What’s on this week
MON 25 JUN – SUN 1 JUL
PICK OF THE WEEK: Gigaclear Race Evening & Gin Festival, Newbury Racecourse, Tue 26 Jun
The beauty of lighter evenings (sunshine or not) is that the opportunities to put on a nice shoe and totter out for the night are seemingly endless – and Newbury Racecourse does not disappoint with gin and gee gees. It’s hosting its first ever Gin Festival with 30 different varieties to sample, live musicians great racing. Tuesday is the new Friday, so get your gang together and make yours a double.
EAT OUT: Back to the Vine, The Vineyard, Stockcross, nr Newbury, Mon 25 June – Sun 1 July
With a constellation of Michelin stars to their names, chefs Nathan Law, John Campbell, Matt Gillan, Shay Cooper, Daniel Galmiche, Richard Davies and Billy Reid have all worked at The Vineyard Hotel and Spa near Newbury. To celebrate the hotel’s 20th birthday, these stars of the culinary scene are returning from their current restaurants (those local to us include Calcot Manor near Tetbury, Danesfield House near Marlow and The Woodspeen in Newbury) to weave their magic at their alma mater. The Vineyard is renowned for its passion for wine (join the club) and amazing food so this really is a no brainer for a fine dining fix.
The Vineyard, Stockcross, Newbury, Berkshire RG20 8JU. Tel: 01635 528 770
FILM: McQueen, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 27 – Thu 28 Jun
Fashion genius and tortured soul, Alexander McQueen’s burst not the scene in the 1990s hellbent on shaking things up. And ‘the hooligan of fashion’ did just that with his lavish, unconventional runways, controversial themes and the ‘bumster’ (we forgive you). This documentary takes a personal look at the extraordinary life, career and artistry of the fashion designer – combining exclusive interviews with his closest friends and family, recovered archive footage, exquisite visuals and music.
COMEDY: Sophie Willan: Branded, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 29 Jun
Fresh from a total sell out run at the Edinburgh Fringe, this multi award-winning break out star is heading out on tour! Sophie Willan has had a lifetime of being branded by others. Now she tells us why with brutal honesty. Expect a raucous hour like no other from this unapologetic young powerhouse. As seen on Dave’s As Yet Untitled and as heard on BBC Radio 4. She’s going to huge.
Jerusalem, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 16 Jul
The Watermill is staging the first major revival of Jez Butterworth’s multi-award-winning play, Jerusalem. A contemporary classic which originally starred Mark Rylance as the anarchic Johnny ‘Rooster’ Byron in 2011. Big shoes to fill for Jasper Britton. Expect fruity language in this wild and defiant rekindling of our national identity. One of the show’s of the summer.
COMEDY: Blues & Burlesque – 70s soiree, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sat 30 Jun
Grab yourself a cheesy nibble and a glass of Babycham for a 70s soiree like no other. Think Rita, Sue & Bob too meets Abigail’s Party as Lady Beau and Pete divulge the trails and tribulations of life in the swingers capital of the UK, Maidenhead. We meet their neighbour from hell Bruise Violet who spices up their swingers parties with her incredible burlesque routines. Live music and lots of laughs.
EVENT: Gentleman’s Day, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 30 Jun
Move over ladies in your glad rags, and say hello boys. Windsor Racecourse is hosting a Gentleman’s Day to prove fellas have fashion bragging rights too. There’s racing, beers, bets and a party in the paddock with husband and wife DJ duo, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Richard Jones, providing the choons. Fancy murdering some moves on the dance floor? Now’s your chance. Not your bag? Sunday is all about fun with the famalam. So load the little cherubs with sugar, and off they go.
EVENT: The Village Pop Up Bar, Station Hill Reading, now – Sun 15 Jul
It’s baaaaack! The Village Pop Up has returned to Reading – and it’s bigger and better than ever with a a new roof terrace, extra bars (one just isn’t enough for us thirsty Berkshire peeps, but we’re not complaining), plus ping pong, mini golf and a big screen showing the World Cup (England play Belgium, Thursday at 7pm) and Wimbledon! Of course, that’s not all as the space will also be hosting a family-fun day, drinks fest and a vegan market! You’ll find me fighting to get out of a deckchair.
