More Things To Do in York and beyond in search of algorithms, rhythm and a Snake. List No. 88, courtesy of The Press

Algorithm & blues: Coder and post-classical pianist Larkhall at Micklegate Social. Picture: Samuel White

GLASTONBURY? Out of sight, out of mind, out of pocket, Charles Hutchinson prefers to stay up north for arts and crafts aplenty.

Curioso gigs of the week: Larkhall, Micklegate Social, Micklegate, York, tonight, 8pm; Brudenell Piano Sessions, Howard Assembly Room, Leeds Grand Theatre, tomorrow, 4pm

RECOMMENDED to Nils Frahm and Max Richter neo-classical devotees, Larkhall combines creative coding with beautiful post-classical piano pieces and makes algorithmically created visuals as he plays.

Larkhall is the performance alias of Minnesota mining town-born, Cambridge University-educated, Bath-based composer, coder and new-media artist Charlie Williams, whose intimate York show coincides with this week’s release of his third album, Say You’re With Me, with its theme of men’s mental health.

Can algorithms be art? Charlie reckons so. “My shows are an experience of algorithms creating beauty instead of, like, getting us to buy more stuff,” he says. Box office: larkhall.org.

Frankie Valli: Fronting The Four Seasons in one day at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Nostalgia of the week: Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, tonight, gates, 6pm

THE Tony Award-winning musical Jersey Boys, chronicling the life and times of Frankie Valli and his New Jersey group, has brought so many songs to a new generation.

Cue Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee Frankie playing Scarborough at 88 with The Four Seasons, performing Sherry, Big Girls Don’t Cry, Walk Like A Man, Rag Doll, Let’s Hang On, My Eyes Adored You, Who Loves You, December, 1963 (Oh What A Night), Grease et al. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Leg up for comic effect: Thom Tuck and Dennis Herdman’s double act in The Play What I Wrote at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Manuel Harlan

Play of the week: Birmingham Rep in The Play What I Wrote, York Theatre Royal, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm; Thursday, 2pm; Saturday, 2.30pm

WRITTEN by The Right Size comic coupling of Sean Foley and Hamish McColl in tandem with Eddie Braben, the chap what wrote little Ern’s plays, The Play What I Wrote is both a dissection of double acts and a celebration of Morecambe and Wise.

Thom Wall insists on performing yet another of his hapless plays, an epic set in the French Revolution. Partner Dennis Hayward prefers to continue with their failing comedy duo instead, believing a tribute to Morecambe & Wise will restore Wall’s confidence. First, he needs to persuade a mystery guest to appear in the play what Thom wrote, with a different star for each show. Box office: 01904 623658 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Snake Davis: Saxophonist plays Cop’ Carnival’s debut jazz night on Tuesday

Community event of the week: Cop’ Carnival Day, Copmanthorpe Recreation Centre, Barons Crescent, York, July 2, 11.30am to 6pm

NOW in its 51st year, Cop’ Carnival Day retains its familiar format of dance troops, bands, traditional games and attractions next weekend. Tickets cost £5 in advance or £8 on the day.

In addition, Cop’ Carnival’s first jazz night, hosted with York Gin, presents An Evening With Snake Davis, saxophonist to the stars, on Tuesday at 7pm. Two nights later, the carnival’s comedy bill features Steve Royle, Tom Wrigglesworth, David Eagle and compere Alex Boardman from 8pm.

Throughout the festival, 30 artists are exhibiting at Copmanthorpe Methodist Church nightly from 7pm, admission free. Box office: copmanthorpecarnival.org.uk.

Strictly between them: Anton du Beke and Giovanni Pernice team up for Him & Me

Dance moves of the week: Anton & Giovanni, Him & Me, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm

 STRICTLY Come Dancing judge Anton du Beke and 2021 champion professional Giovanni Pernice are joined by dancers and singers for Him & Me, a night when the Ballroom King meets the Jive Master. Expect dance, song, light-hearted fun and banter.

Both Strictly stars will be making their second York appearance of 2022; Anton & Erin’s Showtime played York Barbican in February; Giovanni’s This Is Me followed suit in March. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Fran, frankly: Fran Lebowitz’s evening of acerbic New York wit and astute observation at Grand Opera House

Social commentator of the week: An Evening With Fran Lebowitz, Grand Opera House, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

FRAN Lebowitz, New York purveyor of urban cool, cultural satirist and author, will be typically forthright and unapologetically opinionated in her dry-humoured social commentary on anything and everything, with a Q&A to boot.

After Pretend It’s A City, Lebowitz’s Netflix documentary series directed by filmmaker and friend Martin Scorsese, here comes her acerbic insights on gender, race, gay rights and the media, plus her pet peeves of celebrity culture, tourists, and baby strollers. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.

Who’d be a teacher? Sam Jackson’s Nick struggles with more than the paperwork in Foxglove Theatre’s The Brink

Shock of the new: Foxglove Theatre in The Brink, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Thursday to Saturday, 7.30pm

IN Brad Birch’s darkly comic, explosive psychological thriller, history teacher Nick is a normal person, working a normal job, who lives a normal life, but he suffers a downward spiral fuelled by dreams and whispers of a bomb buried under the school.

“Thrilling, turbulent, unconventional, The Brink is an unwavering dive into dark and prominent subject matter, alien to the established York stage,” says Nathan Butler, director of new York company Foxglove Theatre. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Suzanne Vega: Booked into York Barbican for February 2023 concert

Big signings of the week for 2023: Suzanne Vega, York Barbican, February 22; Mike + The Mechanics, York Barbican, April 12

GLASTONBURY acoustic stage headliner Suzanne Vega will play York Barbican as the only Yorkshire show of the New York folk singer-songwriter’s 14-date tour next year, with Luka, Marlene On The Wall and Tom’s Diner to the fore.

