it will be in York, where the band will be led by Scott Phillips on keyboards. He’s a professional musical director, who I first met when he was training here in York, and now I take him everywhere to do all my gigs. He’s fixing up the rest of the band but Al Morrison will definitely be on guitar.”

Among the highlights of Velma’s 75-minute show will be a ten-minute Kander & Ebb medley of Cabaret and Chicago, including Cell Block Tango. “I’ll be doing all six of the murderesses at Cook County Jail regaling Roxie Hart with the stories behind the murder of the men in their lives,” says Velma. “I’m doing it in a mash-up with Henry VIII’s wives in Six!”

Velma’s special guests will be burlesque superstar Miss Betsy Rose and an acoustic set with soul-powered York singer Jessica Steel, a regular in Velma’s home-city shows accompanied by guitarist Stuart Allan.

“Betsy has been voted the number one burlesque artist three times and is known for being the best in vintage burlesque,” says Velma. “She’s done shows with me at Impossible York, and I look forward to her giving off Cyd Charisse vibes at the Theatre Royal. And Jess? She’s York’s finest!”

Miss Betsy Rose: Guest burlesque act at Velma Celli’s Show Queen cabaret night at York Theatre Royal

Velma Celli’s Show Queen will be Velma’s fourth gig at York Theatre Royal in recent years, after A Brief History Of Drag in May 2021, Me And My Divas in September 2022 and God Save The Queens last September.

“I did my first musical there, in 1997, when I was 14: Kes! The Musical,” Velma recalls. “Lawrence Till directed it, and we were just school kids working with West End professionals. What an experience.”

After 15 years of shows taking her to Australia, New York, the Edinburgh Fringe and London’s Hippodrome, Velma Celli’s diary is as busy and as diverse as ever.

“Last month I was the MC for a concert for the Demelza House children’s charity at the Granville Theatre in Ramsgate, introducing Anna-Jane Casey, Robin Cousins, Amy Lennox, Mike Nolan & Cheryl Baker and Christina Bianco, who I’ll be performing with at Crazy Coqs in a tenth anniversary of our show Divallusion on August 30,” says Velma.

Velma’s travels have taken her back to Australia this year on tour. “I played Sydney, the Brunswick Picturehouse, Byron Bay, in New South Wales, and Perth, where God Save The Queens won the Perth Fringeworld award for best cabaret, after I was  nominated previously for A Brief History Of Drag and won with Me And My Divas,” she says.

The poster artwork for Velma Celli’s God Save The Queens

“I did a cruise too, from Melbourne to Sydney, doing my show on board for four days – and I’ve sung at a private show in the Seychelles. Lovely!”

Coming up in York will be Velma Celli’s Pride Drag Brunch for York Pride on June 1 at Impossible York at 4pm and the Pride Official Afterparty at Ziggy’s Bar & Nightclub, in Micklegate, from 8pm.  

Further afield in Yorkshire, Velma will be performing God Save The Queens at Skipton Town Hall on June 15 (8pm, box office: skiptontownhall.co.uk). In the diary too is a return to a starring role at Yorktoberfest, York’s celebration of beer, bratwurst and all things Bavarian in the Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, on October 18, 19, 25 and 26 (tickets: ticketsource.co.uk/yorktoberfest).

Velma Celli’s Show Queen, York Theatre Royal, May 23, 7.30pm. Age guidance: 14 plus. Content warning: Strong language.

Should you be in the south: Velma Celli’s A Brief History Of Drag, King’s Head Theatre, 116 Upper Street, London, N1 1QN, June 17, 9pm; Velma Celli’s God Save The Queens, Fiery Bird, Goldsworth Road, Woking, July 13, 7.30pm. Box office: kingsheadtheatre.com; fierybirdvenue.org.uk.

Copyright of The Press, York

REVIEW: Martin Dreyer’s verdict on Ema Nikolovska/Joseph Middleton, Leeds Lieder Festival 2024

Ema Nikolovska and Joseph Middleton. Picture: Leeds Lieder Festival

Leeds Lieder Festival 2024: Ema Nikolovska/Joseph Middleton, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Grand Theatre, April 20

MACEDONIAN-CANADIAN mezzo soprano Ema Nikolovska, partnered by festival director Joseph Middleton, brought a delightful potpourri to her evening recital, in which they teamed Schubert and Debussy with rarities by Margaret Bonds and Nicolas Slonimsky alongside the premiere of a festival commission by Tansy Davies.

Nikolovska’s clean, nicely focused tone is allied to a lively personality that illuminates the poetryof her songs. There was a freshness to her opening Schubert group, not least in Im Frühling (In Spring).

After its penultimate verse, there was a pronounced rallentando and a long pause before she resumed. Not so long ago that would have been considered unstylish, but she made it seem natural. One could only admire, too, her treatment of the dramatic scena Der Unglückliche (The Forlorn One), a poem from Karoline Pichler’s novel Olivier. It has been called pastiche, but Nikolovska handled its emotional roller-coaster with immense conviction.

