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This month – January

JANUARY 2020

MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH

FILM: Banff Film Festival, The Hexagon Reading, 29 Jan

Banff Film Festival Man walking on ridge of snow topped mountain range

Adrenaline fuelled while sitting. This is an opportunity to see a brand-new collection of jaw-dropping short films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. Witness epic human-powered feats and mind-blowing cinematography as the best adventure film-makers and explorers push themselves to the limits in the most remote and stunning corners of the globe.

 

COMEDY

John-Luke Roberts comedian performer

Critically acclaimed idiot John-Luke Roberts

The Comedy Cellar, South Hill Park Bracknell, 10 Jan

The Comedy Cellar at South Hill Park launched the careers of many top comedians – Al Murray, Eddie Izzard, Greg Davies, Sarah Millican, Micky Flanagan, Katherine Ryan, Jack Whitehall and Russell Howard. The list is long. Now in its 32nd year, it’s the longest running comedy club in the UK outside of London and continues to showcase the best new and established acts every Friday. Book up.

 

Comedy Club, Corn Exchange Newbury, 10 Jan

It’s fair to say we could all do with a laugh in January. The Corn Exchange Comedy Club as Avalon (who represent all the big names and talented newcomers) presents some of the best newcomers in the funny biz. This month’s line up is Lou Sanders (headline), Naz Osmanoglu , Tania Edwards, Luke Kempner (MC).

Comedian Jimmy Carr

Comedian Jimmy Carr

Jimmy Carr: Terribly Funny, Theatre Royal Windsor, 19 Jan

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.

 

John Luke Roberts, South Street Arts Reading, 31 Jan

Possibly the longest show name in history – After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!! – courtesy of critically acclaimed idiot John-Luke Roberts (pictured above). In a brand-new hour of extraordinary daft-hearted comedy, expect to not know why you are laughing once more…even when he gives you the punchline first.

 

WELLBEING 

New Year, New Intentions Yoga Workshop, Oh So Yoga Aborfield, 4 Jan

Eaaaaaaase yourself in to 2020 with a two-hour workshop that will set you on a path of blissed out wellbeing. Muddy award-winning Oh So Yoga’s New Year New Intensions Yin & Nidra will offer a combo of 90 mins mindful deep rest yin yoga and 30 mins yoga nidra (guided lying down meditation) and great for stress. Lots of goodness while lying down. And there’s cake. Where do I sign up?

 

Blindfold Yoga Workshop, Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead

More Eyes Wide Shut that your average yoga workshop, but Inspire Hot Yoga’s Blindfold Yoga Workshop is a sensory experience that will blow your mind. Blindfolded yoga is a unique experience that will heighten your senses and help you find faith within yourself. Slip on your blindfold, release your inhibitions and you’ll discover that all you need is YOU!

Jamie Catto Mojo Blast Wasing Aldermaston

Coach and Mentor Jamie Catto

Mojo Blast  – Take Life, Work and Creativity To The Next Level, Wasing Wellbeing Aldermaston, 10 Jan

Need to turn down the volume of life? Coach and mentor Jamie Catto – who The Daily Telegraphslapped a warning on as a manwho could blow your mind – will help you explore down-to-earth processes for waking up that fire in our bellies, to energise ourselves and rediscover the optimism and sense of possibility.

 

Inspired Day Retreat, Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead

After the craziness of Christmas reward your efforts and do something for you. Book a day off and enjoy some well-deserved Me Time. The Inspired Day Retreat will take you off to a stunning country house location with the focus on rejuvenating, renewing & reviving with yoga, massage, delicious food and down time.

Make 2020 Our Happiest Year Yet, FastTrack Fit Camp, Hilton St Anne’s Wokingham, Sat 4 Jan

It’s time to drag yourself off the sofa, ditch the overly ambitious resolutions and focus on YOU. Heidi Strickland-Clark of FastTrack Fit Camp is running an event that helps you see through the fog and focuses on the positives, helping you see what’s holding you back, why and what you can do about it – from sound and colour, brain and body, food, fitness and sleep. Space is limited, book up – £25pp.

