More Things To Do in York and beyond, as musicals abound, comedy turns angry and Madchester revives. List No. 58, courtesy of The Press, York

So frustrated: Paul Chowdhry has his say on Covid, fame, England’s football team and Tom Cruise’s chopper at the Grand Opera House, York, tonight

IMAGINE if you could have a busy week ahead? Let Charles Hutchinson fill your diary.

Angriest comedy gig of the week: Paul Chowdhry, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 8pm

AFTER barely surviving the pandemic, British-Asian stand-up Paul Chowdhry tackles the UK’s handling of the Coronavirus crisis and why the rules of six only worked for white people in Family-Friendly Comedian (No Children).

Two years of pent-up frustration go into this new tour show, where Londoner Chowdhry also discusses fame, England football fans and Tom Cruise landing his helicopter in someone’s garden. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/york.

Chesca Cholewa: Writer of Imagine If Theatre Company’s My Old Man

Studio play of the week: Imagine If Theatre Company in My Old Man, York Theatre Royal Studio, tonight, 8pm

IMAGINE If Theatre Company, from Leeds, is touring a part-theatre, part-film production of Chesca Cholewa’s humorous and heartfelt play My Old Man.

When Michal Piwowarski’s granddaughter, Tasha (played by Cholewa), finally moves out, his whole world changes. The school dinner-lady becomes his favourite person, a new neighbour moves on to the street, and Michal (Paul Shelley) has to face his biggest battle yet as My Old Man follows the trials and tribulations of this old, blind Polish soldier. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorkthreatreroyal.co.uk.

Songs and Stables’ leadership: Kate Stables brings her band This Is The Kit to The Citadel tomorrow night

Experimental gig of the week: This Is The Kit, The Citadel, Gillygate, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm

KATE Stables’ experimental folk quartet This Is The Kit return to York for a special show at The Citadel, the former Salvation Army HQ, presented by Please Please You, The Crescent and Brudenell Presents. Support comes from Nuala Honan and Pavey Ark. Box office: brudenellsocialclub.seetickets.com.

York artist Karen Winship, taking part in the Inspired Christmas event at York Cemetery Chapel

Christmas shopping? Opportunity presents itself at Inspired, York Cemetery Chapel, Saturday and Sunday, 10am to 5pm.

INSPIRED, the annual Christmas show by York artist and designer makers, will be held at York Cemetery Chapel, in Cemetery Road, York, this weekend.

Taking part will be Jo Bagshaw and Richard Whitelegg, jewellery; Catherine Boyne-Whitelegg, pottery; Petra Bradley, textiles; Sally Clarke, collage printmaking; Angela Newdick, collage and surface pattern design; Adi French and Karen Winship, painting, and John Watts and Wilf Williams, furniture.

PQA York’s poster for Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr at the JoRo

Children’s show of the week: PQA Productions in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, tomorrow and Saturday, 7.30pm

PAULINE Quirke Academy (PQA) York journeys under the sea with Ariel and her aquatic friends in Disney’s The Little Mermaid Jr, adapted from Disney’s Broadway show and film, based on Hans Christian Andersen’s story of sacrifices made for love and acceptance.

Young mermaid Ariel longs to leave her magical ocean home and fins behind for the world above. First, however, she must defy her father, King Triton, make a deal with evil sea witch Ursula and convince Prince Eric she is the girl whose enchanting voice he has been seeking. Separate casts perform the two shows. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Adam Sowter, Florence Poskitt, Alexandra Mather and Andrew Roberts in rehearsal for Saturday’s Fladam and Friends’ Musical Comedy Hootenanny

Witty and warm songs of the week: Fladam and Friends’ Musical Comedy Hootenanny, Theatre@41, Monkgate, York, Saturday, 2.30pm and 7.30pm

FLADAM duo Florence Poskitt and pianist Adam Sowter take to the Theatre@41 stage with thespian friends Alexandra Mather, Andrew Roberts and Andrew Isherwood for two shows of musical comedy joy.