In answer to a commission from Leeds Lieder, celebrating its 20th anniversary, Tansy Davies chose to set Nick Drake’s The Ice Core Sample Says, taken from his collection The Farewell Glacier, about climate change. The poem deals memorably with the “chronicle of lost time” revealed in an ice core, with an overarching nostalgia in what is essentially a lament over mankind’s mistreatment of our planet.

Davies’s response is unexpected. Against an accompaniment that explores the extremes of the keyboard, she takes the voice slowly from very low to very high in each of a series of phrases. Later in the piece, which lasts about eight minutes, the vocal line becomes very jagged, as the narrator shows agitation at the shocking revelations coming from the ice.

Great demands are made upon the singer here, in what is essentially an instrumental line, quite the opposite of cantabile. Nikolovska was equal to them all, indeed she gave the impression of being comfortable.

Towards the end she also shakes something like maracas, as “Now the great narrator Silence takes over”. This powerful poem, replete with images, which was commendably read out beforehand, is arguably too complex for vocal setting. But Davies and Drake between them certainly made an impact.

The American composer Margaret Bonds (1913-1972) was a new name to me. Although a pianist, the bulk of her works were for solo voice; several of her spirituals were commissioned and sung by Leontyne Price. Her early Songs Of The Seasons (1935-6), settings of her favoured poet Langston Hughes, proved a delightful antidote to the Davies work, and elicited considerable virtuosity from Middleton.

Thereafter we were on more familiar ground. Debussy’s six Verlaine settings, Ariettes Oubliées, which really put him on the mélodie map, found her in idiomatic vein. She sustained a pleasing legato through Il Pleure dans Mon Cœur against the rippling piano, and ideally evoked the ennui of Spleen.

But in two Medtner songs in Rachmaninov style – Twilight with its flavour of a bar-room ballad and the sweeping lines of Sleeplessness – she showed plenty of heft.

A return to wry delicacy was the order of the day in Slonimsky’s Five Advertising Songs, commercial jingles by any other name, but with a few extra twists. This was immaculate caricature, from ‘falling asleep’ with pillowcases to grand sweeping lines for toothpaste. Nikolovska has a great sense of humour and proved it here. She topped it all off, however, with a touching Macedonian folk-song encore, which came right from the heart.

Review by Martin Dreyer

More Things To Do in York and beyond when Monet…that’s what you want. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 20, from The Press, York

Florally attired York Art Gallery senior curator Dr Beatrice Bertram stands by Claude Monet’s The Water-Lily Pond, on loan from the National Gallery. Picture: Charlotte Graham

NATURE in full bloom, hothoused Shakespeare, blossoming student creativity and teenage blues put the colour in Charles Hutchinson’s cheeks for warmer days ahead.

Exhibition of the summer: National Treasures: Monet In York: The Water-Lily Pond, York Art Gallery, in bloom until September 8

FRENCH Impressionist painter Claude Monet’s 1899 work, The Water-Lily Pond, forms the York centrepiece and trigger point for the National Gallery’s bicentenary celebrations in tandem with York Art Gallery. 

On show are key loans from regional and national institutions alongside York Art Gallery collection works and a large-scale commission by contemporary artist Michaela Yearwood-Dan, Una Sinfonia. Monet’s canvas is explored in the context of 19th-century French open-air painting, pictures by his early mentors and the Japanese prints that transformed his practice and beloved gardens in Giverny. Tickets: yorkartgallery.org.uk.

Stewart Dylan-Campbell’s Rob, left, and Aiden Kane’s Marc in Qweerdog Theatre’s Jump, playing Rise@Bluebird Bakery tomorrow

Relationship drama of the week: Qweerdog Theatre in Jump, at Rise@Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, tomorrow (12/5/2024), 8.30pm; doors 7.30pm

DEVELOPED through Manchester company Qweerdog’s LGBTQ+ writing project, Nick Maynard’s dark comedy takes an unusual look at contemporary gay life, exploring the possibility of relationships and how they are not always the way we imagine.

Directed by West End director Scott Le Crass, Jump depicts the lives, love lives and past lives of two lost souls drawn to a canal one night. As the weary, embittered Rob (Stewart Dylan-Campbell) contemplates the lure of the water, a handsome young man, the “chopsy” Marc (Aiden Kane), engages him in conversation. So begins a strange and fractious relationship that might just prove beneficial to them both. Box office: bluebirdbakery.co.uk/rise.

Paloma Faith: “Celebrating taking responsibility for your own happiness” at York Barbican tomorrow

Recommended but sold out already: Paloma Faith, York Barbican, tomorrow, 8pm; Katherine Priddy, The Crescent, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

STOKE Newington soul tour de force Paloma Faith showcases her sixth studio album, February’s deeply personal The Glorification Of Sadness, her “celebration of finding your way back after leaving a long-term relationship, being empowered even in your failures and taking responsibility for your own happiness”.

