Riverdance 30: The New Generation to play York Barbican, Sheffield City Hall and Hull Connexin Live on 2025 tour. When?

Leg power: Riverdance celebrates 30 years with The New Generation tour in 2025, playing York, Sheffield and Hull among 30 UK venues

RIVERDANCE 30: The New Generation will visit York Barbican for five performances from October 24 to 26 2025 on the Irish dance troupe’s 30th anniversary tour.

The British leg of next year’s global travels will take in 30 venues – one for each year of Riverdance’s history – from August to December, including further Yorkshire performances at Sheffield City Hall from August 16 to 18 and Hull Connexin Live on October 7.

For the 30th anniversary, Riverdance will welcome a new generation of performers who were not born when the show began. Those beginnings were as an eight-minute interval act in the 1994 Eurovision Song Contest at The Point in Dublin, where Michael Flatley was among the original dancers.

Directed by John McColgan, produced by Moya Doherty and featuring compositions by Bill Whelen, Riverdance 30 will “rejuvenate the original show with new innovative choreography and costumes and state-of-the-art lighting, projection and motion graphics” in a performance by dancers, musicians and singers that will blend the traditional with the contemporary.

McColgan says: “It is both a privilege and a delight to celebrate 30 years of Riverdance and the unique journey it has taken us on. In those 30 years, the show has transformed from a spectacle into a global cultural phenomenon – continuously evolving yet remaining true to its Irish roots.

“On this upcoming tour we look forward to welcoming ‘The New Generation’ of artists while paying tribute to the talented performers, creators, dedicated crew and the millions of fans who have made Riverdance a worldwide celebration of music and dance.”

Irish green: Anniversary celebrations in Riverdance 30: The New Generation

Principal dancer and dance captain Fergus Fitzpatrick says: “Being part of Riverdance’s journey is an absolute honour. It’s truly a dream come true to get to perform the principal role in this phenomenon.

“As we approach our 30th anniversary, the excitement for the incredible work our team and creative talents are about to unveil is palpable.

“I can’t wait to see what they will produce and feel the excited pulse of the audience’s response. This milestone is not just a celebration of Riverdance’s past but a light that inspires the new generation of performers all around the world.”

Fellow principal dancer and dance captain Amy Mae Dolan adds: “I am fascinated to see how Riverdance continues to grow and evolve over the next decade. I have no doubt that it will continue to surpass our expectations, move audiences and inspire new generations for dancers to come.”

Riverdance 30: The New Generation, York Barbican, October 24 to 26 2025, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday matinees. Box office: axs.com/york.

Sheffield City Hall, August 16 to 18 2025, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday and Sunday matinees; sheffieldcityhall.co.uk. Hull Connexin Live, October 7 2025, 7.30pm; connexinlivehull.com.

Meet the real-life couple playing artist Seurat and his lover Dot in Pick Me Up Theatre’s Sunday In The Park With George

Pick Me Up Theatre’s leading couple for Sunday In The Park With George: Husband and wife Adam Price and Natalie Walker at Moorlands Nature Reserve. Picture: Matthew Kitchen

PICK Me Up Theatre follow up last week’s Sondheim We Remember revue with a swift return to Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, in Sunday In The Park With George.

New York composer Stephen Sondheim’s 1984 collaboration with playwright and director James Lapine follows French post-Impressionist painter Georges Seurat (played by Adam Price) in the months leading up to the completion of his most famous painting, A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. 

Consumed by his need to “finish the hat”, the controversial Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists and neglects his long-suffering mistress Dot (Natalie Walker), not realising that his actions will reverberate through the next 100 years. 

Running from April 5 to 13, director and designer Robert Readman’s production also features Alexandra Mather and Nicola Holliday as Celeste, Mark Simmonds as Franz, James Willstrop as Jules, Neil Foster as Soldier, and Sanna Jeppsson as Yvonne, among others.

Pick Me Up Theatre present Sunday In The Park With George, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 5 to 13, 7.30pm except April 8; 2.30pm, April 6, 7 and 13.

Adam Price and Natalie Walker: the back story

ADAM grew up in Goole, where he has always had a keen interest in history and music.

His father was a gigging musician in a band and, as a result, Adam started playing guitar and singing as a teenager – joining several bands of his own.

He studied history at Lancaster University and Queen Mary’s College, University of London, and has a particular interest in the First World War, regularly visiting the battlefields to research.

He has run several tours of the battlefields as a guide and writes a blog about the servicemen of Goole.

As well as history, he has a keen interest in travel, working as a travel consultant for an independent travel company just outside York.

His interest in musical theatre came much later and he made his debut with Pick Me Up Theatre in My Fair Lady in 2017. He then played Young Buddy in Follies in 2018, followed by Dad’s Army in 2019, and the role of Marlowe in Shakespeare In Love in 2022.

Natalie Walker and musical director Matthew Clare in rehearsals for Sunday In The Park With George

NATALIE has been interested in music from an early age and started to play piano at the age of eight.

She studied music and theatre at Hull University and began working professionally as a musician in 2009. She runs two choirs in Goole, as well as managing Castaway

Goole with Pick Me Up Theatre’s Robert Readman: a charity that provides life- changing opportunities through the arts to adults and young people with disabilities and autism conditions.

Musical theatre has always been a passion, leading to her being the musical director for Pick Me Up’s production of Shakespeare In Love in 2022, using period instruments to support the score.

Since then, she has worked on Pick Me Up’s productions of The Sound Of Music, Oh What A Lovely War and Matilda. She has worked professionally with She Productions in Beverley, Snappy Operas and Middle Child in Hull.

ADAM and Natalie first met in 2009 when he joined a choir that she was accompanying.

They share a great love of music and first came together by singing as an acoustic duo. They still enjoy singing and playing together regularly and were married – after a long Covid delay! – in 2022.

They live in Bainton, near Driffield, after buying a derelict house and renovating it over several years.

“Sunday in the Park has been a lovely opportunity to spend time in the theatre together, being a pretend couple as well as a real one!” they say.

“Rehearsing together has been a genuinely lovely process,” say Adam and Natalie. Picture: Matthew Kitchen

Here CharlesHutchPress interviews husband and wife Adam Price and Natalie Walker about playing painter Georges Seurat and his lover Dot

What attracted you to auditioning for the role of artist Georges Seurat, Adam?

