A MOUSE house invasion, Christmas concerts galore, a much-loved musical and a cracking ballet are Charles Hutchinson’s festive fancies.
Exhibition of the week: A Townmouse Christmas, Fairfax House, York, until December 23, 11am to 4pm, last entry, 3.30pm
‘TWAS the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring. Not true! In among the Georgian festive decor, hundreds of decorative town-mice have descended on Fairfax House.
Stealing the cheese and biscuits, running up and down the clocks, even skiing down the banisters, the charming magical mousey scenes complement the 18th-century-style festive foliage that evoke a Fairfax family Christmas of a bygone era in York. Tickets: fairfaxhouse.co.uk.
Christmas institution of the week in York: Chapter House Choir’s Carols By Candlelight, York Minster, tonight, 7.30pm; doors, 6.45pm
DIRECTED by Benjamin Morris, the Chapter House Choir will be joined in the central nave by the Chapter House Youth Choir, the choir’s Handbell Ringers and York organist William Campbell for a feast of festive music, combining familiar carols with new and exciting compositions.
Jesus Christ The Apple Tree, a carol composed for the choir by founder Andrew Carter, will be premiered. The 90-minute concert with no interval will be dedicated to the memory of Dr Alvan White, the choir’s Candlelighter-in-Chief for these concerts from 2003 to 2018, who died in August. Tickets: “Selling very well” at yorkminster.org.
Musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in The Sound Of Music, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, until December 30.
COMMONWEALTH Games squash gold medallist and Harrogate man of the musicals James Willstrop plays Captain von Tropp opposite Swedish-born Sanna Jeppsson’s trainee nun turned free-spirited nanny, Maria Rainer, in Robert Readman’s production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s final collaboration.
Three teams of von Trapp children, Team Vienna, Team Graz and Team Linz, will share out the performances at 7.30pm tonight, then December 19, 21, 23, 27, 28 and 29, and at 2.30pm, today, tomorrow, then December 20, 22, 27, 29 and 30. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Festive folk concert of the week: Kate Rusby At Christmas, York Barbican, tomorrow, 7.30pm
AFTER marking her 30th anniversary in the folk fold with 30: Happy Returns, an album of collaborations with Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Richard Hawley and KT Tunstall, Barnsley folk nightingale Kate Rusby ends the year with her customary Christmas tour.
Joined by her regular folk band, led by husband Damien O’Kane, and her Brass Boys quintet, Rusby draws on South Yorkshire’s Sunday lunchtime pub tradition of singing carols once frowned on by Victorian churches for being too jolly, complemented by festive favourites and her own winter songs. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Christmas fancy dress of the week: Please Please You presents The Howl & The Hum, The Crescent, York, Monday and Tuesday, 7.30pm, both sold out
DEMAND was so high for York band The Howl & The Hum’s now traditional Yuletide celebration at The Crescent that a Monday show was added to the fully booked Tuesday gig. All tickets have gone for that night too.
What will frontman Sam Griffiths wear after raiding the Nativity Play dressing-up box for angel wings in 2019 and bedecking himself as a lit-up Christmas tree in 2021? And which Christmas classic will they reinvent in the wake of The Pogues’ Fairytale Of New York last time when joined by fellow York combo Bull?
The New York Brass Band’s two Xmas Party gigs on December 22 and 23 at 7.30pm have sold out too.
Christmas revival of the week: Northern Ballet in The Nutcracker, Leeds Grand Theatre, Tuesday to January 7 2023
LEEDS company Northern Ballet’s touring revival of former artistic director David Nixon’s festive favourite heads home for a three-week finale at the Grand, replete with gorgeous Regency-style sets by Charles Cusick Smith.
“The Nutcracker is not just a ballet, it is a tradition for many families and generations, a way of having shared memories at a time of year when togetherness turns to the fore,” says Nixon. “I believe that The Nutcracker offers the perfect festive escapism for every generation, a chance to revel in the child-like magic of Christmas.” Box office: 0113 243 0808 or leedsheritagetheatres.com.
The wait is almost over for…The York Waits’ Christmas concert: The Waits’ Wassail: Music for Advent and Christmas, National Centre for Early Music, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
THE York Waits, now in their 45th year of re-creating the historic city band, present Mirth & Melody Of Angels, music for Christmas and the festive season from medieval and renaissance Europe, performed by Tim Bayley, Lizzie Gutteridge, Anna Marshall, Susan Marshall and William Marshall with singer Deborah Catterall.
Angels abound, from the 1350’s Angelus ad Virginem to Orlando Gibbons’ Thus Angels Sung from the late-Elizabethan era. Familiar German chorales are followed by French Noels and Mediterranean folk songs, played on shawms, sackbuts, curtals, crumhorns, bagpipes, recorders, flutes, fiddles, rebec, guitar, hurdy gurdy and portative organ. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Apocalypse next month: Ricky Gervais, Armageddon, York Barbican, January 10 and 11 2023, 7.30pm precisely
ARMAGEDDON is not the end of the world as we know it but the name of grouchy comedian, actor, screenwriter, director, singer, podcaster and awards ceremony host Ricky Gervais’s new tour show.
Gervais, 61, will be torching “woke over-earnestness and the contradictions of modern political correctness while imagining how it all might end for our ‘one species of narcissistic ape’,” according to the Guardian review of his Manchester Apollo gig. Box office? Oh dear, you’re too late for Armageddon; both nights have sold out.
Also recommended but selling out fast: The Shepherd Group Brass Band Christmas Concert, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tonight, 7.30pm
ONLY the last few tickets remain for this Christmas concert featuring all the bands that make up the Shepherd Group Brass Band, from their Brass Roots absolute beginners to the championship section Senior Band, playing a variety of Christmas and seasonal music with plenty of audience participation. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.