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What’s on in April

APRIL 2018

Banff Film Festival. Hexagon Reading, Tue 17 Apr

Johanna Nordblad lying on the ice in her black wetsuit, facemask, and single fin

Johanna Nordblad, freediver, star of Ian Derry’s short film Johanna

The latest and best films touring around the UK courtesy of the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. On 17 April at The Hexagon Reading there are 5 short films. My favourite? Johanna by Ian Derry, featuring Finnish freediver Johanna Nordblad. She holds the world record for a 50-metre dive under ice, but she only discovered the sport during recovery from a biking accident. Amazing stuff. readingarts.com/hexagon

Westwood: Punk, Icon, Activist, Showcase Cinema Reading, Thu 19 Apr

Fashion designer Vivienne Westwood – documentary Westwood: Punk, Activist, Icon Berkshire

Anyone else a bit mad about Westwood? And I mean the super cool punk icon, NOT the cheesey DJ – just to be super clear! We’re giddy at the thought of checking out this (first) documentary about the legend’s life and work and, we are gonna make sure we dress appropriately outrageously for the occasion! Yaaaaaaaaa. showcasecinema.co.uk

Elf Lyons: Swan, Fiery Things and The Hope Windsor, Thu 19 April 

comedian Elf Lyons in a cartoon style Swan costume

Elf had to cancel her gig last month because she caught the lurgy. But the sniffles won’t keep the brilliant and kooky Elf Lyons is down for long! The giraffe-limbed clown and raconteur presents her Edinburgh Comedy Award nominated show: a one woman production of Swan Lake. In an hour. (Yes, really). Matthew Bourne would be proud. Think big. Think weird. It’s going to be fun. And sexy. Yeah, let’s throw that word in there too. fireythings.com

Dubai Spring Trials Weekend, Newbury Racecourse, Fri 20 and Sat 21 Apr

Stylish racegoers champagne flat racing Newbury racecourse

Fancy a day at the races? Spring heralds the start of the Flat Season, so grab your squad for a fun day out of food, fizz and flutters on horses including your favourite colour and the name of your first pet. But more importantly, your style can win you prizes. The Most Stylish Racegoers (man, women or couple) will be chosen during each Saturday race meeting in 2018. At the last one of the year, you come back as a VIP and you could win an epic prize. newburyracecourse.co.uk

Blissful Yoga & Meditation Workshop, The Swan at Streatley, Sun 8 Apr

overhead shot of lunging woman doing yoga

Ahhh! Two hours that’s all about me me me. Just the way I like it. I am a recent convert to yoga for mental and physical wellbeing and The Swan at Streatley’s riverside studio is the epitome of bliss. You’ll be guided through a number of calming yoga postures and light meditations; leaving you feeling nourished, calm and restored. This is your opportunity to slow down and re-connect tune up your mind, body and should. £21pp. swanatstreatley.com

Spice Route Pop Up Indian Diner with Mridula Baljekar, The Hope Windsor, Sat 14 Aprvintage tea spoons of spice spilling onto a piece of slate

We love a pop up at Muddy and it doesn’t get hotter than one with Mridula Baljekar, former owner of Windsor’s award-winning Spice Route restaurant, in the kitchen. Mridula’s written 27 best-selling cookbooks, she’s cooked for Tony and Cherie Blair, Jerry Hall and Mick Jagger and now you. If you like Spice, this is not to be missed. Booking is essential.fireythings.com

Grump Old Women To The Rescue, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 28 Apr

Grumpy Old Women starring Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane and Lizzie Roper

Fed up with flogging their guts out and alway having to be in charge? Join the Grumpy Old Women (Jenny Eclair, Dillie Keane, Lizzie Roper) who have put their knobbly old feet up in glorious retirement, free at last to practise their extreme colouring-in, ukelele orchestra and novelty fudge-making. A riot of truth be told laughs. cornexchangenew.com

Pilates Micro Escape, Total Health West Berkshire Thatcham, 15 April

woman in leggings an dura top stretching in front of a window

A friend recently said to me if you can’t find a couple of hours a week for yourself, then something’s gone horribly wrong. The micro retreat could be the answer to our prayers. Join Mel Rockery of Pilates For You at Total Health West Berkshire for a morning pilates session followed by coffee and pastries. Now your talking. It’s all about balance.  totalhealthwestberks.co.uk

Adventure Explosion, The Hope Windsor, Wed 25 Apr

Author Lois Pryce wearing open black helmet and goggles for solo motorcycle ride across Iran