Mike + The Mechanics will return to York Barbican next spring on their Refueled! 2023 Tour, promising “all the hits and a drop of Genesis” – Mike Rutherford’s other band – plus songs from latest album Out Of The Blue. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

More Things To Do in and around York for June 18 to June 26, as the Romans invade again. List No. 87, courtesy of The Press

Cherie Gordon in Everyday, on tour at York Theatre Royal in Deafinitely Theatre’s 20th anniversary tour. Picture: Becky Bailey

FROM the Pride parade to Roman festivities, Americana musicians to English prog legends, defiant deaf theatre to bracing art, Charles Hutchinson savours a diverse diary ahead.

Empowering play of the week: Everyday, Deafinitely Theatre, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

FOUR people come together to perform a ritual of community and catharsis. Gathering up true stories of deaf women and non-binary people’s experiences of surviving abuse, they form a witches’ coven like no other, replete with a cauldron of newt’s eyes and butterflies, deep scars, and blazing signs.

Commissioned by New Diorama Theatre, Deafinitely Theatre’s playful, urgent, defiant world premiere by writer-director Paula Garfield combines British Sign Language and oral English as it draws on interviews to explore domestic abuse and mental health in the deaf community. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Davina De Campo: Performing at York LGBT Pride at Knavesmire

Fiesta of the week: York LGBT Pride, June 18, from high noon

THE York Pride Parade leaves from outside York Minster at Duncombe Place. Best advice: arrive at 11.45am, ready for departure at 12 noon, with the parade arriving at Knavesmire (Tadcaster Road end) between 1pm and 1.30pm.

On the main stage, hosts Miss Sordid Secret and DJ Kira introduce live music and entertainment from Nadine Coyle, Davina De Campo, Duncan James, Marcus Collins and Jo O’Meara. York Pride is a free family-friendly event, but donations are welcome.

Dolphin Hotel, by David Finnigan, at According To McGee, York

Exhibition launch of the week: Contemporary Painting: Elementals and Synthesis by Freya Horsley and David Finnigan, According To McGee, Tower Street, York, June 18 to July 11

EXHIBITING Freya Horsley, from York, alongside David Finnigan, from Scarborough, is “not so much a duo show, more like two exhibitions in one gallery,” says According To McGee co-director Greg McGee.

“Freya and David are far removed in terms of subject and mark making, but there’s enough intersection to be able to build an event like this.”

Horsley’s Elementals works focus on seascapes full of bristling light and spray, serenity and inner-lit joy; Finnigan’s four new Synthesis paintings are geometric abstractions influenced by sound and modulation. 

Sunday’ll be the day for That’ll Be The Day! at Grand Opera House, York

Tribute gig of the week: That’ll Be The Day!, Grand Opera House, York, June 19, 7pm

THIS long-running show, now into its 36th year, celebrates the golden age of rock’n’roll and pop from the 1950s through to the 1980s.

That’ll Be The Day combines comedy sketches and impersonations with stellar vocals and musicianship, fronted by director, producer and vocalist Trevor Payne. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.

Courtney Marie Andrews: Third time lucky for Phoenix singer-songwriter as she returns to Pocklington at last

Americana gig of the week: Courtney Marie Andrews, Pocklington Arts Centre, June 19, 8pm

AMERICAN singer, songwriter, poet, musician and now artist Courtney Marie Andrews makes her long-awaited return to Pocklington this weekend.

Phoenix-born Courtney, 31, twice had to postpone the follow-up to her December 2018 gig. The focus was expected to be on the 2021 Grammy-nominated Old Flowers, but now that she has announced the October 7 release of ninth album Loose Future on Fat Possum, hopefully she will showcase new material too. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Yes, it is Yes: Playing Close To The Edge at York Barbican

Progressing to the past: Yes, York Barbican, Wednesday, 8pm

PROG rock pioneers Yes’s Album Series Tour 2022 celebrates the 50th anniversary of Close To The Edge, the September 1972 album inspired by Siddharta and their “state of mind” at the time.

Wednesday’s concert combines the iconic album in full with further Yes classics, performed by Steve Howe, guitars, Geoff Downes, keyboards, Jon Davison, vocals, Billy Sherwood, bass guitar, and Jay Schellen, drums and percussion. Legendary Yes artwork artist Roger Dean opens the show with a video wall of images and graphics and a reflection on his long history with the band. Tickets remain valid from the postponed May 19 2021 date. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The Felice Brothers, James, second from left, and Ian, right, with band members Will Lawrence and Jesske Hume

If you are yet to discover…The Felice Brothers, Pocklington Arts Centre, Thursday, 8pm

THE Felice Brothers, the folk rock/country rock band from the Hudson valley of upstate New York, are led by Ian and James Felice, joined on this tour by Will Lawrence on drums and Jesske Hume on bass.

Inspired equally by Woody Guthrie and Chuck Berry, they began in 2006 by playing subway platforms and sidewalks in New York City and have since released ten albums, the latest being 2021’s From Dreams To Dust. Box office: 01759 301547 or pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.

Charge! The Eboracum Roman Festival is on its way

Festival of the week: Eboracum Roman Festival, June 25 and 26, all day

THE Legions of Rome take over York Museum Gardens for a packed weekend of outdoor festivities featuring a Roman Living History Encampment between 10am and 5pm each day; the Kids Army and Roman-themed family activities run by Playful Anywhere from 11am to 3pm on both days. Entry is free.

Head inside the Yorkshire Museum to discover Roman treasures, especially the new exhibition The Ryedale Hoard: A Roman Mystery.  

Authors of Roman fiction and non-fiction will chat and sign books in the Tempest Anderson Hall from 10am to 4pm each day.

The Chemical Brothers: Get ready for Block Rockin’ Beats at Castle Howard

Big beat of the week: The Chemical Brothers, Castle Howard, near York, nearer Malton, June 26; gates open at 5pm 

HEY boy, hey girl, electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers are taking to the stately-home grass this summer as Manchester big beat duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, both 51, galvanize rave diggers.

