GODS on the Fringe, battling Romans, a riverside market, a Welsh icon and a thirsty Tiger are courting Charles Hutchinson’s attention on the art beat.
Theatre event of the week: Wright & Grainger in The Gods The Gods The Gods, Stilly Fringe, At The Mill, Stillington, near York, tonight, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday, 8.45pm
ALEXANDER Flanagan Wright and Phil Grainger believe that three is indeed the magic number. Hence The Gods The Gods The Gods as a title for their third triad of myths, spoken word and music after Orpheus and Eurydice, and their first with a third participant, Australian actor, writer and dramaturg, Megan Drury.
Not everything is about threes, however. There will be four stories and 11 tracks in a show full of big beats, soaring melodies and heart-stopping words as Wright & Grainger head to the crossroads where mythology meets real life. Box office: atthemill.org.
Art event of the week outside York: Ryedale Open Studios, today, tomorrow, July 30 and 31, 10am to 5pm
FOUNDED by Layla Khoo, Kirsty Kirk and Petra Young, the second Ryedale Open Studios gives visitors the chance to explore the district’s creative talents and skills, ranging from painting, printing, drawing and photography to ceramics, textiles, metalwork and willow weaving.
More than 40 artists are participating in an event organised by Vault Arts Centre. Head to ryedaleopenstudios.com, where a printable map and handbook can be downloaded.
Miles ahead: Miles And The Chain Gang, Helmsley Arts Centre, tonight, 7.30pm; Harrogate Blues Bar, Montpellier Parade, Harrogate, Sunday, 9pm
YORK poet, radio presenter, festival founder, singer and songwriter Miles Salter and his new line-up of The Chain Gang head to Helmsley and Harrogate this weekend.
Crawling from the swamps of North Yorkshire, with the bit between their teeth and the blues biting at their heels, The Chain Gang will be making their Helmsley debut. Taking their cues from Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Led Zeppelin and early 1980s’ new wave, Salter and co deliver a potent brew of their own tunes as well as classics by Johnny Cash, Joni Mitchell and more besides.
“There’s quite a crowd coming to Helmsley but some tickets are available, and you can book online at helmsleyartscentre.co.uk,” says Miles. “Both gigs will feature all the songs we have on YouTube: When It Comes To You, Drag Me To The Light, All Of Our Lives and latest single Love Is Blind, a song played more than 300 times on radio stations in the UK, Europe and USA.” For Harrogate details, head to: bluesbar.co.uk.
Festival of the week: Malton Museum Roman Festival, Sunday, 11am to 3.30pm
MALTON Museum is hosting its inaugural Roman Festival this weekend at the Roman Fort on Orchard Fields.
Live action demonstrations will be staged in the arena by experimental archaeologists Equistry (Roman Cavalry) and re-enactment group Magister Militum will establish a Roman Legionary encampment and engage in battle sequences.
Children can join the Children’s Roman Army, paint shields, create mosaics, try wax tablet drawing and take part in archaeology activities. Tickets: maltonmuseum.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: The Tiger Who Came To Tea, Grand Opera House, York, Monday, 2pm; Tuesday and Wednesday, 11am, 2pm
WHAT happens when a Tiger knocks on the door at teatime? You better let Tiger in as the tea guzzler in Judith Kerry’s story returns to the road in this award-winning family show after a West End season.
Expect oodles of magic, singalong songs and clumsy chaos in a stage adaptation full of teatime mayhem and surprises, suitable for age three upwards. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Knight’s night out of the week: Sir Tom Jones, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, Tuesday, gates open at 6pm
PONTYPRIDD powerhouse Sir Tom Jones heads to the Yorkshire coast with another number one album in his pocket, Surrounded By Time, his 41st studio set, no less.
Maybe singles Talking Reality Television Blues, No Hole In My Head, One More Cup Of Coffee and Pop Star from that April 2021 album will feature in the 82-year-old Welshman’s set. The likes of Delilah, Green Green Grass Of Home, It’s Not Unusual, She’s A Lady, You’re My World, What’s New Pussycat?, Kiss and Sexbomb surely will. Box office: scarboroughopenairtheatre.com.
