Ricky Gervais returns, Hamlet needs your help, Much Ado dances into the 1940s, Hayes Carll comes calling, Sarah Keyworh horses around and four go mad on Derwentwater in CHARLES HUTCHINSON’S week ahead from May 13 to 19

Comedy gig of the year so far in York

Ricky Gervais, SuperNature, York Barbican, Monday and Tuesday

YORK Barbican has the buzz of playing host to the opening two nights of Ricky Gervais’s return to the live comedy circuit.

The star and writer of The Office, Extras, Derek and this year’s After Life casts a sceptical eye over the absurdity of superstition, magic and all unsubstantiated beliefs, leading to his celebratory conclusion that nature is already super enough. The 57-year-old Reading polymath last played York Barbican in February 2017on his Humanity tour.

York Press:

Finn East's Bill Snibson, back, leads the Pick Me Up Theatre cast in Me And My Girl

Musical of the week

Pick Me Up Theatre in Me And My Girl, Grand Opera House, York, Tuesday to Saturday

LEANING On A Lamppost, The Sun Has Got His Hat On, Lambeth Walk, you know the Noel Gay songs from the late-Thirties musical, presented in Stephen Fry’s revised 1980s’ version by York company Pick Me Up Theatre.

Robert Readman directs the musical tale of the haughty aristocratic Hareford family being horrified to find that the long-lost heir to the earldom is cheeky Cockney geezer Bill Snibson (Finn East).

The Duchess (Beryl Nairn) tries to turn him into a “fit and proper” gentleman, but what will happen when she demands he must break up with Lambeth girlfriend Sally (Emily Chattle)?

York Press:

Isobel Middleton in Much Ado About Nothing. Picture: Nobby Clark

Farewell to Conrad Nelson’s Northern Broadsides years

Northern Broadsides/New Vic in Much Ado About Nothing, York Theatre Royal, Tuesday to Saturday

RETURNING soldiers swap the Second World War battlefield for a landscape of love, masked balls and much-needed laughter, as two young dreamers fall head over heels, while two others resume their combative courtship.

Shakespeare’s glorious romantic comedy marks the end of Conrad Nelson’s artistic directorship of Northern Broadsides, where he has excelled as actor, composer, musical director and director.

York Press:

Help needed: Emily Carding in Hamlet, An Experience 

Participatory show of the week

Brite Theater in Hamlet, An Experience, York International Shakespeare Festival, Friargate Theatre, York, Wednesday and Thursday

EMILY Carding plays Hamlet and you, the audience gathered in a circle around her, play family and friends to help resolve the great questions of life. To be there or not be there? Be there to provide the answers.

Pioneering folk-rock veterans of the week

Fairport Convention, Pocklington Arts Centre, Wednesday

BRITISH folk-rock originators Fairport Convention roll on after more than 50 years and many personnel changes. Their spring tour mixes long-established Fairport favourites with new material, with a line-up of Simon Nicol, Dave Pegg, Chris Leslie, Ric Sanders and Gerry Conway.

York Press:

Girl talk: Sarak Keyworth in Dark Horse

First York chance to see...

Sarah Keyworth: Dark Horse, Burning Duck Comedy Club, The Basement, York, Thursday

DEADPAN debut show from Nottingham-born Sarah Keyworth, wherein she tells you about her life with an important little girl and her battle against every expectation of what being a girl means.

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We won't get Foiled again? Oh yes, you will at York Barbican

After 100 million hits on YouTube, here come...

Foil, Arms & Hog: Craicling, York Barbican, Thursday

FOIL, Arms & Hog may be best known for their online videos, but they are most proud of their effervescent, inventive live work. Craicling is a fast-paced sketch show featuring a tutorial on holding a baby, a Gregorian chant about drunken monks and a step-by-step guide to how to kill an actor. “Very funny,” says Rowan Atkinson, and he should know.

Comedy of the week

Rowntree Players in Neville’s Island, Joseph Rowntree Theatre, York, Thursday to Saturday

FOUR out-of-condition, middle-aged, middle-management blokes are packed off on a Lake District team-building exercise, only to become shipwrecked on an island on Derwentwater. Tim Firth’s comedy has its fair share of darker twists and damaged characters as everything unravels amid the one-liners.

York Press:

Digging in: Hayes Carll at Pocklington Arts Centre

Americana gig of the week

Hayes Carll, Pocklington Arts Centre, Saturday

GRAMMY nominee Hayes Carll follows in the maverick Texas singer/songwriter country-folk style of Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark and Ray Wylie Hubbard. He will be showcasing his sixth record, the musically ambitious and witty What It Is.

“I want to dig in so this life doesn’t just pass me by,” he says. “The more engaged I am the more meaning it all has. I want that to be reflected in the work.”

York Press:

Fired up: Amy May Ellis at The Crescent in York

Blossoming singer-songwriter of the week

Amy May Ellis with full band, The Crescent, York, Sunday

RAISED on the North York Moors, where she cut her performing teeth at The Band Room, Low Mill, folk singer Amy May Ellis moved to York at 16 and now to London. At the weekend she airs her second EP, We Got Fire, recorded in a Yorkshire farmhouse.