Birmingham folk singer and guitarist Katherine Priddy will be promoting second album The Pendulum Swing, released on Cooking Vinyl in February.  For the first time, her 14-date May tour finds her performing in a trio, joined by Harry Fausing Smith (strings) and support act George Boomsma (electric guitar).

Hollie McNish: Performing at the TakeOver festival at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kat Gollock

Festival of the week: TakeOver – In The Limelight, York Theatre Royal, May 13 to 18

IN this annual collaboration between York Theatre Royal and York St John University, third-year drama students are put in charge of the theatre and programming its events for a week, with support and mentoring from professionals. 

Among those events will be writer Hollie McNish, reading from her latest book, Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love (Thursday, 7.30pm), dance troupe Verve: Triple Bill (next Saturday, 7.30pm) and multiple shows by York St John students. For the full programme, head to: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/be-part-of-it/children-and-young-people/takeover/. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Gray O’Brien’s Juror 10, left, and Michael Greco’s Juror 7 in the 70th anniversary production of Twelve Angry Men. Picture: Jack Merriman

Jury service: Twelve Angry Men, Grand Opera House, York, May 13 to 18, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

IN its 70th anniversary touring production, Reginald Rose’s knife-edge courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men resonates with today’s audiences with its intricately crafted study of human nature. Within the confines of the jury deliberating room, 12 men hold the fate of a young delinquent, accused of killing his father, in their hands. 

What looks an open-and-shut case soon becomes a dilemma, wherein Rose examines the art of persuasion as the jurors are forced to examine their own self-image, personalities, experiences and prejudices. Tristan Gemmill, Michael Greco, Jason Merrells, Gray O’Brien and Gary Webster feature in Christopher Haydon’s cast. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Steven Arran: Directing Shakespeare’s Speakeasy’s debut play in a day in York at Theatre@41, Monkgate

York debut of the week: Shakespeare’s Speakeasy, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Thursday, 7.30pm

SHAKESPEARE’S Speakeasy is heading from Newcastle to York for the first time, making its Theatre@41 debut under the directorship of Steven Arran. “It’s Shakespeare, but it’s secret,” he says. “Can a group of strangers successfully stage a Shakespearean play in a day? Shakespeare’s Speakeasy is the place for you to find out.”

After learning lines over the past four weeks, the cast featuring the likes of Claire Morley, Esther Irving and Ian Giles meets for the first time on Thursday morning to rehearse an irreverent, entertaining take on one of Bill’s best-known plays, culminating in a public performance. Which one? “Like all good Speakeasys, that’s a secret,” says Arran. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Toby Lee: Blues prodigy heads to the Fulford Arms next Saturday

Blues gig of the week: Toby Lee, Fulford Arms, York, May 18, 7.30pm

BLUES rock prodigy Toby Lee, the 19-year-old Oxfordshire guitarist and singer, will be playing 100 showshome and abroad this year, 40 of them his own headline gigs, 60 as a special guest of boogie-woogie pianist Jools Holand and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

The 2023 Young Blues Musician of the Year learned his trade playing Zack Mooneyham in the first West End production of School Of Rock and has since shared stages with his hero Joe Bonamassa, Buddy Guy, Peter Frampton and Slash. First up, Fulford Arms next Saturday, then come Jools engagements at York Barbican on December 1 and Leeds First Direct Arena on December 20. Box office: ticketweb.uk/event/toby-lee-the-fulford-arms-tickets/13366163.

Her name is Del Rio: And she lives for stand-up comedy as drag queen Bianca feels Dead Inside on York-bound world tour

Gig announcement of the week: Bianca Del Rio, Dead Inside, York Barbican, September 18

COMEDY drag queen and RuPaul’s Drag Race champion Bianca Del Rio heads to York on her 11-date stand-up tour. Up for irreverent discussion will be politics, pop culture, political correctness, current events, cancel culture and everyday life, as observed through the eyes of a “clown in the gown”, who will be “coming out of my crypt and hitting the road again to remind everyone that I’m still dead inside”. Tickets go on sale on Tuesday at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Who’s performing in York St John University’s TakeOver – In The Limelight festival at York Theatre Royal, May 13 to 18?

Verve: Presenting a dance triple bill at TakeOver – In The Limelight

THE 12th TakeOver festival at York Theatre Royal is in the hands of York St John University for the fourth year, taking the theme of In The Limelight from May 13 to 18.

In this annual town-and-gown collaboration, third-year drama students are put in charge of the theatre and programming its events for a week, with support and mentoring from professionals. 

