EVERY show has sold out this week and deservedly so on the evidence of this very impressive world premiere of Alan Combes and Steve Cassidy’s new musical.

Written by Combes from a family story by John F McGlinchey, the show travels from the famine of the Irish potato blight in 1848 – hence the Black Potatoes title – to the battlefield of the First World War at Ypres, via a new life started in Walmgate, the heart of the Irish community in York.

The play does not follow a straightforward chronological path; indeed it begins at the end and then leaps about almost as much as the two ever present, shape-shifting leprechauns, Gorse (Dan Hardy) and Furze (Janice Lowther).

They serve as both Greek chorus and Puck-like intermediaries as the story unfolds of County Kerry farmer Fergus McGillycuddy (Matthew Pattison) and his young wife Peigi (York St John performance theatre student Terri-Ann Prendergast, definitely one to watch).

Leaving behind Ireland, their passage to York with daughter Aoife (Jessie Haughton-Shaw) is bumpy indeed, fending off strumpet propositions on the boat from Blondy and Lady (Anne Whinfield, Rachel Johnson); running into problems in Liverpool and on encountering Yorkshire benefactor Titus Salt (David Stilwell) and his duplicitous underling Fox (James Searle); before facing judge Baker (Daniel Wilmot) across a York courtroom floor.

Further characters furnish a plot that is written with humour, pathos, sadness and joy, and superbly enacted too under Beryl Nairn and Louise Larkinson’s direction, enhanced by the Irish dance choreography of Katrina Flynn. Evocative images of bygone Walmgate on screen play their part too.

Irish accents are sustained convincingly throughout, not least in the singing of Steve Cassidy’s new songs, performed to the folk accompaniment of Cassidy on guitar, Amaya Huntly on violin and Julia Pattison on bodhran. Haughton-Shaw’s Please Sir, I Beg You is the show’s tear-jerker, while Fish And Chips is a winning duet for Pattison and Johnson.

Let’s hope this show has further life, not least another run for the Settlement Players.

*Black Potatoes, York Settlement Community Players, 41 Monkgate, York, 2.30pm and 7.30pm today, sold out.