 

FILM: Downton Abbey The Movie, Hurley House Maidenhead, 21 Jan

Downton Abbey The Movie in cinemas Sept 13

Carson, be a doll and top up the Champers and pass the popcorn? While Lady Mary’s getting jiggy with the latest aristo upstairs, you cna settle in for a fancy film night at Hurley House Hotel for Downton Abbey The Movie. If you book in for dinner, you get complimentary tickets, alternatively there’s wine, a cheese box or popcorn on offer.

 

THEATRE

Circus of Horrors 1000 x 666

Circus of Horrors, The Hexagon Reading, 26 Jan

Warning! This show contains nuts. This is no PG family fun, Circus of Horrors – which began at the 1995 Glastonbury Festival – is a the sort of show you’ll watch through your fingers and require a stiff drink in the interval. Expect nudity, fruity language and freaky fun.

 

The Cat & Canary, Theatre Royal Windsor, 15-21 Jan

The Theatre Royal Windsor always kick off the new year with a thriller. It’s like a theatrical shock therapy to wake us from our Christmas coma. This year it’s The Cat & Canary and it stars the legendary cinematic blonde bombshell Britt Eckland. There are other actors but I can’t remember ant of their names, because quite frannkly we’re seeing this John Willard black comedy for Britt.

 

Common Salt, The Museum of English Rural Life Reading, 29 Jan

Show and tell theatre, it’s a thing. Well it is now. Common Salt is a theatrical performance that takes place around a table while exploring the colonial, geographical history of England and India. Time travel without leaving your seat, as a ‘home museum’ of objects and stories are played out in front of you.

 

The Elvis Years: The Story of the King, Theatre Royal Windsor, 26 Jan

If you get all shook up by Elvis, then rifle through your knicker drawer for the smallest pants you own because the King is coming to Windsor (Don’t panic Her Maj is alive and well). The Elvis Years is a musical production telling the compelling story of Elvis Presley with nostalgic film footage, and over 12 costume changes. We’re in for the rhinestones.

 

Beyond the Barricade, Corn Exchange Newbury, 23 Jan

One for jazz handers, musical lovers and anyone who loves a catchy show tune, Beyond The Barricade is a toe tapping celebration of the best of Broadway and the West End. The UK’s longest running musical theatre concert tour features past principal performers from Les Mis.

 

 

DAYS OUT 

Matchbook Clarence House Chase Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 19 Jan

Ascot jumps season with the first raceday of 2018 – Clarence House Chase

Love a day at the races but can’t wait for Royal Ascot? Saddle up for a January raceday with a little less pomp and ceremony (ok a lot less), but the fashion is fabulous (coats, faux fur and boots) and you can have a little flutter to spend on the totally unnecessary shoes you have seen in the sales.

 

DANCE

The_Sleeping_Beauty_ROH LIve ballerina in bed

Royal Ballet Live: Sleeping Beauty, Live UK cinema broadcast, 16 Jan

If your bank account doesn’t stretch to a night at the Royal Opera House right now, no need to miss out on Sleeping Beauty. Disappear into a sea of tulle and Tchaikovsky’s score for the Royal Ballet’s critically acclaimed ballet, broadcast live from Covent Garden on 16Jan. See you at the barre.

 

Russian State Ballet: Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, The Hexagon Reading, 21-22 Jan

Double bubble  at The Hexagon this month as the Russian State perform not one but two ballets – Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty. You’ll be transported from the impressive splendour of the Palace ballroom to the moon-lit lake where swans glide in perfect formation. Not to be missed.

