DAYS OUT: Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Thu 18 – Fri 2 Nov
I’ve run out of jokes about Brick or Treat – that’s how long this Legoland event has been running! Over 55 ‘spooktacular’ rides, live shows and attractions, plus firework displays on 20, 21, 26 & 27 October. Don’t forget to read our tips on how to survive Legoland.
MUSIC: Her’s, South Street Arts Reading, Thu 18 Oct
There’s more to Liverpool than The Beatles and Sonja. In fact the latest musical frisson is all about Her’s – a pop duo consisting of Stephen Fitzpatrick and Audun Laading, After just three singles, the band has clocked up over a million downloads on Spotify. The sound? Snappy guitar lines and sleazy vocals continue the pair’s rollicksome reign as Liverpool’s answer to Ariel Pink or Mac Demarco.
MAGIC: Jamie Raven: Making Magic, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 19 Oct
Britain’s Got Talent Runner up, Jamie Raven, has wasted no time pulling a rabbit out the hat crowd-pleasing show to take on tour. If you’ve magic and have members of your family claiming they know how it is done (yes I am talking to your Mr Muddy), then see this show. Jamie explores how and why magic works, and what it means to so many different types of people. However, as with everything that he does, things are not always as they seem.
COMEDY: Croft & Pearce: Double Take, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 19 Oct
Not to be missed! Croft & Pearce are back on tour with a brand new show and, if it’s anything like the others, it’ll be a sell out. So hurry. Stars of BBC Radio 4’s The Croft & Pearce Show and Sketchorama, winners of the Mervyn Stutter Spirit of the Fringe Award, recipients of the official Edinburgh Fringe ‘Total Sell-Out Show’ laurel and WhatsOnLondon Comedy Award nominees 2017. The list goes on and on. Buy a ticket and see why everyone loves these gals.
EVENT: Halloween: The Bats Lair, Cliveden National Trust Taplow, Sat 20 – Sun 28 Oct
Half week is looming large (don’t worry, we’ll be helping you survive the week a little late in the month) but if you’re kids want to DO Halloween but you’re not keen on Trick or Treating, do this instead. Dress your gruesome kids in Halloween costumes, let them go bat sh*% crazy around Cliveden’s 376 acres while while hanging out with Cliveden’s old bats. No, not Lady Astor… Say that again and she’ll haunt you.
COMEDY: James Campbell: The Hilariously Funny World Of…, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 22 Oct
Can you be funny without swearing? Personally, I love a show that drops sweaty bombs all over the place, but not in front of the children. Obvs. All hail the squeaky clean but hilarious James Campbell and his stand up show for children, their parents and anyone whose idolises Mary Whitehouse. He sees the funny in everything from pets, couscous, spaniels, making your own yoghurt, bees and why we have hair. Age guidance 6+ years.
THEATRE: Circus of Horrors, South Hill Park Bracknell, Mon 20 Oct
Circus of Horrors was the first act of its kind to make it to the Britain’s Got Talent finals and the first circus to appear in a West End Theatre for 100 years. Welcome to the Psycho Asylum is set in Victorian London in 1899, with Sword Swallowers, Fire Eaters, Cross Bow and Knife Throwing Ultra Vixens, Death Defying Aerialists, A Guinness World Record holding diva swinging solely from her hair. You get the picture. It sounds like the kind of show you’ll watch from behind your hands. Grimly compelling. Also appearing at the Corn Exchange Newbury on Thu 24 Oct.
EVENT: Victorian Ghost Stories, Stonor Park Henley, Wed 24 Oct
Ghost, ghouls and terrifying tales, courtesy of Oxford’s infamous spooky storyteller Bill Spectre. For one night only Stonor Park will Bill will be performing The Judge’s House by Bram Stoker, followed by a short interval and The Monkey’s Paw by W W Jacobs – two of the most brilliant ghost stories ever written. Rock up early for a light pre-show supper at 7pm.
ACTIVITY: Tree Climbing, National Trust Cliveden Taplow, Thu 25 and Fri 26 Oct
Harnesses on? Not eaten anything in the last half hour? Then head to the delicious Cliveden for Tree Climbing with The Great Big Tree Climbing Company. Wheeeee! I humiliated myself doing this once (I will need 3 gins to spill that story) so have a go just for the laughs. Minimum age: 6.
EVENT: Worthington’s Armed Forces Raceday, Newbury Racecourse, Fri 27 Oct
Attention! A race day with plenty of umpapah military pomp. It’s the final meeting of the Flat Season and the launch of the British Legion Poppy Appeal. We can’t promise Richard Gere or Tom Cruise in their whites but there will be plenty of hotties in uniform, fun, fizz and the chance to have a flutter. Free entry for armed forces personnel past and present. Please call 01635 40015 to redeem.