Rearranged gig of the week: Joe Jackson, Sing, You Sinners! Tour, York Barbican, Friday, 8pm
FAMILIAR foe Covid-19 delayed only the second ever York concert of singer, songwriter and consummate arranger Joe Jackson’s 44-year career, put back from March 17 to July 29.
Better late than never, Jackson promises hits, songs not aired in years and new material, performed in the company of Graham Maby on bass, Teddy Kumpel on guitar and Doug Yowell on drums and electronics.
A mini-solo set is on the cards too in Jackson’s only Yorkshire gig of his European tour; his first York appearance since the Grand Opera House in June 2005. Box office: yorkbarbican.co.uk.
York River Art Market, Dame Judi Dench Walk, by Lendal Bridge, River Ouse, York, July 30 and 31; August 6 and 7; August 13 and 14
YORK River Art Market returns for its seventh summer, this time spread over three full weekends. Drawing comparisons with the Left Bank in Paris, this open-air market is free of charge and provides the chance to browse and buy directly from artists showcasing their creative wares along the riverside railings.
Each market will showcase a different variety of 30 artists with the guarantee that no two markets are ever the same. Look out for paintings, prints, jewellery, textiles, glass work, ceramics, maybe even artisan shaving cream (one of last summer’s hit stalls).
Show announcement of the week: Michael Palin, From North Korea Into Iraq, Grand Opera House, York, October 6
MONTY Python comedy legend and intrepid globetrotter Michael Palin will give a first-hand account of his extraordinary journeys through two countries on the dark side of history on his new solo tour this autumn.
Using photos and film, he will recall his challenging adventures in the tightly controlled time bomb of the People’s Republic of North Korea and the bruised land of Iraq, once the home of civilisation, torn apart over the past 30 years by brutal war and bloodshed.
Palin’s theatre tour will be preceded by his new Channel 5 series, Michael Palin: Into Iraq. York tickets: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
GIVEN the ever-changing Omicron briefings, Charles Hutchinson has a rubber as well as a pencil in his hand as he highlights what to see now and further ahead.
Still time for pantomime unless Omicron measures intervene part one: Dick Turpin Rides Again, Grand Opera House, York, until January 9
BACK on stage for the first time since February 2 2019, grand dame Berwick Kaler reunites with long-standing partners in panto Martin Barrass, David Leonard, Suzy Cooper and A J Powell.
After his crosstown switch to the Grand Opera House, Kaler steps out of retirement to write, direct and lead his first show for Crossroads Pantomimes, playing Dotty Donut, with Daniel Conway as the company’s new face in the Essex lad title role amid the familiar Kaler traditions. Look out for the flying horse. Box office: atgtickets.com/York.
Still time for pantomime but only after a week in self-isolation: Cinderella, York Theatre Royal, ending on January 2 2022
COVID has struck three cast members and understudies too, leading to the decision to cancel performances of Cinderella from today until December 30.
Fingers crossed, you can still enjoy Evolution Productions writer Paul Hendy and York Theatre Royal creative director Juliet Forster’s panto custom-built for 21st century audiences.
Targeted at drawing in children with magical storytelling, silliness aplenty and pop songs, Cinderella has a thoroughly modern cast, ranging from CBeebies’ Andy Day as Dandini to Faye Campbell as Cinders and ventriloquist Max Fulham as Buttons, with his Monkey on hand for cheekiness.
Robin Simpson and Paul Hawkyard’s riotous step-sisters Manky and Mardy and puns galore add to the fun. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Buy now before her prices go up! Julia Borodina, Into The Light, Blossom Street Gallery, York, until January 31
JULIA Borodina will be competing in Sky’ Arts’ 2022 Landscape Artist of the Year, set for screening in January and February. Perfect timing for her York exhibition, Into The Light, on show until the end of next month.
