REVIEW: Paul Rhodes’s verdict on Katherine Priddy, The Crescent, York

Katherine Priddy at The Crescent: “You simply believe her and that’s a key part of the magic,” says revewer Paul Rhodes. Picture: Paul Rhodes

CERTAIN artists have ‘it’, an intangible something that allows their music to escape whatever genre they inhabit and reach a wider audience. Katherine Priddy is ostensibly a folk musician but her winning voice and modern takes on timeless themes of love, kin and connection see her poised for much greater success.

Performing as a trio, Priddy benefited from having two very talented performers on her side:  George Boomsma on guitars (from Northallerton, by way of Holland and Birmingham) and Harry Fausing Smith on violin and guitar.

Boomsma teed her set up perfectly with his winning opening set. Precise in appearance, style and delivery, his mostly melancholy songs were capped off with a dry sense of humour that we readily embraced. He’d already sold his stash of Promise Of Spring albums, so his warm reception was  clearly not a one-off. Something of a whistling wizard it turns out too.

Northallerton musician George Boomsma performing his solo set. Picture: Paul Rhodes

They have all known each other and played together for years, and this rapport was obvious. Boomsma was alongside Priddy when she last played in York at the National Centre for Early Music in 2022.

All three sang, between them creating an excellent version of the soundscapes crafted on Priddy’s sophomore album, The Pendulum Swing. While note perfect (as the tour nears its end), it never felt slick or rote.

The Pendulum Swing leaves behind the classical interests of her debut, rooting itself in home and family. First House On The Left memorialises a normal home while A Boat On The River takes her dream of living on a houseboat to elegiac heights. With her travelling lifestyle, you wonder if that boat is probably always around the next bend.

Katherine Priddy: “Winning voice and modern takes on timeless themes of love, kin and connection”

Priddy is careful not to get too sentimental. A highlight was her ode to tipsy 3AM calls to an ex- partner, Anyway, Always. Played as though leaving an answerphone message, her poise was as impeccable as ever, with no hint whatsoever of any slurring!

There was enough variation to keep us on our toes. Does She Hold You Like I Did and Letters From A Travelling Man kicked up the tempo, with lovely melodies to carry them.

The beating heart of the set was of course Priddy herself, a Warwickshire native with age-old preoccupations. Like Kate Rusby, she can connect with an audience, not so much with humour but with openness and sharing just enough to draw you in. You simply believe her and that’s a key part of the magic.

Harry Fausing Smith on violin, performing in Katherine Priddy’s trio at The Crescent. Picture: Paul Rhodes

The seated, sold-out Crescent audience were in her thrall from the beginning, each song met with loud applause and more polite exhales of “lovely”and “wonderful”.

As the trio left the stage, following the well-chosen Ready To Go, like the May blossom she was gone. Fortunately, there is no need for a 12-month wait, as Priddy is playing at July’s Deer Shed Festival where she should go down a storm (probably in a storm).

Review by Paul Rhodes, 15/5/2024

Katherine Priddy plays Deer Shed Festival, Baldersby Park, Topcliffe, near Thirsk, on July 26.  Box office:

Until next time: Katherine Priddy, George Boomsma and Harry Fausing Smith take a bow at the close of their gig at The Crescent, York. Deer Shed Festival awaits in July. Picture: Paul Rhodes

News just in….

KATHERINE Priddy will play Pocklington Arts Centre on Wednesday, February 26 2025 on her final run of The Pendulum Swing Tour. Tickets for the 8pm show are on sale at or on 01759 301 547.

Folk singer Grace Petrie suits comedy in switch to stand-up for Butch Ado About Nothing at Pocklington Arts Centre

Grace Petrie: Converting to comedy

FOLK singer, lesbian humorist and checked-shirt collector Grace Petrie has been incorrectly called Sir every day of her adult life.

After finally running out of subjects for whiny songs, she is putting down her guitar to work out why in her debut stand-up show, Butch Ado About Nothing, bound for Pocklington Arts Centre on June 6.

In a bold departure from her musical roots, Grace is venturing into new territory on the comedy circuit. Finding herself in an age of incessantly and increasingly fraught gender politics, the Norwich-based Leicester native feels “both more exposed and less seen than ever” at 35.

“I wanted to see what happens if there’s no safety net of a guitar,” she told DIVA magazine. “It’s just me with nothing to hide behind.”

Despite Butch Ado About Nothing being her first stand-up show, Grace is no stranger to making people laugh. She has made regular appearances on BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show and The Guilty Feminist podcast, performed alongside comedians Hannah Gadsby, Josie Long and Robin Ince and “long since earned a reputation as the folk scene’s funniest lesbian”.

Tickets for Grace’s 8pm show are on sale at 01759 301547 or

More Things To Do in York and beyond as the diary takes shape for May 4 onwards. Hutch’s List No. 19, from The Press, York

Sculptor Tony Cragg with his bronze work Outspan in the Great Hall at Castle Howard. Picture: Charlotte Graham

FROM landscape sculptures to community cinema screenings, a circus company’s novel assignment to a soap star’s heavenly musical role, Charles Hutchinson’s week ahead is taking shape.

Exhibition of the week: Tony Cragg at Castle Howard, near York, until September 22

SCULPTOR Tony Cragg presents the first major exhibition by a leading contemporary artist in the house and grounds of Castle Howard. On show are new and recent sculptures, many being presented on British soil for the first time, including large-scale works in bronze, stainless steel, aluminium and fibreglass.