The curators of The Adventure Travel Film Festival, film-maker Austin Vince and author Lois Pryce bring a whirlwind of adventure to Windsor. Lois will be speaking about her solo motorcycle ride around Iran and Austin will show a collection of shorts from the Adventure Travel Film Festival, taking you train-hopping in the USA, uni-cycling across China and detouring into Armenia, Japan and Chernobyl along the way… fireythings.com

Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Tue 3, Wed 4, Thu 12 April 

The Italianate mansion, known as Cliveden House, crowns an outlying ridge of the Chiltern Hills close to the hilltop village of Taplow in 365 acres of park and woodland

Kick out the little blighters and let them burn off some energy at Cliveden National Trust. If you need to up the excitement levels after a  chocolate fuelled Easter, The Big Tree Climbing Company will help kids scale the Cliveden canopies – an hour activity for 6+, bookable here and promising gorgeous views with a zip line back down to the bottom. Wheeee!

Katie Piper: What’s In My Head, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 12 Apr

Acid attack survivor Katie Piper with and without make up debut theatre tour

Probably one of the most inspirational women ever. Acid attack survivor Katie Piper is on a debut theatre tour sharing what helped her remain positive even through the toughest of times. In a time of Photoshop, Instagram filters and app dating, remaining in touch with reality has never been harder. Insecurities and adversity in life is unavoidable, but how can it be managed? Katie believes there is always a confident way forward and she will show you how. cornexchangnew.com

Ballet Barre, The Swan at Streatley, Sat 21 AprilFitness leggings Ballet shoes on pointe on bricks in studio

Dig out the leotard, it’s back to ballet class we go. Well sort of. Ballet Barre has been trendy in London and New York studios for some time and a pop up workshop is coming to the Swan at Streatley. Expect upbeat music,  high repetitions of barre moves to help craft a long, lean and strong physique. You’ll be Flashdance ready by the end. £10pp. swanatstreatley.com

Vintage funfair: 80s weekend special, Palmer Park Reading, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Apr

Chair swing fun fair

Scream if you wanna go faster! If you love a funfair with its distinctive aroma of diesel, hot dogs and candy floss, then get yourself down to Palmer Park. Carters Steam Fair rolls into Reading with its spinny whizzy rides dating back to the 1890s, traditional games and 80s vibes. Plus it’s free to enter and there’s a free fireworks display on Saturday night. carterssteamfair.co.uk

The Washboard Resonators, The Hope Windsor, Fri 27 Apr

The Washboard Resonators folk band banjo field suits

The Washboard Resonators are a duo that play foot-stomping blues, vaudeville, ragtime, hokum, skiffle, swing and folk like it was in the 1920s, 30s & 40s. Expect a show with upbeat songs, tap dancing and an array of instruments, including; washboard, resonator guitars, banjo, ukulele, snare drum, suitcase bass drum, spoons and their very own invention—the kazoosaphone. fireythings.com

 Dinosaur World Live, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 4 – Fri 6 Apr

giant dinosaur puppet of a t rex stage show Dinosaur World Live

Why can pre-schoolers reel off the names of flesh eating giants like T rex, Triceratops, Styracasaurus and Baryonyx but can’t say the word gloves? It’s a mystery, but there is no doubt they’ll LOVE the jaw dropping puppetry of these pre-historic superstars as theythud, stomp and roaaaaar onto the Newbury stage. cornexchangenew.com

The Art Of Royal Portraiture, Cliveden House Hotel Taplow,  Fri 20 Apr

Australian artist Ralph Heimans with his official painting of the Queen's for her Diamond Jubilee

Royal portraiture is a tricky ol’ business. You want to be different, stand out but the threat of the tower and risk of public humiliation is high. Join artist Ralph Heimans (who painted the Queen’s official Diamond Jubilee portrait) and Lady Penny Mountbatten (Ralph’s representative and Cliveden Ambassador) for a 3-course lunch with lots of royal and arty chatter. Tickets £95pp. clivedenhouse.co.uk

Morgan & West: More Magic For Kids!, Corn Exchange Newbury, Tues 10 Apr

Time Travelling magicians Morgan and West

Mutton chops, waistcoats and a cabin set the scene for Morgan & West’s More Magic for Kids (Bigger, bolder, and more brilliant than before!). With lots of Victorian style comic banter, the time-travelling duo perform a boxful of bafflement and impossibility. The magic is mysterious with brain-bursting illusions with a helping of tom-foolery. A heavy dose of silly sounds good to me. cornexchangenew.com

