Jason Donovan and his Amazing Midlife Crisis, Gala Theatre, Durham

Jason Donovan has done a lot in his decades-long time in the spotlight – like starring in Neighbours with Kylie Minogue, topping the UK chart alongside the same Kylie, befriending David Gest on I’m a Celebrity, and playing the eponymous role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. On Friday 11th May, less than a month before his 50th birthday, he will be regaling a Durham audience with autobiographical tales as colourful as a certain dreamcoat…

Birdsong, Gala Theatre, Durham

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War, the horror of which led the world to hope “never again”… ultimately in vain. Adapted from Sebastian Faulks’ novel of the same name, this theatre production of Birdsong follows young Englishman Stephen Wraysford as the war disrupts his previously idyllic life. Performances will run from Monday 21st May to Saturday 26th May with 2:30pm matinees on Thursday and Saturday.

Georgian Fair, Beamish Museum

All year round, Beamish Museum lets you step straight into the 1820s at its Pockerley area, which includes Pockerley Old Hall and Pockerley Gardens. However, at the museum’s Georgian Fair this year, from 31st May until 3rd June, you will be able to enjoy many other Georgian treats – including wearing traditional Georgian attire and enjoying live music and clog dancing typical of the era. You will even be able to watch a fire eater!

Robots – then and now, Life Science Centre, Newcastle

Judging from Siri’s inability to even understand accents sometimes, we probably don’t need to fear technology posing any Terminator-style threat to humanity any time soon. Incidentally, a T800 Terminator from the 2009 film Terminator Salvation features among various robots from popular culture in this exhibition – which, from 26th May until 2nd December, will show centuries of robot history in a family-friendly fashion. This exhibition has been put together by the London-based Science Museum.

Tim Vine: Sunset Milk Idiot, Tyne Theatre & Opera House, Newcastle

To call Tim Vine fond of puns would be rather understating the case – but, for once, he hasn’t bothered coming up with one for the simply silly title of his current tour. You can expect more silliness than the semi-skimmed stuff if you come along to the Tyne Theatre for 8pm on Tuesday 22nd or Wednesday 23rd May. As Tim says insightfully: “Sunsets are in the sky, milk’s nice, and I’m an idiot.”

Siren, Syfy UK

The folklore of mermaids has long fascinated humanity; a particularly early depiction of a mermaid even features in the Norman Chapel of Durham Castle. However, the enduring popularity of Disney’s The Little Mermaid has given many of us the romantic perception of mermaids as princesses.

We see a darker take on the mermaid myth in the new American TV drama series Siren – which, in this country, will debut on Syfy UK come 9pm on Thursday 3rd May. The series is set in Bristol Cove, a fictional town in a coastal location and known to legend as once a home for mermaids.

A mysterious girl, Ryn (played by British actress Eline Powell) arrives in the town where she soon causes havoc, leading two marine biologists to investigate the mystery of this far-from-stereotypical sea person. Zimbabwean actress Sibongile Mlambo also stars.

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