Inside the house are works in bronze and wood, glass sculptures and works on paper in the Great Hall, Garden Hall, High South, Octagon and Colonnade. Tickets:

The Lapins: Celebrating travel, exploration and adventure in music at the Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York

World premieres of the week: York Late Music, Unitarian Chapel, St Saviourgate, York, Mike Sluman, oboe, and Jenny Martins, piano, Saturday (4/5/2024), 1pm; The Lapins, Saturday (4/5/2024), 7.30pm

MIKEY Sluman highlights the range of the oboe family – oboe, oboe d’amore, cor anglais and bass oboe – in his lunchtime programme of Lutoslawski, Talbot-Howard and Poulenc works and world premieres of Desmond Clarke’s Five Exploded Pastorals and Nick Williams’s A Hundred Miles Down The Road (Le Tombeau de Fred).

The Lapins examine ideas of space, place and time in an evening programme that extols the joys of travel, exploration and adventure through the music of Brian Eno, Stockhausen and Erik Satie, the world premiere of James Else’s A Tapestry In Glass and the first complete performance of Hayley Jenkins’s Gyps Fulvus. Tickets: or on the door.

The poster for The Groves Community Cinema festival at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York

Film event of the week: The Groves Community Cinema, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, May 5 to May 11  

THE third Groves Community Cinema film festival promises a wide variety of films, from cult classics and music to drama and animated fun. Supported by Make It York and City of York Council, the event opens with Sunday’s Arnie Schwarzenegger double bill of The Terminator at 6.30pm and T2 Judgement Day at 8.45pm.

Monday follows up Marcel The Shell With Shoes at 2.30pm with Justine Triet’s legal drama Anatomy Of A Fall at 6.30pm; Tuesday offers Ian McKellen’s Hamlet at 7.30pm; Wednesday, Yorkshire Film Archives’ Social Cinema, 6.30pm, and Friday, cult classical musical Hedwig And The Angry Inch, 8pm. To finish, next Saturday serves up the animated Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse at 2.30pm and Jonathan Demme’s concert documentary Talking Heads: Stop Making Sense at 7.30pm. Box office:

Steve Cassidy: Performing with his band and friends at the JoRo

Nostalgic gig of the week: Steve Cassidy Band & Friends, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Sunday (5/5/2024), 7.30pm

VETERAN York frontman Steve Cassidy leads his band in an evening of rock, country and ballads, old and new, with songs from the 1960s to 21st century favourites in their playlist.

Cassidy, a three-time winner of New Faces, has recorded with celebrated York composer John Barry and performed in the United States and many European countries. Box office: 01904 501935 or

Let us pray: Landi Oshinowo’s Deloris Van Cartier and Sue Cleaver’s Mother Superior in Sister Act, on tour at Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Sister Act, Grand Opera House, York, May 6 to 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday and Saturday

SUE Cleaver takes holy orders in a break from Coronation Street to play the Mother Superior in Sister Act in her first stage role in three decades. Adding Alan Menken songs to the 1992 film’s storyline, the show testifies to the universal power of friendship, sisterhood and music in its humorous account of disco diva Deloris Van Cartier’s life taking a surprising turn when she witnesses a murder.

Placed in protective custody, in the disguise of a nun under the Mother Superior’s suspicious eye, Deloris (Landi Oshinowo) helps her fellow sisters find their voices as she unexpectedly rediscovers her own. Box office:

Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess in Ockham’s Razor’s circus theatre production of Tess at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Kie Cummings

“Bold new vision” of the week: Ockham’s Razor in Tess, York Theatre Royal, May 8 to 11, 7.30pm

CIRCUS theatre exponents Ockham’s Razor tackle a novel for the first time in a staging of Thomas Hardy’s  Tess Of The D’Urbervilles that combines artistic directors Charlotte Mooney and Alex Harvey’s adaptation of the original text with the physical language of circus and dance.

Exploring questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood, Tess utilises seven performers, including Harona Kamen’s Narrator Tess and Lila Naruse’s Memory Tess, to re-tell the Victorian story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Night of dub, funk and world music at Pocklington Arts Centre

Funkiest gig of the week: Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, Pocklington Arts Centre, May 9, 8pm

SUPREME bassist Jah Wobble’s two-hour show takes in material from his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd and collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Can’s Holger Czukay, Ministry’s Chris Connelly and Killing Joke’s Geordie Walker.

Born John Wardle in 1958, he was renamed by Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, who struggled to pronounce his name correctly. Wobble combines dub, funk and world music, especially Africa and the Middle East, in his songwriting. Box office: 01759 301547 or

“Charming nonsense”: Steven Lee’s There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly at the SJT, Scarborough

Half-term show announcement of the week: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 28, 2.30pm

FIRST written as a song in 1953, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was a chart-topping hit for singer and actor Burl Ives before being adapted into a best-selling book by Pam Adams a few years later, one still found in schools, nurseries and homes across the world.  

To mark the nursery rhyme’s 50th anniversary, children’s author Steven Lee has created a magical musical stage show for little ones to enjoy with their parents that combines the charming nonsense of the rhyme with his own “suitably silly twists”. Box office: 01723 370541 or

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond comedy & climate change. Here’s Hutch’s List No. 13, from Gazette & Herald

Vera Chok’s Lauren and Jay McGuiness’s Ben in a scene from 2:22 – A Ghost Story, on tour at Grand Opera House, York, this week

JUST a normal week? No, paranormal, more like, as a ghost story pumps up the spooks. Fear not, a hope-filled musical, dances of love, loss and legacy and soul, folk and funk gigs are Charles Hutchinson’s picks too.  

