What’s on in October
Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House Taplow, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct
Authors Sebastian Faulks, Tina Brown and Dylan Jones, and historian Lady Antonia Fraser are among the speakers at Cliveden’s refined gathering. The 5 star country house hotel has held literary salons since the 17th century, inspiring writers from Pope to Swift to Tennyson, so you’ll certainly be in rarefied company. And be sure to have a snoop around the exquisite grounds while you’re there.
Tap Factory, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 11 Oct
Tap dancing has never looked so good. Need I say more? Oh alright then, a lot like Stomp, Tap Factory is physical theatre with percussion, dance and acrobatics but the emphasis being on tap. Clue’s in the title. Featuring the world’s best dancers and international musicians, it’s packed with urban dance, hip hop and mind-blowing percussion. Oh and ripped bods.ornexchangenew.com then at The Hexagon Reading on Mon 18 Oct
Blackadder, South Hill Park, Wed 11 – Sun 15 Oct
“Bloody explorers, ponce off to Mumbo Jumbo land, come home with a tropical disease, a suntan and a bag of brown lumpy things, and Bob’s your uncle, everyone’s got a picture of them in the lavatory.” Not the latest Trump tweet, but the return of Blackadder. Enjoy the comic genius of Blackadder, Baldrick, Melchett, Percy, Queenie and more of your favourites at South Hill Park.
New Season Launch Party, Strange The Jeweller Wokingham, Tues 3 Oct
Bubbles, nibbles and bling! Where do I sign up? Strange The Jewellers in Wokingham is hosting a AW17 launch party to showcase the new collections from Clogau (Welsh gold and silver jewellery) and Spanish handmade designs by UNO de 50. There will be special offers on the night including gift with purchase on both brands. Book your free place here.
Black History Month, Various Reading venues, Sun 1 – Tues 31 Oct
Love a bit of urban artwork, but this Reading mural, created by artists in 1989, is sadly under threat. It’s symbolic of the positive role black people have played throughout history, including in Reading itself. It seem poignant that October is Black History Month. Join the Reading party with poetry, music, dance, exhibitions and talks to enjoy including the phenomenal talent that is MOBO award winning Beverley Knight.
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 Dermot O’Leary (pictured), who’ll be talking about his first children’s book, Toto The Ninja Cat & The Great Escape. Other speakers include Russell Brand, Alison Steadman, Michael Morpurgo, Vince Cable, Fearne Cotton and Victoria Derbyshire, the BBC broadcaster who’s written about her struggle with breast cancer.
Curious Kitchen, Bel & The Dragon Cookham, Thurs 5 Oct
Most mealtimes are a mystery to me, largely because I am gastronomically challenged. But would you go out for supper knowing the menu is a surprise? Come on, curiosity only killed the cat. And in the hands of Bel & The Dragon’s Group Head Chef, Ronnie Kimbugwe, you’re guaranteed a fun night out. He’ll be getting creative in the kitchen with seasonal ingredients, new techniques and unexpected combos to create 4 epic courses.
To join Ronnie for his Curious Kitchen please call 01628 521263 or email [email protected]
Thoroughly Modern Millie, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 4 – Sat 7 Oct
Dig out your flapper dress, slick on a red lip and practice your windmill legs, Thoroughly Modern Millie brings the sass and the jazz of 1920s New York to Newbury. Theatre group the Nomads will be bringing the comedy, tap and musical numbers to the Corn Exchange stage. I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but if high-energy musicals are your thing, book it up.
Dressed for ’dinner at 8’, Basildon Park, until Thurs 2 Nov
If you’re looking to raise your dinner party game, then have an ogle at Basildon Park. The crystal’s sparkling, the table is set and the house is ready for guests (no mismatched crockery or foldaway chairs here). Lord and Lady Ilife’s elegant dinner parties were legendary, so probably best not turn up with a cheap bottle of Pinot Grigio and a box of After Dinner Mints. You can leave them with me, if you like.
Loot, The Watermill Newbury, until Sat 21 Oct
A dark comic masterpiece, when Joe Orton’s Loot premiered 5 decades ago, jaws dropped. But a tale about two dodgy mates who stash the proceeds of a bank robbery in an occupied coffin to hide the cash from a psychopathic copper, gold-digging nurse and a grieving widow, will do that to an audience even in the Sixties. Having opened in London, the Michael Fentiman-directed show arrives at The Watermill in Newbury. Not to the missed.