Fladam’s own topical witty ditties will be complemented by a celebration of Morecambe & Wise, Bernard Cribbins, Victoria Wood and more. Box office: tickets.41monkgate.co.uk.

Scarlett Waugh, left, and Libby Anderson: Sharing the role of Dorothy in NE Musicals York’s production of The Wizard Of Oz

Sparkling slippers of the week: NE Musicals York in The Wizard Of Oz, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Tuesday (23/11/2021) to Saturday

DIRECTOR Steve Tearle has assembled a cast of 60 for NE Musicals York’s energetic staging of The Wizard Of Oz, led by Libby Anderson and Scarlett Waugh, who will alternate the role of Dorothy.

Further roles go to Maia Stroud as Glinda; YO1 presenter Chris Marsden, the Wizard of Oz; Perri Ann Barley, Wicked Witch of the West; Finley Butler, the Scarecrow; Kristian Barley, the Tin Man, and Tearle himself as the Cowardly Lion.

Expect an all-singing, all-dancing production with special effects by Adam Moore’s team at Tech247. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Phoenix rising again: Phoenix Dance Theatre celebrate their 40th anniversary this autumn, opening their tour at York Theatre Royal

Dance celebration of the week: Phoenix Dance Theatre in 40 Years Of Phoenix, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday and Wednesday, 7.30pm

PHOENIX Dance Theatre launch their milestone 40th birthday programme at York Theatre Royal, bringing together highlights from the Leeds company’s groundbreaking history.

Phoenix will combine celebration and reflection in a show featuring Lost Dog duo Ben Duke and Raquel Meseguer’s Pave Up Paradise; former artistic director Darshan Singh Bhuller’s Heart Of Chaos; Henri Oguike’s Signal; Shapiro and Smith’s satirical piece Family and Jane Dudley’s 1938 masterpiece Harmonica Breakdown. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.

Director Nik Briggs, left, choreographer Emily Taylor and lead actors Sophie Hammond and Damien Poole at the launch of York Stage Musicals’ festive show, Elf! The Musical

Christmas musical of the week: York Stage Musicals in Elf! The Musical, Grand Opera House, York, November 25 to December 3

YORK Stage Musicals present the York premiere of Matthew Sklar, Chad Beguelin, Thomas Meehan and Bob Martin’s Elf! The Musical, directed by artistic director Nik Briggs.

Based on Will Ferrell’s 2003 film, Elf! follows orphan child Buddy to Santa’s North Pole abode, where, unaware he is human, his enormous size and poor toy-making abilities cause him to face the truth.

Given Santa’s permission, Buddy (Damien Poole) heads to New York City to find his birth father, discover his true identity and help the Big Apple to remember the true meaning of Christmas. Box office: atgtickets.com/york.

Amaka Okafor: Taking part in the staged readings of Lucy Kirkwood’s Maryland at Friargate Theatre, York

Play readings of the week: Riding Lights Theatre Company presents Maryland, Friargate Theatre, York, November 26, 6.30pm and 8.30pm

TWO staged readings of Lucy Kirkwood’s 30-minute protest play will feature Amaka Okafor, from the original Royal Court Theatre cast, Laura Pyper, Mark Holgate, Cassie Vallance, Kesiah Joseph, Patricia Jones and Meg Blowey.

Kirkwood wrote Maryland as a “passionate and furious act of resistance to draw attention to the shocking numbers of women who repeatedly suffer violent abuse throughout Britain. The play is not specific; it addresses issues of police behaviour and a culture of violence against women and girls”.

After sold-out performances in London, the Royal Court offered Maryland for free for theatre companies to perform in solidarity and protest. York company Riding Lights has taken up that opportunity, with associate director Bridget Foreman directing the readings. Box office: 01904 613000.

