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THEATRE: Madagascar The Musical, Hexagon Reading, Tue 19 –  Sat 23 Feb

Madagascar The Musical Reading Hexagon 2018 Matt Terry as Lion

Yes, that is X-Factor winner Matt Terry in a lion suit – and you’re gonna hear him rooaaaaaarr. He’s finally escaped the talent show zoo (well it was a few years ago now) and is now on the prowl in theatres all over the UK in Madagascar The Musical. It’s a brilliant feel-good show, packed with all the crowd-pleasing choons. You got to move it, move it… and see this one while you can. I’ll get my coat.


THEATRE: Murder For Two, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 23 Feb

Murder for two – one man playing piano

I reviewed Murder For Two when it premiered at The Watermill last year, and after a run in London’s West End, this hilarious high-energy whodunit is back. Starring Ed MacArthur and Jeremy Legat, it’s a madcap murder mystery with a twist, a hysterical blend of music, mayhem and murder.


WALKS: Snowdrop Walks, Welford Park Newbury, now – Sun 3 Mar

carpet of snowdrops in woodland at Welford Park Newbury

It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry-ish day and wander through drifts of snowdrops at Welford Park. Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until Sun 3 Mar. You can find more snowdrop walks here.


THEATRE; Rough Crossing, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sat 9 Feb

Rough Crossing theatre waiter brand on tray bottle and seagull at seas

If you’ve been hibernating on the sofa, binge watching boxsets since the 1 Jan, drag your bottom off and get stuck into some cultcha. Rough Crossing, written by Tom Stoppard (yes, the fella who wrote Shakespeare in Love) and directed by Rachel Kavanagh (Wind In the Willows) returns to Windsor with EastEnders hottie John Partridge taking the lead role.


WELLBEING: Alternative Friday Night, Orchard Life Midgham, Fri 1 Feb

Yoga cross legged on mat in wooden floor studio

Spend your Friday nights flat on your back in a state of total bliss. And on this occasion, you won’t have emptied a bottle of wine. Friday nights have never looked so good… no, seriously, you’ll be polishing your halo after an evening with Laura of The Wellbeing Feeling’s deep reiki infused meditations, yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and a sound meditation.


COMEDY: Stephen K Amos: Bouquets and Brickbats, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 1 Feb – Sat 2 Feb

Comedian Stephen K Amos black t shirt waistcoat blue background

Brexit. Trump: things have been looking bleak. Comic maestro Stephen K Amos might not be able to provide bread to the hungry masses, but no one else is going to put on a better circus. Leave your problems behind and who knows? Maybe the world will seem just a little bit brighter.


FAMILIES: Charge The Castle, Windsor Castle, from Sat 2 Feb

black white chess board knights

Chaaaaaarge! Windsor Castle its under siege and it’s up to your mini knights to fight them off pronto. Don’t worry they’ll have all the gear – armour and weapons – and a bit of an idea (did someone say risk assessment?), leaving you time to wander off and swoon over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Wedding exhibition. It’s only on until 17 Feb. Charge The Castle is on every Saturday in Feb, and every day over half term.


MUSIC: The Vinyl Frontier: The White Album, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 2 Feb

the Beatles White album band members headshots

Calling all music nerds and Beatlemania babes! The Vinyl Frontier will be putting the Liverpool lads’ White Album under the spotlight to endure a thorough creative interrogation. Lots of chat, trivia and socialising with a musical masterpiece as your soundtrack for the evening.


SPORT: American  Superslam Wrestling 2019,  Hexagon Reading, Sun 3 Feb

Love Island Star Adam wyatt wrestling tattoo chest muscles angry face

Let’s get ready to rumble! I know, I know, but my boys love wrestling and I reckon this would be a great family treat. My knowledge stops short at Big Daddy but I’m assured American Superslam Wrestling featuring Love Island’s Adam Maxted (series 2, in case you’re wondering) all oiled up and in the tiniest lame pants. Just pray there are no re-enactments in the back of the car on the way home. Easy, Easy… 


THEATRE: Circus of Horrors, Hexagon Reading, Mon 4 Feb

Circus of Horrors Psycho Asylum tour sword swallower red hair goggles and burgundy frock coat sword in throat with firework attached

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. Basically if Quentin Tarantino directed Cirque du Soleil it might look a it like this. There are 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. Grimly compelling.


THEATRE: Macbeth, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tue 5– Sat 9 Feb

Macbeth South Hill Park Lady Macbeth sits in black cloak between two rocks

Image: Macbeth 2017

Something wicked this way comes… and it’s not a hoody wearing yoof giving you attitude (just my kids then). Joe Maylan’s critically-acclaimed 2017 production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth returns to South Hill Park for more blood, violence and trouble than a Brexit meeting. If you love your theatre dark and dramatic (or you have a teen studying it), it’s an edge-of-your-seat stuff must-see.