THE Christmas tree of the season: Christmas In Narnia at Castle Howard, near York, until January 2
CASTLE Howard has topped past peaks by installing a 28ft spruce tree from Scotland in the Great Hall as part of the Christmas In Narnia displays and decorations.
“We believe that this is the largest real indoor Christmas tree in the country, standing around eight feet higher than the impressive tree normally installed in Buckingham Palace,” says the Hon Nicholas Howard, guardian of Castle Howard.
“It’s certainly the largest we have had, both in terms of height and width at the base, which has a huge footprint in the Great Hall – but thankfully leaves a gap on either side for visitors to walk right around it.” Tickets for Christmas In Narnia must be booked before arrival at castlehoward.co.uk.
Choirs galore: York Community Choir Festival, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, February 27 to March 5 2022
EIGHT shows, different every night, will be the format for this choral celebration of how and why people come together to make music and have fun.
At least four choirs will be on stage in every concert in a festival featuring show tunes, pop and folk songs, world music, classical music, gospel songs, close harmonies, blues and jazz.
From primary-school choirs through to teenage, young adult and adult choirs, the choral configurations span male groups, female groups and mixed-voice choirs. Proceeds will go to the JoRo theatre from ticket sales on 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.
If you see one sage and rage singer-songwriter next year, make it: David Ford, Interesting Times Tour 22, Pocklington Arts Centre, March 10 2022, 8pm
EASTBOURNE troubadour David Ford will return to the road with an album of songs documenting the tumultuous year that was 2020.
May You Live In Interesting Times, his sixth studio set, charts the rise of Covid alongside the decline of President Trump. Recorded at home during various stages of lockdown, the album captures the moment with Ford’s trademark emotional eloquence and dark irony.
After the imposed hiatus times three (and maybe four, wait and see), the new incarnation of Ford’s innovative, incendiary live show promises to demonstrate just what happens when you shut such a creative force in a room for two years. Box office: 01759 301547 or at pocklingtonartscentre.co.uk.
Amid the winter uncertainty, look to next summer’s knight to remember: Sir Tom Jones at Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 26 2022
SIR Tom Jones will complete a hattrick of Scarborough Open Air Theatre concerts after his 2015 and 2017 gigs with his July return.
In April, the Welsh wonder released his 41st studio album, the chart-topping Surrounded By Time, featuring the singles Talking Reality Television Blues, No Hole in My Head, One More Cup of Coffee and Pop Star.
Sir Tom, 81, will play a second outdoor Yorkshire concert in 2022, at The Piece Hall, Halifax, on July 10. Box office for both shows: ticketmaster.co.uk.
Deep in the bleak midwinter, think of days out on the Yorkshire coast part two: Elbow, Scarborough Open Air Theatre, July 9 2022
MAKE Elbow room in your diary to join Guy Garvey, Craig Potter, Mark Potter and Pete Turner on the East Coast in July.
Formed in 1997 in Bury, Greater Manchester, BBC 6 Music Sunday afternoon presenter Garvey and co chalked up their seventh top ten album in 2021 with Flying Dream 1.
Released on November 19, Elbow’s ninth studio album was written remotely in home studios before the lifelong friends met up at the empty Brighton Theatre Royal to perfect, perform, and record the songs. Box office: ticketmaster.co.uk.
SIR Tom Jones is to play Leeds hipster locale, the Brudenell Social Club in Hyde Park, on August 31 in a special launch show for his new album, Surrounded By Time.
And, why, why, why, didn’t you move more quickly to snap tickets for probably his most intimate Yorkshire show since his Batley Variety Club days well over half a century ago , because the 400-capacity gig has sold out already on the day of ticket release.
The concert coup to sign up 80-year-old Sir Tom has been pulled off by Crash Records, the Leeds independent record shop in The Headrow, whose owner, Ian De-Whytell, came up with a one-off deal whereby tickets could be ordered from Crash as part of a bundle with a copy of the new album.
