Your September social hit list – updated!
Sexy September! 40 brilliant things to do in Berkshire this month including cinema, comedy, theatre, festivals, exhibitions and more. Out you go.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE MONTH
THEATRE: Paul Zerdin: Hands Free, Corn Exchange Newbury, 23 Sep
Ventriloquist and America’s Got Talent winner Paul Zerdin is finally back on tour with his team of puppets – Baby Sam, Old Man Albert and newbie Roger the Bodyguard. Paul is very funny bloke, who uses puppets, cool tech (created by the Star Wars guys) comedy and magic, to create a show that’ll leave your howling. You can read my interview with him here. He talks about dressing up as Maggie Thatcher, weird fan mail and his beef with Barney the Dinosaur.
Sir Ian McKellan’s Hamlet, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – 25 Sep
Sir Ian McKellan has been lighting up the Theatre Royal stage in Windsor in an electrifying production of Hamlet. At the age of 82, McKellen is the oldest Prince of Denmark the UK has ever seen. It is also a production that is age, colour and gender blind.
Lone Flyer, Watermill Theatre Newbury, 10-25 Sep
Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No it’s Superwoman! AKA Amy Johnson – the first woman to fly solo from England to Australia in 1930. In a plane, obvs. A trailblazing adventurer, she lived fast and died young, breaking a host of records before crashing to her death at the age of 37. In this revival of Ade Morris’s 2001 play about her life, we glimpse the woman behind the celebrity pilot, as frustrated by social convention as she was determined to embrace adventure.
Sh!t Theatre Drink Rum With Ex Pats, South Street Arts Reading, 30 Sep
Another excuse for the multi award-winning Sh!t Theatre to get drunk on stage. Celebrating their final year as Europeans, island-monkeys Becca and Louise got invited to the European Capital of Culture in Malta. They went to drink rum with Brits abroad but found a lot more than they expected.
ART & CULTURE
TEA. CAKE. CREATE, Made By Tamalia Caversham, 26 Sep
Create something pretty while sipping tea and eating cake. Where do we sign up? MADEby Tamaliaruns loads of cool workshops in Caversham. The next Tea.Cake.Create is on 26 Sep and you’ll be making these cool eco-resin planters.
Open Studios, The Base Greenham, 18 – 25 Sep
Amazing art in open studios and private spaces across West Berkshire and North Hampshire and it’s totally free! The main exhibition is INSIGHT at The Base Greenham where more than 100 artists will show their work.
A Splash of Colour, Bray House Maidenhead, 15 – 19 Sep
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.
Windsor Festival, The Old Court Windsor and other location, 17 Sep – 3 Oct
Windsor Festival is pulling out all the stops in 2021 with a series of cultural events over two weeks. Expect talks, music and walks, including a literary tea with former British Vogue editor and author Alexandra Shulman at Coworth Park (20 Sep), Giles Brandreth will be talking about his old mate Prince Philip (25 Sep) and get all the No10 goss from Theresa May’s chief of staff Gavin Barwell (28 Sep). Music more your bag? Don’t miss soul band Mission Impossible at The Old Court (17 Sep) or House of Music: Raising the Kanneh-Masons – a conversation and performance (19 Sep) about seven brothers and sisters – all of them classically trained musicians and from a state comprehensive in Nottingham. Their mum will talk about raising musicians in a Britain divided by class and race. The two of her children will perform.
Drag Queen Bingo, The Market House Reading, 29 Sep
Grab you chunky dabber pen and get yourself down to The Market House in Reading for a night of bingo with a sprinkling of fabulous and a dash of sauce. This ain’t no ordinary bingo night. We likey a lot.
Heritage Open Days, various venues, throughout September
This national campaign to encourage people to learn more about our history and culture includes tonnes of free events and opportunities to explore usually unseen places. It runs all month long and there’s plenty going on in Berkshire, including local artist tours, intimate live performances, guided walks and exhibitions. This year’s theme is Edible England – learn about Medieval Munchies, Berkshire’s brewing heritage, a foraged feast at the MERL in Reading and the chance to go up Green Park’s iconic wind turbine.
Classic Vehicle Day, Yattendon, 19 June
A slick of red lipstick, retro shades and embrace the vintage vibes for Yattendon’s annual Classic Vehicle Day. See the coolest cars, check out the vintage stalls and hit the vintage teas hard. I can only pray for a French Fancy a slice of Battenberg.
Mark Watson: This Can’t Be It, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 17 Sep
Mark Watson – a man prone to considerable anxiety, with multiple phobias and a history of piss-poor self-esteem – has had more than enough time on his hands to ponder the fragility of life. At 41, he’s halfway through his days on earth, according to the life expectancy calculator app he paid £1.49 for. Brace yourself as Watson crams a couple of years of pathological overthinking into an evening of stand-up.
Frank Skinner – Showbiz, The Hexagon Reading, 19 Sep
The King of confessional comedy, Frank Skinner is straight out of Covid house arrest and back in tour. Critics have described Showbiz as his best show to date, so clickety click for some long-awaited laughs.
