Top 20 things to book in 2020
Crack out your calendar, folks (and maybe your credit card). Here are the hottest tickets for Berkshire in 2020 - see you there!
Ready to ditch the slippers and box sets yet? Here are 20 splendifous reasons to get out and about in Berkshire over the coming months. Book up, grab some mates, and out you go.
The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson. Theatre Royal Windsor, 10-15 Feb
Megxit may have replaced Brexit temporarily, but Brexit is back. Just a couple of weeks after our divorce from the EU, The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson comes to Windsor as part of a UK tour. If you like your politicians skewered with satire and your politics raw, this is for you. As befits the fastest moving story of our time, the script will be updated – nightly if necessary – to reflect events. The scriptwriters could be very very busy.
The Tempest, South Hill Park Bracknell. 4-9 Feb
Nothing like a wet, miserable night to give you the willies before a couple of hours watching Shakespeare’s famous last play, The Tempest. This fantastical adaptation reunites director Joe Malyan with award-winning set designer Victoria Spearing who have the ability to make magic happen on the stage.
We Will Rock You, The Hexagon Reading, 7-11 Jul
If Bohemian Rhapsody, unleashed a Queen obsession that you’re struggling to shake off, We Will Rock You, should scratch that itch. This worldwide hit musical by Queen and Ben Elton returns to the UK and it’s rocking up in Reading, with 24 of Queen’s biggest hits delivered in a show that boasts the scale and spectacle that marked the bands’ legendary live performances.
Hamlet, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, 17 Apr – 13 May
A bold, innovative female-led production of Hamlet, courtesy of The Watermill Theatre, breathes new life into Shakespeare’s timeless tragedy. The Watermill have quite the rep for producing Shakespeare that relevant to modern audiences, underscored with live music played by the cast. Never disappointing.
Billionaire Boy, Theatre Royal Windsor, 19-22 Feb
We’re pretty late to the party, but finally, David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy comes to the Theatre Royal Windsor – about 12-year-old Joe who is the richest boy in the country and receives £100,000 a week pocket money (don’t go getting any ideas, kids). It’s produced by the same team that created the award-winning West End show Gangsta Granny so should be a goodie and, knowing Walliams, will be packed with humour for adults too.
Burn The Floor, The Hexagon Reading, 15 May
Strictly champs Kevin from Grimsby and his sister Joanne Cifton are touring together for the first time ever. Joanne’s hung up her Flashdance wet leotard and joined her brother for the five-star dance extravaganza, Burn The Floor. Basically, if you’re pining for the Strictly ballroom, this should keep you going until September.
Alice In Wonderland, South Hill Park Bracknell, 6-14 Apr
Make mine a double gin and I’ll happily disappear down a rabbit hole into the trippy world of Alice in Wonderland. Your kids will love it for entirely different reasons. South Hill Park always put on a damn fine school holiday musical with spectacular staging. They’re a talented bunch. Book in or the Red Queen will be “frumious”.
Qaimera, Corn Exchange Newbury, 25 Feb
Take dance, circus and a peppering of theatre, throw in the story of Don Quixote and, it’s safe to say, you’re in for a unique night at the theatre. Quimera is a darkly funny performance with quirky and extreme physicality, using contemporary dance, a German Wheel, acrobatics and stunning aerial circus.
Ben Fogle – Tales From The Wilderness, The Hexagon Reading, 23 Mar
The serial adventurer (he’s climbed Everest, dodged pirates and walked to the South Pole) will be discussing his past expeditions and answering questions from the audience.
Jimmy Carr, Theatre Royal Windsor 19 Jan; and The Hexagon Reading, 19 Feb, 15 Apr, and 24 Jun
Performing not once, but five times this year in Berks. Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. Not for the easily offended, but definitely for anyone who loves the LOLs. Jimmy’s brand new stand-up show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. You’ve been warned.
This show will sell out because there isn’t a Berkshire gig Jen Brister’s done in recent years that hasn’t. She describes herself as a stand-up comedian, writer, actor, d***head, and it’s that kind of self-deprecating humour, we love. Her show Under Privilege takes an irreverent look at the often controversial subject of ‘privilege’. Who has it? Who doesn’t? And why does no one like to admit they have any?
Chris Ramsey, The Hexagon Reading, 29 Oct
Chris Ramsay has finally scrubbed off the last of the fake tan and stopped finding glitter and sequins in every crevice. To celebrate, he’s shimmying off on tour for his biggest ever stand-up tour which includes stops in Reading in October. The Guardian says he spins unpretentious banter into ‘stand-up gold’.
Lucy Porter, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 30 May
Dig out our Brownie uniform, Lucy Porter returns with a new show and we reckon your tea making badge may come in handy. Despite what Brown Owl told you, an emergency 10p for the phone box and a competent knot, cannot solve everything. Life’s slightly more complicated than that.
Reading Festival – Liam Gallagher headlining, 28-30 Aug
If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1996. Reading Festival has announced that Liam Gallagher is headlining this year’s festival in August, so expect more middle-aged, parka-wearing Britpoppers than usual.
Fi.Fest 2020, Fifield Windsor, 11 Jul
Who wants a village fete when you can a music festival with bands from your misspent youth. Fi.Fest is set to be a belter with The Lightening Seeds, The South half of The Beautiful South, Toploader and more. While you’re embarrassing yourself in front of the main stage, there’s plenty to distract the kids from this trip down memory lane.
BoyzLife, The Hexagon Reading, 27 Mar
It’s an Irish mash-up (apologies for the potato pun), but fans of boybands Westlife and Boyzone are in for a treat as the two become one for the first time ever, with a full-band production show which features Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy. Expect to hear top tunes from both bands. Cheesy yes, but you’ll know the words and if you take your own stool, you’ll be ready for the upstanding key change.
McFly, Newbury Racecourse, 18 Jul
From boy band to man band, McFly are all grown up and it feels a safe space to say you may even fancy one or two of them. This summer they’ll play at the Newbury Racecourse’s party in the paddock.
Katie Melua, The Hexagon Reading, 20 Nov
Does folky-pop hot the spot? Then you won’t want to miss multi-award-winning singer Katie Melua. This year she’s heading out on a 45-date headline 2020 tour, and one of those stops just so happens to be Reading.
MORE COOL STUFF
Countryfile Live, Great Windsor Park, 20-23 Aug
The BBC’s rural rock stars have been camping out at Blenheim Palace for the last couple of years, but the Duke of Marlborough’s been trumped by the Queen as Countryfile Live will now pop up at Windsor Great Park. There will be food, a funfair, wildlife, talks and the Craven Arms is back. See you at the bar for a pear cider.
Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Base Greenham Common, 7 Feb – 26 Apr
Wildlife photography requires patience, lightning reactions and a little bit of luck. But when they get the money shot… POW! the results are extraordinary. This year’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is being held at The Base at Greenham Common Business Park in Newbury. It’s an international showcase of 100 images taken by the very best in nature photographers around the world.