This will be one of only two such album launch shows by Welshman Sir Tom. Please be aware, the gig going ahead without social distancing and Covid precautions will still be subject to the Government rolling out Step 4 of the roadmap as planned from June 21 this summer.
“This date is very much TBC until we have more info from the Government that shows are safe to take place,” says Crash Records’ website.
Doors will open at 7pm; Sir Tom will be on stage soon afterwards.
Track listing for Surrounded By Time, released on April 23:
I Won’t Crumble With You If You Fall (Bernice Johnson Reagon); The Windmills Of Your Mind (Michel Legrand/Alan & Marilyn Bergman); Popstar (Cat Stevens/Yusuf Islam); No Hole In My Head (Malvina Reynolds); Talking Reality Television Blues (Todd Snider); I Won’t Lie (Michael Kiwanuka & Paul Butler); This Is The Sea (Michael Scott); One More Cup Of Coffee (Bob Dylan); Samson And Delilah (Tom Jones, Ethan Johns, Mark Woodward); Mother Earth (Tony Jo White); I’m Growing Old (Bobby Cole) and Lazurus Man (Terry Callier).
GARY Lloyd, choreographer to the stars and hit musicals galore, is to work his magic on the York Stage pantomime, Jack And The Beanstalk, at Theatre @41 Monkgate, York.
Further buoyed by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden’s affirmation that theatre rehearsals can continue during Lockdown 2, artistic director, writer and producer Nik Briggs says: “I’m ecstatic that the incomparable Gary Lloyd is joining us.
“To have a world-renowned choreographer like Gary coming to work with us really is something special. I’m such a fan of his work; the way he tells a story on stage really is something to behold.
“For those people who have seen Thriller Live, either in the West End or as part of its world tour, you will know how high energy and dynamic his dances are. He really does know how to stage a show-stopping number,” says Nik.
Lloyd has made his mark as director/choreographer of such shows as the aforementioned Thriller Live, the Michael Jackson tribute, and 20th Century Boy, the Marc Bolan jukebox musical, bringing both to the Grand Opera House, York, along with his production of Fame, The Musical and more besides.
Aside from musicals and theatre, his credits cover everything from choreographing American Idol, The X Factor, the Eurovision Song Contest and a Victoria Beckham commercial, to working with Sir Paul McCartney, Giorgio Moroder, Robbie Williams, Dame Shirley Bassey, P!nk and Sir Tom Jones.
Based down south, Grimsby-born Gary is no stranger to York. “My father Geoff [York Stage’s set builder Geoff Theaker] and my sister Jo [York Stage regular principal Joanne Theaker] live there,” he says. “Jo’s worked with Nik, on stage and at York Stage School too, and coming to the shows, I’ve seen the company grow and do wonderful things.”
Gary’s own shows are “all on this conveyor belt waiting to come out of hiding,” he says. “My biggest fear is that producers will want them all to re-open at the same time.” Under the never-ending Covid cloud, it would nevertheless be a nice problem to have.
Given the stasis inflicted on so many theatres and touring shows by the pandemic, Nik saw the opportunity to bring Lloyd north for Jack And The Beanstalk. “He approached me about a month ago, saying ‘would you like to come up and do our pantomime if you have nothing else on?’,” says Gary.
“I would normally have been doing panto as choreographer and director for Jonathan Kiley’s pantomimes, but then came the shutdown, which was a big blow. So, for any of us who can grab hold of one, like me doing Nik’s show, it’s a thing of joy at what will otherwise be a really dark time.”
Gary is a pantomime devotee. “I love it for many reasons,” he says. “I love it primarily because, for me, it is the perfect way to end the working year, walking into the rehearsal room to work very quickly on making a show where everyone is at the top of their game, resulting in pure joy for four generations of audiences.
“It’s pure entertainment, put on by people who really know what they’re doing, especially the comedians, putting together lavish shows with such wonderful content. When panto is done well, like QDOS spending all year on their scripts, getting the topical gags in there, it’s such a joy with big rewards.”