New ghost to haunt “Europe’s most haunted city”: 2:22 – A Ghost Story, Grand Opera House, York, spooking until Saturday, 7.30pm fright-nightly; 2.30pm today (1/5/2024) and Saturday; 3.30pm, Friday

JENNY believes her new London home is haunted, hearing a disturbance every night at the same time, but husband Sam isn’t having any of it. They argue with their first dinner guests, old friend Lauren and new partner Ben.

Belief and scepticism clash, but something feels strange and frightening, and that something is drawing closer, so they decide to stay up… until 2:22 in the morning… and then they’ll know in The Battersea Poltergeist podcaster Danny Robins’s paranormal thriller, wherein secrets emerge and ghosts may, or may not, appear. Fiona Wade, George Rainsford and Vera Chok join The Wanted singer Jay McGuiness in Matthew Dunster & Isabel Marr’s cast. Box office:

Come From Away: Award-winning musical of hope, humanity and unity on tour at Leeds Grand Theatre

Musical of the week: Come From Away, Leeds Grand Theatre, running until May 11, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm Thursday and Saturday matinees

IRENE Sankoff and David Hein’s four-time Olivier Award-winning musical tells the remarkable true story of 6,579 air passengers from around the world being grounded in Canada in the wake of 9/11. Whereupon the small Newfoundland community of Gander invites these ‘come from aways’ into their lives with open hearts.

As spirited locals and global passengers come together to forge friendships, we meet first female American Airlines captain, the quick-thinking town mayor, the mother of a New York firefighter and the eager local news reporter in a celebration of hope, humanity and unity. Box office: 0113 2430808 or

The poster for Alexander O’Neal’s farewell tour, Time To Say Goodbye, bound for York Barbican on Friday

Farewell tour of the week: Alexander O’Neal, Time To Say Goodbye, York Barbican, Friday, 7.30pm

AFTER nearly five decades, Mississippi soul singer Alexander O’Neal is hitting the road one final time at 70 on his Time to Say Goodbye: Farewell World Tour, accompanied by his nine-piece band.

O’Neal will be undertaking a journey through his career with the aid of never-before-seen-photos, testimonies and tributes, all set to the tune of such hits as Criticize, Fake and If You Were Here Tonight. Box office:

Phoenix Dance Theatre in Dane Hurst’s Requiem, part of the Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love programme at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Drew Forsyth

Dance show of the week: Phoenix Dance Theatre in Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love, York Theatre Royal, Friday, 7.30pm; Saturday, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

YORK Theatre Royal is the final venue on Leeds company Phoenix Dance Theatre’s first British tour since 2022 with a visceral triple bill of works by international dance makers Dane Hurst, Miguel Altunaga and Phoenix artistic director Marcus Jarrell Willis.

Belonging: Loss. Legacy. Love opens with South African choreographer and former Phoenix artistic director Hurst’s reimagining of Mozart’s Requiem in response to pandemic-induced grief. Two world premieres follow: Afro-Cuban choreographer Altunaga’s first Phoenix commission, the daring Cloudburst, and Texas-born Jarrell Willis’s Terms Of Agreement. Box office: 01904 623568 or

The Milton Rooms’ poster for the Comedy vs Climate workshops this weekend in Malton

Workshop of the week: Comedy vs Climate Change, Milton Rooms, Malton, Saturday and Sunday

THIS weekend Comedy vs Climate Change hosts a brace of workshop projects for 18 to 30-year-olds from North Yorkshire with the aim of raising awareness of climate issues and funds for environmental causes, as well as finding hope in climate humour that shapes a greener, better and fairer future.

Saturday’s 2pm to 5pm session provides an introduction to stand-up and joke writing; Sunday’s 10am to 1pm session focuses on improv and character development. Both use humour to explore environmental issues based around local rivers. Ring 01653 696240 or go to to book a place.

Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart: Playing dub, funk and world music at Pocklington Arts Centre

Funkiest gig of the week: Jah Wobble & The Invaders Of The Heart, Pocklington Arts Centre, May 9, 8pm

SUPREME bassist Jah Wobble’s two-hour show takes in material from his work with John Lydon in Public Image Ltd and collaborations with Brian Eno, Bjork, Sinead O’Connor, U2’s The Edge, Can’s Holger Czukay, Ministry’s Chris Connelly and Killing Joke’s Geordie Walker.

Born John Wardle in 1958, he was renamed by Sex Pistol Sid Vicious, who struggled to pronounce his name correctly. Wobble has combined elements of dub, funk and world music, especially Africa and the Middle East, in his songwriting and has written books on music, politics, spirituality and Eastern philosophy too. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Gigspanner Trio: Led by fiddler Peter Knight at Helmsley Arts Centre

Folk gig of the week: Gigspanner Trio, Helmsley Arts Centre, May 10, 7.30pm

IN the wake of his departure from Steeleye Span, fiddle player Peter Knight has turned his full attention to the Gigspanner Trio, a ground-breaking force on the British folk scene.

Knight, who first performed with the fledgling Steeleye line-up in 1970, is joined in his trio by percussionist Sacha Trochet and guitarist Roger Flack. Together, they combine self-penned material with arrangements of music rooted in the British Isles and beyond. Box office: 01439 771700 or

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly: On tour at Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Half-term show announcement of the week: There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, May 28, 2.30pm

FIRST written as a song in 1953, There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly was a chart-topping hit for singer and actor Burl Ives before being adapted into a best-selling book by Pam Adams a few years later, one still found in schools, nurseries and homes across the world.  

