EVENT: Friday night pop up bar, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, throughout July
Picture the scene: balmy summer evenings, unspoilt countryside, kids happily playing games without the need for you to referee the perpetual bickering, while you enjoy a blissful Friday night sundowner. This utopia is a reality at the Summer Pop Up Bar at Douai Pavillion in Woolhampton. Running every Friday night from 6pm, it’s a great place for the whole family to let off steam. Winner!
FILM: Open Air Cinema, Stonor Park Henley, Fri 27 – Sat 28 July
On Fri 27 Jul Moulin Rouge can-cans in to Stonor Park ‘come what may’ (yes, I have the soundtrack), followed by the Harry Potter & The Philosopher’s Stone on Sat 28 July and ending with the classic of all time Casablanca on the Sunday. Hot food and a full bar will be provided but you’re welcome to bring a picnic if you can be bothered (er, nope).
FILM: RSC Live: Romeo & Juliet, UK cinema broadcast, Wed 18 Jul
Raging hormones, the torment of your first love and disapproving parents. Nope not the last instalment of Love Island – the RSC’s latest production of Romeo & Juliet. It has been a play, musical, film and ice show, so will another reinvention capture audience? Erica Wyman hopes so putting on a modern gender fluid, multi-cultural production with five of the male roles being played by women. The critics loved it.
EVENT: The Labyrinthe Challenge, Reading Outpost Activity Centre, Sat 21 – Sun 22 Jul
Love Total Wipeout? Then this will be right up your strata. The Labyrinthe Challenge is the world’s largest continuous inflatable obstacle course and it’s heading back to Reading this month. More than 30 bonkers, bouncy obstacles spread across five unique themed zones. The idea is to get through in the quickest time possible. If you are feeling fit, then go for it…if not, a leisurely pace is just fine. Suitable for 10+ years, with a mini Labyrinthine Challenge for littlies.
FILM: Open Air Cinema, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Fri 27 – Sat 28 Jul
I think I am the only person on the planet not to have seen The Greatest Showman. If you want a soundtrack free zone, head to my house. But if you and your kids want to see this all singing all dancing Hugh Jackman-Zac Efron musical fest just one more time, then head to Wellington Country Park, near Reading. Feel the need for speed? Top Gun is being shown on the Saturday night. Did someone say Pimms and popcorn?
MUSIC: Wetherbys Supersprint with Craig David, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 21 Jul
You won’t get 7 Days with Craig David, but the guys a fast mover so you’ll who knows what might happen after a few hours at Newbury Races and a Party In the Paddock? Following his Miami wilderness years, the great R&B bearded one is well and truly back – and not to be missed. He’s awesome live and hasn’t aged one bit. I wish I could say the same. Tickets are flying out, so get your mitts sharpish. Tickets from £40.
THEATRE: Giffords Circus: My Beautiful Circus, Great Windsor Park, Thu 12 – Mon 16 July
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. Stonor Park Henley on Thames, 19-23 July.
FILM: Open Air Cinema, Douai Pavillion Woolhampton, Sat 22 July
Ah Ryan Gosling, you gorgeous specimen of man. Sorry, he stars in La La Land with Emma Stone. Yes it’s a musical of the old school variety, yes it is romantic and if you haven’t seen this Oscar winning hit, now’s your chance. Go, just for Ryan. He’s, I mean it’s, magic. Birch Associates Events are hosting at the idyllic Douai Pavilion in Woolhampton – £15 ticket priceincludes a deckchair. There’s a full bar, hog roast, burgers, hot dogs, candy floss, popcorn, ice creams. Doors open at 5pm for a 7pm viewing. Fab night out with family and friends.
THEATRE; Wayfaring, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, Tue 17 – Sat 21 July
Whether it’s food, drink, film or theatre, in this weather, take it all outside. The stonkingly beautiful Basildon Park will provide the backdrop for Wayfaring – an outdoor event combining installation with live performance and music. Artists and performers from And Now: will work with, not against, the environment; creating structures made from wood and other materials that are available from the landscape.
