More Things To Do in and around York, as Levelling up, peas and wickedness this way come. List No. 54, courtesy of The Press

Ben Moor and Joanna Neary: Mini-season of stand-up theatre and comedy at Theatre@41

MOOR, Moor, Moor and much more, more, more besides are on Charles Hutchinson’s list for the week ahead.

Surrealist stand-up theatre of the week, Ben Moor and Joanna Neary mini-season, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today until Saturday

BEN Moor and Joanna Neary combine to deliver five offbeat comedy shows in three days in their Theatre@41 debut.

Moor contemplates performance, friendship and regret in his lecture about lectures, Pronoun Trouble, tonight at 8pm. Tomorrow, at 7.30pm, Neary’s multi-character sketch show with songs and impersonations, Wife On Earth, is followed by Moor’s Who Here’s Lost?, his dream-like tale of a road trip of the soul taken by two outsiders.

Saturday opens at 3pm with Joanna’s debut children’s puppet show, Stinky McFish And The World’s Worst Wish, and concludes at 7pm with the two-hander BookTalkBookTalkBook, a “silly author event parody show”. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Gunpowder Guy in Horrible Histories’ Barmy Britain. Picture: Frazer Ashford

Alternative history lesson of the week: Horrible Histories’ Barmy Britain, Grand Opera House, York, today at 1.30pm, 7pm; tomorrow, 10.30am and 7pm; Saturday, 3pm, 7pm; Sunday, 11am, 3pm

WHAT if a Viking moved in next door? Would you lose your heart or head to horrible Henry VIII? Can evil Elizabeth entertain England? Will Parliament survive Gunpowder Guy? Dare you stand and deliver to dastardly Dick Turpin?

Questions, questions, so many questions to answer, and here to answer them are the Horrible Histories team in Barmy Britain, a humorously horrible and eye-popping show trip to the past with Bogglevision 3D effects. Box office: atgtickets.com/york

Hannah Victoria in Tutti Frutti’s The Princess And The Pea at York Theatre Royal Studio

Reopening of the week: York Theatre Royal Studio for Tutti Frutti’s The Princess And The Pea, today to Tuesday; no show on Sunday

YORK Theatre Royal Studio reopens today with a capacity reduced from 100 to 71 and no longer any seating to the sides.

First up, Leeds children’s theatre company Tutti Frutti revive York playwright Mike Kenny’s adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s story, set in a place where what you see is not what it seems: the Museum of Forgotten Things.

Three musical curators delve into the mystery of how a little green pea ended up there in an hour of humour, songs and a romp through every type of princess you could imagine. Box office and show times: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Artist Anita Bowerman and Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen at Dove Tree Art Gallery and Studio

Open Studios of the week: Anita Bowerman, Dove Tree Art Gallery and Studio, Back Granville Road, Harrogate, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm

HARROGATE paper-cut, watercolour and stainless steel artist Anita Bowerman opens her doors for refreshments and a browse around her new paintings of Yorkshire and Yorkshire Shepherdess Amanda Owen, prints and mugs. 

“It’s a perfect chance for inspiration before the Christmas present-buying rush starts,” says Anita, who has been busy illustrating a new charity Christmas card for the Yorkshire Air Ambulance featuring the Yorkshire Shepherdess.

Rachel Croft: York singer-songwriter performing at Drawsome! day of activities at Spark:York as part of York Design Week on Saturday

York Design Week gig of the week: Drawsome!, Mollie Coddled Talk More Pavilion, Spark:York, Saturday, from 3pm

AS part of Drawsome’s day of workshops and an Indy Makers Market to complement MarkoLooks’ print swap exhibition of illustrators and printmakers, York’s Young Thugs Records are curating a free line-up of live music.

Taking part will be The Hazy Janes, Kell Chambers and Rachel Croft, singer, songwriter and illustrator to boot.

Breabach: First touring band to play Selby Town Hall in “far too long”. Picture: Paul Jennings

Welcome back of the week: Breabach, Selby Town Hall, Saturday, 8pm

GLASGOW folk luminaries Breabach will be the first touring band to play Selby Town Hall for almost 20 months this weekend.

“Leading lights of the Scottish roots music scene and five-time Scots Trad Music Award winners, they’re a really phenomenally talented band,” says Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer. “It’s an absolute thrill to have professional music back in the venue. It’s been far too long!” Box office: 01757 708449, at selbytownhall.co.uk or on the door from 7.30pm.

