SEVEN Drunken Nights – The Story Of The Dubliners will return to Grand Opera House, York for two performances on March 10 2024.
In its sixth year, after a Scandinavian tour, the celebration of the Irish music of Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, John Sheahan, Ciaran Bourke and Jim McCann will be on the road for 79 British and Irish dates.
Further Yorkshire performances on the biggest ever Seven Drunken Nights tour will be at Sheffield City Hall on March 20, Cast, Doncaster, March 21 and 22, Bridlington Spa, April 6, St George’s Hall, Bradford, April 12, and Hull City Hall, May 15.
Much more than a jukebox musical celebration of The Dubliners, the show is steered by its writer and director Ged Graham, whose narration charts the band’s path from their first gig at legendary Dublin pub O’Donoghue’s in 1962. The Irish Rover, The Leaving Of Liverpool, Belle Of Belfast City, Dirty Old Town, The Banks Of The Rose, Star Of The County Down and The Town I Love So Well and many more Irish favourites will be performed by Graham’s cast of musicians and singers, who last filled the Grand Opera House on April 23 this spring.
Graham is delighted to have received the backing of the families of The Dubliners. “It was very nerve-racking meeting their relatives, as I didn’t know how they would react,” he says. “But meeting Luke Kelly’s brother, Paddy, early on during the first tour was just brilliant.
“He and his family have been so supportive of the show. Likewise, Barney McKenna’s sister came to see the show when we toured Ireland and was very complimentary of how we told the story. Their support means so much to everyone involved with the show.”
In addition to glowing reviews, Seven Drunken Nights has also received praise from the families of The Dubliners. Ged Graham said, “It was very nerve-racking meeting relatives of The Dubliners, as I didn’t know how they would react. But meeting Luke Kelly’s brother, Paddy, early on during the first tour was just brilliant. He and his family have been so supportive of the show.
Likewise, Barney McKenna’s sister came to see the show when we toured Ireland and was very complimentary of how we told the story. Their support means so much to everyone involved with the show.”
Looking ahead, Seven Drunken Nights is set for its record year internationally, performing nearly 300 shows during 42 weeks on the road.
The show’s popularity has been a life-changing experience for Graham, who says: “I can’t quite believe it. Seven Drunken Nights seems to have touched so many people who have become real fans of the show, reigniting their love of The Dubliners.
“It’s had a massive impact on my life, giving me the confidence to write more and be involved in many other productions, including the runaway success Fairytale Of New York. It truly is a great privilege to bring the music of The Dubliners to the stage every night and keep their legacy alive.”
York tickets for the March 10 matinee and evening shows are on sale at atgtickets.com/york. Tickets for all venues on the 2024 tour can be booked at sevendrunkennights.com.
CORNISH “buoy band” Fisherman’s Friends will play York Barbican on November 8 2024 on their Rock The Boat Tour.
Tickets will go on sale on Friday at 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk or gigsandtours.com/tour/fisherman-s-friends.
The 26-date itinerary will span next January to November, taking in a second Yorkshire gig at Bridlington Spa on February 10.
For more than 30 years, Fisherman’s Friends have gathered on the Platt of their native Port Isaac to sing the songs of the sea; songs that in some cases have been handed down for hundreds of years; songs that connect them to generations of Cornish fishermen.
A decade ago, they signed a million-pound record deal that saw their album Port Isaac’s Fisherman’s Friends go gold as they became the first ever traditional folk act to land a British top ten album.
Fisherman’s Friends now have nine albums to their name, two feature films, a stage musical, a book and a television documentary, along with playing for royalty and to tens of thousands of fans in sell-out tours year in, year out. Fisherman’s Friends: The Musical broke box-office records, selling over 250,000 tickets in the UK and Canada
In the line-up are lobster fishermen Jeremy Brown and Jason Nicholas, writer and shopkeeper Jon Cleave, smallholder and engineer John ‘Lefty’ Lethbridge, builder John McDonnell, filmmaker Toby Lobb and potter Bill Hawkins.
AS The Commitments return, what other commitments would Charles Hutchinson urge you to put in your diary?
Irish craic of the week: The Commitments, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday matinees
WHEN schoolteacher Roddy Doyle wanted an excuse to bring a bunch of young people together in book form in 1986 to “capture the rhythm of Dublin kids yapping and teasing and bullying”, he decided to find a setting outside school. “That’s when the idea of a band came to me,” he recalls.
Cue a big band with a brass section and backing vocals, playing Sixties’ Motown and Memphis soul “because it felt timeless”. Cue The Commitments, the novel, the Alan Parker film, and the musical, now revived on tour with Corrie’s Nigel Pivaro as Jimmy Rabbitte’s Da and Andrew Linnie in the director’s chair. Box office: 0844 871 b7615 or atgtickets.com/york.
