AND then there were ten as Charles Hutchinson picks his cultural highlights, from Christie mystery to prints aplenty, Wax words to science explosions, extinction fears to singers’ farewells.
Thriller of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, running until September 30, 7.30pm (except tomorrow and Monday); 2.30pm, today, tomorrow and next Saturday
TEN strangers are summoned to a remote island. All that the guests have in common is a wicked past they are unwilling to reveal and a secret that will seal their fate. For each has been marked for murder.
As the weather turns and the group is cut off from the mainland, the bloodbath begins and one by one they are brutally murdered in accordance with the lines of a sinister nursery rhyme in Agatha Christie’s murder mystery, directed for York company Pick Me Up Theatre by Andrew Isherwood, who will play retired Inspector William Blore too. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.
Print deadline: York Printmakers Autumn Fair, York Cemetery Chapel and Harriet Room, today and tomorrow, 10am to 5pm
IN its sixth year, the York Printmakers Autumn Fair features work by 26 members exhibiting and selling hand-printed original prints, including Russell Hughes, Rachel Holborow, Michelle Hughes, Harriette Rymer and Jo Rodwell.
On display will be a variety of printmaking techniques, such as linocut, collagraphs, woodcut, screen printing, stencilling and etching. Artists will be on hand to discuss their working methods and to show the blocks, plates and tools they use.
Seriously silly: Phil Wang, Wang In There, Baby!, York Barbican, tonight, 7.30pm
AFTER his Netflix special, David Letterman appearance, role in Life & Beth with Amy Schumer and debut book Sidesplitter, Phil Wang discusses race, family, nipples and everything else going on in his Philly little life in his latest stand-up show, Wang In There, Baby! Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
Gig of the week outside York: Cinder Well, The Band Room, Low Mill, Farndale, North York Moors, tonight, 7.30pm
CINDER Well, multi-instrumentalist Amelia Baker’s experimental American roots project, showcases her mysterious April 2023 album, Cadence.
The title refers to the cycles of our turbulent lives, to the uncertain tides that push us forward and back, as Cadence drifts between two far-flung seas: the hazy California coast where Baker grew up and the wind-torn swells of County Clare, western Ireland, that she has come to love. Box office: thebandroom.co.uk.
Explosive children’s show of the week: Ministry of Science Live in Science Saved The World, Grand Opera House, York, tomorrow, 12.30pm and 4pm
MINISTRY of Science take an anarchic approach to science communication, looking at the scientists, engineers and inventors who have shaped the modern world, while proving that each and every one of us has the ability to change our world for the better.
Expect 20ft liquid nitrogen clouds, exploding oxygen and hydrogen balloons, fire tornados, hydrogen bottle rockets, ignited methane and even a self-built Hovercraft. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Play of the week: A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction, York Theatre Royal, Wednesday to Saturday, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee
DIRECTED for York Theatre Royal by Mingyu Lin, Miranda Rose Hall’s play heads out on a life-changing journey to confront the urgent ecological disaster unfolding around us. Part ritual, part battle cry, this “fiercely feminist off-grid” one-woman show offers a moving evaluation of what it means to be human in an era of man-made extinction.
Leeds actress Stephanie Hutchinson will be joined at each performance by eight cyclists, who will ride specially adapted bicycles to power the electricity required for lighting and sound. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Waxing lyrical: Ruby Wax: I’m Not As Well As I Thought, York Alive festival, Grand Opera House, York, Thursday, 7.30pm
IN 2022, American-British actress, comedian, writer, television personality and mental health campaigner Ruby Wax, 70, began a search to find meaning, booking a series of potentially life-changing journeys. Even greater change marked her inner journey, as charted in her book I’m Not As Well As I Thought and now in her “rawest, darkest, funniest show yet”. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Nostalgia of the week…for the last time: Maximum Rhythm’n’Blues with The Manfreds, Grand Opera House, York, Friday
JOIN legendary pioneers of Sixties’ British rhythm & blues The Manfreds as they celebrate 60 years in the business. Vocalists Paul Jones, 81, and Mike D’Abo, 79, are touring together for the final time, alongside long-standing members Tom McGuinness, Rob Townsend, Marcus Cliffe and Simon Currie, to rejoice in Do Wah Diddy Diddy, If You Gotta Go, Go Now, Pretty Flamingo, My Name Is Jack and Mighty Quinn. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
Dance at the treble: Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company, Art Of Believing Special Edition, National Centre for Early Music, York, October 1, 3.30pm, 6pm and 8.30pm
LAST at the NCEM in November 2022, the Daniel Martinez Flamenco Company returns to York for three performances in one day of Art Of Believing, a 90-minute show suffused with emotion, passion and grit.
