CHARLES Hutchinson recommends veteran blues at the double, quilts, a dating show, chaotic Hitchcockian comedy capers, a Brahms Requiem and a Geordie comic out to dazzle.
Solo show of the week: Seasick Steve, Just Steve, A Guitar And Your Tour, York Barbican, tonight, 8pm
LAST year, American DIY blues veteran Seasick Steve released two albums, July’s Love & Peace and November’s Blues In Mono, his tribute to trad acoustic country blues recorded with a microphone from the 1940s as Steve performed the songs direct to an old tape machine.
Now, York-bound Steve says: “I‘m lookin’ forward to coming and playing for y’all. Just gonna be me, you and my guitar. A few songs and a few stories, kinda like we just hangin’ out together! Gonna be fun. See ya there.” Tickets update: limited availability at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Play of the week: York Settlement Community Players in The 39 Steps, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, tonight until Sunday
PATRICK Barlow’s riotous West End comedy hit marks the Settlement Players’ return to live performance for the first time since March 2020.
Harri Marshall’s cast of eight takes on the challenge of combining John Buchan’s 1915 novel with Alfred Hitchcock’s 1935 film scenes in a blend of virtuoso performance and wildly inventive stagecraft, playing 150 characters between them as the mysterious 39 Steps chase Aran MacRae’s Richard Hannay’s on a nationwide manhunt. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Nostalgia ain’t what it used to be? It’s even better at Maximum Rhythm N’ Blues with The Manfreds and Georgie Fame, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 7.30pm
THE Manfreds and Georgie Fame team up for a celebration of Sixties rhythm & blues in an all-star line-up with hits galore to match.
Original Manfred Mann members Paul Jones, Mike Hugg and Tom McGuinness are joined by Family’s Rob Townsend on drums, Marcus Cliffe on bass and Simon Currie on saxophone and flute, plus former member Mike D’Abo to share lead vocals, and Blue Flames leader Fame on keyboards. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Three-night run of the week: Sarah Millican: Bobby Dazzler Tour, York Barbican, tomorrow to Sunday, 8pm
SOUTH Shields humorist Sarah Millican’s new show, Bobby Dazzler, is doing the rounds on her sixth international tour.
“You’ll learn about what happens when your mouth seals shut, trying to lose weight but only losing the tip of your finger, a surprisingly funny smear test, and how truly awful a floatation tank can actually be,” says Millican, who has “spent the last year writing jokes and growing her backside”. Tickets update: limited availability at yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Game show of the week: Nina Conti: The Dating Show, Grand Opera House, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm
FAST-TALKING, faster-thinking ventriloquist Nina Conti and her cheeky Monkey host a pioneering new dating show for participants picked from the York audience.
What’s in store for the chosen ones? Apparently “she’ll be like Cilla Black with masks. Derailed. Not so much a Blind Date as a re-voiced one.” In a nutshell, they wear masks, she/Monkey talks, with no promise that true love will be found. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Exhibition launch of the week: Matthew Miller’s Cloth & Colour quilts, York Theatre Royal foyer, from Saturday to November 30
BASED in London, but from York, multi-media artist Matthew Miller launches his debut quilt installation in the first Beyond The Gallery Walls pop-up project to be mounted by Lotte Inch Gallery.
Artist Matthew and curator Lotte will be hosting the launch from 11.30am to 1.30pm on Saturday, happy to discuss his Cloth & Colour quilt designs. Interested in the ecological use of fabric in quilting, Matthew has used end-of-roll and pre-worn fabrics throughout his series of vibrant collages in cloth.
Classical choral concert of the week: Chapter House Choir, York Minster, Saturday, 7.30pm
THE Chapter House Choir performs Brahms’s Ein Deutsches Requiem at York Minster in a rare opportunity to hear Brahms’s own arrangement written for piano – more intimate and transparent – with baritone Alex Ashworth, soprano Susan Young and pianists Eleanor Kornas and Polly Sharpe as the soloists.
This will be complemented by the world premiere of Lillie Harris’s Comfort, specially commissioned for Saturday’s concert. Box office: 01904 557200 or at yorkminster.org.
Christmas shopping? Present opportunity at South Bank Studios’ Art & Craft Winter Fair, Southlands Methodist Church, Bishopthorpe Road, York, Saturday, 10am to 5pm
THE South Bank Studios artists’ group open their doors and studios to the public this weekend, when 28 artists will be exhibiting jewellery, ceramics, lino prints, textile art and fine art paintings and prints, all available to buy, just in time for Christmas. Entry is free.
Among those taking part are Carolyn Coles, Caroline Utterson, Jane Dignum, Lincoln Lightfoot, Richard Whitelegg, Mandi Grant and Fiona Lane. York Music Centre’s Senior Concert Band, Guitar Ensemble, Senior Folkestra and Big Band will be playing, and the icing on the cake will be the church team’s homemade refreshments.
Most glamorous show of the weekend: La Voix, Grand Opera House, York, Saturday, 7.30pm
FEISTY, flame-haired Royal Family favourite La Voix – the drag artiste creation of Chris Dennis – takes on the big divas and makes them her own in her Grand Opera House debut in The UK’s Funniest Redhead.
Billed as her “most glamorous show yet”, the 2014 Britain’s Got Talent semi-finalist will be combining stellar songs and saucy gags, high energy and diva impersonations, glamour and gowns – eight of them – as she switches between the vocal tropes of Tina Turner, Shirley Bassey, Liza Minnelli, Judy Garland and Cher at the click of a finger. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Gig with attitude of the week: Millie Manders & The Shutup, Fulford Arms, York, Sunday, 8pm
MILLIE Manders & The Shutup spark up cross-genre punk with a lyricism that pokes fun, draws you in or leaves you questioning social norms, teamed to vocal dexterity, grinding guitars, irresistible horn hooks and a pumping rhythm section.
The Londoners will be airing songs from October 2020’s debut album, Telling Truths, Breaking Ties. Box office: seetickets.com/event/millie-manders.
Overdue return of the week: Willy Mason, supported by Voka Gentle, The Crescent, York, Tuesday, 7.30pm; standing show
NEW York singer-songwriter and lovely chap Willy Mason returns with Already Dead, his fourth album of characterful, sharp left-field pop, folk and Americana but his first since 2012’s Carry On.
“Magic, miracles, ghosts, world leaders; these days it seems there’s little left to believe in,” says Mason. “Lies outweigh truth and even truth can be dangerous.
“Already Dead explores honesty and deception, anonymity in the digital age, good intentions with unexpected consequences, freedom, colonialism, love, God and purpose, because now is the time to restore some much-needed faith.” Box office: thecrescentyork.seetickets.com/event/willy-mason.
Oh, and amid all these York events, here is the gig of the week outside the city walls: Soft Cell, Leeds 02 Academy, Saturday, doors, 6pm
IN 1981, Leeds synth-pop pioneers Soft Cell topped the charts with their Northern Soul cover, Tainted Love. This weekend, they play a 40th anniversary home-coming gig with an early start, kicking off with a DJ from 6pm.
LGBTQ icon Marc Almond and producer/instrumentalist Dave Ball will play two sets: the first from 7pm embracing songs from their back catalogue and previewing their first album in 20 years, Happiness Not Included, out on BMG on February 25 2022.
In the second, from 8.20pm, they will perform 1981 debut album Non-Stop Erotic Cabaret in full for the first time. Cue Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, Bedsitter, Memorabilia et al. Box office: myticket.co.uk/artists/soft-cell