“Seurat is such a fascinating character to explore. In some respects, he can be seen as a very simple character who is solely driven by his work to the exclusion of all others.

“Yet there are so many moments in the show when we see the conflict that is constantly playing out within him, how he struggles to manage his relationships with people around him, and even how he processes the criticism of his work and questions his vision.

“He is a character who struggles to connect with those closest to him and it is the challenge of communicating that struggle to an audience that attracted me to the role.”

What sparked your desire to perform in musical theatre, on top of your interest in history, the First World War, battlefield tours and travel?

“I grew up in a musical family and always enjoyed singing and playing music. I was first introduced to musicals through my grandad. He used to perform in dance bands and was always listening to jazz standards, including Gershwin and Cole Porter. “Later in life, I started watching the shows instead of just listening to the songs in isolation and it opened up a whole new world for me.

“My musical theatre knowledge was very limited and it was Natalie who really introduced me to the whole variety of the genre, including Sondheim, as well as singing show tunes in The Warblers.

“I always enjoyed singing but was not sure about the acting side of things until I did a theatre workshop a few years ago with Andy Reiss, who had directed the touring production of Les Miserables.

“I really enjoyed the whole experience and thought I would give performing a go. Performing in musicals is so much fun and rewarding and is a great way of giving you self-confidence.

“What I especially enjoy about performing is that it gives you the opportunity to step out of yourself and inhabit a completely different character for a time, getting under the skin of a character, finding out what motivates them, how they see the world; it can be revealing and rewarding.

What do you most enjoy about performing for Pick Me Up Theatre?

“York has a really rich amateur theatre scene, so it was natural to look to York when I was thinking about joining a company and Pick Me Up has such a good reputation for the quality of their shows.

“They were auditioning for My Fair Lady at the time, which was special for me as it was the first musical that I watched and enjoyed, so I gave it a go. I was very lucky because it was such a great cast, and I learned a lot; everyone was so welcoming and worked so hard to get the best out of their performance that I knew I had found a home there.

“Coming to amateur theatre later in life, I’d always been inhibited by the reputation it is has for being cliquey, but I’ve never experienced that in any shows I’ve done or when working with Pick Me Up.

“Robert is always willing to give people a chance, and if he thinks you’re right for a role then that is that. He always assembles a dedicated and talented cast and crew and always has a clear vision for what he wants to achieve.”

“We’ve had the benefit of being able to run lines and work on songs at home, so it’s been really nice to be fully immersed in the show as much as possible,” say Adam and Natalie. Picture: Matthew Kitchen

What are the characteristics of Sondheim’s composing skills that you most admire?

“Sondheim is a craftsman, pure and simple. Nothing is by chance and even the most seemingly frivolous throwaway musical phrases or lyrics have been carefully considered and backed up with an unrivalled ability and knowledge of his art, coupled with a deep psychological understanding of the human condition.

“What I love in particular is the relationship between the music and lyrics; they work together rather than one simply being laid on top of the other, as you often get with other composers. Ultimately, he was respectful of his audience and always wanted to give them the best of himself.”

Has growing up in Goole had an impact on you?

“I think we are all affected by where we grew up. Goole has had its share of problems, but its people are friendly, caring, decent and down to earth. No matter where else I’ve ended up in my life, growing up in a community like that, you realise that qualities like that are the most important.”

What would be your perfect Sunday in the park? Spent where? With whom? Food? Drink?

“I aspire to be a real epicurean so there is nothing I would like more than spending Sunday in a park with friends, talking about everything: life, art, music, philosophy.  Laughter and conversation are the best music in life. I honestly wouldn’t need anything else.”

With all that travelling nous, do you have a favourite park you have visited, one you would recommend visiting, and one you most want to visit that you are yet to do so?

“That is a tough question. I will always have a soft spot for Regent’s Park, as that was my local park when I was living in London, and living in a big city, it was the place I could go for a bit of greenery.

“For people watching, the Jardin des Tuileries in Paris is wonderful and Central Park is an incredible place to just wander around and get lost in. Ultimately though, I don’t think you have to journey a long way; everyone should take time out to visit their local park every now and then. It’s always a good opportunity to get out and take a break, as well as a place to connect with your local community.”

Do you have a favourite hat? If so, why that one?

“I’ve always been a big fan of bobble hats. I have a bobble hat that I’ve had for about 14 years that is nice and warm, but it is also incredibly comfortable, so I tend to wear it all year round, not just in winter.”

Pick Me Up Theatre’s poster for Sondheim We Remember and Sunday In The P:ark With George

What attracted you to auditioning for the role of Dot, Natalie?

“Dot is a character that truly goes on a journey in this show. She can be feisty and fiery but at the heart of it just wants to be seen and loved. The role is a real challenge as, ironically, she’s not two-dimensional at all. I think that is what attracted me most to her character as there’s so much depth to be found.

Her relationship with George is also incredibly interesting to try and get right. Both need to be likeable enough that an audience will root for them, but also damaged enough that their relationship could never be conventional.

“The interesting thing for me is that Dot is the character who truly changes throughout the show, against the rigidity of George and his unwillingness to look away from his painting and truly look at her.”

When were you last on stage in a show, rather than taking the musical director’s role?

“I’ve been on stage singing/playing a fair amount, including performing as one of the on-stage singers in Dad’s Army in 2018, but actually doing a show with any sort of narrative or characters, I would take a guess that it’s been about ten years!

“I think the closest I’ve come is being on-stage musical director for two productions of Beverley Does Broadway with She Productions at East Riding Theatre in 2022 and 2023.

“There was a bit of acting and a couple of lines to learn, but I was very much playing a version of myself for those shows, so it’s quite a big switch for me to be on the stage in character rather than under/behind it!

“Performing in Sunday In The Park With George is a great opportunity to tread the boards again, after spending many hours in the pit!”

What first attracted you to work with Pick Me Up Theatre?

“I’ve always admired Pick Me Up for the high quality of the shows that they produce. The talent in the York area is astounding, and the vision for each show is always executed so beautifully. It was actually Adam that first worked with Pick Me Up after auditioning for My Fair Lady in 2017, and after seeing a few performances I couldn’t resist throwing my hat into the ring.

“Having been an audience member for several of their shows, I think the real joy is seeing that there is absolutely nothing amateur about the productions and everyone involved works so hard to make the best show possible.

