MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson. Theatre Royal Windsor, 10-15 Feb
We’re out. Brexit is done. I’m not sure there could be a more exciting and relevant time to see The Last Temptation of Boris Johnson when it arrives in 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 together have the ability to make magic happen on the stage.
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now–15 Feb
A critically-acclaimed jumble of micro plays about everyday life, The Watermill’s One Million Tiny Plays About Britain is funny and heartbreakingly moving. Listen hard and see the daily dramas – from a couple peering into an estate agent’s window and two sports fans having a heart-to-heart to a daughter questioning her mother’s love life, it’s a fascinating window into our world.
Of Silence, Corn Exchange Newbury, 5–6 Feb
Yep, the strikethrough is intentional! From theatre company Ad Infinitum, this bilingual performance in English and British Sign Language uses the company’s signature physical theatre to explore the deaf experience through the interconnected lives of four deaf people who are transported back to 1880. 14+
Kinky Boots: The Musical, Corn Exchange Newbury, 13–14 Feb
Kinky Boots: The Musical, filmed live at the Adelphi Theatre in the heart of London’s West End, is strutting onto the big screen! With songs from Grammy and Tony award-winning pop icon Cyndi Lauper, book by legendary Broadway playwright Harvey Fierstein (La Cage Aux Folles), and direction and choreography by Jerry Mitchell (Legally Blonde, Hairspray), the musical is based on the film written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. Grab a girlfriend, get a drink at the bar and enjoy an evening of music with this high-heeled hit!
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 it should be a goodie and, knowing Walliams, will be packed with humour for adults too.
Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 Feb
A new play based on the work of comic novelist and playwright PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense – the play was a hit on the West End and previously won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy so expect chortling galore.
Quimera, 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.
FILM: The Notebook, Hurley House Hotel Maidenhead, 11 Feb
If you get the raging thigh sweats for Ryan Gosling or you’re a sucker for a love story, then The Notebook is a must-watch. Hurley House Hotel will be rolling out the red carpet and inviting you to take your seats for its fancy film night. No soggy nachos, just wine, Champagne, popcorn and a cheese box.
Clothing Revival Workshop, The Base Greenham Common, 4 Feb
Trying to shop less, wear more and do your bit to be kinder to the planet? Join the slow fashion and movement and learn sewing techniques to give your well-worn wardrobe CPR, extending the life of your fashion faves.
Writing the Outdoors, 101 Outdoor Arts Creation Space Newbury, 6 Feb
Word up! Take an in-depth look at the role of narrative, the impact of words, and the possibilities and challenges faced by artists working in an outdoor/public context. There’ll be a chance to engage with content and network as well as being part of the conversation.
Snowdrop Walks, Welford Park Newbury, now – 3 Mar
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 of 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.
Meet The Author: Timmy Mallott, The Little Bookshop Cookham, 8 Feb
Dig out your loudest shirt, wacky glasses and the giant pink foam mallet you made in sewing class back in 1988 (er, just me?). Timmy Mallott is coming to Cookham and it’s going to be utterly brilliant! Meet the 80s superstar at The Little Bookshop in Cookham who will be signing copies of his memoir. `
Grace Campbell – Why I’m Never Going Into Politics, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 26 Feb
How do you survive a childhood in politics? We’re about to find out, as Grace Campbell – her dad is Labour’s former spin doctor Alastair Campbell – takes to the stage. Grace who is the co-founder of feminist group The Pink Protest, will spill her guts on why she’ll never consider a career in Westminster, hanging out with Putin’s kids and throw in the occasional vagina joke.
The Way Of Food – Nourishment as a Spiritual Practice, Wasing Wellbeing Aldermaston, 9 Feb
Discover the connection between energy and food. Chef, teacher, and healer Heather Umlah, will teach you the core spiritual and magical principles of nourishment that benefit body, mind spiritual and wellbeing. Learn how to use the healing properties of food to balance, elevate and inspire our relationship to our own sacred Self Care.
Alternative Friday Night, Orchard Life Midgham, Fri 1 Feb
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 sound meditation.
Jimmy Carr, The Hexagon Reading, 19 Feb
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.
Josh Widdicombe – Bit Much, Theatre Royal Windsor, 3 Feb
Josh Widdicombe makes a return to our ‘hood with his show Bit Much… which promises to tackle hot comedy topics of, erm, the closing time of his local park and pesto (I’m sure it’s funnier than it sounds) along with his trademark impressions. 14+
Sophie Hagen – The Bumswing, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 15 Feb
Winner of the Edinburgh Fringe’s Best Newcomer Award, podcaster, and author of Happy Fat Sophie Hagen (above) comes to Norden Farm in Maidenhead to perform her brilliantly titled show The Bumswing for one night only.
Simon Munnery – Alan Parker Urban Warrior Farewell Tour, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 Feb
Multi-award-winning comedian Simon Munnery reprises his notorious alter ego, the bedsit anarchist Alan Parker Urban Warrior. Once the most radical, now the only radical, Alan returns with the old gold, the old truths, and some new truths (based on the old truths). 16+ years.
Josie Long – Tender, The Concert Hall Reading, 29 Feb
In Reading, there’s a stand-up performance by Josie Long. The comedian won her first BBC Comedy Award aged 17 and has been doing the comedy rounds ever since (Russell Howard’s Stand Up Central, Dara O’Briain’s Go 8 Bit) whilst writing for The Guardian.
Andy Parsons: Healing The Nation, Corn Exchange Newbury, 29 Feb
He’s the bearded hobbit you see on the likes of Mock The Week, Live at the Apollo and QI– and now’s you’re chance to see Andy Parson live. Brilliantly funny with a superb economy of words, in Healing The Nation he’ll anaesthetise your worries with a double dose of belly laughs. Forget about Brexit, life in general, the only thing you’ll be worried about is how much your face hurts from laughing.