Duke and Duchess of Susses Exhibition, Windsor Castle, from 26 Oct
Better late than never, but we’ve all been invited to Windsor Castle to get up close and personal with newlyweds Harry and Meghan. Ok, so they won’t actually be there but a new exhibition will display Meghan’s Givenchy bridal gown designed by Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller is, her 5m veil embroidered with flora symbolising the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 1932 Queen Mary diamond and platinum tiara loaned to the Duchess by the Queen. It’s not all about the bride (even though we known it is really), Harry’s Blues and Royals frock designed by Dege & Skinner on Savile Row will also be standing to attention.
EVENT: MaidenDead Zombie Walk, The Maiden’s Head Maidenhead, Sat 27 Oct
The annual fright night is almost here. Ditch trick or treating (it’s so 1980s) a, it’s all about the zombie walk. A chance to dress up, go crazy with the greasepaint, spill your guts (literally) and drag yourself through the Maidenhead town centre, before a disco for the dead back at the pub. Arrive at 3pm, pro make up artists will transform you into a bloody mess, perfect your walk and out you go at 5pm.
MOVIES: October’s Best New Releases
A Star is Born, nationwide from Wed 3 Oct
Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut starring himself and Lady Gaga is highly anticipated and the Muddy office can’t wait to see it. The remake tells the story of hard drinking musician (Cooper, originally played by Kris Kristofferson) who falls in love with a young hopeful singer-songwriter (Gaga, originally Barbra Streisand). The movie has been very well received by the critics and with the fabulous soundtrack, it’s all set to be a romantic indulgent treat.
Jonny English Strikes Again, Fri 5 Oct
Rowan Atkinson’s spoof James Bond returns for a third time. Lots of slapstick and silliness that has made audiences laugh despite the critics not being so convinced. Kids seem to love it so if an animated yeti in the movie Small Foot doesn’t appeal for a half term trip to the flicks, perhaps this will?
Halloween, nationwide from Fri 19 Oct
Although the film is the eleventh instalment, it takes the story back to where the first one finished with Jamie Lee Curtis returning to the role of Laurie Strode. Expect real visceral horror with the film returning to its roots plus some funny moments to release the tension. Fans of the original are raving about it.
Shall we ramp up the central heating? I won’t tell anyone if you don’t. If you’re hunkering down how about rustling up this easy-peasy pasta dish for dinner, while perusing one of Kerry’s compelling October literary picks? And while there’s not quite as much brilliant TV around as in Sep (Bodyguard, we miss youuuu), look out for The Bisexual on Channel 4, starting 10 Oct, a new comedy/drama, starring the always-brilliant Maxine Peake. It’s about a woman exploring her sexuality after splitting from her long-term girlfriend. Then there’s Butterfly on ITV, with Anna Friel playing the mother of a transgender child. Making Of A Murderer fans, take note – a new series of the cult crime docu-series arrives on Netflix on 10 Oct. And speaking of Netflix, the streaming service has traditionally been a bit ‘meh’ when it comes to Hollywood movies but some new additions this month caught my eye. There’s excellent thriller The Girl On The Train; Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals which stars Amy Adams; Private Life, a relationship drama starring Paul Giamatti about a couple pursuing fertility treatment and Sixteen Candles for some retro Molly Ringwald ‘80s teen movie action. Finally, I love a rock’n’roll tale and they don’t come more rock’n’roll than Whitney Houston. The acclaimed account of her amazing, chaotic, tragic life, Whitney, by Oscar-winning filmmaker Kevin Macdonald, is available on DVD, Blu-ray and digital download on 29 Oct.
EVENT: Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Sun 1 Oct – Sun 12 Nov
Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios are brilliant at ringing the changes with their events and for this one the Great Hall will be decorated with over 100 floating pumpkins, just as seen as in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Art – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!
Warner Bros. Studio Tour london, Studio Tour Dr, Watford, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk
ART: Frieze Art Fair, Regents Park, London, Fri 5 – Sun 7 Oct
Considered the world leading platform for contemporary and modern art, the Frieze Art Fair unites 160 of the world’s leading galleries. You can view and / or buy art from over 1000 contemporary artists, some emerging talent, others more established. Daily events include talks and performances plus there’s Frieze Sculpture and Frieze Masters (showcasing work from the ancient era and Old Masters) in Regent’s Park. If all this culture makes you hungry, there are loads of delish food pop-ups whilst you contemplate the art and what it’s all trying to say.
FAMILY FUN: World Conker Championships, Southwick, Northants, Sun 13 Oct
Watch the experts as they battle it out to see who is the best at playing conkers in the world! It’s a big event with a kids’ conker competition, stalls, guide dog displays, bumper cars, climbing wall, food offerings, a tea and cake tent, Morris dancers, juggling workshops, a ukuleke band and praise be, a bar.
