WHAT’S in the chocolate box of Eastertide delights? Charles Hutchinson unwraps the goodies in store, from a sweet-flavoured festival to a musical premiere, a Led Zeppelin legend to two Big shows.
Festival of the week: York Chocolate Festival, oozing chocolate in Parliament Street, York, until Easter Monday, 10am to 5pm
RUN by York Food Festival and Make It York, York Chocolate Festival returns over the Easter weekend for the first time since 2019 in celebration of York’s heritage as the Chocolate City.
More than 40 stalls are complemented by workshops, demonstrations by chocolatiers, a chocolate sampling trail and chocolate pairing sessions with wine and whisky for adults. Look out for stands selling specialist origin chocolates, eggs, cakes, truffles, brownies, macarons, chocolate-flavoured drinks and liqueurs, even savoury outliers such as chilli jams, artisan pizzas and pies. Entry is free; some events are ticketed.
York gig of the week: Saving Grace with Robert Plant and Suzy Dian, supported by Scott Matthews, Grand Opera House, York, tonight, 7pm
SAVING Grace, the folk-blues co-operative led by Led Zeppelin’s Robert Plant, play York tonight, followed by a further Yorkshire gig at Halifax Victoria Theatre on April 26.
Singer and lyricist Plant, now 73, will be joined on the April and May tour by Suzi Dian (vocals), Oli Jefferson (percussion), Tony Kelsey (mandolin, baritone, acoustic guitar) and Matt Worley (banjo, acoustic, baritone guitars, cuatro). Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Irish jig of the week: Seven Drunken Nights – The Story of The Dubliners, Grand Opera House, York, tomorrow, 7.30pm
FROM their roots in O’Donoghue’s Pub in Dublin, Seven Drunken Nights raises a toast to the 50-year career of The Dubliners, telling the story of the Irish folk band that took the world by storm.
Irish musicians, singers and storytellers will evoke the atmosphere, theatre and cultural history of Ireland while invoking the spirit of Ronnie Drew, Luke Kelly, Barney McKenna, John Sheahan, Ciaran Bourke and Jim McCann on a tour that will take in 20 countries in 2022 and 2023. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or atgtickets.com/York.
Bond and band in harmony: The BBC Big Band, The Music Of James Bond…and Beyond, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday, 7.30pm
THE BBC Big Band are joined by guest vocalists Emer McPartlamd and Iain Mackenzie for a celebratory concert inspired by the music of James Bond film franchise.
Theme songs by York composer John Barry feature prominently in a set list sure to include Diamonds Are Forever, Thunderball and Goldfinger, alongside Monty Norman’s James Bond theme.
Expect a selection of more contemporary songs from the 007 musical library too, performed in the BBC Big Band’s inimitable style. Box office: 01904 623568 or at yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Children’s show of the week: Justin Fletcher in Justin Live, The BIG Tour, York Theatre Royal, Thursday and Friday, 11am and 2.30pm
CBEEBIES superstar and children’s favourite Justin Fletcher presents an all-singing, all-dancing spectacular extravaganza on The BIG Tour.
Justin is a TV institution, piling up BAFTA award-winning appearances on Something Special, Justin’s House, Jollywobbles, Gigglebiz and Gigglequiz, as well as providing character voices for Tweenies, Boo, Toddworld and Shaun The Sheep, latterly voicing Shaun in the Aardman movie Farmageddon. Box office: 01904 623568 or yorktheatreroyal.co.uk.
Who-knows-what-to-expect arty gig of the week: Grayson Perry in A Show For Normal People, Harrogate Convention Centre, Friday, 7.30pm
IN his own words, despite being an award-winning artist, Bafta-winning TV presenter, Reith lecturer and best-selling author, Grayson Perry is a normal person – and just like other normal people, he is “marginally aware that we’re all going to die”.
Cue A Show For Normal People, Grayson’s enlightening, eye-watering evening where existentialism descends from worthiness to silliness. “You’ll leave safe and warm in the knowledge that nothing really matters anyway,” he promises.
At a show rearranged from last autumn, Grayson asks, and possibly answers, the big questions on a night “sure to distract you from the very meaninglessness of life in the way only a man in a dress can.” Box office: harrogateconventioncentre.co.uk.
Musical of the week: York Stage Musicals in Calendar Girls, Grand Opera House, York, Friday to April 30
THE true story of the Calendar Girls from Rylstone Women’s Institute has been turned into a beautifully poignant musical by writer Tim Firth and composer Gary Barlow.
Join York Stage Musicals as they bring the show to York for the first time. “Be prepared to laugh and cry throughout a truly memorable evening filled with unforgettable songs that prove there is no such thing as an ordinary woman,” says producer Nik Briggs. Box office: 0844 871 7615 or at atgtickets.com/York.
Rave of the North Yorkshire summer: The Chemical Brothers at Castle Howard, near Malton, June 26
HEY boy, hey girl, electronic pioneers The Chemical Brothers will take to the grass at Castle Howard this summer.
Manchester big beat duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, both 51, will galvanize rave diggers in the North Yorkshire stately home’s grounds where gates will open at 5pm for the night ahead of Setting Sun, Block Rockin’ Beats, Hey Boy, Hey Girl, Let Forever Be, Galvanize, Go et al. Box office: castlehoward.co.uk.