Expect such dancefloor nuggets as the chart-topping Setting Sun and Block Rockin’ Beats, Hey Boy, Hey Girl, Let Forever Be, It Began In Afrika, Star Guitar, Galvanize, Do It Again. Got To Keep On and Go. Camping will be available. Box office: castlehoward.co.uk.

DreamWorks Theatricals’ Shrek The Musical to play Grand Opera House. When?

Shrek The Musical: Arriving in York in 2023

WEST End smash Shrek The Musical is on its jaunty way to the Grand Opera House, York, from November 27 to December 2…NEXT year.

After that long wait, join unlikely hero Shrek and his noble steed Donkey, beloved Princess Fiona and the evil Lord Farquaad as they embark on a big, bright, musical adventure that reimagines the Oscar-winning DreamWorks film and William Steig’s book for the stage.

After Broadway and London success, the producers of Hairspray and Priscilla Queen Of The Desert have joined forces with directors Sam Holmes and Nick Winston and designer Philip Witcomb for the touring production.

Full of unexpected friendships and surprising romance, this fun-filled musical comedy promises a cast of vibrant, magical fairytale characters and a “Shrektacular” score by composer Jeanine Tesori and lyricist David Lindsay-Abaire, topped off by Neil Diamond’s I’m A Believer.

DreamWorks’ animated film Shrek celebrated its 20th anniversary last year. Shrek The Musical was first performed on Broadway in 2008, produced by DreamWorks Theatricals and Neal Street Productions en route to receiving eight Tony nominations and the award for Best Costume and Set Design.

The original West End production was nominated for Best New Musical at the 2012 Olivier awards, where Nigel Harman received the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Lord Farquaad.

Shrek The Musical was staged previously at the Grand Opera House by York Stage Musicals in September 2019.

Tickets are on sale on 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com.

More Things To Do in York and beyond as green shoots emerge and Johnny’s here. List No. 85, courtesy of The Press, York

Butshilo Nleya: Drums and drama at Green Shoots at York Theatre Royal

NOT only a certain platinum jubilee is cause for a party. Charles Hutchinson finds reasons aplenty to head out.

What can you say in five minutes? Green Shoots, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

NEW work commissioned by York Theatre Royal from 20 York and North Yorkshire professional artists will be premiered in Green Shoots.

Poets, performers, singers, dancers and digital artists will be presenting bite-sized performances focused on “rebooting post-pandemic and looking to the future of the planet”.

Among them will be Fladam; Bolshee; Alexander Flanagan-Wright; Paul Birch; Hayley Del Harrison; Butshilo Nleya; Hannah Davies and Jack Woods; Gus Gowland; Joe Feeney and Dora Rubinstein. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Miles And The Chain Gang: Miles Salter’s new line-up plays the City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend

That’s all folk: City of York (Roland Walls) Folk Weekend, Black Swan Inn, Peasholme Green, York, today, 1pm to 11pm, and tomorrow, 1.30pm to 10.30pm

THE Black Swan Folk Club’s two days and nights of free music and song take in a marquee concert stage; rolling folk club; musicians’ sessions; singarounds; Japanese drumming; indoor concerts; the Poems & Pints hour and workshops.

Playing over the weekend will be Kaminari Taiko, The Ale Marys, The Duncan McFarlane Band, White Sail, Clurachan, Two Black Sheep And A Stallion, Holly Taymar, Blonde On Bob, Les Rustiques, Caramba, Miles And The Chain Gang, Tommy Coyle, Chechelele, Leather’O and more besides. Full programme: blackswanfolkclub.org.uk.

Artwork by North Yorkshire Open Studios mixed-media artist Jo Yeates, who is inspired by the many possibilities of fabric, paper, paint and stitch, on show at South Bank Studios, Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road, York

Art event of the  month: North Yorkshire Open Studios 2022, today, tomorrow, then June 11 and 12, 10am to 5pm

FROM the rugged coastline near Whitby to the rolling Yorkshire Dales, 108 artists and makers invite you inside their studios and workshops.

Over four days, this is the chance to discover secret studio spaces and inspiring locations, watch artists at work, learn about their creative practices and buy contemporary art and design directly from the makers. To plan a route, visit nyos.org.uk to download a free brochure.

Jane McDonald: Headlining Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Coastal party of the weekend: Yorkshire’s Platinum Jubilee Concert, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, today, 6pm

NATIONAL treasure Jane McDonald will be joined by musical theatre stars The Barricade Boys and drag artiste La Voix outdoors in Scarborough this evening.

“It’s going to be amazing,” says Wakefield singer and television presenter McDonald. “A really rousing night, full of song. It will be a real sing-along event, so bring your voices. I expect it’ll be emotional too, but above all else we’ll have a good old party.” Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

Beck beckons: More than a year later than first planned, Jeff Beck plays York Barbicanand here’s Johnny too

Guitar god of the week and his (in)famous friend: Jeff Beck, with Johnny Depp, York Barbican, Tuesday, 8pm, sold out

NEWS flash. Fresh from winning his US defamation lawsuit against former wife Amber Heard, Hollywood frontman Johnny Depp, 58, is doing an impromptu victory lap as the special guest of South London rock, blues and jazz guitarist and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Jeff Beck, 77, on a tour rearranged from April 2021. 

Beck will take to the York stage with Rhonda Smith, bass, Vanessa Freebairn-Smith, cello, Anika Nilles, drums, Robert Adam Stevenson, keyboards, and Depp, riffing off his piratical Keith Richards vibe no doubt, on guitar. Box office for returns only: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Beware the Ides of March…in June: Shakespeare’s Globe bring Julius Caesar to York Theatre Royal next week. Picture: Helen Murray

Political drama of the week: Shakespeare’s Globe in Julius Caesar, York Theatre Royal, June 10, 7.30pm; June 11, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

PREPARE to confront today’s political landscape as Shakespeare’s tragedy Julius Caesar takes on startlingly new relevance in Diane Page’s account of this brutal tale of ambition, incursion and revolution.