Gary attended a couple of socially distanced London shows once theatres reopened: Fanny And Stella at the Garden Theatre and his friend Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years at Southwark Playhouse, where Perspex screens protected audience members, just as they will at Theatre @41.
“Once the lights go down, you forget all of what’s going on outside, or being crammed in between Perspex screens, you forget all that, because the magic of theatre takes over,” says Gary.
“Right now, we need that escape, that entertainment, and that won’t be any different with Nik’s show.
“I’m looking forward to working on a more immersive show, where we’ll really be able to pick on someone in the crowd, which will give panto a new life this year, when there’ll only be a comparative handful of people there [80 maximum], and they’ll have to play their part in creating a good atmosphere at each show.”
Broadening his thoughts, Gary says: “It’s a chance to show the Government that theatres can be a safe environment, and we need to be able to open theatres as soon as possible when we can show it’s safe.
“I don’t want to get political, but you go past pubs bursting with people, whereas theatres are places where people do behave and go there for more sophisticated reasons. Theatre managers and owners are the ones who know how theatre could work in this present environment.”
Working in the arts in Covid-19 2020 with ever-changing Government strictures has been a “daily one step forward, two steps back,” says Gary. “But we’re all in the same boat together. I’ve made it my mission to work with young people coming out of college, training for an industry that they may never be able to work in.
“I’ve been doing that on Zoom, as well as teaching a bit of choreography once a week at a studio, always having a chat, because taking care of your mental health is so important.”
Gary was last on a stage in March in London. “Before Lockdown, I was working on Heathers, The Musical; we’d had had three weeks of face-to-face rehearsals on the Thriller Live stage in the West End, but then it all came to a halt,” he says of a production that had been scheduled to run at Leeds Grand Theatre from November 3 to 7.
“Working for producer Bill Kenwright has been a saving grace at this time; he’s been very optimistic about getting back to work, not paying attention to the media circus, but building a very positive attitude.
“The Leeds Grand performances were a definite until they got wind that the second lockdown could happen, so we’re now waiting for the next bit of news. It’s a daily one step forward, two steps back.”
In his Zoom training sessions and choreography teaching, Gary has stressed the importance of keeping up the highest standards. “The industry will come back, and it will come back with a bang, and these kids don’t have any excuses not to keep up with their fitness, their CV, their singing,” he says. “They need to be disciplined as individuals, not just in a class, so that’s the tough love I’ve been giving out.”
Lockdown may have imposed a hiatus on the theatre world, but reflecting on a career crammed with so many shows, Gary says: “I don’t stop…and I’ve been very lucky. I started out training to go into the theatre; that was my passion; my first job was Cats at 18, for two years, and then I show-hopped for ten years.
“I was always the dance captain, I always did extra choreography and then stepped through the door to do the assistant directing for Kim Gavin’s original production for Oh! What A Night. That’s where my choreography and directing started.”
Plenty of television work ensued. “But after a while it all became very samey.The money’s fantastic but you end up doing the same thing over and over, and I found I really missed theatre,” says Gary.
“I was approached to direct The Genius Of Ray Charles, took it to Las Vegas and then the West End, and I’ve since been able to move between two mediums, theatre and musicals, by refusing to let the industry put a label on me…because there was a time when you couldn’t work with a pop artist. But Thriller Live was a perfect vehicle for me: part theatre show, part concert.”
Now, Gary is preparing to work with the York Stage company of Jordan Fox, May Tether, Ian Stroughair, Livvy Evans, Alex Weatherhill, Emily Taylor, Matthew Ives and Danielle Mullan, who begin rehearsals for Jack And The Beanstalk at Theatre @41 on November 23.
“Nik’s put together a fantastic cast and I’m really looking forward to working with these guys,” he says. “I know this pantomime is going to be an explosion of joy.”
Nik eagerly awaits Gary’s impact on his company and on audiences too. “The chance to see his work up close at Theatre @41 really is going to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for York,” he says. “We’re taking our West End-worthy panto to the next level with the addition of Gary to our company.”