Sanna Jeppsson’s Yvonne poses against the backdrop of Georges Seurat’s A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte

“I first started working with Pick Me Up as a singer in Dad’s Army but then went on to musically direct Shakespeare In Love (with full period costume and instruments!)

“I also think their choice of shows is really inspired, with genuinely out-of-the-box choices, rather than just the standard crowd pleasers in the amateur scene!”

What are the characteristics of Sondheim’s composing skills that you most admire?

“The thing that I love about Sondheim is that nothing is ever an accident. Every note has been placed very specifically for a reason, whether it’s a note for every magic bean in the Into The Woods theme, or the placement of a blob of paint in Sunday [In The Park With George].

“The same is true of Sondheim as a lyricist: every word has value and nothing is ever thrown away for the sake of a rhyme or rhythm. Everything about Sondheim’s work is truly crafted, and it makes it such a delight to delve into, as there are constantly new things to discover on each reading.”

What was the most important lesson you learnt for performing in your studies at Hull University?

“I think people often think that being successful in music or theatre means that you have to be some sort of diva or have a massive ego. During my degree, I actually found, quite reassuringly, that the opposite was the case. The ability to be supportive of other people and work well together, either as a cast or as a band makes not only a more pleasant experience, but also creates the best work.

“As boring as it sounds, I think just learning to work hard is a big part of it – there is no glory in being lazy and expecting everyone else around you to make allowances!”

Which choirs do you run in Goole? Where do they perform and how often?

“I run two choirs known as the Warblers – one sings pop music; the other sings show tunes. The choirs have been running since 2009 and have around 90 members. They’ve developed a really great reputation in Goole thanks to their twice-yearly concerts at Junction, often performing with other musicians – recently including West End performers, brass bands and stars of English National Opera.

They were also part of the Song For Us project over lockdown where they premiered a new piece by Goole-born composer Gavin Bryars virtually. The choirs are now going through some changes as, until 2023, it was a joint venture between myself and a colleague, who has now retired.

“This presented an exciting opportunity for me to continue the hard work of the last 15 years! We’re hoping to go from strength to strength and are working towards our next concert in July.”

Neil Foster’s Soldier and Mark Simmonds’s Franz blend into Georges Seurat’s painting

What does running Castaway Goole with Robert Readman involve?

“Castaway is a wonderful charity that provides life-changing opportunities through the arts to adults and young people with learning and physical disabilities, mental health difficulties and autism conditions.

“They provide weekly classes in music, singing, drama, art, craft, dance and musical theatre to approximately 50 members who may not be able to access these opportunities elsewhere.

“Castaway is actually where Robert and I met, when I was asked to play piano for their production of Just So in 2017. Since then, we’ve worked together on four full-scale musicals and a film version of David Copperfield, after the stage production was cancelled due to Covid.

“After the retirement of the charity’s founder in 2022, Robert and I were given the role of general manager and now oversee the running of the whole charity. Every day is completely different but incredibly rewarding in its own way!

“We stage a full-scale musical once a year, as well as co-ordinating staff in running the other classes throughout the week.

“I also run the Castaway Sing community choir, who perform regularly in the area at various events. We always say that we get far more back from the members than we could ever put in – it really is such a rewarding place to work, and the achievements of the members are absolutely huge.

“Robert often jokes that we’re ‘work husband and wife’ because we always seem to know what the other one is thinking, so it’s made for a very interesting process being directed as part of the on-stage cast, rather than working alongside one another!”

What have been the highlights of your career as a professional musician?

“It’s so difficult to pinpoint anything in particular as I genuinely love every job that I do. I wanted to be a professional musician from a young age but it’s such an uncertain field that I never 100 per cent believed that it would happen, particularly combined with my love of theatre.

“As soon as I started to work as an accompanist and musical director, I knew it was the job I wanted to do forever! The highlights for me are always those that involve making work with people who you really gel with and with whom you share a mutual respect.

“I’ve worked with a few theatre companies in the past couple of years where this has been the case, but none more-so than She Productions in Beverley, so I think working with them would be my highlight so far!”

What would be your perfect Sunday in the park? Spent where? With whom? Food? Drink?

“My perfect Sunday in the park would involve English springtime, music, friends, family and lots of food! I can’t think of anything better than a sunny day spent with the people I love most, and tons of homemade cake!

“I don’t actually drink but unlimited tea and coffee is the absolute dream. Peace and tranquillity is great, but I would also never say no to some sporting activity – you can’t beat a good game of rounders (as long as it’s followed by more cake!)

Do you have a favourite hat? If so, why that one?

“I’m not really much of a hat wearer! But there is something about the comfort of a woolly hat in winter that can’t be beaten – and if it’s got a bobble on top, all the better!”

Adam Price and Natalie Walker: “Sunday In The Park has been a lovely opportunity to spend time in the theatre together, being a pretend couple as well as a real one!” Picture: Matthew Kitchen

Joint questions for Adam and Natalie

Where did you marry?

“At St Michael’s Church in Eastrington, Natalie’s childhood village church, where she still plays organ for Sunday services. Natalie comes from a farming family, so we held the reception in her parents’ barn. Her parents are both incredibly creative and they made it look absolutely stunning – it was a dream come true!”

Have you performed in a musical together previously?

“We both performed as singers in Pick Me Up Theatre’s production of Dad’s Army in 2018. Aside from that, Adam performed in Oh What A Lovely War, for which Natalie was musical director, but that’s as close as we’ve got until now!”

How have you found the experience of rehearsing together?

“It’s been a genuinely lovely process, as usually one or the other of us is heading off to a rehearsal somewhere without the other one, so it’s been great to share the experience.

“We’ve also had the added benefit of being able to run lines and work on songs at home, so it’s been really nice to be fully immersed in the show as much as possible.

“Sometimes you do wonder if it’s going to affect your relationship if you constantly have to play tension between each other, but we’ve been pretty good at leaving the tension in the rehearsal room and going back to talking about what we’re having for dinner!”

How is the house renovation going?

“After buying a derelict house the week before the first national lockdown, it’s been a rather lengthy process but we now have a finished home that we absolutely love, and we’re just waiting on some nice weather to make the garden slightly less reminiscent of a swamp!”