To mark the nursery rhyme’s 50th anniversary, children’s author Steven Lee has created a magical musical stage show for little ones to enjoy with their parents that combines the charming nonsense of the rhyme with his own “suitably silly twists”. Box office: 01723 370541 or

Bottom’s up for love & looning in More Things To Do in Ryedale, York & beyond. Hutch’s List No. 9, from Gazette & Herald

Rebecca Banatvala, back, AK Golding, middle, and Sam Newton, front, in Northanger Abbey at the SJT, Scarborough. Picture: Pamela Raith

GOTHIC Austen, a clowning Bottom, dark pop chat, vintage blues and harmonious folk feature in Charles Hutchinson’s suggestions for a busy diary.

Play of the week outside York: Northanger Abbey, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, until April 13, 7.30pm plus 1.30pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

ZOE Cooper adapts Jane Austen’s coming-of-age satire of Gothic novels in a co-production by the SJT, Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond, Octagon Theatre, Bolton, and Theatre by the Lake, Keswick, starring Rebecca Banatvala (Cath), AK Golding (Iz) and Sam Newton (Hen) under Tessa Walker’s direction.

In a play fizzing with imagination, humour and love, Cath Morland knows little of the world, but who needs real-life experience when you have books to guide you? Cath seizes her chance to escape her claustrophobic family life and join the smart set in Bath. Between balls and parties, she meets worldly, sophisticated Iz, and so Cath’s very own adventure begins. Box office: 01723 370541 or

Megson: Folk duo Debs and Stu Hanna at Helmsley Arts Centre

Folk concert of the week: Megson, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 7.30pm

BRITISH folk duo Megson combines Debs Hanna’s vocals, whistle and piano accordion with Stu Hanna’s guitar, mandola and banjo on songs filled with perceptive lyrics and exquisite musicianship. An infectious mix of heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars mark their concerts, topped off with northern humour between numbers.

Chalking up 13 studio albums in 20 years, the four-time BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominees and two-time Spiral Earth Award winners will be showcasing their latest release, March 2023’s What Are We Trying To Say?. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Red, a dare: Tweedy’s Bottom, clowning around and chancing his luck in love in the Everyman Theatre Company’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, on tour at York Theatre Royal. Picture: Andrew Huggins/Thousand Word Media

York play of the week: Cheltenham Everyman Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, York Theatre Royal, April 9 to 13, 7pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

THE Everyman Theatre Company staging of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream puts a new twist on the familiar tale by casting comedy clown Tweedy as Bottom and making him “comedy advisor” on Paul Milton’s production to boot.

The night’s magic, mischief, and mayhem unfold in an enchanted forest in Athens, intertwining the romantic misadventures of four young lovers, the playful meddling of mischievous fairies and the comedic antics of amateur actors, culminating in a tale of love, mistaken identity and reconciliation engineered by Jeremy Stockwell’s meddlesome Puck. Box office: 01904 623568 or

John Robb: Rock’n’roll tales at Pocklington Arts Centre

Pop chat of the week: John Robb: Do You Believe In The Power Of Rock’n’Roll?, Pocklington Arts Centre, April 11, 8pm

JOHN Robb discusses his life in music; his pop culture book Art Of Darkness: The History Of Goth; being the first person to interview Nirvana; inventing the word Britpop and his adventures on the post-punk frontline.

Blackpool-born Robb is an author, musician, journalist, television and radio presenter and pundit, music website boss, publisher, Louder Than Words festival boss, eco-warrior and talking-head singer of The Membranes. His special guest is The Sisters Of Mercy co-founder Gary Marx. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Pianist Robert Gammon: Performing with Maria Marshall and Alison Gmmon at musical tea concert

Dementia Friendly Tea Concert: Maria Marshall, Robert Gammon and Alison Gammon, St Chad’s Church, Campleshon Road, York, April 182.30pm

CELLIST Maria Marshall opens this Dementia Friendly Tea Concert with Faure’s Elegy, accompanied by pianist Robert Gammon, who then plays two short solo Grieg piano pieces. Alison Gammon joins them for Beethoven’s trio Opus 11 for clarinet, piano and cello.

The relaxed 45-minute concert, ideal for people who may not feel comfortable at a formal classical concert, will be followed by tea and homemade cakes in the church hall. Seating is unreserved; no charge applies to attend but donations are welcome for hire costs and Alzheimer’s charities. On-street parking along Campleshon Road complements the church’s small car park.

The Nightcreatures’ Henry Botham and Tom Davies: Blues songs and stories at Milton Rooms, Malton

Blues gig of the week: The Nightcreatures, Farewell To Storyville, Songs and Stories from New Orleans, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 12, 8pm

THE Nightcreatures duo of pianist Henry Botham and guitarist and singer Tom Davies take a journey to old New Orleans for a night of songs and stories, serving up a spicy gumbo of filthy blues, funky grooves and classic tunes.

Old blues, Mardi Gras songs and vintage New Orleans material are explored, drawing on the heritage of Dr John, James Booker, Professor Longhair, Allen Toussaint and the great Louisiana bluesmen. Jenny Wren and Her Borrowed Wings, a trio led by singer and double bassist Jenny Trilsbach, support. Box office: 01653 696240 or

Sam Jewison: Interpreting the Great American Songbook at the SJT

Jazz gig of the month: Sam Jewison, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, April 27, 7.30pm

JAZZ singer and pianist Sam Jewison returns to the SJT after a sold-out show in 2023 to perform his interpretation of the Great American Songbook in a fusion of jazz, classical and popular music.

Expect to hear new treatments of songs from the Broadway stage, Hollywood screen and golden age of American popular music, made famous Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald, and Oscar Peterson, from the pens of Cole Porter, Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. Joining Jewison will be Fraser Smith (tenor saxophone), Harry Sankey (guitar), Harry Evans (double bass) and Joe Dessauer (drums). Box office: 01723 370541 or 

Lucy Worsley: Revelations from the life of Jane Austen at York Barbican

Show announcement of the week: An Audience with Lucy Worsley on Jane Austen, York Barbican, October 14,

FOLLOWING up her Agatha Christie tour, historian Lucy Worsley’s latest illustrated talk steps into the world of Jane Austen, one of English literature’s most cherished figures as the author of Pride And Prejudice, Sense And Sensibility and Persuasion. 