“TakeOver is a fantastic opportunity for students to experience running and taking part in a theatre festival that is entirely unique,” says Ruby, a student on the producing team. “We’re able to learn so many new skills and create something that we can really be proud of.” said Ruby, a student on the producing team. 

Among the highlights will be the May 16 performance of Scottish author and poet Hollie McNish, reading from her latest book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love, wherein she addresses questions of friendships, flags and newborns as she shines her poetic lens on “all those things we have been taught to hate, and which we might learn to love again”. Joining her on the 7.30pm bill will be fellow poet Micheal Pedersen, reading from his books The Cat Prince and Boy Friends.  

To “see where dance is right now, and where it might go next”, the Verve: Triple Billat 7.30pm on May 18 presents a bold programme featuring new commissions by artistic directorMatteo Marfoglia and choreographer Joy Alpuerto Ritter,alongside a reworking of People Used To Die by the international collective(LA)HORDE. 

Verve is the postgraduate company of Northern School of Contemporary Dance in Leeds. Each year, the company commissions choreographers from all over the world to create an artistically distinct, physically daring and engaging programme of dance work. 

Hollie McNish: Reading from her book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love on May 16

Festival Programme

May 13

Opening ceremony; free snacks and drinks available for all guests.

7.30pm, Upper Foyer, This is York Pecha Kucha, Volume 30: Bearing Fruit, in collaboration with York Creatives. Rapid-fire talks from more than seven speakers on a range of topics created to leave you feeling entertained, educated and inspired. 

May 14

Full day of shows and activities, starting with two York St John companies.

11am, Studio: Bounce Back: Interactive children’s theatre experience introducing the audience to the world of fairytale.

12 noon, Studio: Final Girls: Multi-media performance set in a forest where a group of unlikely people try to survive, the best they can, against an unknown entity.

Followed by dance trail that will take the audience around the city of York before returning to the theatre.  

6pm, Studio: Peachy & Me:  Performer Beverly Bishop invites family audiences into a world of storytelling, music, magic and comedy, as she appears as both herself and her clown alter-ego to overcome the complexities of the modern world.

7.30pm, main house: Out Of Character Theatre Company in Afterlife.In this York-made piece, strangers find themselves in a waiting room between life and death where they must go through their past lives to choose their forever.  

The TakeOver – In The Limelight logo for the 2024 festival

May 15

11am, main house: Misery Loves will be sharing their production of The Women Of Whitechapel, a newly devised musical that re-tells the stories of Jack the Ripper’s victims with the focus on finding out who these women really were.

12 noon, main house: Blushed’s show Our Fault, Never Their Fault follows two characters as they experience the journey of becoming a woman, highlighting the good, bad and little embarrassing parts that go alongside growing up.  

7.30pm, main house: Pinch Punch Improvisation use audience suggestions to help their four characters unmask the murderer before they are all killed in the improv whodunit Locomotive For Murder

May 16

11am, Studio: York St John company Glass Broom perform their post-apocalyptic show End,where five people are trapped in a house together. Tensions runs high as the characters are forced to find a way to survive with each other.

12 noon, main house: Fellow York St John company Tradesman present Life Of The Party,where agroup of collaborators explores essential themes through the lens of absurdist theatre, aiming to question the themes of the human condition. 

6pm, Studio: York company Pop Yer Clogs Theatre perform Alice In Wonderland Abridged, Lewis Carroll’s timeless tale ofAlice encountering many weird and wonderful characters in subterranean land where every time is tea time and nothing is ever as it seems.

7.30pm, main house: Hollie McNish reads from her book Lobster And Other Things I’m Learning To Love. 

May 17

11am and 1pm, main house: Two dance routines created by York St John student Izzy Cryer. The first, Unholy,tells a story of cheating and betrayal, performed ina commercial style; the second, the lyrical Survivor, focuses on survival and standing together as one.

12 noon, Studio: York St John company M.A.D. say “fate, you can’t escape it”, asking how will it leave us? Alone or somehow forced together? Let’s find out what fate will throw at us this time in The Red Thread (a show suitable for age 18 plus

Alexander Flanagan Wright, left, and Phil Grainger: Performing Helios in the closing show on May 18

7.30pm, main house: A talk by Colin Sutton, a police officer for 30 years, who served as the head of a Metropolitan Police murder squad for the last nine of them. His show, The Real Manhunter, gives a guide to his career, how policing has changed, what it feels like to chase a serial killer and how he made the step from policing to storytelling. 

May 18Alexander

At 7.30pm, on the main house stage, Verve: Triple Bill of modern dance routines.

At 7.45pm, in the Studio, Alexander Flangan Wright and Phil Grainger present the third in their trilogy of Greek dramas in words and music, Helios.

Opportunities to be involved throughout the week:  

May 13, 2pm: Heels workshop, focusing on a style of dance that inspires confidence and is aimed at any level of experience. 5pm: Year 10 students from Joseph Rowntree School present a show based on social media and lockdown.