Analytical gig of the week: Dave Gorman, Powerpoint To The People, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 7.30pm
DAVE Gorman, the comedian behind Dave TV’s show Modern Life Is Goodish, is touring again, determined to demonstrate how a powerpoint presentation need not involve a man in a grey suit standing behind a lectern saying “next slide please”.
“We’ve all had enough of that, so let’s put it all behind us and never speak of it again,” he says. “There are far more important things to analyse.” Well, they are more important in Gorman’s head anyway. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/york.
Power play of the day: York Late Music: Duncan Honybourne, piano, today, 1pm; James Turnbull, oboe, and Libby Burgess, piano, tonight, 7.30pm, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York
AT lunchtime, pianist Duncan Honeybourne plays David Power’s arrangements of David Bowie (Art Decade) and Bowie & Eno (Warszawa), concluding with Harold Budd/Brian Eno/Power’s Mash Up Remembered. Prokofiev and Satie works feature too.
Power gives a 6.45pm talk tonight ahead of James Turnbull and Libby Burgess’s concert, when his composition Imagine Another receives its world premiere, alongside works by Stravinsky, Tansy Davies, Vaughan Williams, Diana Burrell, Britten and Ravel. Box office: latemusic.org or on the door.
Musical love story of the week, White Rose Theatre in The Last Five Years, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm Saturday matinee
FOR York’s newest stage company, White Rose Theatre, director Claire Pulpher and Simon Radford perform Jason Robert Brown’s emotionally charged American musical, charting the path of two lovers over the course of five years of courting and marriage, trials and tribulations.
Struggling actress Cathy Hiatt’s side of the story starts at the end of the relationship; rising novelist Jamie Wellerstein tells his tale from the beginning, but will they ever meet in the middle? The Last Five Years promises laughter, tears and everything in between in a score of upbeat songs and beautiful ballads. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Political points of the week: Mark Thomas: Black And White, The Crescent, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm
BURNING Duck Comedy Club presents political comedy firebrand Mark Thomas on his Black And White tour, promising “creative fun” as he takes down politicians, mucks about, ponders new ideas and finds hope.
Londoner Thomas asks: how did we get here? What are we going to do about it? Who’s up for a sing-song? “After lockdowns and isolation, this show is about the simple act of being in a room together and toppling international capitalism,” he vows. Box office: thecrescentyork.com.
Homecoming of the week: Kaiser Chiefs, plus special guests The Fratellis and The Sherlocks, All Together UK Tour, Leeds First Direct Arena, November 12, 7.30pm
NOW in their 22nd year, Kaiser Chiefs head home to Leeds on their November arena tour, as well as playing Hull Bonus Arena on November 8. “It’s been a while…and we can’t wait to see you all again,” they say. “We’re looking forward to putting on a big KC show. See you there!”
Alongside Yorkshire anthems Oh My God, I Predict A Riot, Everyday I Love You Less And Less and Ruby, listen out for new single How 2 Dance, produced by former Rudimental member Amir Amor as the first taster off their eighth studio album, set for release in 2023 as the follow-up to 2019’s Duck.
“I hope to hear it at weddings, on the radio, and in the last remaining indie discos across the land,” says lead singer Ricky Wilson. “How 2 Dance is about letting go, not worrying about what other people think you should be doing. It may not be the smoothest of journeys, but sometimes you need a bit of turbulence to remind you that you are flying.” Box office: Leeds, firstdirectarena.com; Hull, bonusarenahull.com.
Book early for next summer’s comeback: Pulp, Bridlington Spa, May 26 2023, and Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 9 2023
LET frontman Jarvis Cocker explain why Sheffield’s Pulp have decided to play their first shows since December 2012. “Three months ago, we asked, ‘What exactly do you do for an encore?’. Well…an encore happens when the crowd makes enough noise to bring the band back to the stage,” he says.
“So…we are playing in the UK and Ireland in 2023. Therefore…come along and make some noise. See you there.”. Box office: gigsandtours.com and ticketmaster.co.uk.
York gig announcement of the week: Ryan Adams, York Barbican, April 14 2023
NORTH Carolina singer-songwriter Ryan Adams will play York for the first time since 2011 on his eight-date solo tour next spring, when each night’s set list will be different.
Adams, who visited the Grand Opera House in 2007 and four years later, will perform on acoustic guitar and piano in the style of his spring 2022 run of East Coast American gigs, when he played 168 songs over five nights in shows that averaged 160 minutes.
This year, Adams has released four studio albums: Chris, a tribute to his late brother; Romeo & Juliet; FM, a more traditional rock’n’roll record, and Devolver, given away to fans to mark a year’s sobriety. Box office: ryanadams.ffm.to/tour.OPR and yorkbarbican.co.uk.
FREEDOM. What better title could South African dancer and ground-breaking Strictly Come Dancing star Johannes Radebe give his debut British tour.