 

Bolshoi Live: Giselle, UK cinema broadcast, 26 Jan

Pack away your faux fur, Moscow’s sub zero temperatures are not coming to Berks, but the Bolshoi is. If you love culture, seeing the Russians perform at the Bolshoi Theatre should  be on your bucket list. They’re broadcasting Giselle Live this month and you’ll get front row seats.

 

WORKSHOP

Literati and Light candles white glass jars on wooden shelf

Learn the Art of Candle Making, Swan At Streatley, 30 Jan

We love a scented candle at Muddy but it’s become something of an addiction – a pricey one at that. So a candle-making workshop sounds like a great idea. Run by Justine – the creative genius behind Newbury-based Literati and Light – you’ll learn to make a 240g soy and beeswax candle, with a scent inspired by literature.

 

Basic Bike Repair and Maintenance, Pankhurst Cycles Pangbourne, 15 Jan

Riding a bike maybe easy but can you repair one? Nah, me neither. Not a scooby. Pankhurst to the rescue with a women only workshop covering the basics – fixing punctures, chains, cleaning your bike, adjusting your brakes and gears and other useful tips to enjoy your rides more! Places are limited, so ensure you secure your place before 6 January 2020. First come, first served.

Pastel Portraits, The Base Greenham Common, 23 Jan

Hankering to learn a new skill, pastel portraits might just float your boat. Join artist Mandy Monkcom for a step by step workshop on how to create a portrait with soft pastels and pastel pencils on toned paper. There’s a list of basic kit you’ll need to bring, but I’m thinking next year’s Christmas presents, sorted.

 

MUSIC

the merl servants ball band

The Servants’ Ball, The Museum of English Rural Life Reading, 30 Jan

Party like you’ll below stairs. The Servants’ Ball had a long tradition in the country house estates, a cultural melting pot of popular music and dance tunes. Party like it’s 1920 at the Museum of Rural English Life.

 

New Year’s Day Concert, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 1 Jan

Pop a couple of Ibruprofen and enjoy the sounds of a classical musical concert. Norden Farm’s annual sell out concert returns for the 19th and final year. Expect everything from Handel’s Water Music Suite  to Vivaldi, Bach and more.

 

stack of vinyl albums stacked on shelf and headphones

The Vinyl Frontier: Greatest Hits Album Championships, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 25 Jan

It’s the vinyl countdown: 8 contestants bring their fave Greatest Hits LP to battle it out to be crowned 2020 Vinyl Frontier Album Champion. The audience chooses the winner of each round. Come and have a go if you think you’re muso enough. Join host Jeff Lloyd for an evening of music, trivia and fun!

 

HERITAGE AND NATIONAL TRUST

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation crown and sceptre

All That Sparkles: Memories of Coronation Day, Windsor Castle, 4 Jan

Too much for January? This was just like my New Year’s Eve outfit. And no it wasn’t fancy dress. You can get the look too, as Windsor Castle is running an art workshop celebrating The Queen’s Coronation where you can make your own Crown Jewels and older family members can add their memories of Coronation Day to Windsor Castle’s memory wall.

 

Winter Walk, National Trust Cliveden, throughout 2020

If you’ve been cooped up for days at the relis or nursing a monumental NYE hangover, pop some pills get some fresh air at Cliveden. There’s s stonking 375 acres of gardens, woodland and riverside walks to explore. Plus the hotel is on hand for a coffee or hair of the dog.

 

Winter Walk, Basildon Park Lower Basildon,

West Berkshire’s National Trust belter is a great place for walkies, with stride outs that are gentle for the hungover to challengind stomps for the smugly sober and over eager. If you’f like to pick the brains of the pros, join  the Park’s ranger on 13 Jan for a Tree ID stroll and play nature’s answer to spot the difference.

Shaw House Newbury Ghost SLeepover

Sleepover Ghost Hunt, Shaw House Newbury, 11 Jan

Like a real life Christmas Carol, head to the very haunted Shaw House in Newbury for a ghostly sleepover. You can stay the night, take part in a Ouija board or seance (optional) and roam the house with your paranormal pals. Watch out for the ghosts of past, present and future.