DANCE: The Dreamboys, The Hexagon Reading, Thu 19 July
Take me back to the 90s and pass the baby oil. Far be it for me to objectify, but feast your eyes on this lot – it’s only The Dreamboys, featuring X Factor reject Jake Quickenden offering to share a six pack or 10. I’ll just leave this image hanging here and let your minds wonder. Tickets are selling faster than these boys can get down to their pants, so be snaffle one while you can.
Jerusalem, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 21 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.
Lynn Chadwick, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, now – Oct 2018
If you loved the Benar Venet sculptures at Cliveden last year, then the new installation of English sculpture and artist Lynn Chadwick’s awesome abstract metal works inspired by the human form and natural world. His big, bold sculptural pieces are doted around the grounds. Take a stroll, admire and then pop into Cliveden House for afternoon tea or lunch at the Astor Grill. nationaltrust.org.uk/cliveden
Reading Fringe Festival, various locations, Fri 24 – Wed 29 Jul
No need to schlep to Edinburgh for the Fringe, some of the finest comedy shows are being performed in Reading now. A huge choice of acts, with loads of cool stuff for grown ups and kids to see. I’m liking the sound of Chest Pains on 25 Jul in which a topless Englishman talks about heart surgery, funnier than it sounds and Eddie Summers – Rock Fuel, a surreal and relentlessly foolish brand of comedy capturing audiences imaginations with mini-explosions of chaotic banter on Sat 28 Jul. Grab your chance to see our up and coming comic stars without the ridiculous price tag (many performances are just £8). Bargain!
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: Lunar Eclipse Canoe Tour, Dinton Pastures Wokingham, Fri 27 July
Madness or magic? You decide. Here’s your chance to to see this month’s lunar eclipse on a guided tour of the lake at Dinton Pastures. It’s suitable for ages 4+, everyone has to join in paddling and you get to see the earth eclipse the moon. For some people the idea of being on a lake in the dark with your kids is a recipe for disaster, but it’s the school hols and probably worth the late night.
FILM: Swimming With Men, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 27 Jul – Thu 2 Aug
If the cineplex blockbusters aren’t floating your boat, check out Swimming With Men starring Rob Brydon and Jane Horrocks. A mid-life crisis leads unlucky-in-love Eric (Rob Brydon) to the local pool where he plunges into the all-male synchronised swimming scene to win back wife Heather (Jane Horrocks). Sync or swim, it’s laugh-out-loud from the get go.
Open Air cinema, Ascot Racecourse, Thu 19 – Sat 21 Jul
Love a man in the uniform? Then you’re in for a treat – Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Cillian Murphy; plus the ‘old enough to their mothers’ lust list Harry Styles, Tom Glynn-Carney and James D’Arcy. Christopher Nolan’s epic WWII drama Dunkirk needs to be seen on the big screen to appreciate the scale of this film as it retells the allied evacuation of occupied France. Rather see something lighter than a Ryvita cracker there’s Bridesmaids, Fri 20 July for laughs and The Greatest Showman, Sat 21 July for a sing a long.
The International Day, Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club, Sat 28 Jul
Rub shoulders with royalty, rock stars and the Hollywood A list at polo’s fancy pants International Day (formerly the Cartier International) held for the first time ever at the Royal County of Berkshire Polo Club in Winkfield. Polo is actually a fun spectators sport with a large dollop of social fun thrown in for good measure. Once the competitive bit is over, swap chukkas for Chinawhites and party into the small hours. You may need the stamina of a polo pony. Dressage champ Charlotte Dujardin will also perform on the day. Tickets from £25.
Well, you can’t go out every night, can you? Homebirds should try our latest Speedy Supper – Aussie chef Donna Hay’s tasty veggie fritters need minimal cooking in this heat and they’re a good way of using up your garden’s courgette harvest (because you’ve all harvested your courgettes, right?) If you’re too hot and bothered to even eat (never!), you could lie in an ice bath with Muddy’s pro bookworm Kerry Potter July holiday reading round-up. Sofa calling? Well, there’s always the football – at time of writing England were still in contention. Amuse yourself at half time with our guide to the most intellectually hot players in the competition (because we would never perv over men here at Muddy obvs). There’s also Wimbledon of course – pass the Pimm’s pronto and check out our interview with local tennis hero, Tim Henman. Alternatively, the dim-witted body-beautifuls of Love Island may float your boat or you could head to Netflix for Good Girls. This new US heist drama sounds very promising – Mad Men’s Christina Hendricks stars as one of three suburban moms who flip out and hold up a local grocery store. Think Desperate Housewives crossed with Thelma & Louise.