When Cassius (Charlotte Bate) and Brutus (Anna Crichton) decide Roman leader Julius Caesar (Dickson Tyrrell) poses a political threat to their beloved country, ancient Rome feels closer to home than ever amid the conspiracy to kill, the public broadcast of cunning rhetoric and a divisive fight for greatness. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

She’s back to say farewell: Dionne Warwick makes a last visit to York Barbican next Friday

Soul legend of the week: Dionne Warwick, She’s Back: One Last Time, York Barbican, June 10, 8pm

DON’T walk on by. Dionne Warwick’s rescheduled She’s Back: One Last Time itinerary now carries the Farewell Tour tag too, making next Friday’s concert all the more a Must See event.

Now 81, the six-time Grammy Award-winning New Jersey singer, actress, television host and former United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture will be performing such Bacharach/David favourites as I Say A Little Prayer, Do You Know The Way To San Jose and Walk On By, plus material from her May 2019 album, She’s Back. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The poster for Gary Barlow’s one-man theatre show A Different Stage, visiting the Grand Opera House for four performances

Hottest ticket of the week: Gary Barlow: A Different Stage, Grand Opera House, York, June 9, 10 and 11, 7.30pm; June 12, 2.30pm

FIRST, Take That’s Gary Barlow announced Friday and Saturday solo shows, then he added a Sunday matinee, and, finally, Thursday too. Ticket availability is best for the opening night; barely a handful remain for the others.

“I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard,” says the Wirral singer, songwriter, composer, producer, talent show judge and author. “I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group.

“But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, well, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.” Box office, without delay: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Getting mighty Crowded: Neil Finn’s band, Crowded House, head for the Yorkshire coast

Whatever the weather with you, Crowded House play Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 11; gates open at 6pm

CROWDED House are heading out on their first European tour in more than ten years with a line-up of founding members Neil Finn and Nick Seymour, producer and keyboardist Mitchell Froom, guitarist and singer Liam Finn and drummer Elroy Finn, Neil’s sons.

Such favourites as Weather With You, Don’t Dream It’s Over, Distant Sun and Private Universe will be complemented by material from the Antipodeans’ seventh studio album, June 2021’s Dreamers Are Waiting, their first since 2010’s Intriguer. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.

More Things To Do in and around York as festivals open and half-term attractions beckon. List No. 84, courtesy of The Press

Fourmidable: York children’s entertainer Josh Benson will perform four Just Josh shows a day at the York Spring Fair and Food Festival

BIG beards, food and funfairs galore, Irish whimsy, postcard art, tree theatre, Moronic music, female folk and a year’s notice of camp comedy catch Charles Hutchinson’s eye.

York Spring Festival and Food Fair, Clocktower Enclosure, York Racecourse, Knavesmire, York, running until June 5

IN its second year at York Racecourse, this event takes in the Platinum Jubilee long weekend celebrations to complement the 15 vintage funfair rides, food stalls,  live music and family entertainment, highlighted by the lighting of York’s Jubilee Beacon on Thursday evening.

Look forward to 6.30pm performances by York musicians Huge, The Y Street Band, Hyde Family Jam and New York Brass Band, plus Wales’s Old Time Sailors.

Busiest of all will be York children’s entertainer, “balloonologist”, juggler and magician Josh Benson, performing his high-energy Just Josh show four times a day. Tickets: ticketsource.co.uk/yorkspringfair.co.uk.

Jorvik Viking Festival: Invading forces take over York city centre for five days. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Half-term festival of the week: Jorvik Viking Festival, York, today until Wednesday

NEARLY two and a half years after hordes of Viking warriors and settlers last descended on the city, York is ready for five days of Norse-themed fun and entertainment. 

Moved from February to fit into the summer half-term holiday, the 2022 festival sees the return of a living history encampment, March to Coppergate, Strongest Viking and Best Beard contests and Poo Day at DIG, as well as a new arena event this evening, The Jorvik Games. For full festival details and tickets, go to: jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk. See full preview below.

Furious romp: The poster for Dylan Moran’s We Got This tour, visiting York tonight

Comedy gig of the week: Dylan Moran, We Got This, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 8pm

DROLL Irish comedian Dylan Moran promises a joyously furious romp through the frustration and folly of modern-day life in his new tour show.

“These times have not been easy,” he says. “Learn how to make breakfast not even knowing you are out of bed. Diagnose the mirror, reason with the mice and boil yoghurt blindfolded. Enjoy the fruits of hurtling cognitive decline and your neighbours’ sprawling ghastliness, absence of humanity and so, so much more.” Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

Postcards on the edge: Rows of original postcard artworks on sale at PICA Studios

Art event of the weekend: PICA Postcard Show and Sale, PICA Studios, Grape Lane, York, today and tomorrow, 10am to 4pm

THE artists at the PICA Studios workshop are branching out into one-off postcard artworks for one weekend only. Each postcard will sell for £25 to raise funds towards improving the studio space and to create a gallery in the foyer.

Taking part will be Lesley Birch, Evie Leach, Emily Stubbs, Katrina Mansfield, Ealish Wilson, Sarah Jackson, Ric Liptrot, Jo Edmonds, Lisa Power, Amy Stubbs, Mick Leach, Rae George, Lesley Shaw Lu Mason and Kitty Pennybacker. Purchases also can be made online via instagram@picastudios. 

Badapple Theatre Company’s poster for Danny Mellor’s Yorkshire Kernel at Theatre@41

Family drama of the weekend: Badapple Theatre Company in Yorkshire Kernel, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

JAMES’S Grandad is at death’s door, but he has one last mission: to find a tree. Many trees in fact, scattered around the country in memory of his Second World War comrades. So begins writer, performer and puppeteer Danny Mellor’s play for Green Hammerton company Badapple.