“It is the freedom to dance to my own tune for the first time,” says 34-year-old Johannes, ahead of his itinerary opening with a Yorkshire show at Bridlington Spa on Wednesday (16/3/2022) before playing the Grand Opera House, York, on April 12.
“I’ve danced in many productions around the world but I’ve never been able to capture on stage where I came from, and I never thought I’d be able to go on my own tour, so it’s a very welcome surprise.”
Radebe (pronounced Ra-dee-bay) was catapulted to new heights of popularity by bonding so exhilaratingly with 2012’s The Great British Bake Off winner and TV chef John Waite as the first all-male couple in 2021’s series of Strictly, pipped for the Glitterball by first deaf contestant Rose Ayling-Ellis and professional partner Giovanni Pernice.
“It was liberating and healing as well,” says Johannes. “I’ve got a better relationship with my mum now, as we can talk about my sexual orientation – and people’s lives have changed for the better too.
“In a world where two men still can’t be free to be together, I hope to be able to educate the masses, and if people had a glimpse of that with me and John dancing together, then they can think about it.”
Such was the appeal and dancing brio of both partnerships, each marking a first for Strictly, that many would have loved them to have been declared first equal. “I’m with you!” says Johannes, bursting into laughter. “John kept saying, ‘it’s fine if we don’t win’, and yes, it is s fine! At the finale, we both stood there as couples thinking ‘it’s fine’. That’s the friendship that comes through the show.”
After touring the world in Burn The Floor, Joahannes was head-hunted to join the Strictly professionals for the 2018 series, first moving to Britain that year. In his second season, when partnering Catherine Tyldesley in 2019, he danced the first same-sex routine with fellow Strictly pro Graziano Di Prima.
Last year was to be even more significant. “My decision to finally dance with another man in the competition came about after I lost a friend of mine within our community. He was murdered, and the last words that were uttered to him by his killer was that he was a ‘faggot’,” says Johannes.
He paused, consumed again by the pain of what his friend had suffered, then said: “I get a moment to highlight it in the show. This is something that needs to be done, to give it that platform, and it’s important to keep being flamboyant – but that does require bravery.”
Freedom marks Johannes’s return to the Grand Opera House for the first time since sharing the York stage with Strictly alumni Kevin Clifton and Graziano Di Prima in Burn The Floor in July 2019.
On tour from March 16 to May 1, Johannes Radebe: Freedom is billed as “a celebration of music and dance, from African fusion to fiery Latin, from classic dance arrangements to huge party anthems”, as Radebe and his dancers take the audience on his personal journey, from starting to dance at seven to leaving South Africa at 21 to travel the world, winning international titles and electrifying Strictly Come Dancing.
Now he will be expressing himself to the full in Freedom. “I’ve been on a quest to find Black dancers in this country that are versed in all dance styles, but not many of them are ballroom dancers, whereas where I come from everyone can do the Cha-cha-cha,” says Johannes.
“I’ve chosen everyone through auditions. I had to be in the room to feel their energy, to see if they move me as a dancer, so I’ve found beautiful, individual dancers, which will make it feel a different show.
“It’s a show designed to be representing everyone, and it will be so beautiful to have audiences that support our artform – and I know we have that privilege because of the Strictly audience.”
Johannes has a theory as to why dance and TV audiences feel such a strong connection with him. “It’s because I have no inhibitions. I know that I come alive when I dance. Something takes over. It’s a feeling as an artist that I can’t explain but people connect with it,” he says.
In a nutshell, Freedom. “Absolutely! Nothing is going to stop me. It’s about the joy that my dancing has brought to my mother. Nothing was more important to me than to see my mum be happy when often she would be sad,” says Johannes.
“I was only a child and so I didn’t understand the magnitude of it when she carried me on her back, telling everyone I’d got a prize in a dance competition. She was so proud, even though it wasn’t first place. But that’s the thing. That talent was nurtured from a young age, and though my mum couldn’t support it financially, everyone else contributed.”
Johannes Radebe’s pathway to Freedom was set in perpetual motion, and hopefully another Strictly series awaits too. “We haven’t had the phone-calls yet, but I’ll gladly do it for as long as they will have me,” he says.
Might he look to do another all-male coupling? “Well, you never now. I’m just glad to have kicked down that door.”
Johannes Radebe: Freedom, Bridlington Spa, Wednesday, 7.30pm; Grand Opera House, York, April 12, 7.30pm. Box office: Bridlington, 01262 678258 or bridspa.com; York, 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.Further Yorkshire performances: Sheffield City Hall, April 3, sheffieldcityhall.co.uk; Bradford St George’s Hall, April 9, bradford-theatres.co.uk; Hull City Hall, April 23, 01482 300306 or hulltheatres.co.uk.