Levelling up in York: Jazz funksters Level 42 in the groove at York Barbican on Sunday night

Eighties’ celebration of the week: Level 42, York Barbican, Sunday, doors 7pm

ISLE of Wight jazz funksters Level 42 revive those rubbery bass favourites Lessons In Love, The Sun Goes Down (Living It Up), Something About You, Running In The Family et al at York Barbican.

Here are the facts: Mark King’s band released 14 studio, seven live and six compilation albums, sold out Wembley Arena for 21 nights and chalked up 30 million album sales worldwide. 

This From Eternity To Here tour gig has been rearranged from October 2020; original tickets remain valid. Box office for “limited availability”: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Writes of passage: Musician and now author Richard Thompson

Guitarist of the week:  Richard Thompson, York Barbican, Monday, doors 7pm

RICHARD Thompson plays York Barbican on the back of releasing Beeswing, his April autobiography subtitled Losing My Way And Finding My Voice 1967-1975.

An intimate memoir of musical exploration, personal history and social revelation, it charts his co-founding of folk-rock pioneers Fairport Convention, survival of a car crash, formation of a duo with wife Linda and discovery of Sufism.

Move on from the back pages, here comes Richard Thompson OBE, aged 72, songwriter, singer and one of Rolling Stone magazine’s Top 20 Guitarists of All Time. Katherine Priddy supports. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

That clinches it: Emma Scott’s Macbeth leaps into the arms of Nell Frampton’s The Lady in rehearsals for York Shakespeare Project’s Macbeth. Picture: John Saunders

Something wicked this way comes…at last: York Shakespeare Project in Macbeth, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, October 26 to 30, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

THE curse of Macbeth combined with Lockdown 1’s imposition to put a stop to York Shakespeare Project’s Scottish Play one week before its March 2020 opening.

Rising like the ghost of Banquo, but sure to be better received, Leo Doulton’s resurrected production will run as the 37th play in the York charity’s mission to perform all Shakespeare’s known plays over 20 years.

Doulton casts Emma Scott’s Macbeth into a dystopian future, using a cyberpunk staging to bring to life this dark tale of ambition, murder and supernatural forces. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Ballet Black dancers Marie Astrid Mence, left, Isabela Coracy, Cira Robinson, Sayaka Ichikawa, Jose Alves, Ebony Thomas and Alexander Fadyiro in Mthuthuzeli’s The Waiting Game

Dance show of the week: Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm

ARTISTIC director Cassa Pancho’s Ballet Black return to York with a double bill full of lyrical contrasts and beautiful movement.

Will Tuckett blends classical ballet, poetry and music to explore ideas of home and belonging in Then Or Now; fellow Olivier Award-winning choreographer Mthuthuzeli November contemplates the purpose of life in The Waiting Game. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

From Limpsey Gate Lane, August, by Sue Slack

Exhibition of the week: Fylingdales Group of Artists, Blossom Street Gallery, Blossom Street, York, until November 30

TWELVE Fylingdales Group members are contributing 31 works to this exhibition of Yorkshire works, mainly of paintings in oils, acrylics, gouache and limonite.

Two pieces by Paul Blackwell are in pastel; Angie McCall has incorporated collage in her mixed-media work and printmaker Michael Atkin features too.

Also participating are David Allen, fellow Royal Society of Marine Artist member and past president David Howell, Kane Cunningham, John Freeman, Linda Lupton, Don Micklethwaite, Bruce Mulcahy, Sue Slack and Ann Thornhill.

Spiers & Boden turn Fallow Ground into cause for light relief at Pocklington gig

Country seat: Spiers & Boden make a fruitful return with Fallow Ground despite its barren title

AFTER years of speculation, English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together.

Last month came the album Fallow Ground on the Yorkshire label Hudson Records: the herald to a 23-date autumn tour that visits Pocklington Arts Centre for a sold-out 8pm show on Wednesday.

First forming the duo in 2001, melodeon and concertina player John Spiers, now 46, and singer, fiddler and guitarist Jon Boden, 44, became leading lights in pioneering big folk band Bellowhead, resting their “double act” in 2014 before the Bellowhead juggernaut roared off into the sunset in 2016.

“We always thought of it as a hiatus rather than us ending the duo in 2014,” says Boden. “We stopped because Bellowhead were taking over. We were fighting against the tide in terms of time being available and media attention.

