REVIEW: Blood Brothers, Grand Opera House, York, until Saturday *****

Niki Evans, as Mrs Johnstone, and Sean Jones, as her son Mickey, as the Blood Brothers principals reunite at the Grand Opera House, where they previously performed together in May 2011

OUT of nowhere in The Rocky Horror Show’s March return to the Grand Opera House, narrator Philip Franks suddenly mischievously mimicked Blood Brothers. Oh, how everyone chortled.

That’s rich, CharlesHutchPress thought, given that Willy Russell’s tragi-comic Liverpool musical is a vastly better structured show without the fall-away in song quality and story in Richard O’Brien’s stupendously silly second act that seemingly all and sundry chooses to ignore.

The chance to compare the two hit shows with the Jacobean tragedy finales comes quickly with the return of Blood Brothers to the Cumberland Street theatre, and if there is any rivalry, it can only be in the number of visits being stacked up.

Rocky Horror? Lost count, but it must be heading for two full sets of fingers. Blood Brothers? Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson’s perennial production keeps on giving blood, sweat and tears, having chalked up eight runs since 1996.

The ninth is better than ever, bolstered by the return of Niki Evans to the role of Mrs Johnstone after a decade and the chance to see Sean Jones, so synonymous with Mrs J’s son Mickey, on his “last ever tour” after 23 years on the road on and off.

More on, than off, with only eight of them in total spent away from Blood Brothers, his latest break coming since 2019 to tend to his poorly parents. When impresario Kenwright invited him back for the 2022 tour, Jones accepted, and here he is at 51 “running around as a seven-year-old in a baggy green jumper and short trousers”, promising to keep going for as long as Kenwright wants him. Like Bob Dylan’s never-ending tour.

More on Jones’s performance later, but first, what a delight to see Niki Evans reviving her Mrs Johnstone, the mother with the fateful family secret, in a devastatingly moving performance of pathos and pain, jagged-edged Scouse humour, love and desperate resilience.

For Mrs Johnstone, struggling with too many children on an impoverished Liverpool estate and deserted by her waster of a husband, the discovery she is pregnant again, this time with twins, is too much for her budget on the never-never.

She can only “afford” one more child, not two, she tells Mrs Lyons (Paula Tappenden), the barren wife of a travelling businessman from up the posh hill for whom she cleans.

All too rashly, a pact is agreed, one where she gives away one of the baby boys to the cold-hearted Mrs Lyons, setting in motion the superstition that if twins separated at birth ever discover each other’s existence they will die instantly.

Brothers in arms: Sean Jones, as Mickey, left, and Joel Benedict, as Eddie, in Blood Brothers

Clodagh Rodgers, Stephanie Lawrence, Bernie Nolan, Sharon Byatt, Marti Webb, Maureen Nolan and Lyn Paul have all played Mrs J in York; Evans is the first to do so twice, in her case divided by 11 years.

First time around, in May 2011, your reviewer observed: “Above all others, Evans will stick in the mind, for being the most real. What makes her performance all the remarkable is that the Birmingham mother of two had never seen a theatre show, except for pantomimes, nor heard of Blood Brothers or impresario Bill Kenwright when she was offered the role on the West End stage after making the semi-finals of The X Factor in 2007”.

Eleven years on, benefiting from more rings on the tree of theatre life, Evans remains a natural for musical theatre, more than she was for a burst of X Factor-fuelled pop stardom.

At 49, her voice is even more powerful, her broad face an expressive canvas for so many emotions, played out in a Scouse accent that accentuates light and dark alike. Evans’s council-house upbringing and her experiences as a working mum both bring authenticity to the performance too, not least in her renditions of the show’s supreme numbers, Tell Me It’s Not True, Marilyn Monroe and Easy Terms.

The harshest songs aptly go to Robbie Scotcher’s ever-present Narrator, a Faustian debt collector full of social truths and spooked folklore, as he steers the path of Russell’s 1983 cautionary tale.

In football parlance, Blood Brothers is a game of two halves, as one face of theatre, comedy, is ultimately overwhelmed by the other, tragedy, as it befalls the split-up brothers, scally Mickey (Jones) and scholarly Eddie (Joel Benedict).