Throughout the week, tours include an afternoon tea experience. An open mic event takes place on May 14 at 4pm; a fashion show will be held on May 16 at 1pm; adult cocktail classes on May 17 at 2pm; a dance workshop for five to ten-year-olds, based on The Lion King, on May 18 at 2pm.

For the full programme, head to: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/be-part-of-it/children-and-young-people/takeover/. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond as the week ahead takes shape. Hutch’s List No. 14, from Gazette & Herald

Sculptor Tony Cragg with his bronze work Outspan in the Great Hall at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

SCULPTURES and Tess in the country, free events at the double, nun fun on the run,  courtroom tensions and a funny mummy send Charles Hutchinson out and about.

Sculptures of the week: Tony Cragg at Castle Howard, near Malton, until September 22

SCULPTOR Tony Cragg presents the first major exhibition by a leading contemporary artist in the house and grounds of Castle Howard. On show are new and recent sculptures, many being presented on British soil for the first time, including large-scale works in bronze, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass.

Inside the house are works in bronze and wood, glass sculptures and works on paper in the Great Hall, Garden Hall, High South, Octagon and Colonnade. Tickets: castlehoward.co.uk.

Let us pray: Landi Oshinowo’s Deloris Van Cartier, left, and Sue Cleaver’s Mother Superior in Sister Act, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Sister Act, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm matinee, Saturday

SUE Cleaver takes holy orders in a break from Coronation Street to play the Mother Superior in Sister Act in her first stage role in three decades. Adding Alan Menken songs to the 1992 film’s storyline, the show testifies to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music in its humorous account of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier’s life taking a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.

Placed in protective custody, in the disguise of a nun under the Mother Superior’s suspicious eye, Deloris (Landi Oshinowo) helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

One of Stephen G Bird’s artworks in his Helmsley Arts Centre exhibition

Exhibition of the week: Stephen G Bird, Helmsley Arts Centre, Helmsley, until June 28

NORTH Yorkshire artist Stephen G Bird works in a variety of painting and drawing media.  His pictures begin with extensive observational drawing in urban and rural landscapes. Once back in his studio, he creates pictorial and allegorical narratives from memory and imagination. Themes include tales from myth and legend and the comedy and tragedy of the everyday. “Life is dark but also funny,” he says.

Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess in Ockham’s Razor’s circus theatre production of Tess at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kie Cummings

“Bold new vision” of the week: Ockham’s Razor in Tess, York Theatre Royal, tonight to Saturday, 7.30pm

CIRCUS theatre exponents Ockham’s Razor tackle a novel for the first time in a staging of Thomas Hardy’s Tess Of The D’Urbervilles that combines artistic directors Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey’s adaptation of the original text with the physical language of circus and dance.

Exploring questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood, Tess utilises seven performers, including Harona Kamen’s Narrator Tess and Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess, to re-tell the Victorian story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

The Funny Mummy: One-woman comedy show about the bonkers world of parenting

Comedy gig of the week: The Funny Mummy, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm

THE Funny Mummy, alias Alyssa Kyria, delivers a one-woman comedy show about “the bonkers world” of parenting. “From pregnancy to playdates, WhatsApp groups to school runs, if you’re a parent, and you need a laugh, then this show is for you,” she advocates.  

Kyria, co-creator of Bring Your Own Baby Comedy, performs across the country and has appeared on the BBC, ITV and Sky. Her comedy, music videos and sketches have gone viral on Netmums and Facebook. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

The Twisty Turns: Country songs new and old at Milton Rooms, Malton

Free gig of the week: Lazy Sunday Sessions, The Twisty Turns and Joey Wing, Studio Bar, Milton Rooms, Malton, Sunday, 3pm to 5pm

The Milton Rooms’ new Lazy Sunday Sessions programme continues this weekend with a double bill headlined by Ryedale country band The Twisty Turns, who combine their own compositions, influenced by country, folk, country blues and bluegrass, with traditional country songs and rip-roaring fiddle tunes.

In the line-up are Benjamin Gallon, who provides acoustic guitar, vocals and “anteloping”; Jenny Trilsbach, on double bass, vocals and “foxiness”, and Jerry Bloom, on fiddle and “frogmanship”. Singer Joey Wing supports. Entry is free.

Butterwick Alpaca Retreat’s alpacas at the Love Local day at Nunnington Hall. Picture: National Trust

Free celebration of the week: Love Local, Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, Sunday, 10.30am to 5pm; last entry at 4.15pm

HELPING to raise awareness and “show off how brilliant Ryedale and the surrounding area is”, artists, craftspeople, businesses, charities, and community groups create this family event at the National Trust property.

Visitors can taste fresh Yorkshire produce, buy goods from Ryedale makers and crafters and enjoy free admission to the country house, gardens and the last day of the From The Earth exhibition by East Riding Artists’ group of painters, potters and creatives.