Divided between being haunted by his plain-speaking grandfather, his mother rekindling her romance with an old flame, and James’s pregnant partner, Rosie, thinking he is cheating on her, Mellor’s “bonkers” solo show undertakes a journey of Yorkshire wit and grit through one man’s determination to leave a long-lasting legacy. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

The Lovely Eggs: Playing The Crescent at the seventh attempt

Cracking gig of the week: The Lovely Eggs, supported by Arch Femmesis and Thick Richard, The Crescent, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm

PROUDLY independent northern psychedelic punk rock duo The Lovely Eggs do not give up. After re-scheduling the tour to promote April 2020’s release of their I Am Moron album seven times, they play The Crescent at last this weekend.

Iggy Pop, no less, contributed to their track I, Moron. “For him just to say nothing but ‘moron’ over and over again fitted in with the sentiment of the song perfectly,” says Lovely Egg Holly Ross. “He just got it. We are all morons. In a world of moronic things. In a world of moronic ideas. You are Moron. I am Moron. We are Moron.” OK, Morons and Eggheads, tickets are on sale at thecrescentyork.com.

Rachel and Becky Unthank: York Barbican debut on Tuesday, showcasing new songs from Sorrows Away

Folk gigs of the week: The Unthanks, Sorrows Away Tour, York Barbican, Tuesday, 7.45pm; Katherine Priddy, supported by George Boomsma, National Centre for Early Music, York, Wednesday, 7.30pm

RETURNING to touring after two years off the road, Northumbrian folk musicians The Unthanks will be previewing their upcoming autumn album Sorrows Away in their York Barbican debut with an 11-piece ensemble. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

The following night at the NCEM, finger-picking guitarist and haunting singer Katherine Priddy performs enchanting songs on the theme of childhood, distant memories and whatever will follow next from last June’s debut album, The Eternal Rocks Beneath. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.

Katherine Priddy: Contemporary roots singer and guitarist, playing songs from The Eternal Rocks Beneath at the NCEM. Picture: Sam Wood

Gig launch of the week: Tom Allen, Completely, York Barbican, May 28 2023

YOU will have to wait 12 months for comedian, raconteur, arch television jester and radio presenter Tom Allen’s new show, Completely, to arrive in York. Tickets go on sale rather sooner, from 10am on Monday at yorkbarbican.co.uk.

At 38, Bromley-born Allen has finally moved out of his parents’ house, prompting his eagerness to share his life updates, gain audience opinions on his vegetable patch and delve into the protocol of inviting friends with children for dinner.

On the distant horizon: Tom Allen’s newly announced York Barbican show is a full year away

Jorvik Viking Festival returns with more fun and games…

TENTS for an encampment are being set up in Parliament Street and screens installed at the Eye of York. Traders are transporting their wares to the Guildhall and St Sampson’s Square and a faint smell of mead is wafting through the air. Welcome to the return of the Jorvik Viking Festival.

Nearly two and a half years after hordes of Viking warriors and settlers last descended on the city, York is preparing for five days of Norse-themed fun and entertainment, starting today (28/5/2022).

Postponed from February to fit snugly into the half-term holiday before the Jubilee bank holiday, this year’s festival will see the return of such favourite events as a living history encampment, the March To Coppergate and the Strongest Viking and Best Beard contests, alongside a new arena event at 6.45pm this evening, The Jorvik Games.

“In February, our evening spectacular is usually a dramatic presentation of a Viking story, but with the evenings being so much lighter in May, our event will also be a little more fun,” says event manager Gareth Henry.

Viking warriors ready for a clash of styles

 “The Viking Games will pit the finest warriors from four teams against each other, with spectators invited to pick their champion and cheer them on to victory. Henry. Of course, being Vikings, they might not always play by the rules – and with their own horde of supporters behind them on the arena field, sparks will fly with skirmishes inevitable!”

Tickets for The Jorvik Games are still available, priced £15 for adults and £11 for concessions, with family tickets also available at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.

While Saturday will be the festival’s busiest day, visitors from Sunday to Wednesday will enjoy a host of events and activities too.  On Sunday, at 29/31 Coney Street, visitors can meet Vikings from all over Europe, brought together under the Erasmus scheme, including fun crafting activities. 

Young warriors can hone their skills in Have-A-Go Sword sessions on the Parliament Street stage and the Ting Tang re-enactors will bring theatre to the stage every day too.

Five go Viking in York for five days

The last few places remain on crafting workshops taking place Monday to Wednesday at York Medical Society, on Stonegate, including Nalebinding (Viking knitting), Trichinopoly (wire weaving) and tablet weaving.

On Wednesday, Jorvik’s sister attraction, DIG in St Saviourgate, will host the ever-popular Poo Day, a chance for children (and adults!) to try their hand at making a replica Viking poo, based on the world-famous Lloyds Bank Coprolite (fossilised poo, should you be wondering). 

Jorvik Viking Centre’s exhibition of items from the Silverdale Hoard, on loan from Lancashire County Museums, is also expected to be popular, with tickets for the attraction selling out for many time slots throughout the half-term break. 

“With good weather forecast for the weekend, we’re expecting York to be particularly busy, so would urge visitors to pre-book their tickets wherever possible to avoid disappointment,” says Henry.

Full details of all Jorvik Viking Festival events can be found at jorvikvikingfestival.co.uk.

More Things To Do in York and beyond when not only the Mouse will play in all weathers. List No. 83, courtesy of The Press

Behind you! Behind you: Will The Gruffalo pounce on Mouse in Tall Stories’ The Gruffalo?

POLITICS, the weather, monsters, Sixties and Eighties’ favourites, comedy songs and a north eastern tornado all are talking points for Charles Hutchinson for the week ahead.