Divided by class, their paths nevertheless keep crossing through fate, and once more Jones plays it with all the conviction of a man who believes there is no role in musical theatre to rival Mickey on his journey from cheeky, blissfully innocent child’s play, through tongue-tied teenage love pangs for Linda (Carly Burns), to the forlorn broken adult reliant on mind-numbing pills.

More than ever, you note the changes in his movement, his voice, from skip to slouch and slump, from up to down. Sean, whatever you do next, thank you for making this reviewer laugh and cry down the years.

Benedict more than holds his own as Eddie, the charmer in the making with a rebellious streak that then turns to steely political activism as a councillor. The role is more emotionally contained, to emphasise the contrast in nurturing, but nature permeates the brotherly bond in Jones and Benedict’s performances. Burns burns brightly too as lovely Linda.

Andy Walmsley’s familiar street scenery, Nick Richings’ lighting, Matt Malone’s musical direction and Dan Samson’s sound design all add to the hard-hitting impact of Russell’s unsentimental yet heart-rending doomed drama. Evans and Jones, reunited from 2011 to even more telling effect, make Blood Brothers a Must See once more.

Blood Brothers, Grand Opera House, York, 7.30pm tonight (7/4/2022) and tomorrow; 2.30pm and 7.30pm, Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 7615.

Review by Charles Hutchinson

More Things To Do in and around York, where studios are opening up for spring inspection. List No. 76, from The Press

Kimbal Bumstead: one of 30 new participants in York Open Studios

NOW is the chance to go around the houses, the studios and workshops too, as recommended by Charles Hutchinson on his art beat.

Art event of the week and next week too: York Open Studios, today and tomorrow; April 9 and 10, 10am to 5pm

AFTER 2021’s temporary move to July, York Open Studios returns to its regular spring slot, promising its biggest event ever with more than 150 artists and makers in 100-plus workshops, home and garden studios and other creative premises.

Thirty new participants have been selected by the event organisers. As ever, York Open Studios offers the chance to talk to artists, look around where they work and buy works.

Artists’ work encompasses painting and print, illustration, drawing and mixed media, ceramics, glass and sculpture, jewellery, textiles, photography and installation art. Check out the artists’ directory listings and the locations map at or pick up a booklet around York.

Caius Lee: Pianist for York Musical Society’s Rossini concert

Classical concert of the week: York Musical Society, Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle, St Peter’s School Memorial Hall, York, tonight, 7.30pm

DAVID Pipe conducts York Musical Society in a performance of Gioachino Rossini’s last major work, Petite Messe Solennelle, composed when his friend Countess Louise Pillet-Will commissioned a solemn mass for the consecration of a private chapel in March 1864.

After Rossini deemed it to be a ‘poor little mass’, the word ‘little’ (petite) has become attached to the title, even though the work is neither little nor particularly solemn. Instead, the music ranges from hushed intensity to boisterous high spirits.

Caius Lee, piano, Valerie Barr, accordion, Katie Wood, soprano, Emily Hodkinson, mezzo-soprano, Ed Lambert, tenor, and Stuart O’Hara, bass, perform it tonight. Box office:

Bingham String Quartet: Programme of Beethoven, Schnittke, LeFanu and Tippett works

Late news: York Late Music, Stuart O’Hara and Ionna Koullepou, 1pm today; Bingham String Quartet, 7.30pm tonight, St Saviourgate Unitarian Chapel, York

BASS Stuart O’Hara and pianist Ionna Koullepou play a lunchtime programme of no fewer than eight new settings of York and regional poets’ works by York composers.

In the evening, the Bingham String Quartet perform Beethoven’s String Quartet in B-flat major, Schnittke’s String Quartet No 3, York composer Nicola LeFanu’s String Quartet No 2 and Tippett’s String Quartet No 2. Box office: or on the door.

The poster for York Blues Festival 2022

A dose of the blues: York Blues Festival 2022, The Crescent, York, today, bands from 1pm to 11pm

YORK Blues Festival returns for a third celebration at The Crescent community venue after two previous sell-outs. On the bill will be Tim Green Band; Dust Radio; Jed Potts & The Hillman Hunters; TheJujubes; Blue Milk; DC Blues; Five Points Gang and Redfish.