Iain Stirling – Tour Warm Up, South Street Arts Reading, 23 Sep
Bafta-winning stand-up and voice of Love Island is back on UK stages with a warm-up show. There was no Majorcan summer for Iain, so the poor love has been huddling around a four-bar fire like the rest of us. Join Iain as he uses you lot as guinea pigs to try out his new material. It’s a 60-minute show with no interval.
Jimmy Carr – Terribly Funny, The Hexagon Reading, 29 Sep
Jimmy Carr is performing not once, but twice in Reading this autumn. 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.
Mo Gilligan – There’s Mo To Life, The Hexagon Reading, 21 Sep
The man of the Mo-ment (sorry), but seriously Mo Gilligan has been occupying hours of TV time over the past year. He a new judge on ITV’s The Masked Singer, appeared on the The Cube reboot and Celebrity Gogglebox, hosts his own show on Channel 4 and wants you in his eye line. It’s fair to say he’s trending. So go see one of the hottest new comedy talents on tour.
The Big Comedy Bash, The Hexagon Reading, 23 Sep
It’s the comedy equivalent of a BOGOFF. The Big Comedy Bash is back with a stellar comic line-up including Jack Dee, Jo Brand, Pippa Evans and Arthur Smith who will be firing gags at you in aid of the Slapstick Festival. Not to be missed.
David Baddiel, Trolls Not The Dolls, The Hexagon Reading, 24 Sep
Following his five-star Olivier-nominated hit My Family: Not The Sitcom, David Baddiel returns with his rescheduled one-man show Trolls: Not The Dolls. The show takes a look at his experience of trolls and how to (er… or how NOT to) deal with them. *hint* not with a witty retort!
National Racehorse Week, various Berkshire stables, 12-19 Sep
Pat a future champ by visiting them in their stables as part of National Racehorse Week, which runs 12 – 19 Sept in more than 100 yards across the country, including training centres like Epsom, Malton and Newmarket , offering a rare chance for the public to experience the effort that goes into looking after the most elite horses across the UK.
Windsor Half Marathon, Long Walk Windsor, 29 Sept
Windsor Half Marathon with loads of historical royal sites thrown in so you keep putting one front in front of the other. After lockdown, the idea of running up the stairs is enough the make me wheeze. But cheerleading is also allowed..
The Screen, The Old Court Windsor, 2-25 Sep
Windsor has not had a cinema for nearly 40 years! Stop crying into your empty popcorn carton, The Old Court in Windsor is a super cool arts venue with loads of films top scratch that Hollywood itch. This month you can see The Father starring Olivia Colman and Anthony Hopkins (2-23 Sep); horror flick In The Earth (3-11 Sep); Supernova with Colin Firth and Stanley Tucci (9-16 Sep); from the people behind Hamilton, this year’s musical sensation In The Heights (12-19 Sep) and award-winning documentary Summer of Soul tells the story of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, dubbed the ‘Black Woodstock’ (25 Sep).
Banff Mountain Film Festival, The Hexagon Reading, 17 Sep
Adrenaline fuelled while sitting down. 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.
Bounder and Cad, Corn Exchange , 17 Sep
No ordinary choir boys, Adam Drew and Guy Hayward have performed their ‘cheek-achingly funny’ songs at the smartest parties all over the world. From the 10 Downing St Christmas Party and Highclere Castle to the Onassis yacht Christina O. If you didn’t get an invite to any of these chichi soirees, grab a ticket to this.
Rick Astley, Newbury Racecourse, 18 Sep
The thing about Rick Astley, when he says he’s doing a gig, he’s ‘never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down’. His Party In The Paddock at Newbury Racecourse had to be postponed for obvious reasons, but Rick’s back with bells on. He’ll be performing after a full day of flat racing on 18 September, and never disappoints. Book up. Tickets from £40.50.
Pub in the Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 16-19 Sep
Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). Pub In the Park is back with bells on. The food and music festival will see performances from the likes of Ronan Keating, Basement Jaxx, Beverley Knight, Craig David, Jack Savoretti and Heather Small, alongside the UK’s sizzling stars of the kitchen, including Berkshire’s very own Chef Dom Chapman of The Beehive White Waltham. Tickets from £37.28.
The Vinyl Frontier: 12″ Singles Championships, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 16 Sep
It’s the vinyl countdown: six 12″ warriors bring their fave singles. Three will go through to play their second choice and one is crowned 2021 Vinyl Frontier 12″ Champion. Only the audience can make sure they live spin another day. One rule only: no Blue Monday allowed!
Janine Johnson: A Night of Bond, Norden Farm, 25 Sep
To get you warmed up for the latest Bond blockbuster No Time To Die (in cinemas 30 Sep) jazz/ soul singer Janine Johnson will be belting out the hits of 007s past. Expect to hear Goldfinger, Live and Let Die, License to Kill, Skyfall, and many more. