MAGPIES and mermaids, Shakespeare’s wife and Scarborough romances, Boy George and a Bon Jovi tribute, Aretha & Patti and singer-songwriters at the quadruple are Charles Hutchinson’s tips for what to see.
Festival of the weekend: TheMagpies Festival of Music & Arts, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, near York, Saturday, music on bar stage from 1.30pm; main stage, from 2.30pm
SAM Kelly & The Lost Boys headline The Magpies Festival in the grounds of Sutton Park, hosted by The Magpies’ trio of Bella Gaffney, Kate Griffin and Holly Brandon in support of Women’s Aid.
Confirmed for this weekend’s folk-flavoured line-up too are: Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra; Blair Dunlop; fast-rising Katherine Priddy; The Magpies themselves; York musician Dan Webster; East Yorkshire singer-songwriter Katie Spencer; the duo Roswell and The People Versus.
Day tickets and camping tickets are available at themagpiesfestival.co.uk/tickets.
Tribute gig of the weekend: New Jovi: Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Saturday, 7.30pm
LIVIN’ off Livin’ On A Prayer, tribute act New Jovi seek to “bring back the on-stage chemistry and formidable stage presence of Jon Bon Jovi and Richie Sambora in what was arguably the New Jersey band’s greatest era”. Arguably? Definitely.
Presented by Pit Bull Productions, Saturday night’s “completely live” set accommodates Always, You Give Love A Bad Name, Runaway, Bad Medicine and many more besides. Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Gig of the week outside York: Boy George & Culture Club, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Saturday, doors open at 6pm
EIGHTIES’ icon/iconoclast Boy George and Culture Club are off to the Yorkshire seaside this weekend.
Bexleyheath-born frontman, fashion innovator and DJ George O’Dowd, who turned 60 on June 14, will be performing alongside original band members Roy Hay and Mikey Craig in a “stunning live band”.
Expect to hear such New Romantic favourites as Do You Really Want To Hurt Me, fellow chart topper Karma Chameleon, Time (Clock Of The Heart) and Church Of The Poison Mind. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
Where there’s a Will: Little Britches Theatre Company in Shakespeare’s Will, outside at Hearts of Ampleforth, Ampleforth, near Helmsley, Sunday, 2.30pm
NORTH Yorkshire duo Josie Campbell and Imogen Hope perform Vern Thiessen’s two-hander Shakespeare’s Will on Sunday, with afternoon tea thrown into the £15 ticket price for good measure.
In this one-hour, pop-up outdoor show about Anne Hathaway’s imagined life with, but mostly without, playwright William Shakespeare, teacher, theatre-maker, performer and erstwhile voiceover artist Josie plays Anne.
Theatre-maker, actor, musician and performing arts teacher Imogen takes the role of Actor-Musician. Tickets: from the café or on 01439 788166; cash only.
Holiday romance of the weekend: Scarbados, Northern Edge Theatre Company, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday, 3pm and 8pm
WELCOME to writer-director Sam Milnes’s new one-act comedy drama about love, life, grief, hope and fish & chips.
Tragic and comic in equal measure, Scarbados tracks six locals and holidaymakers who all go to the same seaside bar, where their lives intertwine in ways no-one expects.
Will Sharon have the chance of motherhood she so desperately craves? Will Jen and Alex have their romantic weekend? Can Ian overcome his long-time challenges? Will Vicky find her man? Who is the sixth character? Box office: josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in Sea Storm In A Teacup, Theatre At The Mill, Stillington, near York, Sunday, 3pm
A MERMAID is an amazing gift for a young adventurer, but what do you do when it just will not stop growing? So asks York company Hoglets Theatre in Sea Storm In A Teacup, a new one-hour play written, produced and performed by Gemma Sharp for ages three to seven.
Joining Sharp’s Merry on stage will be Gemma’s husband, Andy Curry, the show’s composer, lyricist and musician in the role of the Sea King, and Thalassa, a puppet made by Sharp.
Sharp’s story of a chance meeting, an act of kindness and an unusual present, leading a lonely young girl on the most unexpected journey to find friendship, promises an epic adventure of mystery, magic, and mermaids. Box office: tickettailor.com/events/atthemill.
Two into one will go: Patti Boulaye, Aretha & Me, Helmsley Arts Centre, September 18, 8pm
SINGER, musical theatre star, New Faces winner and teacher Dr Patti Boualye OBE is resuming her Aretha & Me tour travels, as well as her visiting teaching fellow role at Middlesex University.
In her one-woman but two-women show, British-Nigerian Patti, 67, compares and contrasts her life with that of the late American queen of soul.
Patti, whose updated autobiography The Faith Of A Child is published by Kaleidoscope Publishing this week, will combine Aretha’s Respect, I Say A Little Prayer, Natural Woman, Chain Of Fools and Think with her favourite songs. Box office: helmsleyarts.co.uk.
Four play: Dan Webster, Edwina Hayes, Joshua Burnell and Jess Gardham: Singer-Songwriter Showcase, Pocklington Arts Centre, September 23, 8pm
DAN Webster, Joshua Burnell and Jess Gardham, from York, are joined by Edwina Hayes, from the East Riding, for this all-Yorkshire bill.
Webster plays folk/Americana peppered with more than a dash of country, bluegrass and rock’n’roll; Burnell’s gigs take in stomping, acoustic singalongs, Bowie-style music-hall epics, alt.pop singles and traditional folk themes.
Gardham fuses pop, soul, blues and acoustic in her song-writing and has a belter of a voice equally at home in musical theatre; Irish-born Hayes crafts gentle folk-Americana songs. Box office: pocklingtonarts.co.uk or on 01759 301547.
DAN Webster, Joshua Burnell and Jess Gardham, from York, are joined by Edwina Hayes, from the East Riding, for Pocklington Arts Centre’s Singer-Songwriter Showcase on September 23.
Road-seasoned Webster plays folk/Americana peppered with more than a dash of country, bluegrass and rock’n’roll, allied to insightful lyrics.
Burnell’s gigs take in everything from stomping, acoustic singalongs to Bowie-style music- hall epics and alt.pop singles, while keeping a sharp focus on traditional folk themes.
Gardham fuses pop, soul and blues in her song-writing and has a belter of a voice equally at home in musical theatre.
Hayes, born in Ireland and raised in Preston, has long made her mark on the Yorkshire concert circuit and beyond with her gentle folk-Americana songs. She has opened shows for Jools Holland and Van Morrison and played stages everywhere from Glastonbury Festival to the Royal Albert Hall, London.
Tickets for this 8pm concert cost £12.50 at pocklingtonarts.co.uk or on 01759 301547.
A BANK Holiday on Monday, the return to schools drawing ever closer, masked or unmasked, the summer calendar is speeding by.
Make the most of the outdoors before the crepuscular Covid uncertainty of autumn and beyond arrives for theatres, concert halls and gig venues alike.
Charles Hutchinson pops outside, then quickly head back indoors in the rain with these recommendations.
Comedy for your living room…from theirs: Your Place Comedy presents Paul Sinha and Angela Barnes, Sunday, 8pm
YORKSHIRE virtual comedy project Your Place Comedy returns after a summer break to deliver a second series of live streamed shows over the next three months, re-starting with The Chase star Paul Sinha and BBC Radio 4 News Quiz guest host Angela Barnes this weekend.
Corralled by Selby Town Council arts officer Chris Jones, ten small, independent theatres and arts centres from God’s Own Country and the Humber are coming together again, amid continued unease for the industry, to provide entertainment from national touring acts.
Sunday’s show will be broadcast live to viewers’ homes for free, with full details on how to watch on YouTube and Twitch at yourplacecomedy.co.uk. “As before, viewers will have an option to make a donation to the venues if they have enjoyed the broadcast,” says Chris.
Garden theatre part three: Park Bench Theatre in Every Time A Bell Rings, Friends Garden, Rowntree Park, York, until September 5
SAMUEL Beckett’s First Love has left the bench for good. Children’s show Teddy Bears’ Picnic, starring Cassie Vallance, resumes daytime residence from today. From this week, the premiere of Engine House Theatre artistic director Matt Aston’s lockdown monologue Every Time A Bell Rings occupies the same bench on evenings until September 5.
Performed by Slung Low and Northern Broadsides regular Lisa Howard and directed by Tom Bellerby on his return to York from London, Aston’s 50-minute play is set in Lockdown on Easter Sunday 2020, when isolated, grief-stricken Cathy searches for solace on her favourite park bench in her favourite park in this funny and poignant look at how the world is changing through these extraordinary times.
Tickets for performances in the Covid-secure Friends Garden must be bought in advance at parkbenchtheatre.com or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk. Bring picnics, blankets and headphones to tune in to shows delivered on receivers.
Deckchairs will be provided: Pop-Up On The Patio, week three at York Theatre Royal, August 28 and 29
YORK Theatre Royal’s Covid-secure summer festival of outdoor performances on Hannah Sibai’s terrace stage climaxes with five more shows, three tomorrow, two on Saturday.
First up, tomorrow at 4pm, is York company Cosmic Collective Theatre’s cult show Heaven’s Gate, an intergalactic pitch-black comedy starring satirical writer Joe Feeney, Anna Soden, Lewes Roberts and Kate Cresswell as they imagine the final hour of four fictionalised members of a real-life UFO-theistic group.
York performance poet Henry Raby puts the word into sword to slice up the past decade in Apps & Austerity at 6.30pm; Say Owt, the York outlet for slam poets, word-weavers and “gobheads”, follows at 8pm. On Saturday, York magician, juggler and children’s entertainer Josh Benson is unstoppable in Just Josh at 1pm before York pop, soul and blues singer Jess Gardham closes up the patio at 4pm.
York exhibition of the week and beyond: Jo Walton, Paintings and Rust Prints, Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, until September 30
YORK artist Jo Walton uses rust and rusted metal sheet in innovative ways to create her artworks. Iron filings are applied as ‘paint’ and as they rust, reactions occur, resulting in every painting being unique and unrepeatable.
“Jo’s work is abstract, inspired by horizons,” says Pyramid Gallery owner Terry Brett. “Her work features enhanced rust-prints on plaster surfaces, combinations of rusted sheet metal with oil painting and painting seascapes on gold-metal leaf.”
First blockbuster of the summer…at last: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, at York cinemas
THE wait is over. This summer has been more blankbuster than blockbuster, thanks to the stultifying impact of the Covid lockdown and the big film companies’ reluctance to take a chance on a major release in the slow-burn, socially distanced reopening of cinemas.
Step forward Christopher Nolan, director of Memento, Inception, three Dark Knight/Batman movies and Dunkirk to grasp the nettle by releasing the 151-minute psychological thriller/action movie Tenet.
John David Washington (yes, Denzel’s son), Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh ride a rollercoaster plot that follows a secret agent who must manipulate time in order to prevent the Third World War. Apparently, Tenet is a “film to feel, not necessarily understand”, like a Scarborough fairground ride, then.
Double bills galore outside a church: Songs Under Skies, National Centre for Early Music, St Margaret’s Church, Walmgate, York, between September 2 and 17
SONGS Under Skies will bring together the National Centre for Early Music, The Crescent, The Fulford Arms and the Music Venues Alliance for an open-air series of acoustic concerts next month in York.
Dates for the diary are: September 2, Amy May Ellis and Luke Saxton; September 3, Dan Webster and Bella Gaffney; September 9, Kitty VR and Boss Caine; September 10, Wolf Solent and Rosalind; September 16, Polly Bolton and Henry Parker; September 17, Elkyn and Fawn.
Gates will open at the NCEM’s Walmgate home, St Margaret’s Church, at 6.30pm for each 7pm start; acts will perform either side of a 30-minute interval with a finishing time of 8.30pm.
And what about…
Discovering The Waterboys’ new album, Good Luck, Seeker, Mike Scott’s latest soulful blast, met with universal thumbs-up reviews. Or bunking down with 1981 Ashes-winning captain turned psychoanalyst Mike Brearley’s new book for the end of summer, Spirit Of Cricket.
WHO will be popping up at York Theatre Royal’s Pop-Up On The Patio festival from August 14 to 29?
Taking part in a Covid-secure summer season of outdoor performances, on a terrace stage designed by Yorkshire theatre designer Hannah Sibai, will be “Yorkshire’s finest theatre and dance makers”.
Step forward York Dance Space; Mud Pie Arts; Crafty Tales; Fool(ish) Improv; The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre; puppeteer Freddie Hayes; Cosmic Collective Theatre; performance poet Henry Raby; Say Owt, the York outlet for slam poets, word-weavers and “gobheads”; magician, juggler and children’s entertainer Josh Benson and singer Jess Gardham.
They will perform at one end of the patio, decorated with “Glastonbury-style bunting”, performing to audiences of a maximum of 35 in demarcated bubbles.
“We’re so excited to have been able to bring live theatre back to our city this summer,” says Theatre Royal producer Thom Freeth, who has co-ordinated the festival programme of theatre, dance, music, magic, puppetry, improvised comedy, storytelling and slam poetry.
“Our building may still be closed, but we didn’t want that to stand in the way of entertaining the people of York during this difficult time. Pop-Up On The Patio gives us the opportunity to showcase the work of brilliant home-grown performers, many of whom are part of our freelance family, who have been disproportionally affected by this pandemic.”
Looking forward to staging the first shows on the Theatre Royal premises since March 17, executive director Tom Bird says: “It’s been a short but intense preparation period: we wanted to go hyper-local with the festival, to give a platform to York artists, and we’re absolutely delighted at getting a very local, highly skilled bunch across so many genres.”
Explaining the decision to focus the festival on Friday evenings and Saturdays, Bird says: “We are easing our way back from a total stop, turning everything off in March, so we’re feeling our way in, and we want to make sure that everything is safe, for the audience, performers and staff.
“The world is changing all the time, so we wanted to give ourselves breathing space in what we’re doing by restricting ourselves to three weekends for the festival, but who’s to say we won’t do more patio shows.”
The Theatre Royal management has implemented extra safety measures to keep visitors and staff safe during the three festival weekends, reconfiguring the patio to allow for a socially distanced audience and stage. These measures will be under constant review and apply to all the performances.
Tickets are on sale at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk and must be bought in advance.
THE FESTIVAL PROGRAMME:
Dance // Shorts, August 14, 7pm
CURATED by York Dance Space, this evening of live contemporary dance theatre in an outdoor, intimate setting will be a compilation of bite-size solos and duets from “some of the most interesting and exciting young artists from across Yorkshire and the Humber”.
Performances include solo work from Alethia Antonia, from the James Wilton Dance Company; Coalesce Dance Theatre; Daisy Howell, from Brink Dance Company, and Namiuki Dance.
Look out too for a selection of Doorstep Dances from Hull artists Tamar and Jo, spanning contemporary, Northern Soul, jazz dance and physical theatre styles. Suitable for age 12 upwards.
Mud Pie Arts, August 15, 22 and 29, 11am, for age 4 to 11
“WHAT is easy to get into but hard to get out of?” askMud Pie Arts drama practitioners Jenna Drury and Nicolette Hobson. “The answer? Trouble, of course!
“So, join us for Saturday elevenses in our Silly Summer Stories show. There’ll be interactive storytelling, riddles, games and all kinds of family tomfoolery.”
Have you heard the one about the old woman who lived in a vinegar bottle, or the farmer who fished for sausages? Now is the chance to enjoy those stories. “Come and find us on the patio every Saturday this month to celebrate all things daft,” say Jenna and Nicolette.
Crafty Tales, August 15 and 22, 1pm, for two to six year olds
YORK Theatre Royal’s Story Craft Theatre return with an outdoor version of Crafty Tales, presented by Cassie Vallance and Janet Bruce.
“As always, there’ll be a story to tell plus songs, games and dancing, all designed around a brilliant picture book with interactive and imaginative play,” they say. “Although Crafty Tales is aimed at two to six year olds, all children are welcome.”
Fool(ish) Improv, August 15, 4pm
FOOL(ISH) Improv is a bite-sized comedy show with absolutely no plan or permission, created by York writer and director Paul Birch.
Strap in for 60 minutes of improvised mayhem where you, the audience, provide the suggestions for the actors to make stuff happen. Instantly.
“Taking nothing seriously – and everything for granted – our merry band of charlatans and misfits will bring music, comedy and appalling levels of acting to give you a delightful hour of spontaneous comedy,” says Paul.
“You bring the ideas, we’ll bring the performance, and together we’ll make a joyous family show that has no business being indoors. Now, you have to come. We couldn’t do it without you.”
Orpheus, The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre in Orpheus, August 21, 6pm
ALEXANDER Flanagan-Wright and Phil Grainger should have been heading up to the Edinburgh Fringe to present the British premiere of The Gods, The Gods, The Gods this month after its Antipodean premiere before Covid-19 intervened.
Instead, they have been presenting Orpheus in socially distanced performances in back gardens and a week of At The Mill shows in Alex’s own back garden at Stillington Mill, near York, last week.
Written by Alex, with incidental music and songs by Phil, the international award-winning Orpheus is a thoroughly modern, beautifully poetic re-telling of an ancient Greek myth.
Dave is single, stood at the bar; Eurydice is a tree nymph, and Bruce Springsteen is on the juke box in this tale of impossible, death-defying love told through hair-raising spoken word and soaring soul music, where Alex and Phil weave a world of dive bars, side streets and ancient gods.
Eurydice, The Flanagan Collective and Gobbledigook Theatre, August 21, 8pm
LENI is five years old, holding a Superman costume for her first day at school. Eurydice is five years into the rest of her life, sporting a bee tattoo on her wrist, in Alexander Flanagan-Wright’s story of someone defined by someone else’s myth.
This tale of making changes, taking leaps and being a daily superhero is billed as “a story about a woman told by women”.
That was the case when performed by Alex and Phil Grainger’s co-creators, Serena Manteghi and Casey Jane Andrews, to 2019 Adelaide Fringe Best Theatre award-winning success. Now, Alex and Phil take over to weave a world of day-to-day power and beauty and goddesses, told through heart-stopping spoken word and live electronica.
Freddie Does Puppets in Fred’s Microbrewery, August 22, 4pm
FRED’S Microbrewery is the world’s first Puppet-in-a-Pub theatrical experience, a modern-day Punch and Judy story courtesy of York puppeteer Freddie Hayes.
Grouchy Fred and his bitter and twisted wife Sharon are two very grumpy Yorkshire puppets cum pub landlord and landlady of the Fred’s Microbrewery, where the frank, fractious duo serve beer-infused banter to adult audiences in an afternoon of debauchery and puppet profanities.
Fred and Sharon have sparred at York’s Great Yorkshire Fringe and had plenty to say at the Edinburgh Fringe, Shambala Festival, Moving Parts Festival and Folkestone Puppet Festival too.
In lockdown and beyond, Fred and Sharon have been living inside a laundry bag in Freddie’s attic. Now, bag unzipped, she is ready to unleash them once more in a show with an age guide of 15-plus on account of the strong language and adult themes.
Heaven’s Gate, Cosmic Collective Theatre, August 28, 4pm
FOUR cups of apple sauce. Four canvas camp beds. One comet. Heaven’s Gate is closing and the Away Team are ready for graduation, but whatever you do, don’t say the C-word. ‘C’ for ‘cult’, that is.
Presented by the new York company Cosmic Collective Theatre – satirical writer Joe Feeney, Anna Soden, Lewes Roberts and Kate Cresswell – Heaven’s Gate imagines the final hour of four fictionalised members of the real-life UFO-theistic group.
As they prepare for their “graduation” to the “Kingdom of Heaven”, the excitement is palpable, but all too soon the cracks appear. Is the Heavenly Father really waiting for them on a Spaceship? Is Planet Earth soon to be recycled? Is castration compulsory? Isn’t Turkey Potpie an underwhelming last supper?
Cosmic Collective Theatre’s intergalactic pitch-black comedy comes with adult themes and strong language – but no C-word, of course – to give it a 15-plus age guide
Henry Raby: Apps & Austerity, August 28, 6.30pm
“2010-2019. What was going on?” asks York-grown punk performance poet, activist and Say Owt artistic director Henry Raby as puts the word into sword to slice up the past decade.
From the memes and scenes, from riots to Royal Weddings to Referendums, Henry sums up a decade of technology and austerity with attitude, humour and insight.
Slam champ and Deer Shed resident poet Henry has performed across the UK, from festivals front rooms. “This is my fifth solo show, so I must have got something right by now,” he says.
Say Owt Showcase, August 28, 8pm
YORK’S lovable and raucous poetry gang proudly present an assortment of noisy slam-winning performance poets, word-weavers, and gobheads. “Spice up your Friday night with a glass-raising toast to the spoken word,” says host Henry Raby.
Say Owt word-warriors have delighted in ripping up stages at the Great Yorkshire Fringe and the Arts Barge in York, the Edinburgh Fringe and the Ilkley Literature Festival.
Josh Benson in Just Josh’s Ultimate Family Show, August 29, 1pm
CALLING all families! Just Josh is “hugely excited” to be back performing live with his family magic, juggling and balloon show!
If you have encountered Josh Benson previously, you will know that he is one of Yorkshire and indeed the UK’s “biggest kids”, noted for his boundless energy and shameless attempts to do absolutely anything in pursuit of a laugh from a crowd.
Josh, Corntroller of Entertainments at York Maze and regular pantomime silly billy, has taken his magic all over the UK and beyond, returning home from his P&O Cruises stint in February.
“My show is suitable for kids from four to 104, with laughs and, all being well, amazement for the whole family” says Josh.
Jess Gardham, August 29, 4pm
YORK pop, soul, blues and acoustic singer-songwriter, musical actress and 2018 MasterChef quarter finalist Jess Gardham closes Pop-Up On The Patio with an afternoon set.
Jess has performed all over Britain, the United States, Europe and Canada and supported the likes of Paul Carrack, KT Tunstall, The Shires, Wilko Johnson and Martin Simpson.
Her songs have been played regularly on BBC Introducing and her debut album, Beyond Belief, was picked up by BBC Radio 2.
Jess has taken lead roles in theatre productions such as Hairspray, Ghost The Musical and Rock Of Ages. “I hope to perform in theatre again when they’re open again,” she says.
Arriving YORK Theatre Royal will open the entrance to the Pop-Up patio a quarter of an hour before every performance starts.
“There will likely be some queueing, but we will do everything we can to keep this to a minimum,” says the festival website. “Please arrive in good time for any performance.”
All tickets will be digital and checked without contact at a social distance at the entrance to the patio area, where refreshments will be available.
Departing STAFF will be managing the departure from the performance area “so that we don’t have large crowds all leaving at the same time”.
Loos THE loos in De Grey House next to the patio will be open throughout. All loos will be stocked with anti-bacterial hand soap and stringent hand-washing guidelines are in place.
Social distancing EACH household or social bubble will be seated at a safe distance from other households or social bubbles, in line with Government guidance at the time of the performance.
“You will be directed to a designated ‘social bubble spot’ by our staff,” says the website. “Please be patient with them and sit where they direct – they know best!”
Food and refreshments A LIMITED range of soft and alcoholic drinks will be on sale, alongside ice creams and chocolate.
Ticketing policy IF you have any symptoms of COVID-19, have been diagnosed with the virus or have been in direct contact with a diagnosed individual in the past 14 days, you must not attend the event.
If you are unable to attend as a result of illness, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and a ticket transfer can be arranged. Tickets can only be refunded if the booked performance has sold out.
Additional cleaning THE patio area will be thoroughly cleaned between each performance. “Our already high cleaning standards have been enhanced by a cleaning programme designed to clean and sanitise the high touch points,” assures the website.