More Things To Do in York and beyond, from rock’n’roll raves to a comedy variant. List No. 68, courtesy of The Press, York

The Bluejays: Ready to Rave On at York Theatre Royal

GOLDEN hits, blue art, a grotesque puppet, raucous inventions, a brace of musicals and an on-trend comedian are Charles Hutchinson’s fancies for cultural gratification.

Nostalgia trip of the week: The Bluejays in Rave On, York Theatre Royal, Saturday (5/2/2022), 7.30pm

THE Bluejays, a group comprised of West End stars from The Buddy Holly Story, Million Dollar Quartet, One Man, Two Guvnors and Dreamboats & Petticoats, head back to the fabulous Fifties and swinging Sixties in Rave On.

Charting the meteoric rise of rock’n’roll, this joyful journey through these revolutionary musical decades revels in the golden days of Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly, Chuck Berry, The Beatles, Neil Sedaka, The Kinks, Connie Francis, Lulu and The Shadows. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Rebecca Taylor: Soloist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1 at York Guildhall Orchestra’s concert

Beethoven at the double: York Guildhall Orchestra, York Barbican, tonight, 7.30pm

REBECCA Taylor will be the soloist for Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No 1 in the second concert of York Guildhall Orchestra’s 41st season.

Under conductor Simon Wright, the orchestra also perform one of Beethoven’s rarely played overtures, an 1811 commemorative work to King Stephen 1st, founder of Hungary in 1000AD.

The second half features a stalwart of the symphonic repertoire, Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No 5,  a popular work that “demonstrates his darker side, perhaps ultimate victory through strife,” says Wright. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Jane Dignum’s poster for Westside Artists’ Into The Blue exhibition at Pyramid Gallery, York

Group exhibition of the week: Westside Artists’ Into The Blue at Pyramid Gallery, Stonegate, York, until March 13, open Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm

EACH of the Westside Artists, a group from the west end of York, has created new work to portray a personal interpretation and concept of the exhibition title, Into The Blue, at Terry Brett’s Pyramid Gallery.

Taking part are Adele Karmazyn (digital photomontage); Carolyn Coles (painting); Donna Marie Taylor (mixed media); Ealish Wilson (mixed media and sculpture); Fran Brammer (textiles) and Jane Dignum (printmaking).

So to are Jill Tattersall (mixed-media collage); Kate Akrill (ceramics); Lucie Wake (painting); Mark Druery (printmaking); Richard Rhodes (ceramics); Sharon McDonagh (mixed media) and Simon Palmour (photography).

Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company cast members in rehearsal for Kipps, The New Half A Sixpence Musical

Who will he choose? Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company in Kipps, The New Half A Sixpence Musical, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 9 to 12, 7.30pm and 2.30pm Saturday matinee

IN the coastal town of Folkestone, Arthur Kipps knows there is more to life than his demanding but unrewarding job as an apprentice draper.

When he suddenly inherits a fortune, Kipps is thrown into a world of upper-class soirées and strict rules of etiquette that he barely understands. Torn between the affections of the kind but proper Helen and childhood sweetheart Ann, Kipps must determine whether such a simple soul can find a place in high society.

Tickets for this Joseph Rowntree Theatre Company fundraising show for the JoRo are on sale on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Blackeyed Theatre in Frankenstein, on tour at the SJT, Scarborough, from Wednesday. Picture: Alex Harvey-Brown

Fright nights ahead: Blackeyed Theatre in Frankenstein, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, February 9 to 12

SOUTH Yorkshire playwright Nick Lane has reinterpreted John Ginman’s original 2016 script for Bracknell touring company Blackeyed Theatre, built around Mary Shelley’s Gothic novel set in Geneva in 1816, where Victor Frankenstein obsesses in the pursuit of nature’s secret, the elixir of life itself.

This highly theatrical telling combines live music and ensemble storytelling with Bunraku-style puppetry to portray The Creature. Designed and built by Warhorse and His Dark Materials alumna Yvonne Stone, the 6ft 4inch puppet is operated by up to three actors at any one time. Box office: 01723 370541 or at sjt.uk.com.

Jonny Holbek in rehearsal for his role of Che in York Light Opera Company’s production of Evita

“Big sing” of the week ahead: York Light Opera Company in Evita, York Theatre Royal, February 9 to 19

DIRECTOR Martyn Knight has decided to use double casting for the five main roles in Evita, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical of people, politics and power, in response to Covid-19’s ongoing impact.