York Stage present Jack And The Beanstalk at the John Cooper Studio, Theatre @41 Monkgate, York, from December 11 2020 to January 3 2021. Box office: online at yorkstagepanto.com.
Show times will be Monday to Saturday, 2pm and 7pm; Sundays, 1pm and 6pm; Christmas Eve, 12 noon and 5pm; New Year’s Eve, 12 noon. Tickets for the 40 performances range from £20 to £27 and are on sale online only at yorkstagepanto.com. Please note, audiences will be seated in household/support bubble groupings only.
WHO IS GARY LLOYD? Award-winning director/choreographer Gary Lloyd is known for his crossover from music to theatre.
He has worked as creative director with some of the world’s biggest artists on their live performances and arena tours, bringing his wealth of experience in the latest technology and sound, as well as his innate creative vision, to the theatrical stage.
Theatre REFLECTIONS, The Holland-Dozier-Holland Story, Stage West, Calgary.
HEATHERS, The Musical, associate director and choreographer, The Other Palace and Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Winner, Best New Musical, WOS Awards 2018; Best Off West End Production, West End Wilma Awards 2018.
JNH 3 Decades of Music for Hollywood, James Newton Howard In Concert, European tour.
ONE NIGHT OF TINA, European tour.
WAR DANCE, workshop, Ventura, Carnival Cruise Lines.
THE KNIGHTS OF MUSIC, UK Tour.
CARRIE, The Musical, Southwark Playhouse. Winner, Best Off West End Production, WOS Awards 2016; Off West End Award nominee, Best Director, Best Choreographer.
HAIR The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, in support of Help For Heroes; Ahoy Arena, Rotterdam, and European Tour.
20th CENTURY BOY, New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, 2011 What’s On Stage nominee for Best Regional Production.
THE GENIUS OF RAY CHARLES, Theatre Royal Haymarket, UK and North American tours.
JESUS CHRIST SUPERSTAR, Scandinavian Tour.
SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS, Kodak Theatre Los Angeles.
WHAT A FEELING! , 2006 UK Tour.
As Choreographer/Movement Director CRUEL INTENTIONS, Palais du Varieté, Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Winner, Best Fringe Production, Broadway World Awards 2019.
JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT, 50th Anniversary Touring Production.
THE LIFE, English Theatre, Frankfurt, Germany.
FAME THE MUSICAL, Grand Canal Theatre, Dublin, and Ireland Tour.
“ZIP”, Giant Olive Theatre, London.
ASPECTS OF LOVE, UK Tour starring David Essex.
AMADEUS, Sheffield Crucible Theatre.
ANIMAL FARM, West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.
MY FAIR LADY, Larnaca Festival and South East Asia Tour.
CITY OF ANGELS, English Theatre, Frankfurt, Germany.
ZORRO The Musical, workshop.
OH! WHAT A NIGHT, associate director/choreographer;
TV, Film & Music Gary has worked with: Giorgio Moroder; Kelly Clarkson; Leona Lewis; Robbie Williams; Pink; Anastasia; John Barrowman; Peter Andre; Stooshe; Macy Gray; NeYo; Joe McElderry; Victoria Beckham; Jennifer Hudson…
Sir Paul McCartney; Sir Cliff Richard; Dame Shirley Bassey; Sir Tom Jones; Robin Gibb; Ray Quinn; G4; Will Young; Gareth Gates; Emma Bunton; Lemar; Rachel Stevens; Natasha and Daniel Bedingfield; Girls Aloud…
Liberty X; Dani Harmer; All Angels, RyanDan; Blake; Faryl Smith; Ordinary Boys; Blue; Atomic Kitten; Basement Jaxx; ABC; Soul II Soul and S Club 8.
Gary has acted as creative director and choreographer for these acts on international tours, single and album launches and music videos.