Putting themselves in the picture: Sunday In The Park With George cast members James Willstrop (as Jules), left, Neil Foster (Soldier), Natalie Walker (Dot) and Sanna Jeppsson (Yvonne), front, pose with Georges Seurat’s painting

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond Easter. Magical thoughts in Hutch’s List No 8, from the Gazette & Herald

Four sigils or “spell tokens” from the Believe It Or Not? exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole. Picture: Olivia Brabbs

MAGICAL thinking and life 11,000 years ago, Shakespeare mischief making and nightclub trouble-spotters, a comedian’s needs and a painterly musical outweigh the delights of chocolate at Easter for Charles Hutchinson.

Ryedale exhibition launch of the week: Believe It Or Not?, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, until November 17, from 10am daily except Fridays

RYEDALE Folk Museum’s new exhibition turns the spotlight on folk beliefs through a selection of more than 200 objects. Believe It Or Not?’ explores the traditions and rituals of our ancestors, pondering whether whether we are still “magical thinkers” today.

Featuring heavily are stories of those accused of witchcraft, represented through their own objects, such as a crystal ball passed down by those seeking to foretell the future and four sigils or “spell tokens”, likely created as a form of “love magic” by a magical practitioner or service magician. Tickets: ryedalefolkmuseum.co.uk.

Curators Andrew Woods, left, Adam Parker and Emily North with Mesolithic remains of a wooden platform and materials used for fire-making in the Yorkshire Museum’s Star Carr exhibition. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

York exhibition opening of the week: Star Carr: Life After The Ice, Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York; open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

EXCAVATED in the Vale of Pickering, the Star Carr archaeological site provides the first evidence in Britain of the beginnings of home, a place where people settled and built places to live.

The Yorkshire Museum’s interactive exhibition brings together artefacts from “the Mesolithic equivalent of Stonehenge” to give an insight into human life 11,000 years ago, a few hundred years after the last Ice Age. On display are objects from the Yorkshire Museum collection, from antler headdresses and a decorated stone pendant to the world’s oldest complete hunting bow and the earliest evidence of carpentry from Europe. To book tickets, go to: yorkshiremuseum.org.uk.

Hoglets Theatre’s Gemma Curry, left, Claire Morley and Becky Lennon in A Midsummer Night’s Mischief, visiting Helmsley Arts Centre on Saturday

Children’s show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Mischief, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 2.30pm

THE forest fairies are starting a fight, but which side are you on? Team Titania or Team Oberon? York company Hoglets Theatre presents founder Gemma Curry’s interactive, fun and larger-than-life show for children aged five to 11 based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Expect wild characters, raucous singalong songs, puppets, stunts and some frankly ridiculous disco dancing in the company of Curry, Claire Morley and Becky Lennon. At 3.30pm, Gemma will be running a children’s workshop, showing how to make a paper boogie-woogie puppet of Shakespeare’s donkey-headed character Bottom. Box office: 01439 771700 or helmsleyarts.co.uk.

Jessica Fostekew: On her Mettle at Pocklington Arts Centre

Comedy gig of the week: Jessica Fostekew, Mettle, Pocklington Arts Centre, April 4, 8pm

IN her new stand-up show of passion, pace and purpose, Jessica Fostekew’s son has joined a cult and her cat has learnt to talk. Nevertheless, she feels fine. In fact she is hurtling faster and hustling harder than ever for the things that she wants and needs.

Fostekew appeared in the sitcom Motherland and Sundance Festival Grand Jury prize-winning film Scrapper and is a regular co-host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, host and creator of her own podcast about eating, Hoovering, and the star and writer of BBC Radio 4’s Sturdy Girl Club. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

The four doormen of the apocalypse: John Godber Company in Bouncers, on tour at York Theatre Royal

York play of the week: John Godber Company in Bouncers, York Theatre Royal, April 5, 7.30pm; April  6, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

MEET Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph, the original men in black, as they tell the torrid tale of one Eighties’ night in a Yorkshire disco in John Godber’s northern parody of Saturday Night Fever. All the gang are out on the town, the lads, the lasses, the cheesy DJ, the late-night kebab man, and the taxi home, all under the watchful eyes of the Bouncers (Nick Figgis, George Reid, Frazer Hammill and newcomer Tom Whittaker).

“We’re delighted to be taking Bouncers back to the heyday of disco and the 1980s,” says Goober. “Looking back, there was so much wrong with the decade but also so much to celebrate; this new production dances a balance between what was great and what is cringe-worthy now!” Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Putting themselves in the picture: Pick Me Up Theatre cast members James Willstrop (as Jules), left, Neil Foster (as Soldier), Natalie Walker (as Dot) amd Sanna Jeppsson (as Yvonne), front, set the scene for Sunday In The Park With George

York musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Sunday In The Park With George, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 5 to 13, 7.30pm except April 8; 2.30pm, April 6, 7 and 13

STEPHEN Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical follows painter Georges Seurat (played by Adam Price) in the months leading up to the completion of his most fanous painting, A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. 

Consumed by his need to “finish the hat”, Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists and neglects his lover Dot (Natalie Walker), not realising that his actions will reverberate through the next 100 years. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

The Moondogs: Paying tribute to Fifties and Sixties favourites at Milton Rooms, Malton

Tribute show of the Easter break: The Moondogs, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 6, 8pm

PREPARE to be transported back in time to the late-1950s and Swinging Sixties as The Moondogs bring their raw energy to the hits of Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and more. Box office: 01653 696240 or themiltonrooms.com.

Fairground Attraction: Mark Nevin, left, Roy Dodds, Eddi Reader and Simon Edwards reunite after 35 years for a York-bound tour and new album

Gig announcement of the week: Fairground Attraction, York Barbican, October 1

AFTER an absence of 35 years, all four original members of short-lived late-Eighties’ band Fairground Attraction are reuniting for a 14-date British tour and an as-yet-untitled new studio album, preceded by first single What’s Wrong With The World?, out now.

Best known for their chart-topping debut, Perfect, winner of the Best Single prize at the 1988 Brit Awards, Fairground Attraction return with their country-pop line-up of singer Eddi Reader, guitarist Mark Nevin, guitarrón bassist Simon Edwards and drummer Roy Dodds. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10am at axs.com/York.