Through the houses, places and possessions that mattered to Austen, Worsley looks at what home meant to her and to the women like her who populate her novels. Austen lived a “life without incident”, but with new research and insights Worsley reveals a passionate woman who fought for her freedom. Box office:

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond Easter. Magical thoughts in Hutch’s List No 8, from the Gazette & Herald

Four sigils or “spell tokens” from the Believe It Or Not? exhibition at Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole. Picture: Olivia Brabbs

MAGICAL thinking and life 11,000 years ago, Shakespeare mischief making and nightclub trouble-spotters, a comedian’s needs and a painterly musical outweigh the delights of chocolate at Easter for Charles Hutchinson.

Ryedale exhibition launch of the week: Believe It Or Not?, Ryedale Folk Museum, Hutton-le-Hole, until November 17, from 10am daily except Fridays

RYEDALE Folk Museum’s new exhibition turns the spotlight on folk beliefs through a selection of more than 200 objects. Believe It Or Not?’ explores the traditions and rituals of our ancestors, pondering whether whether we are still “magical thinkers” today.

Featuring heavily are stories of those accused of witchcraft, represented through their own objects, such as a crystal ball passed down by those seeking to foretell the future and four sigils or “spell tokens”, likely created as a form of “love magic” by a magical practitioner or service magician. Tickets:

Curators Andrew Woods, left, Adam Parker and Emily North with Mesolithic remains of a wooden platform and materials used for fire-making in the Yorkshire Museum’s Star Carr exhibition. Picture: Anthony Chappel-Ross

York exhibition opening of the week: Star Carr: Life After The Ice, Yorkshire Museum, Museum Gardens, York; open Tuesday to Sunday, 10am to 5pm

EXCAVATED in the Vale of Pickering, the Star Carr archaeological site provides the first evidence in Britain of the beginnings of home, a place where people settled and built places to live.

The Yorkshire Museum’s interactive exhibition brings together artefacts from “the Mesolithic equivalent of Stonehenge” to give an insight into human life 11,000 years ago, a few hundred years after the last Ice Age. On display are objects from the Yorkshire Museum collection, from antler headdresses and a decorated stone pendant to the world’s oldest complete hunting bow and the earliest evidence of carpentry from Europe. To book tickets, go to:

Hoglets Theatre’s Gemma Curry, left, Claire Morley and Becky Lennon in A Midsummer Night’s Mischief, visiting Helmsley Arts Centre on Saturday

Children’s show of the week: Hoglets Theatre in A Midsummer Night’s Mischief, Helmsley Arts Centre, Saturday, 2.30pm

THE forest fairies are starting a fight, but which side are you on? Team Titania or Team Oberon? York company Hoglets Theatre presents founder Gemma Curry’s interactive, fun and larger-than-life show for children aged five to 11 based on Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

Expect wild characters, raucous singalong songs, puppets, stunts and some frankly ridiculous disco dancing in the company of Curry, Claire Morley and Becky Lennon. At 3.30pm, Gemma will be running a children’s workshop, showing how to make a paper boogie-woogie puppet of Shakespeare’s donkey-headed character Bottom. Box office: 01439 771700 or

Jessica Fostekew: On her Mettle at Pocklington Arts Centre

Comedy gig of the week: Jessica Fostekew, Mettle, Pocklington Arts Centre, April 4, 8pm

IN her new stand-up show of passion, pace and purpose, Jessica Fostekew’s son has joined a cult and her cat has learnt to talk. Nevertheless, she feels fine. In fact she is hurtling faster and hustling harder than ever for the things that she wants and needs.

Fostekew appeared in the sitcom Motherland and Sundance Festival Grand Jury prize-winning film Scrapper and is a regular co-host of The Guilty Feminist podcast, host and creator of her own podcast about eating, Hoovering, and the star and writer of BBC Radio 4’s Sturdy Girl Club. Box office: 01759 301547 or

The four doormen of the apocalypse: John Godber Company in Bouncers, on tour at York Theatre Royal

York play of the week: John Godber Company in Bouncers, York Theatre Royal, April 5, 7.30pm; April  6, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

MEET Lucky Eric, Judd, Les and Ralph, the original men in black, as they tell the torrid tale of one Eighties’ night in a Yorkshire disco in John Godber’s northern parody of Saturday Night Fever. All the gang are out on the town, the lads, the lasses, the cheesy DJ, the late-night kebab man, and the taxi home, all under the watchful eyes of the Bouncers (Nick Figgis, George Reid, Frazer Hammill and newcomer Tom Whittaker).

“We’re delighted to be taking Bouncers back to the heyday of disco and the 1980s,” says Goober. “Looking back, there was so much wrong with the decade but also so much to celebrate; this new production dances a balance between what was great and what is cringe-worthy now!” Box office: 01904 623568 or

Putting themselves in the picture: Pick Me Up Theatre cast members James Willstrop (as Jules), left, Neil Foster (as Soldier), Natalie Walker (as Dot) amd Sanna Jeppsson (as Yvonne), front, set the scene for Sunday In The Park With George

York musical of the week: Pick Me Up Theatre in Sunday In The Park With George, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, April 5 to 13, 7.30pm except April 8; 2.30pm, April 6, 7 and 13

STEPHEN Sondheim and James Lapine’s musical follows painter Georges Seurat (played by Adam Price) in the months leading up to the completion of his most fanous painting, A Sunday Afternoon On The Island Of La Grande Jatte. 