A Vinyl Frontier – An Evening with Martyn Ware (Heaven 17), Norden Farm Maidenhead, 6 Feb
Heaven 17 and The Human League founder Martyn Ware has worked with the likes of Tina Turner, Erasure and Terence Trent D’Arby, as well as being a leading electronic soundscape artist. Martyn will be in da house talking about his career at the forefront of electronic music over four decades.
Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet, Disco Love Fest, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 14 Feb
If Valentine’s Day brings you out in hives, body swerve the cheesy love fest and get ready to boogie at Haven’t Stopped Dancing Yet, a funk-tastic, feelgood 70s and 80s night. There’s dancer-led ‘line-ups’ to get you into the groove, prizes for the best retro outfits (you don’t have to dress up but lots do) and all the eco-glitter.
Run for Chocolate, Kings Meadow Reading, 23 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,in my dreams). The event is open to all ages and abilities, starts at 10am.
Maverick USE Exposure Dark Series Oxfordshire, Culden Faw Estate, 8 Feb
Fancy running in the dark (yes please, the wobble on my arse is currently on the tsunami scale), This trail run around the Culden Faw Estate in the Chiltern Hills starts after dark, at 6pm, with three route options – 5k, 10k, 15k.
Newbury Racecourse 5K/10K/Half, Newbury, 9 Feb
A new race on the calendar but one that is flat, so you can push for a PB. Gallop around Newbury Racecourse over 5k, 10k or a Half Marathon. You’re running laps, one loop for 5K, two for 10K and four for the half. See you in the Winner’s Enclosure.
Winter Woolly, Elstree School Woolhampton, 23 Feb
The inaugural Winter Woolly 10K, from the fabulous grounds of Elstree School in Woolhampton. Don’t be lulled into a gentrified amble around the grounds, this 10K is multi-terrain with muddy lanes, footpaths, trails and woodland and a fair few hills.
SHOPPING: Donna Ida & Friends Pop Up, Swan At Streatley, 7 Feb
Did anyone say payday treat? Yes, they did. Jean Queen Donna Ida is popping up at the stunning Swan At Streatley and she’s bringing loads of fashion friends (including Muddy faves Beau Britches, Cottens & Gems and Crosslow) along for you to shop the new SS20 trends. Try them on for size in a relaxed, fun space – not a queue or hassly changing room in sight!
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.
India & Me, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, 13 Feb – 23 Dec
Basildon Park’s India-inspired Zuber wallpaper was designed in 1806 by a French artist who had never been to India. It makes the new audio-visual exhibition in the mansion’s Garden Room even more extraordinary, as it looks at personal stories from Basildon’s collaboration with the Reading Indian Centre.
A Splash of Colour, Forbury Place Reading, 5–9 Feb and Landmark Place Slough 12–16 Feb
Don’t let colour bring you out in hives. You don’t have to wear it to appreciate it. A much safer and enjoyable way of embracing the rainbow is art. A Splash of Colour is a touring photographic exhibition created by The Photographic Angle. This exhibition brings together a full spectrum of colour images from all aspects of our lives and it is a beauty. Stunning images from very talented artists. Pop along and see it. Rude not to when it’s free.
A Beautiful World, Bray House Maidenhead, 22–26 Feb
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when the beholder’s a pro snapper, magic happens. This exhibition reveals the wonders of the natural world, captured by 19 brilliant photographers, that an iPhone simply cannot recreate. Be inspired and take your grid to the next level.
FOOD AND DRINK
Blind Wine Tasting, Cliveden House Taplow, 21 Feb
Cliveden’s calling it – 2020 is the year of wine. We’re liking their style. Join Head Sommelier, Zareh Mesrobyan for a series of wine dinners, kicking off with a blind tasting – where you’ll experience the same wines that you would be served in a sommelier competition, plus three delicious courses of food.
EXHIBITION: Kimono – Kyoto to Catwalk, V&A Museum London, from 29 Feb
The V&A is turning Japanese to pay tribute to the kimono – an icon of fashion, culture, and status. Expect to see the kimono Alexander McQueen designed for Björk to wear in the cover photo for ‘Homogenic’, the Star Wars costumes inspired by – you’ve guessed it! – kimono and how it is worn today. It’s worth booking a ticket in advance because these babies are always super popular.
NEW EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb – 11 May
I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty above. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3, on show at Tate Britain until 3 May. tate.org.uk
THEATRE: Pretty Woman The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, London, 13 Feb – 2 Jan 2021
This month I’m excited for the start of Pretty Woman’s West End stint after it’s successful Broadway premier in 2018. The production has some major creds with choreography from two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray), and an original score from Grammy winner Bryan Adams (yes, really!).
CONCERT: Madonna, London Palladium, until 16 Feb
Looking sultry Madge! This month you have 15 chances to see the Queen of Pop herself at the London Palladium. Dig out your 80s garb and snaffle tickets quick as it’s bound to be a sell out.
CONCERT: Lana Del Rey, O2 Arena, London, 25 Feb
Lana Del Rey follows up last year’s incredible Norman F****** Rockwell album with a new one, White Hot Forever, and will be taking to the stage to share it this month.
FAMILY FUN: Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, 12-23 Feb
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, hang out with Michael Rosen, Dermot O’Leary, Cressida Cowell and Konnie Huqs, plus the chance to play in the soundpit.
Busy last month? There’s still time to see Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery. One of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May). Elsewhere, at the O2 Arena, there’s ABBA: Super Troupers, a journey through the Swedish band’s career featuring personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020). And finally, there’s the fantastically bonkers Tim Walker exhibition (above) at the V&A with snaps from his career as a fashion and portrait photographer, a must-see before it ends on 8 Mar.