“It felt like the right time to focus on Bellowhead, but that said, since Bellowhead’s finale, we seem to have taken it in turns to be busy. When I was busy, working with The Remnant Kings, John wasn’t; when he was, I was twiddling my thumbs, and then along came the pandemic.”

Boden duly completed his post-apocalyptic trilogy with his fifth solo album, Last Mile Home, recorded in Spring and Summer 2020 at home and in a Sheffield industrial unit for release in March with its theme of a walk through wasteland to a mystical coastal destination with messages of hope and renewal en route.

“The last album in the climate-change concept trilogy, set a few years’ hence, is more nature focused, describing an older couple who have lived in the wild by themselves for years and are now making a valedictory journey from moor to coast,” he says.

Jon Boden completed his post-apocalyptic climate change trilogy with Last Mile Home, recorded in 2020

“Certainly, in my mind, it’s about walking from Sheffield to the Lincolnshire coast, but I’m also interested in the idea that if you’re using an album as a format for telling a story, you can leave a lot more gaps for people to fill in the story for themselves.”

Once Boden’s trilogy was complete, Boden & Spiers set to work on resuming their fiddle and melodeon partnership. “The last time we were seriously putting original material together, before Vagabond [their fifth album, released in 2008], we were both living in Oxford, meeting once a week,” says Boden.

“This time, we decided pre-pandemic to start up again, and then had to come up with slightly more thought-out suggestions before taking it further, at first meeting up in a strictly distanced format.”

Recording sessions subsequently took place between lockdowns. “We decided it shouldn’t be a radical departure from before, but traditional or in the tradition. We wouldn’t be doing a thrash metal rock opera or anything like that. It would be in a familiar vein,” says Boden.

“It’s such a long time since we came up with anything new that it’s just exciting to be working together again.”

They settled on a combination of rambunctious melodies and contemplative ballads, mixing Morris tunes with tunes brought to the 21st century from dusty manuscripts, bolstered by their own gift for conjuring tunes.

Spiers “used his intuition” to finish off Bampton fiddler William Henry Giles’s incomplete Funney Eye, discovered in a 19th century manuscript; Bluey Brink finds the duo dipping into the Australian folk world for the first time, from the repertoire of Peter Bellamy, complemented by Bellamy’s Butter And Cheese in a version by Sam Larner known as The Greasy Cook, The Cook’s Choice or, more intriguingly, Cupboard Love.

“With us, it’s all about how much swing to put in,” says fiddler Jon Boden of his partnership with melodeon player John Spiers

The title track, also known as As I Stood Under My Love’s Window, or more prosaically The Cock, is an unusual traditional love song, neither boasting of conquest, nor lamenting betrayal or abandonment.

Original composition Bailey Hill/Wittenham Clumps combines a tune by Boden with one by Spiers, both parts taking a name from a hill with significance for the duo, while Giant’s Waltz/The Ironing Board Hornpipe was inspired by the Giant’s Causeway. Spiers contributed The Fog too.

The Fallow Ground title refers not only to Spiers & Boden’s 2014 decision to put the duo to one side but also to the pandemic’s impact, drawing a red line through concerts for months on end.

Nevertheless, the album strikes a positive tone. “I guess we were looking for songs during lockdown with a sense of fun and light relief,” says Boden. “I realise that there are zero songs about death on Fallow Ground, which is probably a first and may get us expelled from the English Folk Dance & Song Society. Yes, these are traditional songs with a joyous edge.”

Such positivity mirrors Boden’s tone on his climate-change trilogy. “I started off by assuming the first album [2009’s Songs From The Floodplain] might be quite dark and dystopian, but half way through I found I was being drawn to an almost utopian ideal of existing in the moment, existing within nature,” he says.

“It ended up being, not celebratory, but more optimistic, not about climate change, but for the human possibilities of adapting and finding positive solutions.”

“I guess we were looking for songs during lockdown with a sense of fun and light relief,” says Jon Boden, summing up the 13 tracks on Fallow Ground

Now, a mood of celebration does apply as Spiers & Boden return to the road, but how would Boden define the two-decade chemistry that has sparked up once more? “It’s such a subtle thing with folk-tune playing, particularly with English tunes, where it’s about swing but not too much swing,” he says.