Elizabeth, Michael And Marlon, movement coaching for Joseph Fiennes; American Idol, Seasons 1 to 3; Disney’s My Camp Rock; The X Factor, BBC’s Skate Nation and Jump Nation and The One And Only, all as choreographic expert and mentor.
Ant And Dec’s Saturday Night Take Away; Brits 25; The Classical Brit Awards; The Royal Variety Performance; I DREAM; Eurovision Song Contest; Bump N Grind (Trouble TV); Comic Relief; ITV’s Avenue Of The Stars.
Victoria Beckham VB Denim Range; Wispa, For The Love Of Wispa; Daz , I’m Too Sexy; Debenhams, Styling The Nation.
Two Royal Gala Performances at the London Palladium and Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.
Artistic director for the BAFTA Awards.
The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace.
Stage director and choreographer on the 2005 Royal Variety Performance in the presence of Her Majesty the Queen at the Wales Millennium Centre.
Gary’s first book, My Life With Michael, Ten Years Of Thriller Live, was published by The Book Guild in paperback in October 2019.
WOULD I lie to you? Actor, comedian, impressionist, presenter and holiday-advert enthusiast Rob Brydon is to play with a band in York. It’s…true!
Yes, Brydon and his eight-piece band will take to the road next year for 20 dates with his new show, Rob Brydon: A Night of Songs & Laughter, visiting York Barbican on April 14 on his second tour to combine songs and music with his trademark wit and comedy.
Expect Brydon interpretations varying from fellow Welshman Tom Jones to Tom Waits, Guys And Dolls to Elvis Presley, and almost everything in between, plus a visit or two to his famed gallery of voices.
“I’m so excited to get back on stage with this show,” says Brydon, 55. “Touring with this incredible band of musicians is such a delight. I’m looking forward to getting around the country next year and bring some much-needed music and laughter.”
Brydon’s varied career began with the television comedy shows Marion And Geoff and Human Remains in 2000, bringing him a British Comedy Award. Since then, he has made his cheeky mark in Gavin & Stacey, Black Books and Little Britain and as the host of Would I Lie To You?, as well as trading insults with fellow humorist Steve Coogan on The Trip mockumentary travel shows, whose fourth series, The Trip To Greece, has been confirmed as their last.
Last Christmas, he starred in the biggest ratings hit of the season, the one-off return of Gavin & Stacey, and voiced the BBC One animated special The Snail And The Whale.
Brydon has appeared in such dramas as Oliver Twist, Heroes And Villains: Napoleon, The Way We Live Now, Murder In Mind and Marple and the films 24 Hour Party People, MirrorMask, A Cock And Bull Story and Swimming With Men.
In 2009, he joined Gavin & Stacey co-star Ruth Jones, Robin Gibb and Sir Tom Jones on the number one hit Islands In The Stream in aid of Comic Relief.
Past tours include the 87-date Rob Brydon Live stand-up itinerary and nationwide travels with Would I Lie To You? team captains Lee Mack and David Mitchell. On February 26, he set off on his sold-out Rob Brydon: Songs And Stories tour, only to be stopped in his tracks by the Coronavirus lockdown.
Before setting out on a tour that featured songs by Stephen Sondheim, Rodgers and Hammerstein, Paul Simon et al, Brydon said of that show: “It will take some people by surprise. There are so many media outlets nowadays that some people might only know me from Gavin & Stacey and Would I Lie To You?.
“Those people often say to me, ‘I didn’t know you could sing’, and yet I have sung a lot. I hope this show is a very pleasant surprise for audiences.” The same sentiment surely will apply to next year’s An Evening Of Song & Laughter tour that will take in further Yorkshire dates at St George’s Hall, Bradford on April 12 and Sheffield City Hall on April 23.
The 5ft 7inch Brydon last appeared at York Barbican for two nights of his improvised stand-up show, I Am Standing Up, in October 2017. Tickets for his return are on sale at yorkbarbican.co.uk; Bradford, 01274 432000 or at bradford-theatres.co.uk; Sheffield, 0114 2 789 789 or sheffieldcityhall.co.uk.