The BFG in Pictures, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, Thurs 19 Oct – 21 Jan 2018
Curated by Quentin Blake himself, the exhibition of everyone’s favourite giant includes unpublished illustrations that have never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition includes Blake’s first designs that weren’t included in the book, and provide a glimpse of a BFG that might have been in 40 original artworks. Don’t forget there’s the permanent John Piper exhibition at the museum too – that’s well worth seeing in its own right.
Vintage funfair, Prospect Park Reading, Sat 7 – Sun 8 Oct
Scream if you wanna go faster! If you love a funfair with its distinctive aroma of diesel, hot dogs and candy floss, then get yourself down to Prospect Park. Carters Steam Fair rolls into Reading with its spinny whizzy rides dating back to the 1890s and traditional games. Plus it’s free to enter and there’s a free fireworks display on Saturday night.
Prospect Park, Reading, Berkshire RG30 2ND, carterssteamfair.co.uk. It moves onto Holyport Green in Maidenhead, Sat 14 – Sun 15 Oct
Perfect Wedding, The Mill at Sonning, until Sat 18 Nov
Theatre’s answer to The Hangover, The Mill at Sonning’s new production The Perfect Wedding is all about the pitfalls of the stag do: naked girls, memory loss, cover ups and a bride on the warpath. The perfect medicine for all those thinking of getting married! Plus all tickets come with a two-course meal. Just in case you needed a clincher.
A Melody For Murder, Queen’s Walk Plaza Reading, Sat 7 and Sat 14 Oct
Following the sell-out success of A Gamble With Death, the team are back with A Melody For Murder. Discover #WhoKilledStellaChord – a mega-rich singing diva murdered during rehearsals – using your smartphone, race around Reading to find hidden evidence, crack clues and converse with dodgy characters. Tickets £20
RSC Live: Coriolanus, UK cinema release, Wed 11 Oct
Bloody nora! You’re going to need a strong stomach for Coriolanus, part of the RSC’s Rome season. It’s a full throttle war play that revels in the sweat ( and blood) of the battlefield. We, on the other hand, can revel in the sweat glistening on the hot bod of Sope Dirisu. Seriously good quality theatre without leaving this fine county of ours.
Mr Darcy Loses The Plot, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thurs 12 Oct
Ah, Mr Darcey all uptight because his breeches are chaffing from all that pond dipping. To commemorate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, Mr Darcey Loses The Plot is a gentle mickey take by LipService. Jane Austen is dreaming up Darcy, a proud, lip curling, handsome creation in very tight trews. But then a door squeaks, a visitor approaches and Jane hastily hides her work. Mr Darcy is left dangling. Left to his own devices he embroiders his own storyline while his creator stitches her quilt.
Sing-A-Long-a Dirty Dancing, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 13 Oct
It’s a cheese fest of the highest order, but Dirty Dancing is 30 years old and the opportunity to belt out the songs and enjoy the grinding dance moves, Patrick Swayze’s rippling muscles and Jennifer Grey’s breathless lines one more time is just too much. Join the sing-a-long and have the time of your life. I know I will.
Ascot Fashion Weekend, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 13– Sat 14 Oct
Need to give the credit card a battering? Ascot Racecourse is hosting an AW17 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.
Ayesha Hazarika: State Of The Nation, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 14 Oct
You may recognise Ayesha Hazarika as a regular on the. She started her career as a stand-up comedian, then took what she thought was a natural diversion into the Labour Party as a Special Adviser (no sniggering at the back). Ayesha lifts the lid on what life’s really like at Westminster with brutal honesty and humour. Take note, Corbyn and May.
Ufton Court Wedding Fayre, Ufton Nervet, Sun 15 Oct
Getting hitched? Before you do acting 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.
Apple Festival, Jealous Hill Community Landshare Scheme Garfield, Sun 15 Oct
Dig out your biggest apple catchers and get fruity at the annual Apple Festival at the Jealous Hill Community Landshare Scheme. It’s a place that uses gardening to positively change peoples’ lives. So bob along and get picking your Pink Ladies, Granny Smiths or a few Cox. Apple juice on tap, obvs.
