2013 is already hotting up to be a corking year of top comedy and music at Harrogate Theatres.
With the exception of Do They Know It’s Christmas? (1984), few festive number ones have been as emotive as 2011’s Wherever You Are, a last-minute entry from Gareth Malone’s Military Wives Choir. In its week of release (Dec 19), it outsold the rest of the Top 12 combined and touched the nation’s collective soft spot as the plucky wives and girlfriends of British Military personnel sung their hearts out for the lads.
Since then, Military Wives have scored a number one album with In My Dreams and performed for the Queen and in the Olympics opening ceremony. There’s even a book – also called Wherever You Are – out on November 8. After that, the choir goes on tour, with Military Wives arriving at the Royal Hall on Saturday 9 February.
Given his swaggering stand-up skills and peerless crowd control, it’s no wonder The Pub Landlord is a tad cocksure. Prepare to be taught a few things (and laugh your head off) because The Guv is back with brand new show, Al Murray: The Only Way Is Epic.
Al Murray’s genius character creation, a Little Englander with big (misguided) opinions, is a comedy institution in a burgundy blazer – and rightly so. Behind Murray’s pig-headed caricature lies a lightning quick wit and huge brain, as evinced in the superbly sharp audience banter that kicks off every Pub Landlord show. One of our the UK’s finest stand-ups, Murray is not to be missed – ladies and gents, raise your glasses as Al Murray: The Only Way Is Epic comes to the Royal Hall on Tuesday 19 February.
Grammy-winner and Blues Hall Of Fame resident Robert Cray is an original bluesman, who transformed his teenage love of blues and soul into an illustrious career that’s spanned five decades. It helps of course that Cray can wield a Fender like no one else – in fact, the iconic guitar brand boasts not one but two signature Robert Cray Stratocasters in its collection.
Anyone who appreciates blues and soul (and really, we all should) will be thrilled to learn the Robert Cray Band is back on tour, with an incredible 16th album in the bag. Appearing at the Royal Hall on Saturday 2 March, Cray and the band that has accompanied him for the past three decades, will be belting out new tracks from latest LP Nothin But Love, alongside classics such as Smoking Gun and I Ain’t Got You. For Cray it seems nothing has changed: plans are still wrecked, hearts are still bruised, and at the heart of everythinglies the blues.
Their distinctive bright vocal harmonies made Mancunian combo The Hollies a household name in the early 1960s. Despite myriad changes in line-up and musical taste in the intervening five decades, the six-strong group is still going great guns. A tonne of classic tunes, including The Air That I Breathe, Bus Stop and, of course, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother, mean The Hollies’ appearance at the Royal Hall on Saturday 16 March will be a non-stop marathon of hits.
There’s so much more to Dave Spikey than Phoenix Nights. Since he first shot to fame in the Channel 4 smash sitcom he created with Peter Kay back in 2002, Spikey has proven himself a stand-up with the chops to sustain a solo career on talent not telly recognition.
Spikey cut his comedy jib ten years before Phoenix Nights, while still working as abiomedical scientist in the haematology lab of Bolton Hospital, driving to London open spots after a 12-hour shift. His determination paid off and Spikey is currently on his fifth UK tour. Words Don’t Come Easy at Harrogate Theatre on Thursday 28 March showcases the affable northerner’s traditional comedy with a clever twist to a tee and finds him exploring the vagaries of the English language with his typical Chorley charm.
Mancunian cheeky chap and infamous Twitter philanderer Jason Manford has a two-night stint at the Royal Hall on Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 September courtesy of his nationwide tour of new show First World Problems. Tackling the Brits’ ability to gripe about the smallest hardships when so many struggle simply to stay alive, First World Problems promises a wealth of anecdotes, misunderstandings and banter all delivered with Manford’s affability and smart wit.
Tickets for these nights out are available now and can be booked securely online at www.harrogatetheatre.co.uk or through the Harrogate Box Office on 01423 502 116.Show: Military Wives Date: Saturday 9 February, 2013 Time: 7.30pm Location: Royal Hall Tickets: £20 Show: Al Murray: The Only Way Is Epic Date: Tuesday 19 February, 2013 Time: 8pm Location: Royal Hall Tickets: £25.50 Show: Robert Cray Band Date: Saturday 2 March, 2013 Time: 7.30pm Location: Royal Hall Tickets: £29.50 and £39.50 Show: The Hollies Date: Saturday 16 March, 2013 Time: 7.30pm Location: Royal Hall Tickets: £25 and £27.50 Show: Dave Spikey Date: Thursday 28 March, 2013 Time: 8pm Location: Harrogate Theatre Tickets: £16.50 Show: Jason Manford Date: Monday 16 and Tuesday 17 September, 2013 Time: 8pm Location: Royal Hall Tickets: £22.50