“You think about how other melodeon players might play, but with us, it’s all about how much swing to put in, and that’s because I learned to play English tunes with John, where previously I played Irish tunes.

“There’s a thing about the melodeon and fiddle in that each instrument does what the other can’t do, so there’s no fighting over territory because they do such different jobs, and that’s why they are the perfect match – and why there have been so many fiddle and box duos.

“The reason we clicked together from the beginning is that we recognised something in each other’s approach; something I was doing with songs and he was doing with tunes, though I’ve now got more involved with the tunes and John with the songwriting.”

Meanwhile, should you be wondering whether Bellowhead will ever play together again, keep up! They already have for a one-off concert streamed worldwide by Stabal TV in December 2020, marking the tenth anniversary of their third album, Hedonism.

The live session recording at a mansion house near London has now been released this summer as an album, Reassembled, on double LP vinyl , CD and digital formats.

“Andy Mellon, our trumpet player, was busy writing for the BBC so he felt he wouldn’t be able to get match-fit to play together again, but the rest of us managed to squeeze in the concert between lockdowns, and it was great to play again,” says Boden.

Jon Boden: Many strings to his bow

“I was a bit worried, thinking, ‘how will it feel when we’re having to keep two metres apart and there’ll be no-audience’, but it was absolutely brilliant. Just such a joy, after nine months, to be able to play music with people in the same room and especially with people who hadn’t played together for five years.

“We just had to remember not to stand too close to each other, and the remarkable thing was just how well we played, maybe because we were all nervous about it, so we all worked really hard in preparation.”

Spiers & Boden play Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday at 8pm; doors, 7.30pm. Sold out.

One final question for Jon Boden:

You composed the scores for the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of The Merchant Of Venice in 2011 and The Winter’s Tale in 2013 (toured to the Grand Opera House, York, that March). Will there be further theatrical collaborations, Jon?

“I’ve done bits and bobs of theatre since then, most recently for Goat & Monkey’s national tour of Toby Hulse’s play The Pirate Cruncher in 2019. That was great fun, and I’m still in touch with theatre friends, but nothing ever quite happens, even though we say, ‘oh, we must do something’.

“The problem has always been – and a lot of musicians find this difficult – the time scale involved because, surprisingly, theatre is done within a much smaller time frame, bringing the cast and creative team together only three months before the production, sometimes less, whereas bands book gigs 18 months in advance, so there’s often an unavoidable clash of commitments.”

When two become one as Boyzlife’s Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden sing Boyzone and Westlife songbook at York Barbican

INTERVIEWS done for the day, or so they thought as Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy headed off to The Belfry for a fundraising Parkinson’s Disease golf day, representing Ireland on the morrow.

5pm, Tuesday, no response was forthcoming to CharlesHutchPress’s prearranged phone-call to the Boyzlife boyz.

Messages and phone number left; PR company contacted. No problem, Team Boyzlife would be in touch, and sure enough, at 5.30pm, the interview that had slipped off the bottom of the page was back on, Brian and Keith talking ten to the dozen, voices often overlapping as they travelled towards Sutton Coldfield for the Four Nations tournament.

Apologies for the confusion, they said, offering their explanation, as Team Boyzlife clicked into gear, as they would at The Belfry. “Put the two of us together on the golf course and we become one professional golfer,” jokes Brian.

Likewise, two into one will go on Sunday night at York Barbican in the show where Boyzone and Westlife become one as “the Nineties boyband superstars bring you all of the hits of both bands in one evening”.

Brian, 41, and Keith, 47, first took the Boyzlife show on the road in February and March 2020, selling 35,000 tickets. “But we couldn’t finish the tour because of the first Covid lockdown,” says Brian. “We got through 22 of the 40 shows, and 18 months later we’ve started up again [playing King George’s Hall, Blackburn on October 6].

“For us, it was a break we’d never had before. My fiancée Danielle and I ended up having a baby girl [Ruby, born in May 2021] and starting a family again, and Boyzlife got to write our first original album, which comes out next year. The first single is The One and the second one is ready to go too. We’ve all been fighting which one should go first, so maybe around Christmas for the release.”

Boyzlife have released one album already, July 2020’s Strings Attached, following in the footsteps of the late Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison in being teamed up with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra (RPO). One difference, Brian and Keith could provide new vocals to nine songs cherry-picked from the catalogue of 18 number one singles shared between Westlife and Boyzone.