Contemporary Craft and Design Fair, Wellington College Crowthorne, Fri 27 – Sun 29 Oct
It’s a dirty word, it begins with c (no not that one)… CHRISTMAS. Start shopping at the Contemporary Craft and Design Fair at Wellington College in Crowthorne. Beautiful things made by the very best artists and craftmakers in the UK, that’ll look good when the wrapping paper’s ripped off . Practice your game face for the re-gifted scented drawer liners you get in return.
MaidenDead Zombie Walk, The Bell Maidenhead, Sat 28 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 face paints, spill your guts (literally) and drag yourself from The Bell in Maidenhead to The Anchor for the Monster Mash After Party.
Brick or Treat, Legoland, Windsor, Sat 14 – Mon 30 Oct
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 21, 22, 27 & 28 October. Don’t forget to read my tips on how to survive Legoland.
RB Live: Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland, UK cinema release, Mon 23 Oct
Disappear down the rabbit hole for the Royal Ballet’s visually jaw dropping Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. No need to disappear down into the underground or drink suspicious liquids (I’d avoid any hot drinking the train) – nope off to the cinema you go. Order a gin and tonic and a large bag of Minstrels and settle in for Bob Crowley’s wild staging.
Under Milk Wood, The Watermill Newbury, Wed 25 Oct – Sat 4 Nov
Dylan Thomas’s Welsh masterpiece Under Milk Wood is described as a play for voices. Enter stage left… Alistair McGowan! The tv star and impressionist leads the cast at the Watermill Theatre in this comic play about religion, death and sex to the stage. It’s the penultimate show in the Watermill’s 50th anniversary season, but it was also the first professional production performed there in 1967, featuring David Jason.
Beverley Knight, The Hexagon Reading, Wed 11 Oct
Triple MOBO winner and multiple Brit nominee (cheated of a win in my Muddy opinion), Beverley Knight brings her I ♥ Soulsville Tour to The Hexagon Reading. The woman is a phenomenal talent and I was very lucky to hear her sing at a friend’s wedding (*Thud. Name dropped – I’ll pick that one up_. Not only does she have the voice of a diva angel, she’s a lovely person to boot. Rare in the biz of show. Get your mitts on a ticket, they’re selling fast.
Luisa Omielan: Am I Right Ladies?, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 14 Oct
Comedy phenomenon Luisa Omielan is bringing her smash hit show Am I Right Ladies!? to Reading. Her joke on the Thigh Gap went viral with currently over 40 million views (add to the view count here). If you like this you will LOVE the show. It’s a party with jokes in! Be quick guaranteed to be a sell out.
Shark In the Park, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 25 – Thurs 26 Oct
More books brought to life, cue kids’ minds blown. This time it’s Nick Sharatt’s much-loved books Shark In The Park, Shark In Dark and Shark In The Park On A Windy Day (Do you think he ran out of words that rhyme with shark?). Anyway, this a fin-tastic family musical follows Timothy Pope (and his telescope!) on 3 exciting adventures. Polish your parental halo.
Festival Of The Spoken Nerd, The Hexagon Reading, Sun 15 Oct
The Nerds are back with a brand new tour this Autumn You Can’t Polish A Nerd. Steve Mould, Helen Arney and Matt Parker will be buffing up a veritable Periodic Table of new science, songs, and spreadsheets that will tickle your ribs and light your Bunsen burner. Full Frontal Nerdity guaranteed!
The Hunting of the Snark, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 20 Oct
All aboard! All children, animals and silly people welcome! Fresh from London’s West End, The Hunting Of The Snark features life-like puppets, fantastical characters, and lashings of daft humour. Enter the imaginative world of Lewis Carroll, in this brand new, highly original, ultra-modern adaptation inspired by his classic poem.
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
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.
Prohibition Ball, American Museum in Britain, Bath, Sat 7 Oct
Dress in your finest 1920s inspired outfits for a glamorous evening of dancing, gambling, and (secret) drinking, with music from Victoria Klewin’s Speakeasy Band. Enjoy Prohibition-era cocktails handcrafted by the Abbey Hotel’s pop-up bar.