Maggie Smales to direct The Taming Of The Shrew for York Shakespeare Project at York International Shakespeare Festival

Maggie Smales: Directing York Shakespeare Project in The Taming Of The Shrew. All pictures: SR Taylor

YORK Shakespeare Project welcomes back Maggie Smales to direct The Taming Of The Shrew, Shakespeare’s controversial battle of the sexes, at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, from April 23 to 27.

“We are absolutely delighted to have Maggie as our director,” says YSP chair Tony Froud. “We know that she will find an exciting way to let the play speak to us in 2024.”

This is the first time that Maggie has directed for York Shakespeare Project since her all-female version of Henry V, chosen as “York Play of the Year” in the 2015 Hutch Awards.

Chesca Downes: Playing Kate in The Taming Of The Shrew

YSP’s multi-coloured psychedelic poster announces the production’s setting in 1970. The Sixties have shaken off the post-Second World War blues. The baby boomers are growing up, primed and ready to do their own thing. The world is opening up, promising peace, love and equality. Surely, The Times They Are a’Changin’ and the old order is dead? Or is it, asks Smales’s production.

“This will actually be my third encounter with this play,” she says. “I played in it as a youngster in Rotherham in South Yorkshire Theatre for Youth in the 1960s, then as a Bretton Hall drama student in 1970, and it was experiences of those days that gave me the inspiration for my ideas for this production.”

At the centre of the play are Kate and Petruchio, played in Franco Zeffirelli’s 1967 film version by Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. YSP’s Kate is University of York student Chesca Downes, in her first YSP role after playing a number of major roles at the university, such as the duchess in The Duchess Of Malfi.

Jim Paterson: Playing Petruchio for a second time

Opposite her will be Jim Paterson, a face more familiar to YSP audiences, who will recall his lead roles in The Two Noble Kinsmen, Cymbeline and Antony And Cleopatra. He is no stranger to the part of Petruchio, having played him in Cole Porter’s musical Kiss Me Kate in 2019.

Further roles go to Rosy Rowley as Baptista Minola; Kirsty Farrow, Bianca; Mark Payton, Gremio; Nick Patrick Jones, Hortensio; Sam Jackson, Lucentio; Mark Simmonds, Vincentio; Lara Stafford, Tranio; Cari Hughes, Biondello; Stuart Green, Grumio, and Joy Warner, Merchant and Widow.

As YSP’s second cycle of staging all of Shakespeare’s plays over 25 years rolls on, The Taming Of The Shrew will be performed as part of the 2024 York International Shakespeare Festival. Tickets for the 7.30pm evening performances and 2.30pm Saturday matinee are on sale at boxoffice@41monkgate.co.uk.

An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical to pay flying visit to York…for five days in June at Grand Opera House. Who’s starring?

The cast for An Officer And A Gentleman The Musical gathering for rehearsals

AN Officer And A Gentleman The Musical will play the Grand Opera House, York, from June 4 to 8 in in the Curve, Leicester touring production.

Directed by North Yorkshire-raised Curve artistic director Nikolai Foster, with choreography by Joanna Goodwin, the show is on tour from February 23 to November 16, visiting the Alhambra, Bradford, from tonight to Saturday.

Based on Taylor Hackford’s 1982 film starring Richard Gere and Debra Winger, An Officer And A Gentleman’s story of love, courage, and redemption follows the emotional journey of fearless young pilot officer candidate Zack Mayo and the captivating Paula Pokrifki, whose fiery spirit matches his own.

A book by screenplay writer Douglas Day Stewart and Sharleen Cooper Cohen will be accompanied by the songs of Madonna, Bon Jovi, Cyndi Lauper and Blondie, topped off by the award-winning (Love Lift Us) Up Where We Belong, the Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes hit from the film. 

Georgia Lennon as Marie Osmond in her previous Grand Opera House appearance in The Osmonds: A New Musical in August 2022. Picture: Pamela Raith

Luke Baker leads Foster’s cast as Zack Mayo, joined by Georgia Lennon – last seen on the Grand Opera House stage as Marie Osmond in the world premiere tour of The Osmonds: A New Musical in August 2022 – in the role of Paula Pokrifki.

Further principal roles go to Jamal Crawford as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley, Paul French as Sid Worley, Sinead Long as Lynette Pomeroy, Melanie Masson as Esther Pokrifki, Tim Rogers as Byron Mayo, Olivia Foster-Browne as Casey Seegar and Lucas Piquero as Eduardo Cortez.

Set and costume design are by Michael Taylor; musical supervision and orchestration by George Dyer; lighting design by Ben Cracknell; sound design by Tom Marshall; wig, hair and make-up design by Sam Cox and casting by Debbie O’Brien.

Tickets for the 7.30pm evening performances and 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees in York are on sale at atgtickets.com/york. Also Alhambra Theatre, Bradford, tonight until Saturday, 7.30pm, plus 2pm Wednesday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees; box office, 01274 432000 or bradford-theatres.co.uk

Nikolai Foster’s touring cast for An Officer And A Gentleman

Heads up to who will be appearing in Hairspray on tour at Grand Opera House

Hairspray’s 2024-2025 touring cast: Heading to the Grand Opera House, York, this autumn

BLOSSOMING North Yorkshire talent Alexandra Emerson-Kirby will make her professional stage debut in the lead role of Tracy Turnblad on the 2024/2025 UK and Ireland tour of Hairspray. The Grand Opera House, York, awaits her from October 28 to November 2.

Alexandra’s passion for musical theatre was nurtured at Scarborough’s YMCA Theatre. From there, she trained professionally at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts, Woking, graduating recently in musical theatre and dance.

Alongside her will be fellow professional theatre debutante Michelle Ndegwa, playing Motormouth Maybelle after her selection from last November’s 3,000 open auditions hopefuls for the tour’s run from July 16 to next April.

Soul and gospel singer Nedgwa is best known for her vocals for the Gorillaz and has recorded with Billy Porter, Gregory Porter, Shapeshifters, Leeds band Yard Act, Becky Hill, Rita Ora, and Deseri too.

She has performed at Coachella, Glastonbury and BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend and her touring, festival and concert work includes backing vocals for Lizzo, Jorja Smith, Emeli Sande, Becky Hill, Nubya Garcia, Wizkid, TLC, Liam Gallagher, Ray BLK, Nina Nesbit, Shakka, Tom Odell and Trevor Nelson’s Soul Christmas at the Royal Albert Hall.