JULY’S TOP NEW MOVIE RELEASES
Incredibles 2, from 13 Jul nationwide
They’re back and in a nod to modern life, Mrs Incredible (aka Elastigirl) is tasked with bringing back superheroes whilst dad stays at home and looks after the kids. Humorous, delightful and great fun for kids and adults, this is perfect for the hols.
Mamma Mia, Here We Go Again, from 20 Jul nationwide
Can’t wait for this one. The original cast plus Cher as Sophie’s grandmother, let’s hope it’s as good as the first, full of sunshine-y joyful ABBA hits, a great story and plenty of laughs.
ART: The Head and the Load, Turbine Hall, Tate Modern, London, Wed 11 Jul – Sun 15 Jul
Commemorating the contribution of hundreds of thousands of African porters and carriers during WW1, William Kentridge uses music, dance, shadow play and sculptures to create a dramatic show in the Turbine Hall. The composer, Philip Miller, and musical director Thuthuka Sibisi have created an original score that draws on a wide range of traditions plus there’s an international cast of singers and dancers, many from South Africa. It sounds spectacular. If you’re in the vicinity on Fri 27 Jul, don’t forget to check out Tate Late when the gallery comes alive with music, talks and workshops after hours.
EVENT: Circus Sampler, Somerset House, London, Wed 25 Jul – Tues 7 Aug
More circus celebrations with a free exhibition Circus Originals opening on 25 July plus live circus events. Dance artists Far From The Norm perform Union Black that combines humour, hip hop and circus using Chinese poles and tight-wire. Between performances, you can watch international record-breaking hula hooper extraordinaire, Marawa. She’s joined by her team of hoop performers, The Majorettes, and they’ll teach you to hula hoop after the show.
THEATRE: True West, Vaudeville Theatre, London, from Fri 23 Nov
Booking is now open for the West End Premiere of Pulitzer Prize-winner Sam Shepard’s ferociously funny, modern classic, True West. Directed by Matthew Dunster, an Olivier-nominated director, playwright, actor and Associate Director at Shakespeare’s Globe, and starring Kit Harington (of Game of Thrones fame) and Johnny Flynn (Genius) as warring brothers, this sure sounds like a goodie.
COMEDY: Luisa Omielan: Politics for Bitches, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 6 July
Fresh from filming her BBC3 series, comedy phenomenon Luisa Omielan is back with her third stand up instalment, Politics for Bitches! It’s all brand new material, following on from smash hit shows like What Would Beyonce Do? and Am I Right Ladies!? Her joke on the Thigh Gap went viral with over 45 million views (add to the view count here). If you like this you will LOVE the show. It’s a party with jokes in! Be quick guaranteed to be a sell out.
THEATRE: What The Moon Saw, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 5 – Sat 7 July
Fancy staying in your PJs all day without being judged (OK , so you might b judged a little bit)? Now you can. What The Moon Saw, inspired by the Hans Christian Andersen story, is a new dance and circus performance whisking little ones and their families off on a nighttime adventure. it’s all about a little boy called Jack who’s afraid of the dark. While the nippers are distracted, catch a few zzzz.Just don’t give the game away by snoring
EAT OUT: Joel Harrison: Master of Gin, The Vineyard Stockcross, Mon 9 Jul
Ah, the Monday mini resolution of not drinking until at least Thursday. I normally crumble at 7.21pm on Tuesday (if not before). But I reckon Award-winning writer and creative consultant, Joel Harrison, is worth falling off the wagon for. He’ll be hosting a special gin-themed lunch at The Vineyard. You get three gin-themed courses, matching wines and a signed copy of his book, Distilled – £60pp.