EXHIBITION: Hannah Perry: Gush, Somerset House, London, Wed 3 Oct and Good Grief Charlie Brown, from Thurs 25 Oct
Two new exhibitions open this month in the stunning setting of Somerset House. British Artist and Somerest House Studios resident Hannah Perry presents Gush. Using large-scale sculpture, sound and film, the exhibition explores the mental and emotional health of our hyper-connected world. Good Grief Charlie Brown brings together the original cartoons of Charles M Schluz with work from those designers and artists influenced by the iconic cartoon.
THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, Tues Oct 2 – Sun 30 Dec
Exciting news – there’s a theatre being opened in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, a play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.
EXHIBTION: Black Mirror: Art as Social Satire, the Saatchi Gallery, London, now until Sun 13 Jan 2019
In these troubling times, satire can provide some light relief and hold up a mirror to modern-day politics. This new exhibition explores how art and satire can question and commentate in a way that can diffuse situations. All sorts of media have been used, including photography, installations and more obviously caricatures, and what’s even better is it’s completely free (very helpful when in Chelsea flexing the credit card).
EVENT: Fright Nights, Thorpe Park, various dates throughout Oct
Thorpe Park’s Fright Night boasts more terror than ever before with new horror experiences, attractions, and even more scares. It’s the perfect event to get you in the mood for Halloween, so grab your tickets… if you dare.
FOOD: London Restaurant Festival, various London locations, all month
London’s fantastic restaurant scene is in full celebration mode this month, with great value festival menus at loads of great restaurants, plus foodie events like gastronomic weekends, tasting menus, restaurant-hopping tours, tasting menus with famous chefs, talks, films and art.
EXHIBTION: The Shape of Light, Tate Modern, now until Sun 14 Oct
Last couple of weeks to see this exhibition which chronicles 100 years of photography and abstract art. It explores the development of abstraction with photography from early pioneers to our 21st century digital innovators, with over 300 works by artists such as Man Ray and Jackson Pollock.
BEEN AND GONE
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival, Mon 2 – Sun 8 Oct
It’s the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness – and a bumper crop of literary festivals. Henley has pulled in some big celebrity names, including Fearne Cotton, Bryony Gordon, Kate Mosse (not the one without an e) and Muddy Stilettos (yes, we count as celebs). Behold our stellar panel of three dazzling writers in there Muddy Literary Salon. Viv Groskop, award-winning comedian and author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons From Russian Literature, Farrah Storr, Cosmopolitan editor and author of The Discomfort Zone: How To Get What You Want By Living Fearlessly and Caroline O’ Donoghue, whose Promising Young Women is one of the most acclaimed debut novels of 2018. The festival is now one of the biggest in the UK and worth a visit.
THEATRE: Priscilla Queen Of The Desert: The Musical, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 3 Oct
Vamp up the camp as Priscilla Queen Of The Desert rolls into Newbury – with an explosion of glamour, sequins, a cracking choon and a lorra laughs. Sadly Guy Pearce was too busy being all Hollywood A list to take to the stage, but you’ll enjoy every minute as a drag queen, cross dresser and transexual hit the road in their bus Priscilla to perform for enthusiastic crowds and homophobic locals. All shades of FAB-U-LOUS.
FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe Festival, various Windsor locations, now until Sat 6 Oct
It’s the final week of Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, gin tasting and more, plus the world renowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh. From Thu 4- Sat 6 Oct, the finalists’ plays – Cut & Paste by Jeff Nolan, The Claykickers’ Chorus by Kevin McMahon and Waiting For Hamlet by David Visick – will be performed each night with the Awards ceremony on Saturday night. Nailbiting.
COMEDY: Harry Hill’s Kids Show: How To Be Funny, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 6 Oct
Part stand up, part careers advice, Harry Hill – the loon off the telly – takes to the Norden Farm stage to give kids the dos and don’ts of comedy. Yes, he’s got a new book to flog, Matt Millz Stands Up!, but the show is packed hull of jokes and top tips. If your kid’s a fancies themselves as comedian, make sure they bring their best jokes. Wet yourself funny. Suitable for ages 6 – 16 years.
DANCE: Big Fish, Little Fish, Hexagon Reading, Sun 7 Oct
Have kids, will party. Want to go raving but too knackered to dance for six hours and get home in the early hours? Big Fish, Little Fish’s bonkers afternoon raves for parents with under eights should hit the spot and get you home in time for Antiques Roadshow. Balloons, bubbles, glitter, parachutes, face painting and arts and crafts accompanied by DJ Chad Jackson (DMC World Champ) and Bunf from Super Furry Animals on the decks. White gloves and whistles at the ready.