For full details, go to: Box office:

The Howl & The Hum: Sunday headliners at YorkLife in Parliament Street

Free community event of the weekend: YorkLife, Parliament Street, York, today and tomorrow, 11am to 9pm

YORK’S new spring festival weekend showcases the city’s musicians, performers, comedians and more besides today and tomorrow. Organised by Make It York, YorkLife sees more than 30 performers and organisations head to Parliament Street for this free event with no tickets required in advance.

York’s Music Venue Network presents Saturday headliners Huge, Sunday bill-toppers The Howl & The Hum, plus Bull; Kitty VR; Flatcap Carnival; Hyde Family Jam;  Floral Pattern; Bargestra and Wounded Bear.

Workshops will be given by: Mud Pie Arts: Cloud Tales, interactive storytelling; Thunk It Theatre, Build Our City theatre; Gemma Wood, York Skyline art; Fantastic Faces, face painting;  Henry Raby, from Say Owt, spoken poetry; Matt Barfoot, drumming; Christian Topman, ukulele; Polly Bennet, Little Vikings PQA York, performing arts, and Innovation Entertainment, circus workshops.  Look out too for the York Mix Radio quiz; York Dance Space’s dance performance and Burning Duck Comedy Club’s comedy night. 

Oi Frog & Friends!: Laying down the rules at York Theatre Royal

Children’s show of the week: Oi Frog & Friends!, York Theatre Royal, Monday, 1.30pm and 4.30pm; Tuesday, 10.30am and 1.30pm

ON a new day at Sittingbottom School, Frog is looking for a place to sit, but Cat has other ideas and Dog is happy to play along. Cue multiple rhyming rules and chaos when Frog is placed in in charge. 

Suitable for age three upwards, Oi Frog & Friends! is a 55-minute, action-packed play with original songs, puppets, laughs and “more rhyme than you can shake a chime at”.

This fun-filled musical has been transferred to the stage by Emma Earle, Zoe Squire, Luke Bateman and Richy Hughes from Kes Gray and Jim Field’s picture books. Box office: 01904 623568 or at

Mother and son: Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones as Mickey in Willy Russell’s Blood Brothers, returning to the Grand Opera House, York

Musical of the week: Blood Brothers, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday

AFTER a three-year hiatus, Sean Jones has returned to playing scally Mickey in Willy Russell’s fateful musical account of Liverpool twins divided at both, stretching his involvement to a 23rd year at impresario Bill Kenwright’s invitation in what is billed as his “last ever tour” of Blood Brothers.

Back too, after a decade-long gap, is Niki Evans in the role of Mickey and Eddie’s mother, Mrs Johnstone.

Blood Brothers keeps on returning to the Grand Opera House, invariably with Jones to the fore. If this year really is his Blood Brothers valedictory at 51, playing a Scouse lad from the age of seven once more, thanks, Sean, for all the years of cheers and tears. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or

May in April: Imelda May plays York Barbican for a third time on April 6

York gig of the week: Imelda May, Made To Love Tour, York Barbican, Wednesday, 7.30pm

IRISH singer-songwriter and poet Imelda May returns to York Barbican for her third gig there in the only Yorkshire show of her first major UK tour in more than five years.

“I cannot wait to see you all again, to dance and sing together, to connect and feel the sparkle in a room where music makes us feel alive and elevated for a while,” says Imelda. “A magical feeling we can only get from live music. Let’s go!”

Her sixth studio album, last April’s 11 Past The Hour, will be showcased and she promises poetry too. Box office:

Corruption and sloth: English Touring Opera in Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel

At the treble: English Touring Opera at York Theatre Royal, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 7.30pm

ENGLISH Touring Opera present three performances in four nights, starting with Bach’s intense vision of hope, St John Passion, on Wednesday, when professional soloists and baroque specialists the Old Street Band combine with singers from York choirs.

La Boheme, Puccini’s operatic story of a poet falling in love with a consumptive seamstress, follows on Friday; the residency concludes with Rimsky-Korsakov’s The Golden Cockerel, a send-up of corruption and sloth in government that holds up a mirror to the last days of the Romanovs. Box office: 01904 623568 or

Eleanor Sutton in the title role in Jane Eyre, opening at the Stephen Joseph Theatre on Friday

Play of the week outside York: Jane Eyre, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough, Friday to April 30

CHRIS Bush’s witty and fleet-footed adaptation seeks to present Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre to a fresh audience while staying true to the original’s revolutionary spirit.