DANCE: Silent Disco – 80s and 90s. Norden Farm, 6 July
In 1996 I went to the filming of Hotel Babylon hosted by Dani Behr (last seen on Come Dine With Me in 2009). Despite the live music – Seal, no less – we were filmed dancing enthusiastically to no music. With no beat to comply with, we just looked like we’d been on a 48-hour Red Bull bingathon. That’s how I imagine silent discos to look. Norden Farm is hosting – Jeff plays the 80s and Dave plays the 90s. Tune in on your wireless headphones, and dance like a legend in your own little bubble.
COMEDY: Comedy in the Brewery, Windsor and Eton Brewery, Sat 7 Jul
Comedy + beer – what could possibly go wrong? Head to the factory floor of Windsor & Eton Brewery for a unique night of laughs and heckling as four up and coming circuit comics take to the stage. Daphna Baram, Paul Duncan McGarrity, Fred Ferencz and Sarah Iles will be bringing the craft comedy, the brewery’s got the craft beers nailed, you just need to bring the laughs. Doors at 7pm Comedy starts at 8.
A must watch musical and you don’t have to leave the county to see it. Based on a true story, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie is the new award-winning hit musical about a 16 year old boy who doesn’t fit in. Supported by his brilliant loving mum and surrounded by his friends, Jamie overcomes prejudice, beats the bullies and steps out of the darkness, into the spotlight. A must watch. In fact, if you have a ten, take them too. Inspiring stuff.
EVENT: Henley Royal Regatta, Henley, Weds 4 Jul – Sun 8 Jul
The steamiest regatta in existence. Straw boaters on, eyes on the lunch box (sarnies or Lycra bulges… they’re not mutually exclusive); and watch the rowing brawn from the riverbank – Henley Royal Regatta is on. There’s over 200 races to watch the smoking–hot rowers and enjoy your Champagne picnic. Even better, Chinawhite is descending on proceedings for the sixth consecutive year on Friday and Saturday, so expect Moet in droves and internationally acclaimed DJs keeping the party thumping.
EVENT: Henley Garden Show, Stonor Park, Henley, Oxon, Fri 13 – Sun 15 Jul
Garden shows nowadays are so much more than displays of the best plants by the top producers around the country. The beautiful Stonor Park is the setting for an orgy of foliage, talks by experts, shopping, entertainment, food and drink. Be inspired and get those green fingers ready to transform your own patch back home.
THEATRE: David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, The Hexagon Reading, Wed 11 – Sun 15 Jul
Another month, another David Walliams book transformed for the stage, but who cares when the kids love them so much? His seventh children’s book is another winner and tells the story of a rich orphan whose aunt tries to swizzle her out of her inheritance. Great staging, a truly inventive set design with gothic turrets, hidden drawbridges and chimmeys, plus puppetry and energetic performances combine to bring a stage show that should delight Walliams’ many fans.
FESTIVAL: The Henley Festival, Henley, Oxon, Weds 11 – Sun 15 Jul
Put your Daisy Dukes away, this is a strictly black tie affair. Well, it is Henley, darlings. This massive five day bash is chocka with live music, contemporary arts, comedy (Paul Merton, Mark Watson, Rob Brydon, Lucy Watson), street theatre and food glorious food, with 12 restaurants and nine bars. Rita Ora, Grace Jones, Nile Rodgers and The English National Opera are among the headliners, plus there’s the massively popular Family Sunday. Renowned local chef Paul Clerehugh and his team from London Street Brasserie, Reading are running a pop-up in the Spiegeltent – and even more spiffing, mention Muddy Stilettos for a free flute of champagne. Never say we don’t look after you, dear readers! Family tickets start at a reasonable £35 but this only allows you to wander around the event and hear the concerts. To see the floating concert stage you need to buy lawn (from £55 to £110) or grandstand (undercover) tickets from £70.
THEATRE: No Kids, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 12 July
To procreate or not to procreate; that is the question. No Kids explores the personal journey that real-life couple Nir and George embarked upon when they asked the question: as a gay couple, should we go out of our way to have children? Gender-bending musical cabaret and verbatim theatre marry to conceive a distinctly queer piece that asks: should we be making more babies in an increasingly overpopulated world? And is our society truly open to the idea of two dads?