The Hundred Watt Club, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 14 Apr

The Hundred Watt Club Burlesque dance act feather pic

Fancy something naughty but nice? The fabulous girls from the Hundred Watt Clubreturn to Norden Farm with a glittering and ridiculous evening of good old fashioned saucy entertainment. Featuring glittering showgirl Lena Mae, bump ’n’ grind queen Velvet Jones, kaleidoscopic drag artist Meth, circus star Robin Boon Dale and satirical showgirl Bonnie Knockers. All held together by your hostess, Sadie Sinner! norden.farm

The Great British Dog Walk, Windsor Great Park, Sun 28 Apr

Muddy Stilettos Berkshire Hungarian Vizsla Benson

Benson the Muddy hound

Walkies! This is a nice idea to get you, your family and your pooch out into the Spring air, while raising funds for the charity Hearing Dogs For Deaf People. The Great British Dog Walk takes in a 4km family route or an 8k scenic one around Windsor Great Park, where you might just spot deer or royalty. There’s also various stalls, activities and refreshments. It’s £10 for an advance adult ticket, with children under the age of 16 go free. Plus you get a free doggie bandanna to jazz up Rover. hearingdogs.org.uk

Monski Mouse’s Baby Disco Dance Hall, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sun 15 Apr

Monks Mouse Baby disco dj with mouse bun hair and vinyl records

Are you usually rolling in or out of bed at 5.30am on a Sunday morning? If you’ve swapped parties for parenthood, 5.30am is the rude awakening from the little people. So if you need to get your groove on, an 11.30am disco with the snipers is how you need to roll. Monski Mouse brings her baby disco to Maidenhead. The rest of you, it’s all about the walk of shame. Respect. norden.farm

Ballet Black, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 25 Apr

Black Ballet contemporary ballet The Suit

Ballet Black returns for the 5th year with specially commissioned pieces celebrating dancers of black and Asian decent. Renowned British choreographer Cathy Marston has created a new ballet based on Can Themba’s moving fable The Suit. Completing the evening is Arthur Pita’s Olivier nominated A Dream Within a Midsummer Night’s Dream. cornexchangenew.com

Great Expectations, Theatre Royal Windsor, Thu 19 – Sat 21 Apr

Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Havisham Great Expectations Theatre Royal Windor

A thrilling and theatrical new adaptation of Great Expectations takes to the stage, starring Nichola McAuliffe as Miss Havisham. Pip is given an unexpected chance to better himself by visiting the reclusive Miss Havisham. In the decaying grandeur of her house he meets Estella and falls in love. Helped by an anonymous benefactor, he moves to the city to pursue his dream of winning Estella’s heart and becoming part of the educated elite. theatreroyalwindsor.co.uk

Sarah Millican, Hexagon Reading, Tue 3 – Thu 5 Apr Blonde highlighted bob, red top and tortoiseshell glasses of comedian Sarah Millican

 

For some (yes, you Mr Muddy), Sarah’s voice is like nails down a blackboard. but I love her. Although I’m quite partial to a fart and fanny gag. Her latest stand up show Control Enthusiast explores the rules according to Sarah when it comes to farting in hospital pants, what can happen at a bra fitting and the correct way to eat a biscuit. Funny, frank and unapologetically filthy. readingarts.com/hexagon

RSC Live: Macbeth, UK cinema broadcast, Wed 11 Apr

Macbeth RSC Live Christopher Ecclestone and Niamh Cusack sit on an upholstered green bed

How amazing is live streaming? Last year, we told you how impressed we are by the opportunities we get to see London culture from the comfort of our own beautiful county – smug, much?! This live streaming is yet another amazing example –  a contemporary production of Shakespeare’s darkest psychological thrillers marks both Christopher Eccleston’s RSC debut and the return of Niamh Cusack to the Company. See it at Corn Exchange Newbury, Norden Farm and Vue cinemas.

Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 27 – Sat 28 Apr

Woman shopping with bad cream short coat knee high boots and mustard yellow tights

Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an SS18 fashion frenzy. Designers and boutiques will be wafting about like peacocks at the Ascot Fashion Weekend. Whether you just need a trend injection, have a party to go to or your looking for something to see you through the new season, you’ll find it here. Grab the girls, join the stampede and shop till you drop. ukgrandsales.co.uk

Menopause the Musical, Hexagon Reading, Mon 16 Apr

four middle age women sing and dance in Menopause the Musical

A cult American show celebrating the change, Menopause the Musical is packed full of one-liners about night sweats, hot flushes and memory loss, backed by an instantly recognisable soundtrack of innuendo-laden versions of 60s, 70s and 80s pop classics. Cultural nirvana tis is not, but it’ll be a giggle with the girls. readingarts.com/hexagon

Lady Boys of Bangkok: Wonder Women, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 19 Apr

Ladyboys of Bangkok in feathers and sequins in their hit show wonder woman

Get your sequins and feathers on and brace yourselves – the world famous Lady Boys of Bangkok are coming to Berkshire! This celebration of the Lady Boys’ style icons will be dazzling high-energy and outrageously diamanté studded fun! Expect to see icons of bling Cher, Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Wonder Woman and, er , Mary Poppins. it on. cornexchangenew.com

Family Circus Skills, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Wed 4 – Thu 5 Apr

Clown face, red sponge noise, white face red lips

Roll up… roll up… the circus is back at Wellington and on 4 and 5 Apr you can have some fun and learn new circus skills. Try juggling, plate spinning, hula-hooping, diablo, floor-based acrobatics and tight rope-walking. Suitable for 5+ years with an adult, 3pm. Wellington-country-park.co.uk

Crafternoon Tea, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 20 Apr

pom poms and tassel handbag charm and keyring

Shake your tassels at this lot. If you’re a bit crafty or just potty about pom poms, then this little crafternoon could be right up your street. The Corn Exchange in Newbury is combining our passion for pom poms and love of scones into a thing. Learn to create a handbag charm or keyring, then let rip at home. DIY nip tassels, you say? cornexchangenew.com

A Shot In the Saddle: A Murder Mystery Treasure Hunt, Queen’s Walk Plaza Reading, Sat 28 Apr

Empty horse stables in a barn wood and steel

Great for teens and tech obsessives who could do with seeing daylight – vitamin D levels running dangerously low. A Shot in The Saddle is a murder mystery treasure hunt against the clock. Reading is the set for this real life whodunnit, fusing live action, escape room style puzzles  and cryptic clue cracking using smartphones. #WhoKilledGideonUp ashotinthesaddle.com

 

BOOK NOW FOR

Supercar Sunday, Stonor Park, Sun 20 May

Calling all Penelope Pitstops! Get yourselves down to Stonor Park, the idyllic backdrop of this annual supercar event, featuring a parade of pioneering race cars, classic sportscars, and modern hypercars. It’s set to be a fantastic family day out where you can enjoy a picnic – once the cars have left the lawn of course, health and safety fans – try some exciting street food or let loose in the Wonder Woods. Book now and save £3 per ticket. stonor.com

 

The Little Welly Adventure Course, Culden Faw Estate Henley, 9-10 June

Little Welly adventure course pool of foam

Give it some welly and book now for this summer’s much-loved Little Welly kids’ obstacle course (even the most iPad-obsessed nippers can’t resist). It’s 9 and 10 June just over the border in in Henley. Go, go, go! Snap up your tickets. thelittlewelly.co.uk

The Shed at Pub in the Park, Marlow, Sun 20 May

Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). His latest grand plan for the town is a special Sunday lunch at The Shed, followed by VIP Sunday night tickets to Pub in the Park – think bubbles in the private bar and the best view of the stage – and then a stay at The Hand and Flowers for the night. The privilege will cost you £450 per person (*gulp*) but what price 24 hours of gastro happiness? Call 01628 401530 or theshed@thehandandflowers.co.uk.

 

FURTHER AFIELD

UNIQLO Tate Lates, Tate Modern, London, Fri 27 April 2018

Totally groovacious after hours event at Tate Modern on the last Friday of every month, with a mix of art, music, film and workshops. Yours from 6-10pm and absolutely free.
 

Coraline, The Barbican, 29 Mar – Sat 7 April 2018

Just a few days left to catch Neil Gaiman’s best-selling novel Coraline turned operatic stage adaptation that London’s been buzzing about. Recommended for ages 8+. Tickets: £10–£40.

 

Now Play This, Somerset House, London, Fri 6 – Sun 8 Apr

Overground by Rosa Carbo-Mascarell

I’m feeling a bit anti screen at the mo (anyone else struggling to get young people to look up and out rather than down?) but even I have to admit this three day games festivalsounds intriguing. Players can experience dozens of diverse games – many of which premiere at the festival. The focus this year is on the idea of place, and visitors can explore different countries and cultures, and critical issues specific to these places ranging from international borders to identity. Drop-in workshops throughout the popular weekender will also enable players to explore the patterns, processes and particularities of game making.

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