James: Teaming up with Happy Mondays for a Manchester night out in Leeds

Gig of the week ahead outside York: James and special guests Happy Mondays, Leeds First Direct Arena, November 25, doors, 6pm

ALL of 33 years ago, Factory label mates James and Happy Mondays first toured together. Now, two of Manchester’s champion bands reunite for a November and December arena tour.

 “Last played with them in 1988, hopefully this time they won’t steal our rider or try and spike my drink,” tweeted Tim Booth, James’s Clifford-born frontman, when announcing the dates with rapscallion rascals Shaun Ryder, Bez and co.

James, who played Scarborough Open Air Theatre this summer, will be showcasing their “sweet 16th” album, All The Colours Of You, released in June. Box office: firstdirectarena.com. Stage times: Happy Mondays, 7.30pm; James, 9pm.

NE Musicals York to stage The Wizard Of Oz with orchestra, two Dorothys, two Totos, a cast of 60, 150 wigs and 200 costumes

They’re off to see the Wizard: Libby Anderson’s Dorothy, Kristian Barley’s Tin Man and Finley Butler’s Scarecrow in rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s The Wizard Of Oz

DIRECTOR Steve Tearle has assembled a cast of 60 for NE Musicals York’s energetic staging of The Wizard Of Oz at the Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, from November 23 to 27.

The company will be led by Libby Anderson and Scarlett Waugh, who will alternate the role of Dorothy. “They are both amazing,” says Steve.

Further principal roles go to Maia Stroud as Glinda; YO1 presenter Chris Marsden, the Wizard of Oz; Perri Ann Barley, Wicked Witch of the West; Finley Butler, the Scarecrow; Kristian Barley, the Tin Man, and Tearle himself as the Cowardly Lion.

The Lollipop Guild welcomes Dorothy (out of picture) to Munchkinland:  Zachary Pickersgill, left, as Someri Munchkin, Jack Reed as Ginger Munchkin, Matthew Musk as Kikiaru Munchkin and Sam Reed as Henkle Munchkin

Expect an all-singing, all-dancing production with special effects by Adam Moore’s team at Tech247. “This amazing story is full of heart, knowledge, courage and love for our families,” says company chairman Steve.

“With more than 60 cast members and the youngest being just six years old, this truly is a theatre event. Our company is made up of families, with mums and dads on stage and their children or parents chaperoning backstage.”

In the familiar but updated story, when a tornado rips through present-day Kansas, Dorothy and her dog, Toto, are whisked away in their house to the magical land of Oz.

The Lullaby League: Sophia Cocker as Lullaby League teacher Amie-Amme Munchkin; Lexie Brooks as Mubba-Subba Munchkin; Aimee Dean-Hamilton as Bonnini-Pop Munchkin; Suraya Pickersgill as Pippy-Bay Munchkin; Abigail Ainley as Mulini Munchkin Graggity and Elizabeth Reese as Blinki-Bop Munchkin

There they meet a good witch called Glinda, who tells them they need to follow the Yellow Brick Road towards the Emerald City to meet the Wizard. Along the way, Dorothy and Toto befriend a Scarecrow, a Tin Man, and a Cowardly Lion, who join them on her quest, but not all is as it seems, alas.

The Wicked Witch of the West is determined to stop them, but will she succeed, or will Dorothy prevail and return home safely, Toto in tow?

“We’ll have a full orchestra, 200 specially designed costumes and 150 wigs, and our amazing projections will only add to this being a truly magical musical adventure,” says Steve.

A group rehearsal for NE Musicals York’s production of The Wizard Of Oz

“Rehearsals are going well, and we go into the theatre from Sunday. Fingers crossed all goes to plan!  We’ve sold out the Friday evening show and Saturday matinee, with only seven seats left for the Saturday night and limited availability for the Tuesday and Thursday performances.

“Our opening night is dedicated to Millie May Wright, and the charities we’ll be supporting and collecting for are Candlelighters, Snappy and Stimul8.”

