FROM a dose of the blues to tragic poetry and song, an heroic fireman to a flying car, clashing couples to country-singing twins, Charles Hutchinson is ready for a week of up-and-down moods.
Festival of the week: York Blues Festival, The Crescent, York, today, 12.30pm to 11pm
YORK’S DC Blues present the cream of the crop from the British blues scene in an all-dayer. Taking part will be Mojo Catfish: Electric Blues; The Bad Day Blues Band; Bad Bob Bates; DC Blues; Alex Fawcett Band; The Terraplanes Blues Band; Mark Pontin Group and The The Lonely Hands Band.
Hand-picked by Jorvik Radio’s Blues From The Ouse hosts Paul Winn & Ben Darwin, the fourth York Blues Festival features bands from all over Britain performing from 1pm. Now the bad news to give you the blues: the event has sold out.
Country gig of the week: Ward Thomas, York Barbican, Tuesday, auditorium doors 7.30pm
HAMPSHIRE country twins Catherine and Lizzy Ward Thomas look for light in troubled times on newly released fifth album Music In The Madness: songs of harmony-soaked balm for shattered souls and an uplifting reminder of what really matters.
Love, family, unity and the healing power of music are recurrent themes on an album begun as war broke out in Ukraine and the world went into a post-Covid tailspin. Tuesday’s York return will be the sisters’ only Yorkshire concert on a 13-date tour. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Fireman Sam Saves The Circus, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 3.30pm
WHEN all his friends go away, Norman Price decides to become the star of a visiting circus in Pontypandy. However, with a tiger on the loose and faulty lights, his adventure soon turns to danger. Can Fireman Sam come to the rescue and save the circus? Spoiler alert, the show title suggests yes!
Join Sam, Penny, Elvis, Station Officer Steele and Norman in UK Family’s all-singing singing, all-dancing, action-packed show, where you can become a fire-fighter cadet. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Play of the week: York Settlement Community Players in The Real Thing, York Theatre Royal Studio, Wednesday and Thursday, 7.30pm, then April 11 to 15, 7.30pm, plus April 15, 2.30pm
HENRY is married to Charlotte. Max is married to Annie. Henry – possibly the sharpest playwright of his generation – has written a play about a couple whose marriage is on the brink of collapse. Charlotte and Max, his leading couple, are soon to find out that sometimes life imitates art.
Directed by Jacob Ward, Pocklington School alumnus Tom Stoppard’s deliberately confusing 1982 exploration of love and infidelity sets the question “What is the real thing?” … without answering it! Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Time to discover: Black Sheep Theatre in Elegies For Angels, Punks And Raging Queens, Quad South, York St John University, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Saturday matinee
BLACK Sheep Theatre bring Janet Hood and Bill Russell’s rarely performed 1989 musical to the York stage with a cast including Mikhail Lim (last seen as Seymour in York Stage’s Little Shop Of Horrors last July) and Helen Spencer (Dolly Levi in Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company’s Hello Dolly! in February).
Elegies For Angels, Punks And Raging Queens is composed of free verse poems and songs, each poem representing a character who has died from AIDS, the songs reflecting the feelings of the living, those who have lost friends and loved ones. Box office: ticketsource.co.uk/black-sheep-theatre-productions
Spectacular show of the week: York Stage in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday to April 15, 7.30pm nightly except April 9; 2.30pm, April 7, 8, 12 and 15
YORK Stage present the magic, mayhem and madness of Richard and Robert Sherman’s most Fantasmagorical musical, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, under the direction of Nik Briggs with choreography by Damien Poole and musical direction by Adam Tomlinson.
Can whacky inventor Caractacus Potts (Ned Sproston), his two children and the gorgeous Truly Scrumptious (Carly Morton) outwit bombastic Baron Bomburst (welcome back Alex Papachristou), who has decreed that all children be banished from his kingdom? Watch out, here come the evil Childcatcher (Richard Barker) and, yes, that flying car too. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Musical match made in theatrical heaven: Liza Pulman & Joe Stilgoe: A Couple Of Swells, Selby Town Hall, April 15, 8pm. Also Otley Couthouse, April 14, 7.30pm; otleycourthouse.org. uk
LIZA Pulman and Joe Stilgoe, both headline names in their own right, have chosen Selby for one of their first ever duo shows in a night of songs and stories, favourite standards and classic duets, sprinkled with panache and dazzle.
The Great American Song Book meets 1950s’ French Riviera chic in the company of Pulman, one third of satirical cabaret group Fascinating Aïda, and jazz pianist and singer Stilgoe, a five-time UK Jazz Chart topper. Box office: 01757 708449 or selbytownhall.co.uk.
Back together: Babybird, The F-Word Tour, supported by Terrorvision’s Tony Wright, Leeds Brudenell Social Club, May 5, doors 7.30pm
PLAYING Leeds feels like a rite of passage to return there for Babybird’s Stephen Jones, as he recalls the memorable between-song banter enthusiasm of his band’s first tours of 1996 and 1997.
Formed in 1995 and best known for misconstrued 1996 anthem You’re Gorgeous, Babybird made 11 albums before splitting in 2013, since when Manchester-based Jones has written fiction, released solo works on Bandcamp and created the film score for Blessed. Reunited, Babybird’s monstrous lullabies for an unstable world are taking wing anew. Box office: brudenellsocialclub.co.uk.
In Focus: Ryedale Youth Theatre in The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 5 to 8
CHLOE Shipley directs a cast of 50, aged eight to 18, in The Addams Family – A New Musical Comedy, featuring music and lyrics by Andrew Lippa and book by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice.
Although numerous film and television adaptations of Charles Addams’s single-panel gag cartoons exist, this musical is the first stage show to be based on the ghoulish American family with an affinity for all things macabre.
Billed as a comical feast that embraces the wackiness in every family, the show features an original story built around every father’s nightmare. Daughter Wednesday, the ultimate princess of darkness – with a name derived from the Fair Of Face poem’s line that “Wednesday’s child is full of woe“ – has grown up and fallen in love with a sweet, smart young man from a respectable family – a man her parents have never met.
If that were not upsetting enough, Wednesday confides in her father, begging him not to tell her mother. Now Gomez Addams must do something he has never done before: keep a secret from his beloved wife, Morticia.
Everything will change for the whole family on the fateful night they host a dinner for Wednesday’s “normal” boyfriend and his parents.
As the lyrics for the Main Theme for The Addams Family, written by Vic Mizzy in 1964, assert: “They’re creepy and they’re kooky, Mysterious and spooky, They’re all together ooky, The Addams family”.
Under Chloe’s direction and Rachel Clarke’s musical direction, the multi-talented Ryedale cast has thoroughly enjoyed proving that rhyme’s sentiment in rehearsals. Now come the 7.15pm evening shows and 2pm Thursday and Saturday matinees, with tickets on sale at £12, concessions £10, at yourboxoffice.co.uk.