MUSIC: Kaiser Chiefs, Hexagon Reading, Wed 6 Feb

I predict a riot… the Kaiser Chiefs will be raising the roof at The Hexagon Reading. There aren’t many tickets left, so snap em up and perhaps you can go for a Ruby, Ruby, Ruby, Ruby afterwards. Sorry, I couldn’t resist. If you miss the fellas in action, they’ll also be performing at Marlow’s Pub In The Park in May.


EXHIBITION: Performance Photography, Forbury Place Reading, Wed 6 – Sun 10 Feb

Rio Olympics carnival man red orange and black feather costume

The power of performance is celebrated in this fab photographic exhibition from the drama and razzmatazz of the Rio Olympics and Paralympics to dance, cooking and studio art. We were all a bit bleary eyed staying up to watch Team GB going for gold. Beautiful Brazil, carnival spirit, caipirinha cocktails – it’s a blur, but it was a gift for photographers. Here’s your chance to see awesome images in the Performance exhibition at Forbury Place Reading.


COMEDY: Ken Cheng – Best Dad Ever, Norden Farm Reading, Thu 7 Feb

Ken Chang best dad ever comedian toy lamb on shoulder

Maths nerd, professional poker player and winner of the Dave Joke of the Fringe in 2017 (it was a gag about a £1 coin… you had to be there), Ken Cheng is heading to Maidenhead following a sold out, award-nominated run at Edinburgh Festival. Ken find thee funny in his unique childhood, explores his obsession with toy lambs and his complicated relationship with his parents.


SPORT: Run for Chocolate, Kings Meadow Reading, Sun 10 Feb

Running lovers, the loved up and chocolate lovers too…this one’s for you! Brace yourself for a stampede – there’s just the little business of covering 5km before you get the sweet stuff. Walk, jog or run, simply pop on your trainers whizz round Reading and a warm luxury hot chocolate will be waiting for you at the finish line (and a giant bar of Galaxy too, just me then). The event is open to all ages and abilities, starts at 10am.


DANCE: 5 Soldiers, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tue 12 Feb

5 Soldiers dance performance female soldier in tyres surrounded by men

Attteeeeention! The award-winning 5 SOLDIERS is coming to Bracknell and it’s a must-see. Choreographer Rosie Kay joined the 4th Battalion The Rifles, to watch and participate in full battle exercises, and visited the National Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. What came of these observations was this production – stripping back the war effort to reveal the solders as humans and individuals.


THEATRE: Ian McKellan On Stage, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 12 – Wed 13 Feb

Sir Ian McKellan 80 t shirt and gold confetti

You shall not pass… without buying a ticket! The legendary Sir Ian McKellan celebrates is 80th birthday with performances in 80 theatres with his one-man show – with all proceeds going to local charities. This month he rocks up to make his debut at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, one minute you’ll have Gandalf on stage, the next you’ll probably be up there him. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting.


EAT OUT: Beer pairing taster menu, West Berkshire Brewery Taproom, Tue 12 Feb

cheers two brown beer bottles

There’s not much focus on the fellas when it comes to Valentine’s Day. A card, perhaps a small gift, but generally it’s all me me me. I’m not complaining. But West Berkshire Brewery Taproom is going the extra mile to pull together a five-course tasting menu paired eight West Berkshire Beers. A gentle whiff of testosterone, dontcha think? Sounds chuffing lush. They’re also showing Pretty Woman at their next film night on Tue 19 Feb.


EVENT: Circus of Screams, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 16 Feb, Sat 23 Feb, Sat 2 Mar

striped circus tent and illuminated circus sign


Roll up and race round Reading for A Circus of Screams – a three-hour Murder Mystery where you must find hidden evidence and catch a circus killer against the clock! The whole town becomes the set for this real-life whodunnit.Crack clues using their smartphones, converse with characters and find hidden evidence before the time runs out. Try not to kill each other in the process.


FILM:  Evelyn, Vue Newbury, 17 Feb

Evelyn documentary film people on hilltop arms out

Mental health can be a tough sell, but no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, we have to break the silence. I urge you to go and see the BIFA award-winning documentary Evelyn, about a family living with the grief of suicide. It’s being shown on Sun 17 Feb at at Vue Newbury. It’s raw, profoundly moving and a must-watch. There are very few opportunities to see it outside of London. Book up.


LAST CHANCE: A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, now –  Sun 17 Feb

Meghan Merkle wedding dress andPrince Harry's military uniform on display in Windsor Castle

Roll up roll up, it’s your last chance to see 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. We can all look forward to the collection of Royal maternity clothes in the summer. (Only joking).


THEATRE: Margo and Mr Whatsit, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Mon 18 Feb

Margo & Mr whatsis one man two women in bed kids theatre

With two brothers, I didn’t have imaginary friends but imaginary sisters. I blame them entirely for the perm and rainbow eye shadow phase of my teen life.  Margo &  Mr Whatsit is a production about Sophia and her fantasy pal Mr Whatsit who becomes unimagined when she moves to her new foster home. Bye bye Mr Whatsit, hello Margo – much mischief will follows. Winner of Best Children and Family Show at Brighton Fringe, I reckon your littlies will love it.


