HALLOWEEN films and double bills, classic comedy and a time-travelling York legend, a Disney deep freeze and a punk/jazz collision help Charles Hutchinson leave behind October for November frights and delights.
Play of the week: Noises Off, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
MATTHEW Kelly, Liza Goddard and Simon Shepherd lead the cast in Theatre Royal Bath’s touring revival of Michael Frayn’s riotous Noises Off, directed by Lindsay Posner, who staged Richard III and Romeo And Juliet for York’s first season of Shakespeare’s Rose Theatre productions in 2018.
Structured as a play within a play, this cherished 1982 farce follows the on and off-stage antics of a touring theatre company stumbling its way through the fictional farce Nothing On, from shambolic final rehearsals to a disastrous matinee, seen silently from backstage, before the catastrophic final performance. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
York legend of the week: Punch Porteous – Lost In Time, All Saints North Street, York, tonight, 7pm.
HAVE you heard or indeed seen the eccentric, evasive York legend Punch Porteous: soldier, philosopher, worker (when absolutely unavoidable), husbandman, connoisseur of ale and now the subject of poet Robert Powell, creative practitioner Ben Pugh and producer John Beecroft’s “multi-media drama experience”?
York Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster directs Powell, Nick Naidu and Imogen Wood in Powell’s story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary predicament, lost in time in York. While the city shape-shifts around him, he is catapulted unpredictably into different eras of its history from c.70 to c.2023. Box office: yorktheatreroyal.co.uk/show/punch-porteous-lost-in-time/.
Music, poetry and comedy bill of the week: Navigation Art & Performance present Punk Jazz: A Halloween Special, The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, York, tonight, 7.30pm
COMPLEMENTING the ongoing Punk/Jazz: Contrasts and Connections exhibition at Micklegate & Fossgate Socials, Navigators Art & Performance bring together energetic York punk band The Bricks; intense improvisers Teleost; the Neo Borgia Trio, formed for the occasion from a University of York big band; grunge-influenced Mike Ambler and the experimental Things Found And Made.
Taking part too will be firebrand polemical poet Rose Drew and comedians Isobel Wilson and Saeth Wheeler. Box office: https://bit.ly/nav-punkjazz.
Children’s concerts of the week: MishMash presents String!, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, tomorrow, 11.30am and 2pm
THE Gildas Quartet lead tomorrow’s double celebration of the string quartet in informal 40-minute performances featuring a diverse programme from Haydn to Jessie Montgomery, Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges to Dvorak, and everything in between.
Staged creatively to bring the audience into the music, these fun concerts are suitable for ages seven to 11 and their families. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Community film event of the week: The Witches (PG), Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tomorrow, 2.30pm
MAKE It York and The Groves Community Centre team up for a Halloween screening of Robert Zemeckis’s visually innovative 2020 film The Witches. Based on Roald Dahl’s novel, it tells the darkly humorous, heartwarming tale of an orphaned boy who goes to live with his loving Grandma in late-1967 in the rural Alabama town of Demopolis, where they have an run-in with the Grand High Witch (Anne Hathaway). Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Folk concert of the week: Emily Portman & Rob Harbron, National Centre for Early Music, Walmgate, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
EMILY Portman, from The Furrow Collective, and Rob Harbron, who performs with Leveret, Fay Hield and Jon Boden, have formed an inspired collaboration to delve into English folk traditions with an intricately woven contemporary sound.
Portman (voice, banjo and piano) and fellow composer Harbron (concertina, guitar and voice) released their debut album, Time Was Away, last November, comprising eight English folk songs and two 20th century poems set to music. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Halloween screaming/screening of the week: Nosferatu: Live Silent Cinema, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
CHRIS Green’s score was commissioned by English Heritage for an outdoor screening of FW Murnau’s 1922 German Expressionist vampire film at Dracula’s spiritual home of Whitby Abbey. Now the composer plays his haunting blend of electronic and acoustic instruments for the first time in York to accompany the first cinematic interpretation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, one that gave birth to the horror movie. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Double bill of the week: Please Please You presents Steve Gunn & Brigid Mae Power, Rise@Bluebird Bakery, Acomb, York, Wednesday, doors 7.30pm
EXPERIMENTAL Brooklyn guitarist and songwriter Steve Gunn’s “forward-thinking” songwriting draws on the blues, folk, ecstatic free jazz and psychedelia, suffused with a raga influence. His website says he is “currently somewhere working on new music”, although York will be the first of 12 solo gigs in Britian, Spain and Poland in November.
Wednesday’s gig will be opened by Irish singer-songwriter Brigid Mae Power, whose latest folk-tinged dreampop album, Dream From The Deep Well, arrived in March. Box office: seetickets.com/event/steve-gunn/rise-bluebird/.
Musical of the week: York Stage in Disney’s Frozen Jr, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
IN a story of true love and acceptance between sisters, Disney’s Frozen Jr follows the journey of Princesses Anna and Elsa, based on the 2018 Broadway and West End musical set in the magical land of Arendelle, with all the Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez songs from the animated film.
Producer Nik Briggs directs a cast led by Megan Pickard, Bea Charlton, Matilda Park and Esther de la Pena as the princesses. Malachi Collins plays the Duke of Weselton, Lottie Marshall, Bulda, and Oliver Lawery, King Agnarr. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
In Focus: Say Owt Slam, with special guest Polarbear, The Crescent, tonight, 7.45pm
SAY Owt, York’s loveably gobby gang of performance poets, take over The Crescent community venue twice a year for a raucous night of spoken word and poetry in the form of a stellar slam.
Fast, frantic and fun, a slam gives each poet three minutes to wow the audience. Regular host Henry Raby enthuses: “We love doing Say Owt on a Saturday night, because it’s a party! A poetry party!
“Although one poet will be crowned a Say Owt Slam Champion, this isn’t a bitter battle. It’s a celebration as poets bring a variety of styles and forms. In the past, we’ve had tender personal reflections, hilarious laugh-out-loud comedy poems and fiery political tirades.”
Special guest at tonight’s Say Owt Slam in York will be Polarbear. “The last time he graced our city, Polarbear (a.k.a Steven Camden) was supporting Scroobius Pip and Kae Tempest,” says Henry. “He’s an internationally acclaimed spoken word artist and award-winning writer from Birmingham, whose poetry drips with gorgeous storytelling.
“He talks about people and places with a unique ear for language: celebrating the tiny human characteristics.”
Since first stepping on stage in 2004, Polarbear has performed his work and led creative projects from Manchester to Melbourne and Kuala Lumpur to California, as well as featuring on BBC Radio1, 3 and 6Music, attracting 155,000 views on YouTube and releasing a live album on Scroobius Pip’s Speech Development record label.
A few surprises might be in store tonight too. Box office: thecrescentyork.com/events/say-owt-slam-featuring-polarbear/ or on the door.