Taking the vote: The murder trial jurors in Reginald Rose’s Twelve Angry Men at Grand Opera House, York

Jury service: Twelve Angry Men, Grand Opera House, York, May 13 to 18, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees

IN its 70th anniversary touring production, Reginald Rose’s knife-edge courtroom thriller Twelve Angry Men resonates with today’s audiences with its intricately crafted study of human nature. Within the confines of the jury deliberating room, 12 men hold the fate of a young delinquent, accused of killing his father, in their hands. 

What looks an open-and-shut case soon becomes a dilemma, wherein Rose examines the art of persuasion as the jurors are forced to examine their own self-image, personalities, experiences and prejudices. Tristan Gemmill, Michael Greco, Jason Merrells, Gray O’Brien and Gary Webster feature in Christopher Haydon’s cast. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the diary takes shape for May 4 onwards. Hutch’s List No. 19, from The Press, York

Sculptor Tony Cragg with his bronze work Outspan in the Great Hall at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

FROM landscape sculptures to community cinema screenings, a circus company’s novel assignment to a soap star’s heavenly musical role, Charles Hutchinson’s week ahead is taking shape.

Exhibition of the week: Tony Cragg at Castle Howard, near York, until September 22

SCULPTOR Tony Cragg presents the first major exhibition by a leading contemporary artist in the house and grounds of Castle Howard. On show are new and recent sculptures, many being presented on British soil for the first time, including large-scale works in bronze, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass.

Inside the house are works in bronze and wood, glass sculptures and works on paper in the Great Hall, Garden Hall, High South, Octagon and Colonnade. Tickets: castlehoward.co.uk.

The Lapins: Celebrating travel, exploration and adventure in music at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

World premieres of the week: York Late Music, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, Mike Sluman, oboe, and Jenny Martins, piano, Saturday (4/5/2024), 1pm; The Lapins, Saturday (4/5/2024), 7.30pm

MIKEY Sluman highlights the range of the oboe family – oboe, oboe d’amore, cor anglais and bass oboe – in his lunchtime programme of Lutoslawski, Talbot-Howard and Poulenc works and world premieres of Desmond Clarke’s Five Exploded Pastorals and Nick Williams’s A Hundred Miles Down The Road (Le Tombeau de Fred).

The Lapins examine ideas of space, place and time in an evening programme that extols the joys of travel, exploration and adventure through the music of Brian Eno, Stockhausen and Erik Satie, the world premiere of James Else’s A Tapestry In Glass and the first complete performance of Hayley Jenkins’s Gyps Fulvus. Tickets: latemusic.org or on the door.

The poster for The Groves Community Cinema festival at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Film event of the week: The Groves Community Cinema, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, May 5 to May 11  

THE third Groves Community Cinema film festival promises a wide variety of films, from cult classics and music to drama and animated fun. Supported by Make It York and City of York Council, the event opens with Sunday’s Arnie Schwarzenegger double bill of The Terminator at 6.30pm and T2 Judgement Day at 8.45pm.

Monday follows up Marcel The Shell With Shoes at 2.30pm with Justine Triet’s legal drama Anatomy Of A Fall at 6.30pm; Tuesday offers Ian McKellen’s Hamlet at 7.30pm; Wednesday, Yorkshire Film Archives’ Social Cinema, 6.30pm, and Friday, cult classical musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch, 8pm. To finish, next Saturday serves up the animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse at 2.30pm and Jonathan Demme’s concert documentary Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense at 7.30pm. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Steve Cassidy: Performing with his band and friends at the JoRo

Nostalgic gig of the week: Steve Cassidy Band & Friends, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday (5/5/2024), 7.30pm

VETERAN York frontman Steve Cassidy leads his band in an evening of rock, country and ballads, old and new, with songs from the 1960s to 21st century favourites in their playlist.

Cassidy, a three-time winner of New Faces, has recorded with celebrated York composer John Barry and performed in the United States and many European countries. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Let us pray: Landi Oshinowo’s Deloris Van Cartier and Sue Cleaver’s Mother Superior in Sister Act, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Sister Act, Grand Opera House, York, May 6 to 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday

SUE Cleaver takes holy orders in a break from Coronation Street to play the Mother Superior in Sister Act in her first stage role in three decades. Adding Alan Menken songs to the 1992 film’s storyline, the show testifies to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music in its humorous account of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier’s life taking a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.

Placed in protective custody, in the disguise of a nun under the Mother Superior’s suspicious eye, Deloris (Landi Oshinowo) helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess in Ockham’s Razor’s circus theatre production of Tess at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kie Cummings

“Bold new vision” of the week: Ockham’s Razor in Tess, York Theatre Royal, May 8 to 11, 7.30pm

CIRCUS theatre exponents Ockham’s Razor tackle a novel for the first time in a staging of Thomas Hardy’s  Tess Of The D’Urbervilles that combines artistic directors Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey’s adaptation of the original text with the physical language of circus and dance.