TALK: Royal Romances, Coworth Park Ascot, Thu 21 Feb

Princess Margaretbridal gown wedding day

Still hoping for the fairytale ending? Nah, me neither. But oh how we love a royal romance. The rock ‘n’ roll years of Princess Margaret are by far my favourite, but who doesn’t reminisce about the brief highs and many lows of Charles and Diana, Andy and Fergie (until the toe-sucking saga) and, of course, the roofs rewriting the royal romance rules. Former ITV royal correspondent Nicholas Owen has seen it all and he’s spilling the beans at Coworth Park.


FAMILY FUN: Horrible Histories: Brand New Barmy Army Britain, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 21 – Sat 23 Feb

Horrible Histories Brand new barmy Army two men dressed as royal women

Love Horrible Histories and watch it without the kids (don’t judge, it’s hilarious). Brand New Barmy Britain is the dinner party you’d never want to host as HH bring back the dead so you get to meet all  faves from Britain’s barmy past – from Richard III to the Samuel Pepys!


FOODIE: Guest Chef Paul Ainsworth, The Hind’s Head Bray, Wed 27 Feb

If you love food and Padstow, brace yourself because this news is BIG. Superstar chef Paul Ainsworth is bringing his Cornish culinary magic to Berkshire. No need to spend hours in a jam to the South West, this Michelin star chef – owner of No.6, Rojano In the Square and The Padstow Townhouse – will be cooking a special 6-course menu at The Hind’s Head in Bray. Just a few tables left.


DANCE: Epilogues, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thu 28 Feb

Epilogues Two male dancers embrace

Feminists proclaim ‘Time’s Up’. Misogynists win presidencies. Are we actually moving forward? Or hurtling back in time? James Cousins, described by Matthew Bourne as ‘one of the UK’s most promising choreographic talents’, presents his new production, inspired by stories of division and separation.



EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, V&A Museum London, from Sat 2 Feb

Christian Dior pink tulle gown

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

This is going to be maaassive! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there will be a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.


KIDS: The Cat In The Hat, Aylesbury Waterside, now – Sun 3 Feb 2019

Oooh, I’m liking the quirky mayhem of this production. The team behind The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine return to the Aylesbury Waterside with Dr Seuss’s The Cat In The Hat. The classic picture book is retold with original songs, circus skills and some seriously groovy staging. For children 3+.


FASHION: Celebrating China pop-up boutique, Bicester Village, now until Sun 17 Feb

Curated by fashion influencer Susie Bubble, this pop-up boutique of ten cutting-edge Chinese designers is opening to celebrate Chinese New Year. It includes rising stars Ryan Lo, Mukzin and I Am Chen and with Chinese designers starting to make their mark on catwalks around the world it’s definitely worth checking out what they have to offer.


FAMILY FUN: Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds 13 Feb – Sun 24 Feb

cartoon of aliens

Twelve days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual kids festival. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a clutch of free possibilities in Strictly Kids, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Concert, meet How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, Sue Perkins conducting Noisy Notes, plus the chance to play in the soundpit, create your spoon alter ego and train to be astronaut.


EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum Henley, Fri 1 Feb – Sun 14 July

This exhibition’s focus is on how the Thames and its tributaries influenced William Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxon and enjoyed angling and boating and the influence of the river can been seen in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics so you get a sense of the man as well as his iconic work.


THEATRE: All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre, London, Sat 2 Feb – Sat 11 May

Not the recent fabulous tv series but a play based on the award-winning 1950s film starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a Broadway star, and her young fan, Eve Harrington, who inveigles her way into her life. With Gillian Anderson and Lilly James in the starring roles, director Ivo van Hove at the helm, and with the themes of celebrity and youth at its core, this looks like a dead cert for success.


EXHIBITION: David Adjaye: Making Memory – Seven Monumental Projects, Design Museum London, Sat 2 Feb – Sun 5 May

National Catherdral of Ghana. Image: Leonardo Finotti

Can a building shape our perception of events? We’re about to find out. Celebrated Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye showcases seven of his architectural projects that speak louder than words for social justice – all with a sense of fashion and style. From the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened by President Barak Obama, to the UK Holocaust Memorial Centre, each project is presented in a dedicated room alongside video interviews and immersive displays.


THEATRE: The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, Wed 6 – Thurs 21 Feb

This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare (and it’s only an hour long). The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019, following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year.  Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show is also touring round primary schools in Greater London.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves, the National Theatre, London, now – Sat 2 Mar

Cate Blanchett makes her debut at The National alongside Stephen Dilane in this new play by Martin Crimp, based on Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. It explores desire, sexual violence and the complicated roles men and women play – blimey!. There’s also a series of talks with members of the production and the playwright throughout the play’s run though Cate isn’t on the menu I’m afraid.

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