Using actor-musicians, playful multi-role playing and 19th century pop hits, Zoe Waterman directs this SJT and New Vic Theatre co-production starring Eleanor Sutton as Jane Eyre, who has no respect for authority, but lives by her own strict moral code, no matter what the consequences. Box office: 01723 370541 or

Beth McCarthy: Homecoming gig at The Crescent in May

Welcome home: Beth McCarthy, The Crescent, York, May 2, doors, 7.30pm

BETH McCarthy will play a home-city gig for the first time since March 2019 at The Crescent community venue.

Beth, singer, songwriter and BBC Radio York evening show presenter, has moved from York to London, since when she has drawn 4.8 million likes and 300,000 followers on TikTok and attracted 465,000 monthly listeners and nine million plays of her She Gets The Flowers on Spotify. Box office:

Oh, and one other thing

MODFATHER Paul Weller’s gig on Tuesday at York Barbican has sold out.

Sean Jones heads back to York as scally Mickey in his ‘last ever’ Blood Brothers tour

Brothers in arms: Sean Jones as scally Mickey, left, and Joel Benedict as scholarly Eddie in Blood Brothers, on tour at the Grand Opera House, York, next week

AT 51, Sean Jones is still “running around in a baggy green jumper and short trousers” playing Liverpool lad Mickey in Willy Russell’s heartbreaking musical Blood Brothers into a 23rd year.

“It would definitely be me, Yul Brynner and Topol in the top three,” says the Welsh actor, in recognition of their long service to Blood Brothers, The King And I and Fiddler On The Roof respectively, although Sean has not kept a record of the exact number of performances he has chalked up.

Next week, on his return to impresario Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson’s touring production for a run from January to late-October, Sean will be taking his Mickey back to the Grand Opera House in York.

Musicals were not his first love, but maybe this was destiny. “I’d had had a string of auditions for musicals off my agent but was getting very disconcerted as I’d trained to be an actor, not a singer and dancer, and then he said again, ‘I’ve got you an audition…for a musical.”

However, this time it was different. “It was the chance to be cover for Mickey in Blood Brothers, which has always been my dream role.

“It’s the most prepared I’ve ever been for an audition! Thankfully I got the gig as understudy on tour, and I remember we came to York on that first tour in 1999.”

He had trodden the boards in York previously. “On my first time there, I did [Agatha Christie’s] A Murder Is Announced with Richard Todd in 1993 in my first job after drama college, with Bill Kenwright as producer, and I remember thinking, ‘that might give me an inroad to Blood Brothers’!”

Sean would subsequently become embedded in Russell’s musical, even meeting his wife, actress Tracy Spencer, though the show. “Tracy played Mrs Lyons. We got married in 2004 on a two-show day when we were at the Cardiff New Theatre,” he says.

Sean Jones in his 2022 return to Blood Brothers as Mickey, with Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone

“We got married in the morning, did the matinee, took the cast out for a drink, then did the evening performance.

“Blood Brothers is absolutely ingrained in me. When Tracy fell pregnant with Eleanor, after three months, we decided we would go out on tour for four years in the show!”

In Russell’s fateful musical, when young mother Mrs Johnstone is deserted by her husband, she is left to her own devices to provide for seven hungry children, taking a job as a housekeeper to make ends meet.

Whereupon her brittle world crashes around her when she discovers herself to be pregnant yet again, this time with twins. In a moment of desperation, she enters a secret pact with her employer, leading to Mickey and Eddie being separated at birth, growing up on the opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with tragic consequences.

“It’s such a journey that Mickey goes on and such a great role for an actor to get his teeth into, with all the high comedy that Willy Russell has written that requires plenty of skill, and then the final hour that takes the audience to some really dark places, with the last few scenes being so harrowing.”

Sean’s career has taken in stage roles in pantomime, Macbeth and Jacqueline’s Wilson’s world premiere of Wave Me Goodbye and television appearances in Emmerdale, The Royal Today and Hollyoaks, but he keeps returning to Blood Brothers, never tiring of playing Mickey from the age of seven, through his teens and into his troubled adult life.