Brenda Edwards, who played Motormouth Maybelle in three productions under Paul Kerryson’s direction, now joins him to co-direct the latest tour. Choreography will be by Olivier Award winner Drew McOnie, artistic director of Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, London.

Based on John Waters’ cult 1988 film that starred Divine and Ricki Lake, Hairspray The Musical features music by Marc Shaiman, lyrics by Scott Wittman and Shaiman and book by Mark O’Donnell and Thomas Meehan.

The 2002 Broadway premiere won eight Tony Awards; the 2007 West End premiere at the Shaftesbury Theatre picked up four Olivier Awards including Best New Musical.

Revelling in such songs as Welcome To The 60s, You Can’t Stop The Beat and Good Morning Baltimore, Hairspray traces the progress of ambitious heroine Tracy Turnblad, who has big hair, a big heart and big dreams to dance her way onto national American television and into the heart of teen idol Link Larkin.

When Tracy becomes a local star, she decides to use her newfound fame to fight for liberation, tolerance and interracial unity in Baltimore, but can she win equality – and Link’s heart – without denting her hairdo?

Kerryson and Edwards’s touring cast will include Neil Hurst, who played big lad Dave in The Full Monty on tour at the Grand Opera House last October, now cross-dressing as Tracy’s mum, Edna Turnblad.

Returning to the York stage too will be Joanne Clifton, this time as former beauty queen, TV show producer, devious taskmaster and racist snob Velma Von Tussle.

The 2016 Strictly Come Dancing champion appeared previously at the Grand Opera House as Princess Fiona in Shrek, Janet Weiss in The Rocky Horror Show, welder Alex Owens in Flashdance and Millie Dillmount in Thoroughly Modern Millie.

Further roles will go to Solomon Davy as Link Larkin; Declan Egan as show host Corny Collins, Katlo as Little Inez, Reece Richards as Seaweed and Allana Taylor as Amber Von Tussle.

Tickets are on sale at atgtickets.com/york.

More Things To Do in York and beyond from March 23 onwards. What springs up in Hutch’s List No 13, from The Press?

Adam Kay: If laughter is the best medicine, head to the Grand Opera House

SHORT plays, doctor’s tales, pop memories, life 11,000 years ago, women in word and song, egg hunts and a Sondheim celebration put the spring into Charles Hutchinson’s step as a new season arrives.

Doctor in the House: Adam Kay: Undoctored, Grand Opera House, York, March 23, 7.30pm

BILLING himself as “the nation’s twelfth-favourite doctor”, This Is Going To Hurt author Adam Kay follows a record-breaking Edinburgh Fringe run and West End season with a tour of tales from his life on and off the wards.

Expect Kay’s ‘degloving’ story to feature “because people ask for refunds if they don’t hear it”. Post-show, he will be signing books. Last few tickets: atgtickets.com/york.

Navigators Art & Performance’s poster for GUNA: Views and Voices of Women at The Basement

Navigators Art & Performance presents: GUNA: Live!, Views and Voices of Women, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, March 23, 7pm

TO complement Navigators Art & Performance’s City Screen exhibition for International Women’s Week, the York arts collective hosts an inspiring evening of music, spoken word and comedy that explores, celebrates and promotes the creativity of women and non-binary artists. 

The line-up of mostly York-based performers features poets Danae, Olivia Mulligan and Rose Drew; performance artist Carrieanne Vivianette; global songs and percussion from Soundsphere; original music from Suzy Bradley; comedy from Aimee Moon and a rousing appearance by multi-faceted York musician and artist Heather Findlay. Box office: bit.ly/nav-guna.

Lush stories: Miki Berenyi’s book, Fingers Crossed, under discussion at York Literature Festival

Book of the week: Miki Berenyi In Conversation: Fingers Crossed, York Literature Festival, The Crescent, York, March 24, 3pm

MIKI Berenyi, former lead singer, rhythm guitarist and founder member of London shoegaze/dream pop band Lush discusses her memoir, Fingers Crossed, and her career, recounting her experiences as a trailblazing woman fronting a seminal late-1980s group. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Livy Potter: Performing in Paul Birch’s Running Up That Hill in Yorkshire Trios at York Theatre Royal

York theatre event of the week: Yorkshire Trios, York Theatre Royal Studio, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.45pm, both sold out

YORK company Next Door But One brings together York actors, writers and directors to produce original, short pieces of theatre, five to 15 minutes in length, on the theme of Top Of The Hill. Cue tales of motherhood, grief, love, war and even Kate Bush.

Badapple Theatre’s Kate Bramley and Connie Peel direct Nicola Holliday in Sarah Rumfitt’s Toast; Livy Potter performs Paul Birch’s Running Up That Hill under Harri Marshall’s direction; Jacob Ward directs Claire Morley in Yixia Jiang’s Outliving and Bailey Dowler appears in Jules Risingham’s Anorak, directed by Tempest Wisdom. Box office for returns only: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Curators Andrew Woods, left, Adam Parker and Emily North with Mesolithic remains of a wooden platform and materials used for fire-making in the Yorkshire Museum’s Star Carr exhibition. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

Exhibition opening of the week: Star Carr: Life After The Ice, Yorkshire Museum, York; open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

EXCAVATED in the Vale of Pickering, the Star Carr archaeological site provides the first evidence in Great Britain of the beginnings of home, a place where people settled and built places to live.

The Yorkshire Museum’s interactive exhibition brings together artefacts from “the Mesolithic equivalent of Stonehenge” to give an insight into human life 11,000 years ago, a few hundred years after the last Ice Age, such as how they made fires. On display are objects from the Yorkshire Museum Collection, from antler headdresses and a decorated stone pendant to the world’s oldest complete hunting bow and the earliest evidence of carpentry from Europe. To book tickets, go to: yorkshiremuseum.org.uk.

Sam Hird: Singing Sondheim with Pick Me Up Theatre

Musical revue of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Sondheim We Remember, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, March 27 to 30, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee

ROYAL College of Music student Sam Hird returns home to York to join his father Mark Hird in the Pick Me Up Theatre company for Sondheim We Remember’s selection of music from Stephen Sondheim’s Broadway shows, film scores and television specials.