Consumed by his need to “finish the hat”, Seurat alienates the French bourgeoisie, spurns his fellow artists and neglects his lover Dot (Natalie Walker), not realising that his actions will reverberate through the next 100 years. Box office:

The Moondogs: Paying tribute to Fifties and Sixties favourites at Milton Rooms, Malton

Tribute show of the Easter break: The Moondogs, Milton Rooms, Malton, April 6, 8pm

PREPARE to be transported back in time to the late-1950s and Swinging Sixties as The Moondogs bring their raw energy to the hits of Chuck Berry, The Everly Brothers, Cliff Richard, The Searchers, The Swinging Blue Jeans, The Beatles, The Who, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones and more. Box office: 01653 696240 or

Fairground Attraction: Mark Nevin, left, Roy Dodds, Eddi Reader and Simon Edwards reunite after 35 years for a York-bound tour and new album

Gig announcement of the week: Fairground Attraction, York Barbican, October 1

AFTER an absence of 35 years, all four original members of short-lived late-Eighties’ band Fairground Attraction are reuniting for a 14-date British tour and an as-yet-untitled new studio album, preceded by first single What’s Wrong With The World?, out now.

Best known for their chart-topping debut, Perfect, winner of the Best Single prize at the 1988 Brit Awards, Fairground Attraction return with their country-pop line-up of singer Eddi Reader, guitarist Mark Nevin, guitarrón bassist Simon Edwards and drummer Roy Dodds. Tickets go on sale on Friday at 10am at

Moya Brennan , the ‘First Lady of Celtic music’, to showcase Voices & Harps IV album at Pocklington Arts Centre

Moya Brennan: Playing Pocklington Arts Centre for the first time next Tuesday

IN the words of Bono, Moya Brennan has “one of the greatest voices the human ear has ever experienced”.

In the wake of her Celtic family band Clannad calling time on 50 years together in 2023 after a farewell tour spread over two years, the Irish singer is picking up the reins of her solo career once more at 71.

Promoting her new album, Voices & Harps IV, her 12-date English, Welsh and Scottish tour opened last night (14/3/2024), arriving  at Pocklington Arts Centre on March 19 for her only Yorkshire show.

This will be Dubliner Moya’s first appearance in The Press territory since Clannad’s November 3 2021 concert at York Barbican on their valedictory In A Lifetime travels. “That was a great night,” she recalls. “It was fantastic to include York in our farewell tour as we hung up Clannad’s touring boots for good.

“It was nice to finalise everything. I love my brothers to death but when you travel with them for 50 years, it can be trying!  But I like touring and I enjoy doing it under my name, because it’s done on a different level, much more relaxed, without loads of crew and big tour buses. Not that I didn’t enjoy everything with Clannad.”

Joining Moya in Pocklington will be daughter Aisling Jarvis, on guitar, bouzouki and vocals, and son Paul Jarvis, on keyboards, percussion and vocals, after performing on the last Clannad tour.

Alongside them will be fiddler and whistle player Cathal O’Currain and harpist Cormac De Barra, her accompanist on the latest album. “He’s one of the finest harp players in Ireland,” says Moya, who is well placed to make that judgement as a harp player (and pianist) herself.

“We’ve done our own tours together and recorded several albums under the Voices & Harps banner. We have the new one for this tour, recorded as a tribute to the great Mary O’Hara, who was huge in the Fifties and Sixties, playing the Royal Albert Hall, Sydney Opera House and Carnegie Hall in New York.

“The first well-known band to come out of Ireland were The Clancy Brothers, and she was as popular as them, performing these beautiful Irish Gaelic and English songs, with over 20 albums to her name.”

Voices & Harps IV is available on Moya and Cormac’s own label, BEO Records, ‘beo’ being the Gaelic word for ‘alive’. “There were times when I was busy with Clannad so I didn’t have time to record my own albums,” she says. “But Cormac has been playing with me for 19/20 years, so we’ve done four records now – and we have the best of fun on stage together.”

“I feel blessed that I can sing,” says Moya Brennan. Picture: Tim Jarvis

Moya has released nine solo albums in all. “There’ll be a lot of those songs within the show but because people know me as ‘Moya from Clannad’,  there’ll be a couple of well-known Clannad songs, without the big drum sound, but if you like the harp and vocal harmonies, you’ll like it.”

The intimate scale of this month’s shows brings its own pleasure. “People love hearing the different ways you sing, how you share the singing, and they enjoy you telling stories about the songs,” she says.”More and more people are attending concerts again after Covid, and it wasn’t until the lockdowns that they realised how much they’d miss them.”

Moya, native Irish Gaeilge language speaker, ambassador for Irish culture and “the First Lady of Celtic music”, has garnered such honours as the RTE Radio Folk Awards Lifetime Achievement award, presented to her in October 2019 by Irish president Michael D Higgins, who said that “her name would be forever etched in the history of Irish music”.

When she was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate from Dublin City University, her citation at the May 2022 award ceremony read: “Moya has an innate ability to find the heart of music, to reach the essence of a song or a tune, and to make the ordinary extraordinary.”

“It was an extraordinary day. Being acknowledged in that way was very humbling. My whole family was there; I’m the eldest of nine siblings, and my mother was able to go too,” she says. “That honour is something you don’t expect because it’s so removed from what you do on stage. I didn’t even go to university, but here I am, a doctor!”