Out of the past 22 years, only eight have not been spent stretching that trademark baggy jumper over his knees. “It’s one of those things, whatever job anyone has, there’s a certain amount of repetition, whether working in a bank or a shop. Same job, different ****! With Blood Brothers, same job, same lines, but the audience keeps you fresh,” he says.

“Each audience comes with a different challenge each show, and you find yourself becoming a bit of a scientist, thinking, ‘who we’ve got in today; what do they want; what do they need?’. You pay attention to that, and that’s why it will always be fresh.

Sean Jones, as Mickey, and Marti Webb, as Mrs Johnstone at the Grand Opera House, York in 2008

“On top of that, Mickey is such a phenomenal role that I’m still finding new things in it after all these years.”

Playing Mickey for more than two decades, Sean has found his performance evolving over that time. “When you’re using techniques in order to get yourself into the zone for those last 30 minutes, the more you can draw on your own emotional memories, because all you are as an older person is a young person with more despair.”

Sean left the show for three years after his parents became poorly. “I needed to be there, with them,” he says. “But I always felt there might be a chance to come back.”

When Bill Kenwright asked him to reprise his Mickey once more, he said yes. “It’s like, go find me a better musical theatre role than Mickey,” says Sean. “There’s a plethora of great roles in musical theatre but none that goes on the journey that Mickey does. It’s brilliant storytelling theatre with so much comedy and then absolute heartbreak.”

The tour publicity states this will be Sean’s “final ever tour of the show”, but will it? “I’m happy to carry on doing it as long as Bill Kenwright is happy for me to get away with doing it!” he says.

“I appear to still have the same energy, hitting all the right notes in the right order, and as long as that keeps happening, I’m happy to keep going, but all I want to do is to keep on being a jobbing actor. That term shouldn’t be a slur. It’s about doing a job I love, whether in Blood Brothers, or in a small play at Theatre Clwyd, though I’d also love to do more screen work.”

Blood Brothers runs at Grand Opera House, York, from April 5 to 9, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at

Sean Jones’s Mickey and Maureen Nolan’s Mrs Johnstone at the Grand Opera House, York in 2013

After ten years Niki Evans says yes to returning as Mrs Johnstone, the Blood Brothers role she turned down four times

Niki Evans’s Mrs Johnstone and Sean Jones’s Mickey in the 2022 tour of Blood Brothers, running at the Grand Opera House, York, from April 5 to 9. Picture: Jack Merriman

NIKI Evans will be returning to the Grand Opera House as Mrs Johnstone in Blood Brothers from Tuesday, but there is one place nearby in York that she will be avoiding.

“One time I was in York, they took me to the York Dungeon on my own and I’ve never screamed so loud,” she recalls. “I don’t know how I managed to do the show that night, I screamed so much. I won’t be going back to the Dungeon but York is a beautiful city.”

2007 X Factor semi-finalist Niki last played Mrs Johnstone in Willy Russell’s Liverpudlian musical in 2012, having first done so in 2008, visiting York in May 2011. “Returning to it was scary at first,” she says. “The first time I did it, I’d never done a musical or been a part of the theatre world so when [producer] Bill Kenwright called me I think I turned it down four times.

“I was like ‘No, you’re OK!’ but he persuaded me to audition, and my audition was terrible. But he saw something in me and within a week I was on stage in the Phoenix Theatre [in London]. It was such a whirlwind. Since then, I’ve done lots of other roles, mainly funny ones, so to come back to such a dramatic role is very scary but it’s like a dream come true. They’d asked me to come back before but I had to be ready, and now I am.”

Blood Brothers revolves around Mickey and Edward, twins separated at birth by their mother Mrs Johnstone, who then grow up on the opposite sides of the tracks, only to meet again with tragic consequences.

What makes Mrs J such an iconic musical theatre role, Niki? “It’s because of her strength and the emotions you have to go through when you’re on stage,” she says. “She starts as a young girl in her 20s, then within 20 minutes she’s got seven kids and has to give one away. It’s a big part and it’s a big part for a woman, which is rare at my age [Niki is 49].