Taking part too in this celebration of the New York composer and lyricist will be show director Helen ‘Bells’ Spencer, Susannah Baines, Emma Louise Dickinson, Alexandra Mather, Florence Poskitt, Andrew Roberts, Nick Sephton, Catherine Foster and Matthew Warry. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

The National Trust’s guide to Easter activties, egg hunts et al, at Nunnington Hall

Easter Egg Hunt of the fortnight: Nunnington Hall, Nunnington, near Helmsley, today until April 7, 10.30am to 5pm; last entry, 4.15pm.

FAMILIES can enjoy a fun-packed visit to the National Trust property of Nunnington Hall throughout the Easter school holiday, when children can take part in an Easter egg hunt trail around the freshly mown garden, with activities to be completed such as an egg and spoon race, archery and boules, before receiving their egg.

Children can enjoy drawing and painting in the creative hub; take part in seed planting in the cutting garden; explore the Lion’s Den play area, with its obstacle course, rope bridge and climbing frame; learn about composting and spend time in the bird-watching area. On March 31 and April 1, additional garden activities include races on the main lawn and bird-feeder making. Tickets: nationaltrust.org.uk/nunnington-hall.

Wet Wet Wet and special guest Heather Small: Teaming up at York Barbican in 2025

York gig announcement of the week: Wet Wet Wet & Heather Small, York Barbican, October 13 2025

WHEN Wet Wet Wet headlined a festival in Dubai, who should they bump into but Heather Small, the big voice of M People. She duly accepted their invitation to be the special guest at all dates on their 2025 tour.

Wet Wet Wet will be returning to York Barbican after their January 31 2024 double bill with Go West on the Best Of Both Worlds Tour. In the line-up will be founding member and bassist Graeme Clark, long-standing guitarist Graeme Duffin and singer Kevin Simm, The Voice UK winner and former Liberty X member, who joined the Scottish group in 2018. Tickets: axs.com.york.

In Focus: Children’s show, Millennium Entertainment International in There’s A Monster In Your Show, York Theatre Royal, March 26 to 28, 1.30pm and 4pm

There’s A Monster In Your Show composer Tom Fletcher with his children, Buzz, Buddy and Max, and a monster puppet

THE Easter holiday festivities at York Theatre Royal kick off with Tom Fletcher’s new family musical There’s A Monster In Your Show.

Based on Fletcher and Greg Abbot’s Who’s In Your Book? picture-book series for Puffin, the 50-minute performance for three-year-olds and upwards is billed as an “interactive, high-energy adventure for big imaginations” that leaps from page to stage with the aid of lively original music

Adapted for the stage by Zoe Bourn and directed by Miranda Larson, the show features new music by McFly band member Fletcher and Barry Bignold. Expect playful fun aplenty for your littlest ones as their favourite characters come to life in a performance packed with interactive moments to enjoy together.

In the story, performers are preparing to start their show but quickly discover they are not alone on stage. Little Monster wants to be part of the fun too, promptly extending an invitation to his friends Dragon, Alien and Unicorn to join him. Cue comedy and chaos as they help to create a magical show, learning about the joy of books and friendship along the way.

Fletcher says: “I’m so excited to see There’s A Monster In Your Book come to life on stage. The whole journey is incredibly exciting. Theatre is such an important way to introduce children to the arts and There’s A Monster In Your Show is the perfect first theatre trip for pre-schoolers and their families. I’m so looking forward to seeing their reactions first hand.”

The 1.30pm show on March 28 will be a Relaxed Performance that aims to reduce anxiety around theatre visits to help everyone have an enjoyable time. All are welcome, but especially people with sensory or communication difficulties or a learning disability. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Ben Murrell and Gil Sidaway in There’s A Monster In Your Show. Picture: Pamela Raith

REVIEW: Le Navet Bete in King Arthur, York Theatre Royal, today, 2.30pm & 7.30pm ****

In the wink of an eye: Matt Freeman’s Guinevere in Le Navet Bete’s King Arthur. Picture: Craig Fuller

LE Navet Bete translates as “the daft turnip”. Cue fruit and vegetables being lobbed at the stage at the outset of this latest comic caper of precisely organised chaos from a trio of Exeter theatre-makers who met in student days and retain that anarchic spirit in the tradition of Rik Mayall and Ade Edmondson in The Young Ones and Bottom.

Making their fifth visit to York Theatre Royal, this one finds company regulars Nick Bunt, Al Dunn and Matt Freeman working with Peepolykus’s like-minded John Nicholason as co-writer and director, conjuring a re-telling of the legend of King Arthur as never told before, played faster and looser than all those Horrible Histories.

What’s the story, more daft than gory? King Arthur “knows that if he fails to turn things around, this civilization will be known as nothing more than a rather dull time in British history. But when three hapless squires approach him about changing that legacy…a legend in born.”

From a camper-than-camp opening pastiche of Queen’s infamous I Wanna Break Free video, through Kelis’s re-shaken Milkshake to The White Stripes’ Seven Nation Army in the interval, the pop hits repurposed medieval style kept on coming as the plot not so much thickens as chases itself around a tree like a squirel.  

Add prog-rock, jazz fusion, orchestral score, medieval sitcom segues and re-imaginings of Cher, and no wonder composer and sound designer Jonny Wharton sums it up as ridiculous.

Thwack attack: Al Dunn, left, Matt Freeman and Nick Bunt in Le Navet Bete’s smash-hit King Arthur. Picture: Craig Fuller

Monty Python And The Holy Grail comes to mind as another influence, but like those cycling Shakespeareans The HandleBards, Le Navet Bete have developed their own style of physical comedy, one founded in the fast-moving, faster-witted comic camaraderie and delightful tomfoolery of the multi-role playing Bunt, Dunn and Freeman.

For all the measured order behind their comical disorder, they revel in the unpredictable nature of breakneck live theatre, the mishaps and malfunctions beyond the mayhem, the ad-libbing and the corpsing, joined gleefully by set and costume and designer Fi Russell on constant stage management duty, popping on in stealthy Milk Tray advert black to remove a mis-thrown stool at one point.

Le Navet Bete cram a lot into their Camelot, here represented in a castellated design by the playful Russell with doors aplenty in farce tradition, a water trough and a bucket on a rope: all signposts of pratfalls and slapstick to come.  

More than 50 costumes, even a pantomime horse, play their part as the likes of Guinevere, Lancelot, Merlin and Percival are woven into a plot that spins ever more plates – and when a frying pan is to hand, what else would you do but belt someone in the face with it?! Pan-tomime of a different kind.