“In actual fact,” says Keith, “it was Brian recording his last solo album [February 2019’s Otis] in a tribute to Otis Redding that led to our album. Some of the producers and engineers on that album had been working with the RPO, and they suggested, ‘why don’t you do an album with the RPO too?’.

“The two of us wanted to write an original album but we realised we needed a closing of the past and those Boyzone and Westlife songs are made for an orchestra. We were very lucky to work with them and very pleased with the results.

“Now, within the live show, we have a special section where we’ve recorded songs with the orchestra and we sing them to playbacks. We’ve done that many times in our careers, but never to the accompaniment of 84 musicians in an orchestra with two idiots out front.”

Brian has released five solo albums since leaving Westlife in March 2004, while Keith has completed Boyzone’s Thank You And Goodnight farewell tour, but how and when did they first work together? “I’ll be completely honest with you. It was kind of just getting into a room with a lot of the show being autobiographical and singing only six or seven songs,” recalls Brian.

“We’d never sung together, never worked together, and we picked the easiest songs to sing. Now, when we’re doing the set list, it comes down to tempo and what songs will go together well, and we have to leave out about seven or eight songs, but we still have options as to what to include.

“But we always have to do the biggest-selling songs, like No Matter What, and whenever we sing that song we can’t help but think of Stephen Gately puckering up to sing it.”

So many choices: World Of Our Own; Mandy; Queen Of My Heart; Picture Of You; Words; No Matter What; Uptown Girl; Flying Without Wings; You Raise Me Up; Going Gets Tough; Swear It Again; Father And Son; Love Me For A Reason and My Love.

“But between us we only had six songs that were uptempo!” says Brian. Why? “I guess, if ain’t broke, why fix it? The proof is in the pudding; all those number ones. Everyone else was making up-tempo records when we were the two bands with slow songs.”

Westlife became well known for singing songs sitting down, in the tradition of fellow Irishman Val Doonican in his rocking chair. “That was my nickname from day one. I was ‘Val’ because I wore a red sweater!” admits Brian.

Look at the tour itinerary and you will see the tour dates are divided into clusters between October 6 and December 14. “That’s the difference with the earlier days,” says Keith. “We’re better able to balance our music and family life.

“We both had children when we were young; I have a 21-year-old daughter, Mia, and 25-year-old son, Jay, [Brian has two teenage daughters, Molly and Lilly, with ex-wife Kerry Katona] but Boyzone didn’t get a lot of time off or holiday time.

“We just had to keep cracking on, going to wherever we were having hits, because we were so successful, but now we have a proper balance where we’ll do two or three shows, have some time off, then do some more shows.”

Boyzlife play York Barbican on October 17, 7.30pm, and Hull City Hall on November 5, 7.30pm. Box office: York, at yorkbarbican.co.uk; Hull, hulltheatres.co.uk.

Did you know?

MUSICIAN, singer, songwriter, actor, dancer, drummer and television presenter Keith Duffy’s full name is Keith Peter Thomas Francis John Duffy.

Voila! Here is La Voix, drag artiste, singer, impressionist et saucy gag teller, en route to Grand Opera House pour Novembre 13

La Voix:

FEISTY, flame-haired Royal Family favourite La Voix is on tour, taking on the big divas and making them her own in The UK’s Funniest Redhead show in York on November 13.

Billed as her “most glamorous show yet”, the 2014 Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist will be combining stellar songs and saucy gags, high energy and diva impersonations, glamour and gowns – eight of them – in her Grand Opera House debut.

Expect her to switch between the vocal trademarks of Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland and Cher at the click of a finger.

La Voix, the drag artiste creation of Chris Dennis, played Leeds City Varieties Music Hall two nights ago. She hosts a talk show on BBC Radio Three Counties, appeared in Absolutely Fabulous The Movie, has twice entertained Prince William and Prince Harry at New Year’s Eve parties and has worked with Mickey Rooney, Cilla Black, Pamela Anderson, Brigitte Nielsen and Ruby Wax.

When she topped the bill at Sir Ian McKellan’s 80th birthday bash, she was commended lavishly by the venerable actor, who said: “La Voix’s impersonations are surpassed only by her own cheekily entertaining personality.”

Tickets for La Voix and her band’s 7.30pm show are on sale at atgtickets.com/york.