 

Christmas At Windsor, Windsor Castle, now – Sun 9 Dec

Something a little spesh at Windsor Castle. No, Meghan and Kate will not be scrapping on the steps of St George’s Chapel. Ogle the 200ft tree from Windsor Great Park and, this year, to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the births of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, the Octagon Dining Room will feature a special display of gifts exchanged between the royal couple during the many Christmases they spent together at the castle.

 

SPORT

Lace up your trainers and get your warm running gear on for a winter run

Windsor Winter 5K, 10K, 15K, Half, Dorney Lake Eton, 11 Jan

If you’re on of those smug people who has managed to keep on running despite the wine and cheese tempting you to fall off the wagon – good on you. You might be interested in shifting unwanted Crimho pounds with a easy peasy 13-mile Sunday jog. I’ll see you at the start line… one day.

Slough New Year 5K & 10K, Black Park Country Park Slough, 19 Jan

Best foot forward and drag your cheese and wine stuffed bottom around Slough’s New Year 5K and 10K event around Black Park, Slough. It’s an undulating course, good for all abilities.

Runner of Azkaban, Greenham Common Newbury, 19 Jan

Seven-hour trail run, anyone? Not for the faint hearted or the breathless and unfit, but if you’re looking for a challenge, the Runner of Azkaban at RAF Greenham Common, could be the one for you.

Windsor Winter Duathlon, Dorney Lake Maidenhead, 11 Jan

It’s far to cold for swimming, so a duathlon could be just the ticket for the enthusiastic and easily bored. Run and ride around Dorney Lake – flat, fast and traffic free.

 

PANTOS & FESTIVE FAMILY SHOWS

Cinderella, The Hexagon Reading, now – 5 Jan

CBeebies megastar Justin Fletcher (aka Mr Tumble) is a Reading panto regular and he’ll be laying on the charm with a trowel as Cinderella’s perky Prince. Justin’s slapstick sidekick, Paul Morse, also returns as the dame, with a wardrobe that would make Karl Lagerfeld weep (literally). Reading’s mega panto is always a sell out, so wave your magic wand and book up pronto.

 

Aladdin, South Hill Park Bracknell, now – 4 Jan 

Aladdin will be rubbing his lamp this year in Bracknell and dame Brad Clapson is up to his neck in laundry (I hear you) as Widow Twankey. South Hill Park always put on a fun, their creative staging is award-winning. Jump on that magic carpet and book your tickets pronto.

The Watermill Theatre christmas show The prince and The Pauper – prince edward tied up by two sisters

The Prince & The Pauper, Watermill Theatre Bagnor, now – 4 Jan

The Watermill Theatre is renowned for its high quality bookish Christmas shows – and this year it’s The Prince & The Pauper. It’s a superb alternative if you’re not a fan of panto. So don’t expect a camp, thigh slapping prince. Funny, fearless and brilliant family entertainment, it’s always a treat at Chrimbo.

 

Aladdin, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – 5 Jan

There’s a reason why families return to the Theatre Royal Windsor year after year. Filed under ‘classic cheesefest’, this year they’re putting on Aladdin. Windsor’s brilliant comedy duo, Kevin Cruise and Steven Blakeley are celebrating their 10th year in panto together at the Theatre Royal, so it’s guaranteed to be bigger and more bonkers than ever. Fans of ’80s nostalgia will be thrilled to hear that Paul Nicholas, Marti Webb and Basil Brush are joining the cast. Booooom booooooom!

 

Sleeping Beauty, Corn Exchange Newbury, now – 4 Jan

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! Step up Nanny and the dream team as they battle to save the day. Will they defeat the evil fairy? Will love conquer all? You know the drill.