Exploring questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood, Tess utilises seven performers, including Harona Kamen’s Narrator Tess and Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess, to re-tell the Victorian story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Night of dub, funk and world music at Pocklington Arts Centre

Funkiest gig of the week: Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, Pocklington Arts Centre, May 9, 8pm

SUPREME bassist Jah Wobble’s two-hour show takes in material from his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd and collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Can’s Holger Czukay, Ministry’s Chris Connelly and Killing Joke’s Geordie Walker.

Born John Wardle in 1958, he was renamed by Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, who struggled to pronounce his name correctly. Wobble combines dub, funk and world music, especially Africa and the Middle East, in his songwriting. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

“Charming nonsense”: Steven Lee’s There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly at the SJT, Scarborough

Half-term show announcement of the week: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 28, 2.30pm

FIRST written as a song in 1953, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was a chart-topping hit for singer and actor Burl Ives before being adapted into a best-selling book by Pam Adams a few years later, one still found in schools, nurseries and homes across the world.  

To mark the nursery rhyme’s 50th anniversary, children’s author Steven Lee has created a magical musical stage show for little ones to enjoy with their parents that combines the charming nonsense of the rhyme with his own “suitably silly twists”. Box office: 01723 370541 or sjt.uk.com.

Let the battle of the sexes resume as York Shakespeare Project gives rehearsed reading of Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed

York Shakespeare Project’s poster for Sunday’s rehearsed reading of John Fletcher’s The Tamer Tamed

YORK Shakespeare Project is complementing this week’s run of Shakespeare’s The Taming Of The Shrew with a one-off performance of John Fletcher’s sequel, The Tamer Tamed, at the Creative Arts Centre Auditorium, York St John University, on Sunday at 5pm.

Fletcher’s rarely staged Jacobean riposte to William Shakespeare’s most controversial “problem play” will be presented in a rehearsed reading on the closing day of the 2024 York International Shakespeare Festival.

YSP chair Tony Froud explains: “We are very happy to borrow an idea from Gregory Doran, who staged both plays in tandem, using the same cast, in his productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2003. Fletcher’s play is a deliberate and very entertaining response to Shakespeare’s original.”

Director Claire Morley in rehearsals. Picture: S R Taylor Photography

Written in 1611, 20 years after Shakespeare’s battle of the sexes, The Tamer Tamed (or The Woman’s Prize) gives an insight into changing attitudes to women and marriage in the Jacobean period.

YSP’s rehearsed reading is being directed by Claire Morley, assistant director to Maggie Smales on The Taming Of The Shrew, whose run at Theatre@41, Monkgate, ends tomorrow night. Many of the same cast will undertake Sunday’s reading, joined by familiar YSP faces Andrew Isherwood, Effie Warboys and Sally Mitcham.

“We’re enormously grateful to members of our very talented cast for committing to perform a second play, but the actors couldn’t resist the challenge of exploring Fletcher’s fascinating take on Shakespeare,” says Claire. “Luckily they don’t have to learn any more lines, as this will be a script-in-hand reading.”

Claire Morley, front row, second from right , in the role of Henry V in York Shakespeare Project’s Heny V in 2015

Claire is no stranger to York Shakespeare Project, having appeared in several of its productions, most notably playing the title role in Maggie Smales’s all-female Henry V in 2015. “It’s a joy to be working with Maggie again and we’re very lucky to have such a fabulous cast,” she adds.

In Fletcher’s sequel, the widowed Petruchio has a new wife and a new challenge as he discovers that he is not the only one who can do the taming. Fletcher borrows characters from Shakespeare and Ben Jonson and a key plot device from Ancient Greek dramatist Aristophanes’s Lysistrata. “The result is a richly entertaining exploration of marriage and relationships in another battle of the sexes,” says Tony.

The cast comprises: Rosy Rowley as Maria; Effie Warboys, Livia; Kirsty Farrow, Bianca; Andrew Isherwood, Petruchio; Mark Simmonds, Petronius; Mark Payton, Gremio and Peter; Sam Jackson, Rowland; Nick Patrick Jones, Hortensio; Sally Mitcham, Tranio, and Stuart Green, Grumio.

Tickets are on sale at parrabbola.co.uk or yorkshakes.co.uk.

Tales of Barrie and the Bard to be told in Shakespeare’s Royals at York Theatre Royal

Barrie Rutter: Going face to face with Shakespeare’s Royals at York Theatre Royal Studio

IN his X profile, veteran Yorkshire actor Barrie Rutter OBE introduces himself as: “Lover of language. Awobopaloobopalopbamboom – everything else is Shakespeare”.