Breabach to return to Selby Town Hall on October 23 as gigs resume after 20 months

Breabach: Selby Town Hall awaits on October 23. Picture: Paul Jennings

SCOTTISH folk luminaries Breabach will be the first touring band to play Selby Town Hall for almost 20 months on October 23.

“Leading lights of the Scottish roots music scene and five-time Scots Trad Music Award winners, they’re a really phenomenally talented band,” says Chris Jones, Selby Town Council’s arts officer. “It’s an absolute thrill to have professional music back in the venue. It’s been far too long!”

Regarded as one of Scotland’s most skilled and imaginative contemporary folk acts, Breabach unite deep roots in highland and island tradition with the innovative musical ferment of their Glasgow base.

Across a 15-year career, they have performed everywhere from Sydney Opera House to New York’s Central Park, receiving nominations for Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and European Album of the Year in the Songlines Music Awards.

Combining twin bagpipes, fiddle, bass and guitar with Gaelic vocals and step dance, Breabach respect both the origins of the music they play and the band’s roots while embracing the future with new ideas, energy and belief.

When lockdown put paid to their touring plans, Breabach set to work on writing Dùsagadh, a series of five new pieces of music put to animation by BAFTA award winner Cat Bruce.

“This stunning creation then toured ‘virtually’ to 19 venues and festivals across the UK, including Selby Town Hall, with proceeds split between both the band and participating venues and festivals,” says Chris.

Next Saturday’s live set will draw on six Breabach albums: 2007’s The Big Spree; 2010’s The Desperate Battle Of The Birds; 2012’s Bann; 2013’s Urlar; 2016’s Astar and 2018’s Frenzy Of The Meeting.

“Breabach are a real force of nature, and their 2019 performance at the town hall was one of our biggest highlights of recent years” says Chris. “The virtuoso talent on display is just incredible.

“Ewan Robertson, Calum MacCrimmon, Patsy Reid, James Lindsay and James Duncan MacKenzie are five of Scotland’s finest traditional musicians, at the very top of their game, and I’m so excited to have them back as the first touring band to perform here for the best part of two years.”

Tickets for the 8pm concert cost £16 on 01757 708449 or at selbytownhall.co.uk or £18 on the door from 7.30pm.

More Things To Do in and around York as records are set straight and dark nights lit up. List No. 53, courtesy of The Press, York

Setting the record straight: Adrian Lukis’s roguish George Wickham in Being Mr Wickham at York Theatre Royal

AUTUMN’S fruits are ripe and ready for Charles Hutchinson to pick with no worries about shortages.

Scandal of the week: Being Mr Wickham, Original Theatre Company, York Theatre Royal, tonight until Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm, Saturday

ADRIAN Lukis played the vilified George Wickham in the BBC’s television adaptation of Pride And Prejudice 26 years ago this very month.

Time, he says, to set the record straight about Jane Austen’s most charmingly roguish character in his one-man play Being Mr Wickham, co-written with Catherine Curzon.

This is the chance to discover Wickham’s version of famous literary events. What really happened with Mr Darcy? What did he feel about Lizzie? What went on at Waterloo? Not to mention Byron. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Cate Hamer in rehearsal for the SJT and Live Theatre, Newcastle co-production of The Offing. Picture: Tony Bartholomew

Play of the week outside York: The Offing, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until October 30

IN a Britain still reeling from the Second World War, Robert Appleyard sets out on an adventure at 16: to walk from his home in Durham to Scarborough, where he hopes to find work, but he never arrives there. 

Instead, up the coast at Robin Hood’s Bay, a chance encounter with the bohemian, eccentric Dulcie Piper leads to a lifelong, defining friendship. She introduces him to the joys of good food and wine, art and literature; he helps her lay to rest a ghost in Janice Okoh’s adaptation of Benjamin Myers’s novel for the SJT and Live Theatre, Newcastle. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.  

Simon Wright: Conducting York Guildhall Orchestra at York Barbican

Classic comeback: York Guildhall Orchestra, York Barbican, Saturday, 7.30pm

YORK Guildhall Orchestra return to the concert stage this weekend after the pandemic hiatus with a programme of operatic favourites, conducted by Simon Wright.

