Charles Hutchinson chooses his pick of the 2018 Great Yorkshire Fringe in York

THE Great Yorkshire Fringe is turning Parliament Street green again as York’s festival of comedy, theatre, music and family fun returns for a fourth successive year from July 19 to 29.

Mounted by comedy impresario Martin Witts, the city’s annual entertainment festival is taking a more concentrated form, slimmed down to 11 days but still packed with a multitude of shows in the White Rose Rotunda, the Turn Pot and the Tea Pot tents, as well as at the Grand Opera House, in Cumberland Street, and The Basement, at City Screen, York, in Coney Street.

“It’s that time of year again: it’s nearly time for the Great Yorkshire Fringe 2018,” says Martin. “It’s our fourth year in Parliament Street and this year The Sunday Times agrees with us that York is ‘The Best Place to Live in the UK’!

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Reginald D Hunter: new show in York

“We think this is our best line-up yet too. Look out for new venues, new shows, new street food and new tricks from new dogs in the dog show, and this year we’re delighted to have the Grand Opera House with us at the Fringe with headline appearances from Michael Palin and Reginald D Hunter.”

Michael Palin and Reginald D Hunter, you say?

Yes, Michael Palin CBE, founding member of Monty Python, co-creator of Ripping Yarns with Terry Jones, television presenter, film actor, travel writer, playwright, novelist and diarist, will be in conversation with comedy historian Robert Ross at the Grand Opera House on July 28 at 2pm.

Later that day, at 8pm, American comedian Reginald D Hunter returns to the Fringe with a new show at the GOH. Any more details? Not yet.

Hyena laughs

Toby Clouston Jones may no longer hold regular Hyena Lounge Comedy Club nights in York, but nevertheless he remains a major player on the Yorkshire comedy, not least at Harrogate Theatre.

He returns to York and to the Great Yorkshire Fringe with two typically strong line-ups in the White Rose Rotunda spiegeltent. Gary Delaney, Tanyalee Davis and Danny McLoughlin will be in action on July 20 and 21; Justin Moorhouse, Rob Rouse and Scott Bennett on July 27 and 28, at 9.15pm each night.

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Gary Delaney

Once there was a Cambridge comedy coterie of Stephen Fry, Hugh Laurie, Emma Thompson and... Tony Slattery

And now Tony Slattery is back and forthright, in Slattery Will Get You Nowhere, at The Tea Pot on July 26 at 8.30pm and The White Rose Rotunda on July 27 at 3pm, when he will reveal all in candid conversation with comedy historian Robert Ross.

In this no-holds-barred dissection of his “crazy paving career”, the 58-year-old London comedian and actor will reflect on his Cambridge Footlights revues with Fry and co; joining the Carry On team; nearly becoming Doctor Who and dealing with the demons that persistently dogged his success.

Spot the hot new talent

The Great Yorkshire Fringe New Comedian of the Year final will draw a sell-out crowd, as it always does, at the festival finale on July 29 at 8pm in the White Rose Rotunda.

Join host Mick Ferry and headliner Jack Gleadow, the reigning champion, to discover who will succeed him as York’s comedy champ.

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Grand Old Uke Of York: album launch on July 20

Keeping it local

Plenty to choose from here, be it music, comedy or even a community show.

Hall Together, on July 21 at 10am and noon in the White Rose Rotunda, tells the story of York’s Tang Hall community through music and dance in a collaboration between composer Jon Hughes and choreographers Drew and Hannah Wintie-Hawkins. The show will be performed by an intergenerational cast from Tang Hall.

The 13-strong ukulele collective The Grand Old Uke Of York return to the Fringe for a third time with a repertoire of uke-box favourites and a collection of 120 unusual ukuleles. On this occasion, on July 20 at 7pm in the White Rose Rotunda, they will be launching their debut full-length album, Without The Tassels, after a series of EPs and a Christmas album.

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Just the ticket: Barbara Nice returns

The Arts Barge Project is back at the GYF too, presenting a “sensational night of vintage song, music and dance”

in the White Rose Rotunda on July 23 from 7.30pm to 11pm.

“Our excellent 14-piece band, Blind Tiger Dance Band, will swing out the tunes and York Lindy will lead the dancing in a fabulous event in a wonderful venue, and whether you’re a dancer, music lover or people watcher, it’s definitely not one to miss,” says Arts Barge.

Al Greaves’s Burning Duck Comedy Club takes over The Basement at City Screen, York, from July 23 to 29 at 8.30pm nightly for “another handcrafted artisanal smorgasbang of the weirdest, wisest and most wonderful local up-and-coming musical, character, sketch, spoken-word and stand-up comedy performers”.

York spoken-word outlet Say Owt has a showcase at The Tea Pot featuring “some of the finest word weavers”, hosted by Henry Raby and Stu Freestone, on July 25 at 7pm.

Monster entertainment for children

From the creators of West End hit Aliens Love Underpants comes Monstersaurus at the White Rose Rotunda from July 24 to 29 (times vary).

Follow the young inventor Monty as he creates a whole world of whacky inventions and incredible monsters from the book Inventions Very Rare, but he has a problem. Now he has made them all, what will he do with them?

Expect thrills, spills, magic, music and mayhem and the chance to create a monster friend but only if you dare.

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The Thinking Drinkers

Welcome back...

1.The Ronnie Scott’s Allstars, featuring jazz singer Claire Martin in Ella Fitzgerald and The Jazz Divas at the White Rose Rotunda on July 29 at 5pm.

2. Sh*tfaced Shakespeare, whose cast members draw straws for one to get royally slaughtered and then slaughter a performance of Hamlet while all around strive to take it seriously on July 25 and 26 at 8.30pm and July 27 and 28 at 7.30pm in the White Rose Rotunda.

3. The Thinking Drinkers, taking you on a new intoxicating bar hop, from the symposiums of ancient Greece to the great British boozer in Pub Crawl in The Turn Pot on July 19 and 20 at 7pm and July 21 and 22 at 5pm.

4. Barbara Nice: Raffle, wherein comedian and Phoenix Nights actress Janice Connolly appears as the Stockport housewife and mother of five. The entrance price includes a complimentary raffle ticket.

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Paul Foot: new show

Do not miss... least a couple of Edinburgh Fringe previews. Have you ever considered the unique predicament of the soft-shell crab? Paul Foot has, as you will discover in his Image Conscious show at The Turn Pot on July 19 at 8.30pm. “That animal is ridiculous, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg,” he says.

If Simon Munnery’s The Wreath show is as good as its start – “I went to a funeral the other day. Caught the wreath” – then catch him at The Turn Pot on July 26 at 7pm.

Check out the full programme at Tickets are on sale online and in person from Bob the Box Office in Parliament Street.