SHOPPERS faced the strange and the hilarious during a "startling" preview for the York Comedy Festival.

The notorious Natural Theatre Company, from Bath, brought their surprise street performances to the city in Parliament Street yesterday to promote the festival which will run from June 23 to June 29.

The comedy festival, a first for York, will see performances from a number of top comedians, including Omid Djalili, Lee Mack and Hattie Hayridge, at more than 40 events - entertaining an estimated 10,500 people.

Updated: 10:01 Saturday, June 14, 2003