The York musicians will be joined by Leeds Festival Chorus and two soloists, soprano Jenny Stafford, and tenor Oliver Johnston, to perform overtures, arias and choruses by Tchaikovsky, Wagner, Rossini, Mozart, Puccini and Verdi. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Adam Kay: Medic, author and comedian, on visiting hours at Grand Opera House, York, on Sunday

Medical drama of the week: Adam Kay, This Is Going To Hurt, Secret Diaries Of A Junior Doctor, Grand Opera House, Sunday, 8pm

ADAM Kay, medic turned comic, shares entries from his diaries as a junior doctor in his evening of horror stories from the NHS frontline, savvy stand-up, witty wordplay and spoof songs.

His award-winning show, This Going To Hurt, has drawn 200,000 people to sell-out tours, the Edinburgh Fringe and West End runs, and the book of the same name topped the best sellers list for more than a year and is soon to be a BBC drama. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/york.

Boyzlife: Keith Duffy and Brian McFadden unite in Boyzone and Westlife songs at York Barbican

Irish night of the week: Boyzlife, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm; doors, 6.30pm

PUT Irish boy band graduates Brian McFadden, from Westlife, and Keith Duffy, from Boyzone, together and they become Boyzlife, as heard on the July 2020 album Strings Attached, recorded with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

On tour with a full band, but not the ‘Phil’, they choose songs from a joint back catalogue of 18 number one singles and nine chart-topping albums.

So many to squeeze in…or not: No Matter What, Flying Without Wings, World Of Our Own, Queen Of My Heart, Picture Of You, Uptown Girl, You Raise Me Up, Going Gets Tough, Swear It Again, Father And Son, Love Me For A Reason and My Love. Find out on Sunday. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk

Thumper: Dublin band play Ad Nauseam and much more at Fulford Arms, York, on Tuesday

 Loudest gig of the week: Thumper, Fulford Arms, York, Tuesday, 8pm

THUMPER, the cult Dublin band with two thumping drummers, are back on the road after you know what, promoting a 2021 mix of their single Ad Nauseam: a cautionary tale of repetition, vanity and becoming too close to what you know will eat you.

From the Irish city of the equally visceral Fontaines DC and The Murder Capital, Thumper have emerged with their ragged guitars and “bratty, frenetic punk rock” (Q magazine).

Now their debut album is taking shape after the band were holed up in their home studio for months on end. The Adelphi, Hull, awaits on Wednesday.

At the fourth time of planning: Mary Coughlan, Pocklington Arts Centre, Tuesday, 8pm

Mary Coughlan: Life Stories in song at Pocklington Arts Centre

GALWAY jazz and blues chanteuse Mary Coughlan had to move her Pocklington show three times in response to the stultifying pandemic.

“Ireland’s Billie Holliday” twice rearranged the gig during 2020, and did so again this year in a switch from April 23 to October 19.

At the heart of Mary’s concert, fourth time lucky, will still be Life Stories, her 15th album, released on the wonderfully named Hail Mary Records last September. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Spiers & Boden: Resurrected folk duo head to Pocklington on Wednesday

Double act of the week ahead: Spiers & Boden, Pocklington Arts Centre, Wednesday, 7.30pm

AFTER years of speculation, much-loved English folk duo Spiers & Boden are back together, releasing the album Fallow Ground and bringing a live show to Pocklington this autumn with special guests. 

First forming a duo in 2001, John Spiers, now 46, and Jon Boden, 44, became leading lights in big folk band Bellowhead, resting the duo in 2014, before Bellowhead headed into the sunset in 2016. Solo endeavours ensued but now Spiers & Boden return. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Matilda takes on Miss Trunchbull in Matilda The Musical Jr

Musical of the week: Roald Dahl’s Matilda The Musical Jr, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, October 20 to 24, 7.30pm; 2pm, 4.30pm, Saturday; 2pm, Sunday.

ONLY the last few tickets are still available for York Stage Musicals’ York premiere of the Broadway Junior version of Dennis Kelly and Tim Minchin’s stage adaptation of Roald Dahl’s story.

Matilda has astonishing wit, intelligence, imagination…and special powers! Unloved by her cruel parents, she nevertheless impresses teacher Miss Honey, but mean headmistress Miss Trunchbull hates children and just loves thinking up new punishments for those who fail to abide by her rules. Hurry, hurry to the box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntheatre.co.uk.