NE Musicals York in The Wizard Of Oz, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, November 23 to 27, 7,.30pm nightly and 2.30pm Saturday matinee. Box office: 01904 501935 or at josephrowntreetheatre.co.uk.

Meet Dolly, one of two Totos, along with her brother Teddy, for NE Musicals York’s The Wizard Of Oz


Parking Lot Social have to call off Easter Festival drive-in extravaganza at York Racecourse but hope to arrange new dates

Hands up who wants the Parking Lot Social drive-in festival to find new dates after the Easter shows at York Racecourse had to be postponed under Covid strictures

PARKING Lot Social’s drive-in Easter Festival will not roll into York for two days of socially distanced outdoor entertainment on March 31 and April 1 after all.

Instead, in light of the Government’s four-step route out of pandemic lockdown still precluding outdoor performances on those dates, event organisers XL Event Lab are seeking to rearrange their UK-wide tour, including the York Racecourse shows on Knavesmire.

In an official statement today, chief operating officer John Kinnersley said: “Following yesterday’s lockdown announcement from the UK Government, we are working to reschedule the event and will make an announcement as soon as we have confirmed details with our various suppliers and partners.

“We have successfully adapted to changes in guidance for previous tours, and conversations are already underway to secure new dates which we expect to announce shortly.”

The 2021 Parking Lot Social Easter drive-in was set to feature comedy, drag acts, films, pantomime and the new addition of Harry Potter And The Prisoner Of Azbakan, complete with costume competition and wizard-themed quiz.

The Easter Panto would have built on the debut Parking Lot Social drive-in Cinderella show last Christmas, giving a seasonal makeover to The Wizard Of Oz, with cast members putting on a special performance tailored uniquely to the drive-in format.

Central to the tour show, as and when it does go ahead, will be the stars of RuPaul’s Drag Race UK, entertaining adults with “iconic performances” by season one alumni Baga Chipz, Divina De Campo, Vinegar Strokes and Gothy Kendoll, alongside season two queens Ginny Lemon, Ellie Diamond and Tayce.

A host of drive-in movies for all ages are integral to the show, as is the Social Kids event, where families can safely enjoy an interactive showcase with an afternoon of quizzes, Car-a-oke, games and even a silent disco.

More entertainment from the Parking Lot Social …as and when the York Racecourse shows are rescheduled

For drive-in laughs, the Parking Lot Social presents the Parking LOL Comedy Night with some of the UK’s finest comedians.

Kinnersley says: “Our debut summer and winter tours were a huge success last year, and we’re keen to keep up momentum and continue to deliver first-class events which are not only enjoyable, but also completely Covid-19 friendly.

“Every detail of our drive-in tour – from entering the site to parking up and ordering food – has been designed with customer and staff safety front of mind, with ticket holders able to enjoy the experience with complete piece of mind.”

Whenever the York Racecourse shows take place, once rearranged, attendees will be entertained in their cars from a vast custom-made stage, the entertainment being broadcast across two 40ft screens. Audio will be transmitted from the stage directly to each vehicle through a dedicated FM radio channel.

Safety is at the heart of the event, say the organisers: “Audiences take part in the immersive, interactive shows from their own cars. It’s a completely contactless event ensuring a safe and socially distant experience.”

The Parking Lot Social Easter Festival was to have played York, Liverpool, Birmingham, Coventry, Manchester, Cheltenham, Bristol, Newcastle and Luton.

For updates on new dates and ticket arrangements, go to theparkinglotsocial.co.uk. 

What is the Parking Lot Social?

THIS touring entertainment concept blends live music, films, DJs, interactive games, quizzes and comedy into a thrilling day/night out. While guests are required to remain in their car, the focus is on mass participation at all times to bring the audience together, but always keeping everyone a safe distance apart. Take a look at this video: https://vimeo.com/510627930