Children’s show of the week: Tall Stories in The Gruffalo, Grand Opera House, York, today, 1pm and 3pm; tomorrow, 11am and 2pm

JOIN Mouse on a daring adventure through the deep, dark wood in Tall Stories’ magical, musical, monstrous adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s picture book, suitable for children aged three upwards.

Searching for hazelnuts, Mouse meets cunning Fox, eccentric old Owl and high-spirited Snake. Will the story of the terrifying Gruffalo save Mouse from becoming dinner for these hungry woodland creatures? After all, there is no such thing as a Gruffalo – or is there? Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.

True or false: Is Tony Hadley playing York Barbican on Sunday? True!

Eighties’ nostalgia of the week: Tony Hadley, York Barbican, Sunday, 7.30pm

I KNOW this much is true: smooth London crooner Tony Hadley is celebrating 40 years in the music business with a 2022 tour that focuses on both his Spandau Ballet and solo years.

Once at the forefront of the New Romantic pop movement, Islington-born Hadley, 61, is the velvet voice of hits such as True, Gold, Chant No. 1, Instinction and Paint Me Down and solo numbers Lost In Your Love and Tonight Belongs To Us. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Up and at’em, Fladam: York musical comedy duo Florence Poskitt and Adam Sowter

Comedy songs of the week: Fladam & Friends, Let’s Do It Again!, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, today at 2.30pm and 7.30pm

YORK musical comedy duo Fladam, alias Florence Poskitt and piano-playing partner Adam Sowter, vowed to return after last year’s Hootenanny, and return they will this weekend. But can they really “do it again?”, they ask. Is a sequel ever as good?

Mixing comic classics from Victoria Wood with fabulous Fladam originals, plus a sneak peak of this summer’s Edinburgh Fringe debut, this new show will “either be the Empire Strikes Back of musical comedy sequels or another case of Grease 2”. Tickets to find out which one: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Always take a brolly with you just in case: Mikron Theatre Company’s James Mclean, left, Hannah Bainbridge, Alice McKenna and Thomas Cotran on tour in Lindsay Rodden’s all-weathers play, Red Sky At Night. Picture: Liz Baker

Whatever the weather, nothing stops Mikron Theatre Company in Red Sky At Night, Scarcroft Allotments, York, Sunday, 2pm

HAYLEY’S sunny, beloved dad was the nation’s favourite weatherman. Now, she is following in his footsteps, joining the ranks of the forecasting fraternity, or at least local shoestring teatime telly.

When the pressure drops and dark clouds gather, Hayley melts faster than a lonely snowflake. She may be the future’s forecast, but will anyone listen in Lindsay Rodden’s premiere, toured by Marsden company Mikron’s 50th anniversary troupe of James Mclean, Hannah Bainbridge, Alice McKenna and Thomas Cotran. No tickets are required; a Pay What You Feel collection will be taken after the show.

Stop Stop Start: The Hollies’ rearranged 60th anniversary tour will arrive at York Barbican on Monday

Sixties’ nostalgia of the week: The Hollies, 60th Anniversary Tour, York Barbican, Monday, 7.30pm

MOVED from September 2021, with tickets still valid, this 60th anniversary celebration of the Manchester band features a line-up of two original members, drummer Bobby Elliott and lead guitarist Tony Hicks, joined by lead singer Peter Howarth, bassist Ray Stiles, keyboardist Ian Parker and rhythm guitarist Steve Lauri.

Expect He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, I Can’t Let Go, Just One Look, Bus Stop, I’m Alive, Carrie Anne, On A Carousel, Jennifer Eccles, Sorry Suzanne, The Air That I Breathe and more besides. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Giving an earful: Bettrys Jones’s Ellen Wilkinson MP, left, has a word with Laura Evelyn’s British Communist activist Isabel Brown in Red Ellen

A bit of politics of the week: Northern Stage in Red Ellen, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2pm, Thursday; 2.30pm, Saturday

CAROLINE Bird’s new play turns the overdue spotlight on “Mighty Atom” Ellen Wilkinson, the crusading Labour MP cast forever on the right side of history, but the wrong side of life.

Caught between revolutionary and parliamentary politics, Ellen fights with an unstoppable, reckless energy for a better world, whether battling to save Jewish refugees in Nazi Germany; leading 200 workers on the Jarrow Crusade; serving in Churchill’s war cabinet or becoming the first female Minister for Education. Yet somehow she still finds herself on the outside looking in.​ Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Steven Jobson, as Jekyll/Hyde, and Nicola Holliday, as Lucy Harris, in York Musical Theatre Company’s photocall for Jekyll & Hyde The Musical at York Castle Museum

Musical of the week: York Musical Theatre Company in Jekyll & Hyde The Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm, Saturday matinee

BE immersed in the myth and mystery of London’s fog-bound streets where love, betrayal and murder lurk at every chilling twist and turn in Matthew Clare’s production of Frank Wildhorn and Leslie Bricusse’s musical adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s epic struggle between good and evil.

Steven Jobson plays the dual role of Dr Henry Jekyll and Mr Edward Hyde in the evocative tale of two men – one, a doctor, passionate and romantic; the other, a terrifying madman – and two women – one, beautiful and trusting; the other, beautiful and trusting only herself– both women in love with the same man and both unaware of his dark secret. Box office: 01904 501935 or josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Coastal call: Sam Fender kicks off the 2022 season at Scarborough Open Air Theatre

Award winner of the week: Sam Fender, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, May 27, gates open at 6pm

WINNER earlier this week of the Ivor Novello Award for Best Song Musically and Lyrically for his Seventeen Going Under single, North Shields singer-songwriter Sam Fender opens the 2022 Scarborough Open Air Theatre summer season next Friday.

