John Shuttleworth’s Back!: comedy preview

When John Shuttleworth last toured in 2017, he was on the brink of retirement. 2016 had wreaked its deathly toll on major celebrities (Rickman, Bowie, Wogan et al.) and Shuttleworth was feeling grimly vulnerable to the reaper’s scythe. We all thought he was packing it all in, that the superstardom he’d always imagined was tantalisingly just out of reach would never be his. Continue reading

Mozart’s Idomeneo by English Touring Opera

I can think of no better way to put Brexit woes behind you than to spend a night watching one of Mozart’s lesser performed (in York, anyway) operas, Idomeneo: the tale of a hapless leader, who makes a rash promise, and then spends the best part of three acts trying to deliver on that promise. Continue reading

The Turk: Final moments with an automaton

The Turk was a popular touring attraction of the late eighteenth century, until its destruction in 1854; an automaton fashioned in the garb of a mysterious Turk that challenged people to games of chess, winning the vast majority of them. Older readers may remember it being discussed on the children’s TV programme How, and it more recently was discussed on an episode of QI (in the H series, but identifying the episode title would be a huge spoiler). Continue reading

Say Owt Slam comes of age

It seems like a strange concept – competitive poetry. But as Say Owt demonstrate, with a capacity audience for their twenty-first, coming-of-age, Slam – it is a hugely popular one. The company comprises Henry Raby and Stu Freestone, who have burgeoned from humble beginnings into York’s prominent purveyors and promoters of performance poetry and Spoken Word. Not that they don’t still flaunt that humble start; their signature backdrop, a banner home-made from an old single bed sheet, proudly holds the signatures of all the poets that have performed in its shadow. Continue reading