People We Love: Curtailed by the second Covid lockdown, the York Mediale exhibition has a second life at York Minster from this weekend

Worth noting too:

PEOPLE We Love, the York Mediale exhibition, reopening at York Minster from Saturday. York Design Week, full of ideas, October 20 to 26, at yorkdesign week.com; Light Night Leeds 2021, with a Back To Nature theme for this art and lights festival tonight and tomorrow, at whatson.leeds.gov.uk; Live At Leeds gigs across 20 venues with Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Sports Team, The Night Café, The Big Moon, Dream Wife, Poppy Adjuda, The Orielles and Thumper, at liveatleeds.com.

The Last Domino effect? How were Genesis and chair-leader Phil at Leeds Arena gig?

FOR the revelations on Genesis, listen to Episode 59 of arts and culture podcasters Chalmers & Hutch’s Two Big Egos In A Small Car debates.

Under discussion too are: tips on how to judge/not judge Battle of the Bands contests; Scritti Politti’s music-hall act at Leeds City Varieties; why No Time To Die is the longest Bond film; and the Seventies’ sci-fi visions of Michael Moorcock’s The Condition Of Muzak.

Head to: https://www.buzzsprout.com/1187561/9327062

York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir to resume Christmas Traditions concerts with four nights of song and word at York Citadel

Richard Kay: Co-directing York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir’s 2021 series of Christmas concerts

YORK Philharmonic Male Voice Choir’s season of Christmas concerts is back on track after a Covid-blighted 2020.

The choir will perform Christmas Traditions 2021 with the Citadel Singers for four nights at the York Citadel, Gillygate, from November 30 to December 3 at 7.30pm.

“York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir have presented their popular Christmas concerts every year since 1962, becoming part of the fabric of York’s cultural Christmas scene,” says deputy musical director Richard Kay.

“Last year, of course, everything changed, although the ‘Phil’ were still able to deliver an online Christmas concert via Zoom to an international audience.

“This year, they return to their new home, the Citadel, where they last performed their Christmas Traditions show in 2019.”

After presenting Carols In Kirkgate at York Castle Museum for 50 years, the ‘Phil’ have since performed Carols In Fossgate at the Merchant Adventurers’ Hall and Christmas Traditions at the De Grey Rooms, St Leonard’s Place.

“Now, in 2021, the spacious Citadel allows room for cabaret seating downstairs and balcony seating that can ensure safe distancing is maintained,” says Richard. “The show retains its ever-popular format: a blend of carols old and new and Christmas songs, including ladies and mixed-voice ensembles, plus festive readings and sketches.

“There’ll also be the opportunity to join in with communal carols and to enjoy a mince pie and glass of wine, surrounded by festive decorations, to help kick-start your own Christmas traditions.”

Richard is co-directing the 2021 shows with musical director Berenice Lewis, with the father-and-son team of Graham and Richard Kay directing the spoken-word offerings.

“The Phil have continued to rehearse and perform throughout the past 18 months, albeit with virtual tracks on Zoom,” Richard says.

“We’re now thrilled to be back rehearsing in person and look forward to our return to what we do best: performing our favourite songs for, and with, our loyal Christmas audiences.

“It promises to be a fun – and slightly emotional – set of concerts and I suspect the demand for tickets will be high this year.”

Tickets are on sale at £15, £12, £5 for under-16s, at arkevent.co.uk/christmastraditions2021. “Book early to avoid disappointment,” advises Richard.

Bryan Adams adds 12 dates next summer to go with Hull, Scarborough and Harewood House shows rearranged from 2021

Bryan Adams: New tour dates and new album in 2022

CANADIAN rocker Bryan Adams will play three Yorkshire shows on his newly extended 2022 British tour.

All three were originally in place for 2021, but now form part of next summer’s itinerary, taking in Hull Bonus Arena on May 25 and outdoor concerts at Scarborough Open Air Theatre on July 1 and Harewood House, near Leeds, on July 10.

Grammy Award-winning Adams will be on tour from May 13 to May 26, then June 29 to July 11, having added 12 arena dates in Brighton, Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Newcastle, Aberdeen, Glasgow, London, Durham, Kelso and Norwich.

Adams, 61, will be showcasing his 15th studio album, So Happy It Hurts, set for release next March. Tickets for the new dates will go on sale on Friday at 9am via aegpresents.co.uk; tickets for the rearranged gigs remain valid.

Adams will be making his second appearance at Scarborough OAT after his sold-out debut on August 8 2016. Once more, he will do Run To You, Cuts Like A Knife, Summer Of ’69, I Do It For You et al for you.