WHAT lies ahead in the New Year? Charles Hutchinson picks his path through highlights across the city’s venues.
It’s only A Matter Of Time before: Shed Seven release their new album
YORK band Shed Seven will mark the January 5 release of their sixth studio album, A Matter Of Time, on new home Cooking Vinyl with a meet & greet/signing session that day at HMV, in Coney Street, York, at 4.30pm (tickets: shedsevenn.lnk.to/instores). Their midday appearance and stripped-back performance on the same day at Vinyl Whistle, in Otley Road, Headingley, Leeds, has sold out.
In the summertime, when the weather is hopefully fine, The Sheds will celebrate their 30th anniversary with a brace of outdoor concerts in York Museum Gardens on July 19 and 20, supported by Peter Doherty, no less. Both have sold out already. Box office: seetickets.com.
It’s Curtains for…Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 7 to 10, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
WHEN the leading lady of a new musical mysteriously dies on stage, a plucky local detective must solve this 1959 case at Boston’s Colonial Theatre, where the entire cast and crew are suspects in Kander & Ebb’s musical with a book by Rupert Holmes. Cue delightful characters, a witty and charming script and glorious tunes in the Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s staging of Curtains. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Beta times ahead: Brudenell Presents Steve Mason, The Crescent, York, January 30, 7.30pm
SCOTTISH indie songwriter Steve Mason, founder of The Beta Band, returns to The Crescent as part of Independent Venue Week. Combining a rare melodic gift with an itch to experiment, as heard on his 2023 album Brothers & Sisters, he investigates where the boundaries lie between the craft of songwriting, technology and free expression.
Taking part in Independent Venue Week too will be Leeds band English Teacher, whose January 28 night of dreamy pop and post-punk noise has sold out already. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Dinosaurs take over York: Jurassic Live 2024 World Tour, York Barbican, February 16, 5pm; February 17, 11am and 3pm; February 18, 1pm
LIFE-SIZED monstrous beasts roar into York in an interactive all-star theatrical spectacular featuring the world’s only Tylosaurus in a giant tank (new for 2024), the last flying Pterodactyl, a Tyrannosaurus Rex called Suzie and more dinosaur species than any other show on Earth.
Join little Amber, Ranger Joe, Ranger Nora and the rest of the Jurassic Live rangers on a musical journey to help save the day from an evil man who is trying to shut down the Jurassic facility. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Most anticipated touring musical: Pretty Woman: The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, February 20 to 24, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday
BILLED as “Hollywood’s ultimate rom-com, live on stage”, Pretty Woman: The Musical is set once upon a time in the late 1980s, when Vivian (Amber Davies) meets Edward (Oliver Savile) and her life is changed forever.
Strictly champ Ore Oduba’s Happy Man/Mr Thompson and Natalie Paris’s Kit De Luca will be in the cast too for a musical featuring original music and lyrics by Bryan Adams and Jim Vallance and a book by Garry Marshall and the film’s screenwriter, J.F. Lawton. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
World premiere of the season: Emma Rice’s Wise Children in Blue Beard, York Theatre Royal, February 27 to March 9, 7.30pm and 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees
BLUE Beard will be Wise Children’s fourth visit to York after Wise Children, Malory Towers and Wuthering Heights, this time in a co-production between Emma Rice’s Bristol company, York Theatre Royal, Birmingham Rep, HOME Manchester and the Royal Lyceum, Edinburgh.
Rice brings her brand of theatrical wonder to the beguiling and disturbing folk tale of Bluebeard meeting his match when his young bride discovers his dark and murderous secret. Summoning all her rage, all her smarts and all her sisters, she vows to bring the curtain down on his tyrannous reign. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Welcome home: Rob Auton, The Rob Auton Show, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Crescent, York, February 28, 7.30pm
AFTER nine Edinburgh Fringe shows on themes as diverse as the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking, time and crowds, York writer, comedian, artist and actor Rob Auton delivers his most autobiographical work, exploring the memories and feelings that create his life on a daily basis. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Comedy comeback : Rhod Gilbert & The Giant Grapefruit, York Barbican, June 20, 8pm
IN his last show, The Book Of John, firebrand Welsh comedian Rhod Gilbert dealt with “some pretty pungent life citrus” and an idiot called John. Little did he know that things were about to turn even more sour.
Gilbert, 55, required surgery for metastatic cancer of the head and neck as well as chemotherapy and radiotherapy, receiving his first clear cancer scan in October after undergoing treatment.
“Not bitter, he’s bouncing back and feeling remarkably zesty”, returning with a dark, passionate and way-too-personal tour show that squeezes every last drop out of life’s latest curveballs…with a little help from an old adversary. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Even further ahead: Jason Donovan, Doin’ Fine 25 Tour, York Barbican, March 8 2025, 8pm
IF 2023 was the year of Kylie, all that attention on Tension, Padam Padam and ITV’s An Audience With, then 2025, yes 2025, promises a York date with her Neighbours beau, Jason Donovan, in celebration of his “incredible ride” through 35 years in music, theatre, film and television.
His long-awaited sequel to Doin’ Fine 90 will feature Jason’s most beloved songs from his stage shows, nods to his TV times in Neighbours and Strictly Come Dancing and his biggest pop hits. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
In Focus: York Actors Collective in Beyond Caring, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, cleaning up from February 6 to 10
YORK Actors Collective follows March 2023’s debut production of Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane with Beyond Caring, a play that highlights the social damage inflicted by zero hours contracts.
Devised by Alexander Zeldin and the original Yard Theatre cast in East London in 2014, later transferring to the National Theatre, the story of agency cleaners at a meat factory will be directed in York by Angie Millard, working with a cast of Victoria Delaney, Clare Halliday, Mick Liversidge, Chris Pomfrett and Neil Vincent.
Over 90 unbroken minutes, Beyond Caring follows two women, Becky and Grace, and one man, Sam (replacing Sarah from past productions in a directorial decision), as they confront the reality of low wage, zero-hour contract employment, never sure of how many hours they have to work, when they will be paid and whether their ‘job’ will continue.
Director Angie Millard says: “This play is remarkable in its structure and power. It totally represents 2024 where many workers are on the breadline, trapped in employment with no guarantee of further work and no way to improve their position.
“What drew me to the play, however, is the message it conveys about people surviving and keeping a sense of humour. I loved the intensity of the piece with its silences, its disappointments and its determination to get pleasure out of the smallest things. It gave me hope.”
Stage managed by Em Peattie, Millard’s production will play nightly at 7.30pm, Tuesday to Friday, followed by Saturday shows at 2.30 and 5.30pm. “Ticket sales for our first production indicated that a Saturday matinee was very popular,” says Angie.
“We thought that having two early Saturday performances would give the audience an opportunity to see the show and still have time to go for a drink or meal afterwards, making a night of it.” Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.