In her 50 years as the voice of Clannad, the band achieved 15 million record sales worldwide and a string of awards, a BAFTA, Ivor Novello, and Grammy among them. And yet… “It took me ages to realise that I enjoyed my own voice, as I’m not really a rock’n’roll singer, which I would have liked to have been,” says Moya.

That voice, “quiet and breathy” in her own description, continues to connect through the years: a magical power that had her thoughts turning to her fellow Dubliner, the late Sinead O’Connor.

“I knew Sinead well,” she says. “She was so shy, but once she was on stage, she could feel the audience’s presence inside her. When you sing, you find you find yourself enjoying giving pleasure – a transcendent feeling, where music makes people feel alive and puts a smile on everyone’s face.

“They leave their troubles at the door, and for two hours you can bring joy to them. I feel blessed that I can sing. Singing makes you feel so well afterwards, it takes ages to come down from that high as it’s such a lovely feeling.”

Long may that feeling continue, as the honours roll on too. Next up, Moya will be attending a gala ball in April to receive the honour of Donegal Person of the Year for 2023. Irish tour dates will follow in the autumn, that voice conjuring magic once more.

Moya Brennan, Pocklington Arts Centre, March 19, 8pm. Box office: 01759 301547 or

More Things To Do in Ryedale, York and beyond when comedy bites. Here’s Hutch’s List No 3, from Gazette and Herald

Deaf comedian Steve Day: Playing on the Hilarity Bites bill at Milton Rooms, Malton

A DEAF comedian and history-charting musicians, a classic thriller and a feminist fairytale, a community choir festival and a prog-rock legend make Charles Hutchinson’s list of upcoming cultural highlights.

Ryedale comedy gig of the week: Hilarity Bites Comedy Club, Steve Day, Ashley Frieze and Carl Jones, Milton Rooms, Malton, Friday (23/02/2024), 8pm

THE first Hilarity Bites bill of 2024 will be headlined by Steve Day, who describes himself as “Britain’s only deaf comedian and if there are any others he hasn’t heard them”! Actually, a couple of others have started since he wrote that joke, but it is only a joke after all.

On the bill too are guitar-toting funny man Ashley Frieze, with his charming, daft and warm brand of music-infused stand-up, and Midlands storytelling comedian Carl Jones, a football fanatic who interviews comedy cohorts for his ​Premier League nostalgia podcast When Football Began Again. Box office: 01653 696240 or

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews: 600 years of music crammed into 90 minutes at Pocklington Arts Centre

Musical tour of the week: Green Matthews: A Brief History Of Music, Pocklington Arts Centre, Friday, 8pm

STRING player Chris Green and woodwind player Sophie Matthews take in 600 years of musical history in 90 minutes, spanning the Middle Ages to the 20th century in a whistle-stop tour of Western music.

Featuring long-forgotten songs, tunes and jokes too, Green and Matthews paint a vibrant and vivid picture of our musical DNA, mixing the familiar and the obscure, the raucous and the reflective and the courtly and the commonplace. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Skylights: Lighting up York Barbican in November

Gig announcement of the week: Skylights, York Barbican, November 2

YORK band Skylights will play their biggest home-city show yet this autumn, with tickets going on sale on Friday at 10am at in a week when latest release Time To Let Things Go has risen to number two in the Official Vinyl Singles Chart.

Guitarist Turnbull Smith says: ‘We’re absolutely over the moon to be headlining the biggest venue in our home city of York, the Barbican. It’s always been a dream of ours to play here, so to headline will be the perfect way to finish what’s going to be a great year. Thanks to everyone for the support. It means the world and we’ll see you all there.”

Rick Wakeman: Return Of The Caped Crusader at York Barbican

Catch him while you can: Rick Wakeman, Return Of The Caped Crusader, York Barbican, Saturday, 7.30pm

PROG-ROCK icon and Yes keyboard wizard Rick Wakeman, 76, is to call time on his one-man shows to concentrate on composing, recording and collaborating, but not before playing York. “I always planned to stop touring by my 77th birthday,” he says. “For those of you who wish to send me a card, it’s 18th May!”

Saturday’s show opens with Wakeman’s new arrangements of Yes material for band and vocalists, followed after the interval by his epic work Journey To The Centre Of The Earth. Box office for returns only:

Jessa Liversidge: Directing Easingwold Community Singers’ performance at the York Community Choir Festival

Choirs galore: York Community Choir Festival 2024, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 25, 6pm; February 26 to March 1, 7.30pm; March 2, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

THE 8th York Community Choir Festival spreads 31 choirs across eight concerts over six days at the JoRo. On the opening evening, Easingwold Community Singers will be premiering director Jessa Liversidge’s arrangement of The Secret Of Happiness  from the American musical Daddy Long Legs, with permission of composer and lyricist Paul Gordon.

Choirs range from York Philharmonic Male Voice Choir to The Rolling Tones, Sounds Fun Singers to York Military Wives Choir, Selby Youth Choir to Track 29 Ladies Close Harmony Chorus. Six choirs from Huntington School perform next Friday, taking up all the first-half programme. Box office: 01904 501935 or

Todd Boyce, left, and Neil McDermott in Sleuth, on tour at Grand Opera House, York. Picture: Jack Merriman

Thriller of the week: Sleuth, Grand Opera House, York, Monday to Saturday, 7.30pm; 2.30pm Wednesday and Saturday

TODD Boyce, best known for playing Coronation Street’s notorious baddie Stephen Reid, will be joined by EastEnders soap star Neil McDermott in Anthony Shaffer’s dark psychological thriller about thrillers, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh.