Already Fender, 28, has the 2022 Brit Award for Best British Alternative/Rock Act in his bag as he heads down the coast to perform his frank, intensely personal, high-octane songs from 2019’s Hypersonic Missiles and 2021’s Seventeen Going Under. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com. 

Yorkraine benefit concert for Ukraine has it covered when it comes to York bands

The poster artwork for Yorkraine, Ian Surgenor’s benefit concert for Ukraine

THE Yorkraine benefit concert for Ukraine brings together York cover bands The Supermodels, The Mothers, The Y Street Band and Sister Madly on May 24.

Acoustic sets from Alex Victoria and fellow York singer-songwriter Mal Fry and contributions from guest speakers complete the “totally York” 7.30pm bill at the Grand Opera House, York.

The evening of pop and rock classics from the past six decades will raise funds for the British Red Cross DEC appeal to aid Ukrainian refugees who find themselves in dire circumstances. All artists, hosts, sound tech and crew have donated their time free of charge.

Concert organiser Ian Surgenor says: “I’m a taxi driver by trade, and when I was working at night, there was a newsflash that Russia had invaded Ukraine. I was mortified, and then, like 99 per cent of the British population, I just felt helpless.

The Supermodels

“The only thing I thought I could do was to arrange a concert for the DEC appeal. I’ve always held York Rocks Against Cancer concerts at the Grand Opera House, so I got in touch.

“The manager, Alice [Long], went out of her way to find us a spot, squeezing us in for May 24, and we’re delighted to be doing the show there as the acoustics are great.”

Explaining the choice of musicians for the night, Ian says: “Cover bands have a broad appeal, and I have a really good relationship with most of them in York, just from doing events and seeing gigs.

“There’s a mutual respect, so I approached Dave Sykes, from The Supermodels, who did the first York Rocks; I knew Rob Wilson, from The Mothers, and I’ve done shows with The Y Street Band.”

Sister Madly happen to be Ian’s own band, also featuring two stalwarts of the York musical theatre scene, Jo Theaker, last seen in York Stage’s Calendar Girls at the Grand Opera House, and Ian’s wife, Marie-Louise Surgenor, from Rowntree Players.  

Sister Madly, featuring Ian Surgenor, Jo Theaker and Marie-Louise Surgenor

Ian was keen to include acoustic acts too. “I’d seen other venues putting on acoustic singers on such nights,” he says.

“In fact, I provided the sound for the acoustic lounge when Big Ian Donaghy held a fundraiser for the Ukraine emergency appeal at York Sports Club in March, with Huge playing in the main room, and Dan Webster, Emily Lawler, Rich Hardcastle, To The Blue and a young lady called Alex Victoria in the lounge.

“I was blown away by her. ‘What a voice this girl has,’ I thought, and I wondered if she’d like to do the Yorkraine gig. She said she’d be honoured!”

In attendance too will be a civic party led by Andrew Digwood, Undersheriff of the City of York, while a speaker from the British Red Cross will explain “what will happen to the money and what it’s like on the front”.

The Mothers

“We’ll also be welcoming a Ukrainian gentleman, Dimitri, who works for the Studio Cloud Nine fitness company. He drove to Poland to bring a family here, but couldn’t get them into the country, so they ended up going to Portugal, where the children were placed in a school within two days. Amazing what can be done, isn’t it?”

Look out too for a guest appearance by York vocal drag diva supreme Velma Celli, alias York’s West End musical theatre actor Ian Stroughair. “Ian approached me and said he thought what we were doing was amazing and asked how he could help,” says organiser Ian, who duly slotted Velma into the bill.

Surgenor has secured sponsorship from four sources: Nestlé, Vincent & Brown, Ainsty Ales and Fenton Simpson Financial Services. “They’ve covered the costs totally for hiring the theatre, projection, and so every ticket sold, every penny raised on the night from a collection, all the money will go the DEC appeal.”

The last mention goes to Simon Hudson, who is providing the sound and lighting…for free, of course.

Yorkraine, Ukraine Benefit Concert, Grand Opera House, York, May 24, 7.30pm. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.

Velma Celli: New addition to the Yorkraine bill

May the fourth be with you! Gary Barlow extends A Different Stage run in York

Gary Barlow: First there were two, now there are four shows

GARY Barlow is adding a FOURTH show at the Grand Opera House, York, on June 9 after his June 10 and 11 performances and hastily added Sunday matinee on June 12 all sold out.

The Wirral singer, songwriter, composer, producer, talent show judge and author will be presenting his theatrical one-man show A Different Stage, ahead of the September 1 publication of his autobiography of the same name by Penguin Books.

“Now I’ve done shows where it has just been me and a keyboard,” says the Take That mainstay, 51. “I’ve done shows where I sit and talk to people. I’ve done shows where I’ve performed as part of a group.

“But this one, well, it’s like all of those, but none of them. When I walk out this time, well, it’s going to be a very different stage altogether.”

Tickets for June 9’s 7.30pm show are selling fast at atgtickets.com/York or on 0844 871 7615.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story is bound for York in Grand Opera House return in May

The Simon & Garfunkel Story: On tour at the Grand Opera House, York

THE Simon & Garfunkel Story returns to the Grand Opera House, York, on May 27 to celebrate the songs of the folk-rock duo from Queens, New York.

The 7.30pm performance features a cast of West End actor-musicians telling the story of elementary school friends Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel, from their humble beginnings as rock’n’roll duo Tom and Jerry, through to their 1960s success, relationship troubles and dramatic break-up in 1970, finishing with a re-creation of their 1981 Central Park reunion concert.

Using a large projection screen, the show features 1960s’ photos and film footage while a live band performs such favourites as The Sound Of Silence, The Boxer, Mrs Robinson, Cecilia, Bridge Over Troubled Water, Homeward Bound, I Am A Rock and America.