WEDDING: Ufton Court Wedding Fayre, Ufton Nervet, Sun 7 Oct
Getting hitched? Before you do anything else read our feature on to the dreamiest venues to say ‘I do’. Then get yourself along to Ufton Court’s Wedding Fayre. We love this venue at Muddy, it’s historic, romantic, with loads of Pinterest-worthy photo opps. The fayre will give you the opportunity to get loads of inspirational ideas for your big day.
THEATRE: Trial By Laughter, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now –Fri 27 Oc
Following on from the record-breaking play The Wipers Times (if you missed it, it’s on at the Oxford Playhouse 3-8 Sep), Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are back at the Watermill Theatre to premiere a new play. This true and extraordinary story is about the trial of William Hone – a forgotten hero of free speech, he was charged with ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the debauched monarchy. I enjoy Ian Hislop’s razor-sharp wit so it’s bound to be a fun evening an it’s got a whiff of Private Eye…
COMEDY: Private Parts Live, Corn Exchange Newbury, Tues 10 Oct
Forget Absolutely Ascot, nobodies watching that. It’s all about Made in Newbury – the latest E4 reality TV show. Ok so only one of those statements is true. There’s no MIN (sadly). But the Made In Chelsea stars Jamie Lang and Francis Boulle will be exposing themselves to the good peeps of West Berkshire in a live, laugh-a-minute show developed from their podcast, Privates Lives. You’ll get all sordid details of their private lives, including hot on and off screen gossip.
THEATRE: Dick Tracy: Comedy Caper, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 11 Oct
Rooted in the ridiculous, Dick Tracy promises to have the bad guys in handcuffs and the audience in stitches. There’s been a series of high-profile crimes right across the city – but fear not. The police chief’s put his best man on the job. Expect plenty of audience interaction, lightning quick character changes and authentic accents spattered with malice and mischief.
TALKS: Ayesha Hazarika — ‘Girl on Girl: The Fight for Feminism’, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Friday 12 Oct
‘Phew! After Weinstein and #MeToo, women of the world have finally united… Who cares about smashing the patriarchy when you can go full-on Prisoner: Cell-Block H? So, what happened to feminism? Is it too posh? Too white? When did Germaine Greer become Richard Littlejohn? Whose feminism is it anyway?’ Political pundit Ayesha Hazarika tackles the F word.
SPORT: Maverick Ions-8 Original Trail Trace, Stonor Park Henley, Sat 13 Oct
Now I’m assuming any race that covers 324 square miles of countryside requires a bit of training. Unless you’re Jessica Ellis, of course, in which case best of luck. The Maverick Original Oxfordshire Trail Race kicks off from Stonor Park this Saturday covering South Oxon, Bucks, Beds and Herts. See the runners off then hit the coffee and cake hard, mooch round the gardens and play in the Wonder Woods. It’s practically community service, just do it.
WALKS: Crime Walk along the Thames, Reading Central Library, Sat 13 Oct
Walk in the footsteps of Reading’s most notorious criminals. Join crime writer Angela Buckley for a sinister stroll around the river and surrounding roads of Caversham, associated with the notorious Victorian baby killer Amelia Dyer. It is suspected than many of the children in her care over three decades were strangled and dumped in the Thames. A light lunch might be in order.
TALKS: Gregg Wallace: Doesn’t Get Tougher Than This, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 13 Oct
Leaping out of the frying pan into the fire, Gregg Wallace is putting his fork down long enough to make his stand up debut. What can your expect from the former greengrocer cum Masterchef presenter? Funny behind the scenes tales with demos and audience fun and games. He’ll answer anything, shares classic anecdotes and dishes up MasterChef’s juiciest bits. Just don’t spell his name wrong on social…
SHOPPING: Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 12– Sat 13 Oct
Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an AW18 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.
WALKS: Windsor Ghost Tour, Windsor Castle, Sun 14 Oct
Things that go bump in the night. Not Prince Philip falling out of bed, but a ghost tour in the shadow of the Queen’s gaff. Put your big girl pants, knock back a stiff drink and discover the bloody tales of Windsor in this theatrical ghost tour featuring live actors, scary stories and Windsor’s best haunts. Starts at 8.30pm and lasts approximately 75 minutes!
TALK: Nigella Lawson, Oxford New Theatre, Mon 13 Nov
Chatting about her life in food, saucy Nigella Lawson is on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first cook book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. Nigella manages to make everyday cooking seem sexy and easy and here she talks about her love of food and what it means to be an author, cook and TV personality. Don’t miss the book signing after the performance too.
THEATRE: Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends, The Royal Albert Hall, Sat Dec 1
Tickets for Rob Lowe’s live show are bound to sell out fast (as they have in the States). Inspired by his memoirs of the same name and his previous book Love Life, Mr Lowe will spill the beans on a career from the Brat Pack to The West Wing to Parks and Rec and beyond. Apparently, he’s quite the raconteur with loads of witty anecdotes that touch on his career, fame, Hollywood, fatherhood and marriage.