Should you miss day three of this riotous romp in York today, head to Cast in Doncaster on June 8, 7pm, or June 9, 11am and 3pm. Box office: York, 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk; Doncaster, 01302 303959 or castindoncaster.com. Suitable for legend-loving children and adults alike.

REVIEW: Charles Hutchinson’s verdict on Macbeth’s return to Leeds Playhouse *****

Jessica Baglow’s Lady Macbeth and Ash Hunter’s Macbeth

WHEN shall we meet Amy Leach’s Macbeth again? Only two years to the month since its Leeds Playhouse premiere.

Sixty-nine schools from across Yorkshire attended the 2022 run, “introducing more than 5,000 students to the excitement and lasting resonance of Macbeth – and giving some of them their first electrifying experience of live theatre,” as artistic director and chief executive James Brining recalls in his programme notes.

Even more school-friendly matinees have been fitted in for the return of GCSE Eng Lit set text Macbeth, supported by a programme of resources and activities to “bring additional depth and breadth to students’ appreciation of this incredible play”.

Striking up a pre-show conversation with the student in the neighbouring back-row seat at Thursday’s lunchtime matinee, she had first seen a version of Macbeth when she was ten and it had since become her favourite play. Now she is studying its psychology on her GCSE course.

And what a psychological thriller to be watching to elucidate those studies, in a theatre full to the brim with excited school uniforms, all enraptured from start to finish by Leach’s vision of all-inclusive theatre-making. Theatre for all the senses, all audiences, all performers, deaf, visually impaired, included. Each performance has integrated audio description.

Think of modern theatrical retellings of historical stories with nods to concert culture, and up pops SIX The Musical, the Spouse Girls’ revenge of Henry VIII’s wives. Another controversial king, Macbeth, is now framed in a setting that would not be out of place in a stadium rock show.

A huge drawbridge hangs heavy over Hayley Grindle’s stage. Searchlights scan the auditorium from metallic towers spread out like a forest. Fog enfolds. Deafening noise bursts through the air. For those about to rock, however, stop. You notice a puddle of water; muddy ground; grit too. Something witchy this way comes.

Enter the weather-watchful Witches (Charlotte Arrowsmith, Karina Jones and Elkanah Wilder, all from 2022), spinning opening words that are re-shaped, re-ordered, with rhythms afresh, their sound as important as their meaning.

What’s this? Macbeth (Ash Hunter, last seen on Yorkshire boards as Heathcliff in Wise Children’s Wuthering Heights at York Theatre Royal) and Lady Macbeth (the returning Jessica Baglow) are cradling a new-born baby, only for the bairn to die within a heartbeat.

In the Playhouse’s wish to “explore the damaging physical, spiritual and psychological effects of treachery on those who seek power at any cost”, Leach has put child loss, lineage and legacy at the heart of the Macbeths’ behaviour, the acts of murder, the need to eliminate all threats to their ill-gotten power.

Leach then takes it even further, Baglow’s Lady Macbeth being pregnant when she beseeches “unsex me here” and later suffering a miscarriage as blood seeps through her nightgown. Come the finale, Leach adds prescient text to give a foretaste of Banquo’s son, Fleance, becoming king as the Witches had prophesied.

Those Witches typify Leach and Brining’s “commitment to accessible and inclusive theatre-making”, as does the participation of the blind Benjamin Wilson as audio description consultant.

Supernatural soliciting: Elkanah Wilder, Karina Jones and Charlotte Arrowsmith’s Witches in Amy Leach’s Macbeth. Picture: Kirsten McTernan

Among the witches, Karina Jones is visually impaired and Charlotte Arrowsmith is profoundly deaf, while Elkanah Wilder “interrogates multifaceted sociopolitical oppressions from a queer and disabled lens”.

Here, Shakespeare’s “weird sisters” are neither weird, nor alien, in the way they are often played, but are as wild as the landscape instead.

Arrowsmith also plays Lady MacDuff, partnered once more by the profoundly deaf Hull actor Adam Bassett as MacDuff. Paul Brown’s Lennox vocally interprets the sign language, complementing the intensity of Bassett’s expressive face, hands and arms with the staccato rhythms of his speech.

Learning of, spoiler alert, his wife and children’s deaths is even more shocking, heart-rending, in this form of news delivery: theatre at its unique best, living and breathing in the rawness of the moment.

Not only do lighting designer Chris Davey’s searchlights induce a sense of paranoia (later turning from white to red after yet more murdering), but relentlessly oppressive natural elements prevail too, along with the sound and fury of machismo war.

These are all big, muscular, mud-and-blood splattered men, ready to rut like stags, except for Aosaf Afzal’s King Duncan; their physicality being emphasised by Georgina Lamb’s movement direction and Claire Lewellyn’s fight direction. Likewise, Nicola T Chang’s sound design adds to the cacophony.

Macbeth’s vaulting ambition may in part be represented by the drawbridge, crowned when on top of it, but broken beneath it, but Leach’s production is deeply human amid the technology.

In the relationship of Hunter’s reactionary Macbeth and Baglow’s more intuitive Lady Macbeth, the shifting sands become less about calculating mind games, controlled initially by her, more about brute physicality and brutal will, imposed by him, as intense love and mutual hopes are snuffed out in the face of ultimate destiny being beyond their control, whether shaped by supernatural witchcraft or the resurrection of natural order.

Hunter’s Macbeth is as physical in his language as in his pugilist’s body, his soliloquies carrying the force of punches amid the fevered actions of his bloody rise and fall. He is so spent – “Enough, enough, I am done” – that he lays down to let Macduff administer the final blow.

Above all, Leach puts Lady Macbeth’s motives under the spotlight, and if purists feel she has gone too far in doing so, the reality is that Baglow’s performance is all the better, more rounded, for it.  

Risk-taking change can be liberating, rather than be judged as taking liberties, as Leach’s emboldened Playhouse productions affirm, from Romeo And Juliet to Macbeth X 2.

What’s more, there is no damned spot to ‘out’ here. Leach’s Macbeth was already beyond blemish in 2022 and is even better in 2024.

Macbeth, Leeds Playhouse, today at 2pm and 7.30pm. Box office: 0113 213 7700 or leedsplayhouse.org.uk.