 

SHOPPING: Windsor Auctions Antiques and Collectables, Unit 18B Vansittart Estate Windsor, Sat 25 Jan

The High Street this is not, but there’s something satisfying about discovering a unique gem, built to last whether it be furniture, knick knacks, art or jewellery. Windsor Auction’s monthly sale is a goodie and Celebrity Antique Road Trip are filming too. Get ready for your close up.

 

FURTHER AFIELD

MUSIC: Madonna – Madame X, London Palladium, 27 Jan

Madame X Madonna wearing cowboy hat with veil smoking a cigar

She’s 61, people and still got it. Madonna kicks off a series of rare and special performances celebrating the release of her new album Madame X, giving you the opportunity to see her in a uniquely intimate environment. Having played arenas and stadiums since her ground-breaking 1985 Virgin Tour, see Her Madgesty up close and personal. You never know when she’ll retire her corseted bodice.

 

ART: London Art Fair, Islington, London, 21-26 Jan

London Art fair image of woman in pink floral dress and tulle headress

Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.

 

Tate Late, Tate Modern, London, 31 Jan

More art, you cultured lot, in this monthly open evening at Tate Modern that includes music, workshops, talks and more as you wander the galleries after hours. This monthShirley May read from her poetry collectionShe Wrote Her Own Eulogy which discusses her family’s Jamaican heritage and the Black-British experience, which explores love, loss and the struggles we all face in relationships.

 

Southbank Centre Winter Festival, London, now – 5 Jan
As well as purchasing Christmas produce, artisan treats and other goodies from the Nordic-themed chalets, visitors are in for a treat with Christmas shows, including Circus 1907 and Black Beauty, workshops, performances and other family-orientated fun.

Lightopia Festival London illuminated peacock

Lightopia Festival London, Chiswick House, 22 Jan – 1 Mar

January can be a bit bleak so flick the switch and let there be light. Lightopia is coming to Chiswick House for its annual illuminations and the show is expected to be bigger, better, and uses more light bulbs than ever before.No one will be able to make a cuppa in West London but it’ll be oh so worth it.

 

Kew Gardens, London, now –  Sun 5 Jan

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.

 

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Watford, now – 27 Jan

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover sees Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors can touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

 

THEATRE 

Cirque Du Soleil, Royal Albert Hall London, 12 Jan – 1 Mar

Luzia Cirque Du Soleil performers in stage of sea with acrobats balancing above the water

Cirque du Soleil returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall, bringing their dazzling luminous spectacle, LUZIA to Europe for the first time. You’ll be transported to an imaginary Mexico, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul. Always a wow production that the whole family will love.

 

A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, now – 18 Jan

This production of festive classic A Christmas Carol staged by The Old Vic’s artistic director Matthew Warchus had such great reviews that it’s returning for round three. It’s adapted by Jack Thorne, co-writer of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  oldvictheatre.com

 

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Alexandra Palace, now – 5 Jan

Assuredly NOT a panto, this West End production (it showed at the Apollo Theatre in 2015 and 2016) comes to Ally Pally, promising a riotous spin on JM Barrie’s classic tale. From the creators of award-winning The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robberyalexandrapalace.com

 

EXHIBITIONS 

The Dress of the Year, Fashion Museum, Bath, 1 Jan

Fashion Museum Bath Pink Tulle Gown

Dress of the Year 2019, as chosen by Donna Wallace, Fashion and Accessories Editor at British Vogue is a pleated pink tulle dress by Giambattista Valli for H&M.​ Go drool.

Mama Mia! A brand new (and, quite frankly, must-see) exhibition is coming to The O2, London this month – ABBA: Super Troupers is a journey through the Swedish band’s career and will feature personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (now – 21 Aug 2020).

Another newbie is 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.

Other exhibitions worth a snoop are Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane collection of work at the V&A (until 8 March); William Blake at Tate Britain, with the visionary painter and poets work blown up to enormous scale using digital technology (until 2 Feb 2020); Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican  – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s (4 Oct – 19 Jan).

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