What happens? A young man arrives at the impressive home of a famous mystery writer, only to be unwittingly drawn into a tangled web of intrigue and gamesmanship, where nothing is quite as it seems. Box office:

Emma Rice: Writer-director of Wise Children’s Blue Beard, playing York Theatre Royal from next Tuesday

Play of the week: Wise Children in Emma Rice’s Blue Beard, York Theatre Royal, February 27 to March 9, 7.30pm plus 2pm Thursday and 2.30pm Saturday matinees

BLUE Beard meets his match when his young bride discovers his dark and murderous secret. She summons all her rage, all her smarts and all her sisters to bring the curtain down on his tyrannous reign as writer-director Emma Rice brings her own brand of theatrical wonder to this beguiling, disturbing tale.

Applying Rice’s signature sleight of hand, Blue Beard explores curiosity and consent, violence and vengeance, all through an intoxicating lens of music, wit and tender truth. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Rob Auton: Star of The Rob Auton Show, full of firsts, from memories to girlfriends to jobs

Comedy gig(s) of the week: Rob Auton, The Rob Auton Show, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Crescent, York, February 28, 7.30pm; Mortimer Suite, Hull City Hall, February 29, 7.30pm; The Wardrobe, Leeds, March 1, 7.30pm

ROB Auton, Pocklington-raised stand-up comedian, writer, podcaster, actor, illustrator and former Glastonbury festival poet-in-residence, returns north from London with his self-titled tenth themed solo show.

After the colour yellow, the sky, faces, water, sleep, hair, talking, time and crowds, Auton turns the spotlight on himself, exploring the memories and feelings that create his life on a daily basis. Box office: York,; Hull,; Leeds,

600 years of music in only 90 minutes? Ready, get set, go Green Matthews at Pocklington Arts Centre on Friday

Chris Green and Sophie Matthews: Speeding through 600 years of tunes, songs and humour

ADVENTUROUS musicians Chris Green and Sophie Matthews pack 600 years of musical history into 90 minutes at Pocklington Arts Centre on Friday night.

Beginning in the Middle Ages, ending up in the 20th century and incorporating everything in between, Green Matthews’ fun and fast-moving show undertakes a whistle-stop tour of Western musical history.

Featuring long-forgotten songs, tunes and jokes too, Chris and Sophie paint a vibrant and vivid picture of our musical DNA, mixing the familiar and the obscure, the raucous and the reflective and the courtly and the commonplace.

“A Brief History Of Music combines the vigour of the medieval period, the musical intricacy of the Renaissance, the grandeur of the Baroque and the pomp and bombast of Victoriana,” say Green Matthews.

“Add to that the wit of Blackadder and 1066 And All That and the stage is set for a veritable musical feast, complete with a bewildering array of instruments such as cittern, rauschpfeife and virginal – and that’s just the first 100 years!”

CharlesHutchPress asks Sophie Matthews to give a brief guide to A Brief History Of Music.

How did you choose what to put in and leave out of A Brief History Of Music?

“We try to take the audience on a musical journey, taking a snapshot of each different period using both music and instruments to paint a picture as we go.”

What drew you to doing such a marathon task of a show?

“We love music from all different periods of history, and it was tough deciding on one to do a whole show on, so we didn’t – we did them all.”

Green Matthews: “Taking a snapshot of each different period using both music and instruments to paint a picture as we go”

Why do you finish in the 20th century when we’re nearly a quarter of a century into the 21st?

“We feel that when you move into the 20th century, music becomes more about nostalgia than history, and also music in the 20th century moves so very quickly in a way that it doesn’t with earlier periods. Perhaps that’s a whole other show to be explored.”

How did you research long-forgotten songs?

“There are some really interesting resources both digitised online and in libraries around the country. However, a lot of the research starts by hearing someone else playing something that inspires us. You can then go on to find other things.”

How do Blackadder and 1066 And All That play a part in the show?

“We love the humour that they both bring to history. Our presentation is very light hearted and we love to make people laugh. We never take ourselves too seriously.”

What instrumentation do you use in the performance? What, for example, are the ‘rauschpfeife’ and ‘virginal’?

“I am a woodwind player and Chris plays fretted strings and keys, which work well together. The rauschpfeife is a woodwind instrument from the 16th century with a reed like an oboe inside a cap to blow through. It’s really loud and it died out because there’s no control over the volume.

“The virginal is a kind of small harpsichord. The difference between the harpsichord and the piano is that a piano has hammers inside that strike the strings and you can do that hard or soft, making it louder or quieter, and the harpsichord has quills inside that pluck the strings. But here, again, there’s no control over the volume, so it died out.

“We also have more familiar instruments such as recorders and lutes and three different kinds of bagpipe! And we both sing.”

Green Matthews: Return to the NCEM in the pipeline

How, when, where and why did you start performing with Chris?

“At a medieval banquet in Nottingham. One of us was Maid Marion, one was a court minstrel (we’ll leave it to you to work out which was which!), and the rest, as they say, is history.”

Do you have a favourite musical age?

“The 18th century. It’s a really interesting time where folk music and art music come together. The tunes are lively and vibrant and the songs are varied and interesting.”

Any early news on whether you will be returning to the National Centre for Early Music in York for another Christmas performance in 2024 after A Christmas Carol In Concert in 2023?

“Yes! We’ll be back there with our expanded Christmas line-up, Gaudete!, on December 11, when we’ll be joined by Richard Heacock on violin and Emily Baines on early woodwind to play new arrangements of winter songs and folk carols.”

Do you have album release plans for this year?

“There’ll be a live Gaudete! album out in time for the December tour.”

Green Matthews: A Brief History Of Music, Pocklington Arts Centre, February 23, 8pm. Box office: 01759 301547 or

Green Matthews’ poster for A Brief History Of Music