PLAN B may need its own Plan B amid the Omicron surge, but Charles Hutchinson seeks to be positive – in Christmas spirit only – until otherwise informed.
Children’s show of the week: Riding Lights Theatre Company in Fizzy Finn Finds His Feet, Friargate Theatre, York, today to December 23
JON Boustead’s “crackling new Christmas adventure” addresses children’s mental health problems arising from lockdowns and separation from family and friends.
Finn is a fidget whose brain is ablaze with an unbreakable buzz that fizzes to his fingers and tickles his toes, or it would do if he could only find his feet in a 50-minute story of fear and bravery suitable for children aged five to 11.
The show’s magical blend of vivid storytelling, original music by Patrick Burbridge and creative puppetry is presented by Jared More’s Fizzy Finn and Meg Blowey’s Tink the Cobbler. Box office: 01904 613000 or at ridinglights.org/fizzy-finn.
Christmas film tradition of the week: It’s A Wonderful Life (U) at City Screen, York, today, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Christmas Eve
AN elderly angel is sent from Heaven to help desperately frustrated businessman George Bailey (James Stewart) as he contemplates suicide.
Taking George back through his life to point out what good he has done, the angel shows him what life would have been like if he had never existed.
Frank Capra’s classic from 1946 is a Christmas Eve big-screen staple: City Screen has shows that day at 3pm and 6pm. Box office: 0871 902 5747 or at picturehouses.com.
Pianist of the week: Joe Alexander Shepherd, National Centre for Early Music, York, tonight, 7.30pm
YORK pianist and composer Joe Alexander Shepherd combines beautiful contemporary and classical music with a Christmas ambience tonight, complemented by special guest appearances by singer-songwriter Wounded Bear and singer Amelia Saleh on his return to the NCEM. Expect new compositions, by the way.
Shepherd composed the music for UEFA’s First World War Truce video, starring footballers Sir Bobby Charlton, Wayne Rooney and Gareth Bale, and for a UK Women’s Rugby Football Union advert.
Concert proceeds will go to the Charlie Gard Foundation to support families affected by mitochondrial disease. Box office: 01904 658338 or at ncem.co.uk.
Finale of the week: Uthink Piccadilly Pop Up art studios and gallery, 23 Piccadilly, York, today and tomorrow
THE Uthink Piccadilly Pop Up art studios and gallery must vacate their temporary premises by the end of the month after being served notice by the re-developers.
Since August 2020, the studios opened to the public on Saturdays to showcase work by 15 artists, ranging from painting, drawing, abstract art and collages to photography, sculpture, installation and poetry.
Today, public opening will be from 12 noon to 6pm; on Sunday, a festive market and extended art exhibition will run from 11am. Admission is free.
Gigs of the week outside York: Shed Seven, Another Night, Another Town – Greatest Hits Live Tour, Leeds O2 Academy, Monday and Tuesday
SHED Seven have restarted their Covid-stalled tour after calling off December 10 to 16’s run of shows to next March when a member of the touring party tested positive.
Earlier this week, the York band tweeted: “Excited to confirm that the tour will resume this Friday [December 17] in London – let’s finish what we started!! New dates for the shows that were postponed will be announced next week. Shed Seven ride again. See you down the front. X.”
Tickets are still available for both Leeds gigs at ticketmaster.co.uk/shed-seven-leeds. Doors open at 7pm each night.
Cult gig of the week: Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band, The Crescent, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
IN the wake of Adios Señor Pussycat in 2017, Michael Head & The Red Elastic Band are working on a new album, nearing completion.
Devotees of the 60-year-old Liverpudlian’s gilded songwriting brio can expect to hear new songs as well as much-loved nuggets from his days in Shack and The Pale Fountains. Pet Snakes support at this standing-only gig. Box office: thecrescentyork.seetickets.com/event/michael-head
Pantomime in a car park? Oh yes it is, in Car Park Panto’s Horrible Christmas, Elvington Airfield, near York, January 2, 11am, 2pm and 5pm
BIRMINGHAM Stage Company’s Horrible Histories franchise teams up with Coalition Presents for Car Park Panto’s 14-date tour of Horrible Christmas to racecourses, airfields, stadiums and a motor-racing circuit.
In writer-director Neal Foster’s adaptation of Terry Deary’s story, when Christmas comes under threat from a jolly man dressed in red, one young boy must save the day as a cast of eight sets off on a hair-raising adventure through the history of Christmas.
At this car-centred, Covid-secure experience, children and adults can jump up and down in their car seats and make as much noise as they like, tuning in to the live show on stage and screen. Box office: carparkparty.com.
Looking ahead to 2022: The Unthanks, Sorrows Away, York Barbican, May 31; doors 7pm
NORTHUMBRIAN folk sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank will perform forthcoming new album Sorrows Away and Unthanks favourites with an 11-piece ensemble in a co-promotion by York’s Please Please You, The Crescent and Black Swan Folk Club and Brudenell Presents from Leeds.
As the album title suggests, Sorrows Away promises to be a blues-belter and a step into the light for sisters known more for melancholia and, well, sorrow. For tickets for The Unthanks’ return to touring after a two-year hiatus, go to: yorkbarbican.co.uk.