IT’S time for back-to-normal service to resume as Charles Hutchinson wipes the sleep from the eyes of his diary for 2023.
Exhibition launch of the week: Back To Normalism, by John Ledger, Micklegate Social, Micklegate, and Fossgate Social, Fossgate, York, January 13 to March 13
ON the portentous Friday the 13th, the preview of Barnsley artist John Ledger’s solo show Back To Normalism begins at 7pm at Micklegate Social.
Ledger looks at the uncanny reality that has unfolded since the pandemic started, along with the underlying weirdness of trying to patch up the black holes in our collective experience of time, in a show about cultures uprooted and disjointed by a series of disasters and distorted by the consequences of trying to repeatedly return to a “before” moment.
Apocalypse very soon: Ricky Gervais, Armageddon, York Barbican, Tuesday and Wednesday 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.
Love Is The Law unto himself: Chris Helme, solo Do It Yourself 25th Anniversary Tour, Pocklington Arts Centre, January 14, 8pm
YORK singer-songwriter Chris Helme is marking the 25th anniversary of The Seahorses’ only album, Do It Yourself, released on May 26 1997 in guitarist John Squire’s short-lived post-Stone Roses project with Helme and fellow York musician Stuart Fletcher on bass.
Recorded in North Hollywood, California, the album was pipped to the number one spot by Gary Barlow while debut single Love Is The Law reached number three. A further highlight of Helme’s solo acoustic set will be Love Me And Leave Me, Liam Gallagher’s first songwriting credit, no less. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Better late than never: The Lonesome Ace Stringband, Selby Town Hall, January 18, 8pm
RE-SCHEDULED from January 20 2022, The Lonesome Ace Stringband’s gig features righteous folk and country music, played by an old-time band with bluegrass chops and a feel for deep grooves.
Band members Chris Coole, banjo, John Showman, fiddle, and Max Heineman, bass, are three Canadians lost in the weird and wonderful traditional country music of the American South, having served their time in New Country Rehab, The David Francey Band, The Foggy Hogtown Boys and Fiver. Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.
Afternoon entertainment: Robert Gammon, Dementia Friendly Tea Concert, St Chad’s Church, Campleshon Road, York, January 19, 2.30pm
AT the first Dementia Friendly Tea Concert of 2023, pianist Robert Gammon plays J S Bach’s Prelude and Fugue in B flat major from The Well-Tempered Clavier Book 2, Mozart’s Piano Sonata in B flat major K. 570 and Schubert’s serene Impromptu in A flat major, D. 935 No. 2.
As usual, 45 minutes of music will be followed by tea and homemade cakes in the church hall. Next up will be University of York Students (violin and piano) on February 16. No charge, but donations welcome for church funds and Alzheimer’s charities.
Children’s show of the month: Tales From Acorn Wood, York Theatre Royal, January 26, 4pm; January 27, 11am and 2pm
NLP’s world premiere staging of Tales From Acorn Wood is based on favourite stories from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s lift-the flap books for pre-school children, featuring the sock-losing old Fox, the tired Rabbit, Postman Bear’s special surprise and Pig and Hen’s game of hide-and-seek.
Suitable for one-year-olds and upwards or anyone who loves books, this 50-minute touring show is full of songs, puppetry, projection and flap-lifting technology. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Crowd pleaser: Rob Auton, The Crowd Show, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, February 24, 8pm; Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds, February 25, 7.30pm
CHARMINGLY eccentric, uplifting and poetic writer, comedian, actor and podcaster Rob Auton returns home to York on the 2023 leg of The Crowd Show tour.
After his philosophical observations on the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking and time, now he discusses crowds, people and connection in a night of comedy and theatre “suitable for anyone who wants to be in the crowd for this show”. Box office: York, tickets.41monkgate.co.uk; Leeds, hydeparkbookclub.co.uk.
Too late for tickets already: Stewart Lee, Basic Lee, York Theatre Royal, March 20 to 22, 7.30pm
AFTER filming last May’s three-night run of his Snowflake/Tornado double bill for broadcast on the BBC, spiky comedian Stewart Lee returns to York with his back-to-basics new show.
Following a decade of ground-breaking high-concept gigs involving overarched interlinked narratives, Lee enters the post-pandemic era in streamlined solo stand-up mode: one man, one microphone, and one microphone in the wings in case the one on stage breaks. Tickets update: Sold out, basically.
Too cool for school: Heathers The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, May 9 to 13
WELCOME to Westerberg High, where Veronica Sawyer is just another nobody dreaming of a better day. When she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers, however, her craving for popularity may finally come true, whereupon mysterious teen rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder being a somebody.
Winner of the What’sOnStage Award for Best New Musical, Kevin Murphy and Laurence O’Keefe’s black comedy rock musical, based on the 1988 cult film, makes its York debut, produced by Bill Kenwright and Paul Taylor-Mills, directed by Andy Fickman and choreographed by Gary Lloyd. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.