“My window is tiny to get a part where you’re on for more than ten minutes. She’s a strong female lead and she’s so real. Every mother in this country can relate to her on some level because of how real she is.

“Every mother must see something in Mrs Johnstone that they’ve also gone through. I know I can. I’ve got two sons, so her Mickey and Eddie are my Morgan and Jonah. My kids have had troubles, I’ve had troubles, and the way I look at it is: I don’t have to play her, I just have to be her.”

Niki is still discovering new things about Mrs Johnstone in her latest interpretation of the role, ten years on. “She’s not such a feisty tiger as I thought when I first did the show. They used to call me ‘the Feisty Tiger Mrs Johnstone’. I come from a family of four; we grew up on a council estate; we had no money; I used to go to school in jelly shoes, even in November, and my mum was a tough cookie,” she says.

“You didn’t mess with her and that’s how I thought Mrs J was, or at least that she was how I was, like, ‘Don’t mess with my kids or I’ll come at you with a baseball bat’. But now I’m older, I’ve mellowed. I’ll be 50 this year and I’m not so bouncy as I was ten years ago, so my take on her is much more grounded. She’s stronger without being quite so feisty.”

Blood Brothers is such an emotional rollercoaster for Niki and audience alike. “There are a couple of parts in the show, without giving spoilers, where it rips me to shreds,” she reveals. “I do it as though someone is about to take one of my children and I can’t hold back. I have to feel it every time I do it.”

Aside from Blood Brothers, Niki has appeared in musicals in the West End and on tour, such as Kinky Boots and Shout. “There’s been loads and I’ve loved every character I’ve played, but if I had to pick one it would be Paulette in Legally Blonde,” she says.

Niki Evans in a past production of Blood Brothers

“To go from playing Mrs Johnstone to Paulette in just two weeks was brilliant because it was such a contrast. I’ve never laughed and smiled so much as I have when doing the bend and snap. It was the first time I realised I could make people laugh as well as cry.” 

Busy, busy, busy, but when Covid lockdowns left theatres closed, Niki took a job outside that familiar world. “I worked in a factory packing boxes for Amazon because I didn’t want to lose my house. I’m a working mum and I have to pay bills,” she says.

Post-lockdown, she appeared in Girls Just Wanna Have Funon tour and played Mimi the Magical Mermaid in Peter Pan, the Wycombe Swan Theatre’s pantomime, before going straight into Blood Brothers after only two days off.

“The first time I got back on stage, I was petrified because I hadn’t done it for two years and had to open myself up again to people watching me. All your insecurities come back and you’re like, ‘Am I good enough? Can I still do this?’, but the feedback from the audience, the love and the warmth – I can’t tell you what it means and how it feels.”

The return of live theatre felt “just amazing” to Niki. “People told me, ‘This is just what we needed’ and recently I was talking with a bunch of students in a theatre cafe who saw Blood Brothers and loved it. That enthusiasm is something you can’t buy.

“To have young people go, ‘You were so real, we were so engrossed’ is priceless. To know that you’re not just reaching older people, but young kids as well makes me so emotional. “What’s also interesting to me is how men in the audience react to Blood Brothers.

“When I look out into the auditorium, it’s the men who have their heads down because they can’t watch. It’s always the men who say, ‘I don’t like musicals, she’s dragged me along, but oh my God, I’m coming back to see this again’.”

Singing was Niki’s passion as soon as she could open her mouth, going on to finish in the top four in the 2007 series of The X Factor and to perform at Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th birthday celebrations at Windsor Castle.

“Singing is like breathing to me, it’s so natural for me to do, but the actual performing scares the pants off me,” she says. “I was always happy as a backing singer or in the studio where nobody is looking at me. I know that sounds really weird, but when I’m out there I have to forget there’s people watching because it’s terrifying.”

The X Factor changed Niki’s life “completely. “It’s given me a career I didn’t think I was capable of, although it did eventually break up my marriage because I was never there,” she says.

“My life since X Factor couldn’t be more different. My kids didn’t even know I sang because I’d given it up. So much has happened in the past 15 years career-wise and I’ve got a partner and I’m getting married soon, which is very exciting!”

Blood Brothers returns to Grand Opera House, York, from April 5 to 9, 7.30pm plus 2.30pm, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at