Barrie and the Bard have had a long, long relationship, one that is the subject of his new show, Shakespeare’s Royals, whose 11-date tour sends him to the York Theatre Royal Studio tomorrow (26/4/2024) as part of the York International Shakespeare Festival.

Barrie, founder and former artistic director of Northern Broadsides, celebrates the Bard’s kings and queens – their achievements, conquests and foibles – with tales, anecdotes and memories from a career of playing and directing Shakespeare’s Royals.

Told he could never play a king on account of his Yorkshire accent, Hull-born Rutter, now 77, took the revolutionary step of creating his own theatre company in 1992 at Dean Clough in Halifax to use the northern voice for Shakespeare’s kings, queens and emperors, not only the usual drunken porters, jesters or fools.

It has been said that the Yorkshire dialect most readily matches the Elizabethan language of Shakespeare’s time. “I can’t say that would be the case,” says Barrie. “I never claimed that, but all those short vowels and granite-heavy consonants are great lanes for language to travel down, and the northern voices of our country suit that language, that sound – as we know from all the work I did for Tony Harrison, echoing Ancient Greek dramas [The Mysteries, The Oresteia and The Trackers Of Oxyrhynchus].”

Shakespeare’s Royals was first staged as a one-off in Halifax last April. “The evening was such a success that I’m now touring it,” says Barrie. “The first one was at The Viaduct, the cellar theatre space I created at Dean Clough, which I have a real fondness for, and it worked really well.

“Sarah and Jamie Horsley, who run the True North restaurant at Dean Clough and now The Viaduct, suggested putting things on there and taking things out on tour as Sarah sits on the touring board of Arts Council North, so that’s what I’m doing.”

Barrie stepped down from the artistic director’s post at Northern Broadsides in April 2018 in frustration at what he saw as inadequate Arts Council funding for the company. Since then he has worked as a freelance actor, such as performing with Clive Anderson in the world premiere of Daniel Taub’s Winner’s Curse at the Park Theatre, London, in February last year, as well as coming through treatment for throat cancer in 2020.

A show such as Shakespeare’s Royals gives him a chance to keep squeezing his artistic juices. “You need your ego, the one that doesn’t get in the way, but keeps you going, keeps you being imaginative, keeps the brain working,” says Barrie. “This is a way to say I still have something to offer, something entertaining, something informative…and always pleasurable. This show is a bit of all that…and it’s political too.

Barrie Rutter as Lear in Shakespeare’s King Lear in 2015. Picture: Nobby Clark

“I make no secret of choosing Titania’s climate change speech from A Midsummer Night’s Dream [Act II, Scene 1] and the ‘basic anti-Brexit edit’ of John of Gaunt’s This England monologue [from Richard II, Act II, Scene 1].

His favourite speech from Henry VI, Part Three, others from Henry V and King Lear, feature too, bookended by Macbeth, his first show as a “winsome 18-year-old at school” in 1964.

Shakespeare’s Royals combines Rutter’s guide to Shakespeare’s royalty, from Richard III to Henry IV, V and VI and the fairy king and queen of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with humorous anecdotes from his life in the theatre, whether founding Northern Broadsides, directing Lenny Henry in his Shakespeare debut as Othello, portraying assorted royals or encountering Dizzy Gillespie and Rudolf Nureyev.

As he reflects on a career that has taken him from Hamburg to Helsinki, Brazil to Beijing, Shakespeare’s Globe to the amphitheatre of Epidaurus in Greece, he says: “Some stories are very personal, some are instructive of what makes me tick, what I enjoy; hopefully they will be relatable and fun.

“In the case of the Calypso that accompanies Richard II, I was just going along my shelves, seeing what was there, and I remembered this Calypso that I sang in 1966 and didn’t sing again until last year – and yet I could recall every line.”

Barrie will be joined by Emily Butterfield from Northern Broadsides. “I didn’t want there to be no female voice in the show,” he says. “So I have Emily for Titania, Cleopatra and Elizabeth from Richard III, and there’ll be more music: a dirty limerick with Henry V and 12-bar blues with Cleopatra. Emily also plays the flute, and she’ll close the show with the last song from Twelfth Night.”

At school, an English teacher had frogmarched Rutter into the school play because he had “the gob for it”, and feeling at home on stage, he chose his future direction and has never looked back. Now he returns to York Theatre Royal, where he last appeared in November 2017 in his farewell Broadsides tour, For Love Or Money, a typically anarchic theatrical double act with Blake Morrison.

Time for Barrie Rutter to shake up Shakespeare once more.

Barrie Rutter: Shakespeare’s Royals, York Theatre Royal Studio, tomorrow (26/4/2024), 7.45pm;. Also Ripon Theatre Festival, Ripon Cathedral, July 4, 7.30pm. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.ukRipon, ripontheatrefestival.org.