Works from Martinez’s Herald Angel Award-winning production Art Of Believing will be complemented by previously unseen pieces performed by musicians, singers and dancer Gabriela Pouso. Box office: 01904 658338 or ncem.co.uk.
Looking ahead: Kenny Thomas, Him 2024 Tour, Grand Opera House, York, May 19 2024
ISLINGTON soul singer-songwriter Kenny Thomas will front his all-star band in York on his nine-leg British tour next spring, showcasing songs from his “lost” third album, the never-commercially-released Him, alongside his greatest hits.
“Over three decades on from when I first started out, this tour demonstrates that soul music is here to stay,” says Thomas, 55, whose Best Of compilation will be out on November 3. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.
In Focus: Stephanie Hutchinson on starring in a one-woman show for the first time in A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction
STEPHANIE Hutchinson had never imagined she would do a one-woman show.
Come Wednesday, however, the Leeds actress will be giving her solo turn for five performances in “a bold experiment in eco theatre-making” and a “fiercely feminist off-grid production” at York Theatre Royal.
The title, A Play For The Living In A Time Of Extinction, is an indication that this Headlong, London Barbican and York Theatre Royal co-production will be unlike anything you have seen before.
Hands up anyone who has witnessed a stage production powered by bicycles. Only The HandleBards on their open-air Shakespeare travels come to mind.
Strictly speaking, Stephanie will not be on her own. Eight cyclists per performance will be pedalling away to power lights and microphones, while the York Theatre Royal Choir will be participating too.
After a Barbican run, Miranda Rose Hall’s play is on a zero-travel tour using an eco-friendly blueprint. The rest of the production, from local actor to cyclists, is provided by the theatre hosting the show, culminating in York next week.
Stephanie sees it as a co-operative production, not only a one-woman show. “I’ve not seen A Play For The Living but heard a lot about it,” she says.
Her character, a dramaturg called Naomi, pressed into impromptu service as an actress, is fearful of death but is determined to confront fears about an impending ecological disaster.
“What caught my eye was just how sustainable the production is,” she says. “Naomi is described as a woman in her 20s who is scared of dying. She’s already had to go on stage and act in front of people. She’s confronted that fear. Now she’s facing her fear of dying and wants to have a conversation about it.
“I like how interactive it is. It’s not just me, not just a verbal splurge. She wants to know what others are thinking. I don’t want the audience to feel they’re just being talked at.”
Despite the subject, A Play For The Living is not all gloom and doom, emphasies Stephanie. There are funny moments. Gloomy and funny is her hope for the experience.
“I don’t think it’s just a message play,” she says. “Naomi’s having a conversation, making the audience aware of what she’s found during her research. It’s also like an ode to the Earth as well because the Earth has given us so much but in return we’re not treating it back very well. It’s almost like she’s blessing the Earth and thanking it. But we do need to be careful – if we keep going the way we’re going, future generations might not have it.”
Stephanie was last seen on York Theatre Royal’s main stage in Green Hammerton company Badapple Theatre’s Elephant Rock during the TakeOver season in May 2022. Her other credits include Shake The City, based around the clothworkers’ strike in Leeds in 1970, staged at both Leeds Playhouse and Jermyn Street Theatre in London.
All this is something of a surprise for Stephanie who did not nurse acting ambitions from a young age. “I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. Then when I was 15, 16, I was going to theatre classes where you’d do singing, dancing, acting and I was like, ‘I quite actually like this – can I do it at uni or go to a drama school?’.
“So, at 18, I went to Salford University and graduated with a BA (Hons) Performing Arts. I’ve managed to carry it on, although I’m not quite sure how I’ve done that. My ambition is just to keep on going because I can’t really see myself doing anything else. Even in my day job, I do role play and that’s acting on the side. Acting is getting paid for doing what I love.
“I thought I would never do a one-person show. I am feeling very happy where I am at the moment. Very happy.”