FESTIVAL: Offbeat Festival, Oxford, Fri 22 June – Sun 30 Jun
Loving the look of this. Offbeat – a showcase of 61 different pieces of brand new theatrical work, from comedy, drama, dance, spoken word. 25 per cent of the shows are from Oxfordshire based artists and it’s a collaboration between Oxford Playhouse and The Old Fire Station so it’s extremely professional. Best of all , the tickets are a tenner or less, so you can see the likes of BGT smash hit Lost Voice Guy, David Baddiel and Bridget Christie without breaking the bank. Look out for Trump the Musical (pictured, 28 June)..
THEATRE: Brian Blessed directs Unexpected Guest, Mill at Sonning, now – Sat 28 Jul
BOOM! The man with the biggest voice in show business is back in Berks. National treasure Brian Blessed in the director’s chair at The Mill at Sonning, following on from his successes with A Spider’s Web and The Hollow. And who better than Flash Gordon to take on Agatha Christie’s classic whodunnit, An Unexpected Guest? Brian has been peddling his acting wares for 60 years and knew and worked with Christie, so you know this will be a corker. And remember, your ticket price also includes a two-course meal.
EVENT: War of the Roses Live, Warwick Castle, now – Sat 30 June
Pledge your allegiance in an epic battle for the English Throne! Yup, it’s time for the reenactment brigade, with stunt riders, jousting and special effects. There’s also a castle that’s quite interesting, apparently. Head to Warwick Castle, grab your kids, borrow one or two from a friend and get yourself for War of the Roses Live. Eye rolling emoji…only in Britain
SPORT: The Boodles, Stoke Park, Tues 27 June – Sat 1 July
A brilliant, local, fun and cost-effective alternative to Wimbledon held at the gorgeous five star hotel and country club of Stoke Park. It’s luxury all the way here, with Perrier-Jouët Champagne on ice and a gourmet lunch. There’s also a Boodles gallery of fine jewellery to gawp at – the Muddy girls tried half of it on last year while nervous assistants watched on. I should also mention that it’s a brilliant way to see top tennis players in a stadium of just 2000, so it’s like being in the first five rows at Centre Court.
THEATRE: Giffords Circus: My Beautiful Circus, touring now until 30 Sept
This year the inimitable Giffords Circus is celebrating the birth of circus which happened near Westminster Bridge in London in 1768. It’s all brilliantly bonkers putting on a candle-lit international gymnastic show with dancing horses, a live band and everyone’s favourite clown Tweedy. It’s in Oxfordshire throughout June, it then heads off to Chiswick House before setting up the big top in Windsor Great Park in July.
EVENT: Windsor Championship Dog Show, Windsor, 28 Jun – 1 Jul
Muddy’s very own Best In Show – Benson the Viszla resplendent in his Chanel jacket (the things he’ll do for fashion). Sadly he won’t be making an appearance at the Windsor Dog Championships (I know, shame), but lots of pimped up poochs will be padding around the show ring, holding their heads and tails high in the hope of being crowned Best in Show. A fun day out if you are barking mad about dogs.
EVENT: Summer by the River Festival, London Bridge, now to 1 Sept
If you’re heading for the big smoke, there’s tons to do all summer between London and Tower Bridge with the largest outdoor festival in the capital. Outdoor cinema, big screen sporting events like Wimbledon and Tour de France, comedy from the Edinburgh Fringe, workshops and quizzes. You can scoff and drink to your heart’s content from the obligatory artisan stalls and then join in one of the fitness events to assuage the self-loathing.
ART: Frida Kahlo, Making Herself Up, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 16 June onwards
The iconic Mexican’s artist’s personal belongings were locked away by her husband when she died and are being exhibited outside Mexico for the first time. There are some beautifully embroidered clothes but more interesting are her cosmetics (no jokes about eyebrow tweezers please), swimsuit and brightly painted prosthetic leg (Kahlo suffered Polio as a child and had a deformed limb) in this intimate and fascinating exhibition.