The Simon & Garfunkel Story heads to York on the back of a week-long West End run at the Vaudeville Theatre and sold-out performances in 50 countries worldwide, 

Tickets are on sale on 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/york. 

Keith Allen plays The Homecoming to the Max in third role in Pinter’s brutal comedy

Keith Allen as brutal patriarch Max, ruling his sons with threats and violence, in The Homecoming

KEITH Allen is completing a hattrick of roles spread over 25 years in Harold Pinter’s darkly comic power struggle The Homecoming, on tour at York Theatre Royal from tonight.

At the National Theatre, in 1997, the Welsh actor, comedian, television presenter, documentary maker and rousing punk musician played university professor Teddy, returning from America with his wife Ruth to find his two brothers, Joey and Lenny, and elderly father Max still living at their North London family home.

In 2015, at the Trafalgar Studios, London, he was cast as Uncle Sam. “Now I’m playing Max but that’s as far as I can go because I’m too old to play Joey or Lenny,” says Keith, 68. “Max is the patriarch of a very misogynistic household. Every character is repressed to the nth degree but while most of them repress their rage Max doesn’t.

“He had a very interesting relationship with his now-dead wife that has coloured his whole life and he’s in a household where they’re all playing games and trying to top each other. Everything that’s done is for a reason and it’s usually to get one over on someone else.”

Keith compares former butcher Max to a raging sheep: “If you’ve ever been in a field with a very angry tup, you don’t want to be there. I’ve been there and they don’t back down.”

Director Jamie Glover and actor Mathew Horne, who is playing pimp Lenny, always had Allen in mind for their Pinter project “They’re close mates, and the genesis of the idea to do a Pinter play came from them. They took their idea to Danny Moar at [the Theatre Royal] Bath, originally wanting to do The Caretaker, but the Pinter estate offered the rights to The Homecoming instead.”

Glover and Horne were unsure whether Allen would want to return to Pinter’s 1965 fractured family drama, but “Max is a part I’ve always had my eye on,” says Keith. “I was very lucky to be offered it and I’m very pleased to be doing it.”

After all, The Homecoming is considered to be Pinter’s finest work in its exploration of toxic masculinity, stultifying patriarchy, one-upmanship feuds and sexual powerplays. “I’ve always thought Pinter was a poet before he was a playwright and the poetry is amazing. This whole play is about language and very particular choices of words, which is why as an actor you have to be very on-the-ball about the grammar.

Keith Allen’s Max, seated, and Mathew Horne’s Lenny, centre, in The Homecoming

“I think the lyricism of the play is extraordinarily attractive and the tension has people constantly going, ‘What on earth is happening and what’s going to happen next?’.”

Keith praises not only the writing, but the “brilliant structure” too, describing it as a feat of engineering. “As an actor, you just get your skis on and let the skis guide you,” says the skiing enthusiast.

What does Keith recall of his first performance in The Homecoming? “That was in 1997, directed by Roger Michell, who died last September, bless him. I remember feeling I’d let the cast down in rehearsals, as I would forget my lines, make things up and trip my way through it, playing Teddy to Lindsay Duncan’s Ruth.

“But I got a handle on it in the end, and it was a brilliant way to learn about being still on stage, which is a great skill to master, when a lot of actors get scared if they’re not doing anything.”

Comparing the productions, Keith says: “I have to say that all three have had very different qualities. This one is very funny, much funnier than the other two, because the director chose that path. Jamie Lloyd’s production in 2015 was much bleaker; this one is genuinely funny but also very discerning.

“A hefty contributory factor to that humour is that these men are idiots. They’re fantasists, all trying to be top dog, and that’s funny to watch.”

Assessing The Homecoming’s impact on audiences in 2022, by comparison with 1965, Keith says: “Misogyny is very present in the play, as is generational jealousy within a family. The mother is dead but she looms very large in everyone’s memory, especially Max’s because he loathed her.

“When the play was first performed, I don’t think anyone had seen anything quite so vicious and measured before. Now it’s interesting for different reasons because we’re living in a time where women are becoming far more recognised and are on a far more equal footing.

“As an actor, you just get your skis on and let the skis guide you,” says Keith Allen of the art of performing in a Pinter play

“There are things in the play that could be misconstrued as being abusive to women and, because of the times we’re living in, audiences might react very quickly to certain things which they wouldn’t necessarily have reacted to before.”

Keith has “previous” for Pinter, not only appearing in The Homecoming but also in Pinter 3: Landscape/A Kind Of Alaska in the West End and The Celebration and The Room, both directed by Pinter himself at the Almeida Theatre, London, in 2000 and in New York in 2001. 

“You very quickly realised that Harold chose people for what they could do; he was very careful in his casting,” Keith recalls. “He wouldn’t ask you to act a part, but to ‘be’, so he left you alone and watched.”

As for Pinter’s advice on his notorious use of pauses, “he once quite frivolously said to us, ‘if the pauses don’t work, **** it’, but actually they do work,” says Keith. “It works like a musical score in that what comes before dictates what comes after. It’s all about rhythm.”

After a five-year hiatus, Keith will enjoy his return to York, where he was last seen on stage as Inspector Rough in Patrick Hamilton’s thriller Gaslight at the Grand Opera House in February 2017. ” York is lovely because you’re near the river and there are some lovely pubs,” he says.

“I really like touring. I like the fact that you’re on the move and it’s as if you’re having an opening night every week because you’re in a different space, in a different theatre, with a different ambience.

” I like to fit in some golf wherever I go and I have an ingrained curiosity about corrugated iron chapels and buildings, so I always see if I can find one or two to go and have a look at.”

Theatre Royal, Bath, presents Harold Pinter’s The Homecoming, York Theatre Royal, tonight until Saturday; 7.30pm, plus 2pm, Thursday; 2.30pm, . Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk

Keith Allen as Inspector Rough and Kara Tointon as Bella Manningham in Gaslight at the Grand Opera House, York, in February 2017