The principals have been rehearsing separately, with Alexa Chaplin and Emma-Louise Dickinson sharing the lead role of Eva Peron; Dale Vaughan and Jonny Holbek playing Che; John Hall and Neil Wood as Juan Peron, Dave Copley-Martin and Richard Weatherill as Agustin Maglidi, and Fiona Phillips and Hannah Witcomb as Peron’s Mistress.

Covid, long Covid and even physical injuries have necessitated Knight drawing up his 18th cast list at the latest count. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Con Brio, by Mark Hearld, at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Picture: Red Photography

Last chance to see: Mark Hearld’s Raucous Invention: The Joy Of Making, Upper Space and YSP Centre, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, near Wakefield, ends tomorrow (6/2/2022)

THIS weekend is the finale to Raucous Invention: The Joy Of Making, an  ambitious, vibrant, and creative journey wherein York artist and designer Mark Hearld explores connections through collaboration and risk-taking to create bold and challenging works, including tapestries and ceramics.

Working from his Portland Street studio across a range of media and using the natural world as inspiration, Hearld has made collages, lino-cut prints, letter-press prints and a large-scale mural that fills the walls of the YSP kitchen in the visitor centre. You will need to book at ysp.org.uk.

Pandemic pontifications: Russell Kane’s new tour show, The Essex Variant!, is heading to York Barbican

Still the only subject in town by then? Russell Kane Live: The Essex Variant!, York Barbican, December 14

ENFIELD humorist Russell Kane offers his “gut-punch funny, searing take on the two years we’ve just gone through” in his new stand-up tour show, The Essex Variant!. More like, three years, by then.

Comic, writer, presenter and actor Kane presents two podcasts, Man Baggage and BBC Radio 4’s Evil Genius and is a regular on Channel 4, BBC and ITV. “I drink lots of coffee and I’m ‘like that in real life’,” he says. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.

Comic Russell Kane, metalheads Saxon and blues queen Joanne Shaw Taylor confirm York Barbican gigs in super-signing day

Russell Kane: Pandemic pontifications in The Essex Variant! show

ON football’s January transfer deadline day, York Barbican made three big signings of its own: comedian Russell Kane, Barnsley heavy metal veterans Saxon and blues guitarist/singer-songwriter Joanne Shaw Taylor.

Enfield humorist Kane, 46, offers his “gut-punch funny, searing take on the two years we’ve just gone through” on December 14 in his new stand-up tour show, Russell Kane Live: The Essex Variant!.

Comic, writer, presenter and actor Kane presents two podcasts, Man Baggage and BBC Radio 4’s Evil Genius and is a regular on Channel 4, BBC and ITV. “I drink lots of coffee and I’m ‘like that in real life’,” he says.

He was the first comedian to bag the two most prestigious comedy awards on Earth in the same year, for the same show: The Dave’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards (formerly known as the Perrier) and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival Award, (formerly the Barry Award). “I’m also a raving bighead that likes listing my achievements,” he says.

Saxon invaders: Barnsley heavy metal veterans take over York Barbican in November

After 15 million album sales and four top ten albums in a career-spanning 44 years, heavy metal stalwarts Saxon visit York on November 23 on their Seize The Day tour.

Plugging new album Carpe Diem in 14 cities with Diamond Head as their special guests, Saxon frontman Biff Byford, 71, says: “Can’t wait to get out on a real tour again. It’s gonna be monumental.  See you all out there. Seize the day!”

Produced by Judas Priest guitarist Andy Sneap at Backstage Recording Studios in Derbyshire, with Byford and Sneap mixing and mastering, Carpe Diem will be released on Friday (4/2/2022) on Silver Lining Music, in the wake of two singles, Remember The Fallen and Carpe Diem (Seize The Day).  

Joanne Shaw Taylor has picked York for one of only five dates on her spring tour, performing songs from last September’s The Blues Album on April 24.

Joanne Shaw Taylor: Feeling the blues in York on April 24

Shaw Taylor, who will turn 37 on February 20, topped Billboard Magazine’s Official Blues Album Chart last year, when her covers record was voted #Number 1 Most Played Blues Album of 2021 by the Independent Blues Broadcasters Association. 

The Blues Album comprises the Wednesbury musician’s personalised covers of 11 rare blues numbers recorded by Albert King, Fleetwood Mac’s Peter Green, Little Richard, Magic Sam and Aretha Franklin, complemented by some “not obvious choices” by Little Village, Little Milton, The Fabulous Thunderbirds and James Ray.

“I’d known from the beginning of my recording career that one day I wanted to record an album of blues covers; I just wasn’t sure when the right time to do that would be,” she says. “I’ve always found it far easier to write my own material than come up with creative ways to make other artists’ material my own.” 

Tickets for all three shows go on sale on Friday from 10am at yorkbarbican.co.uk.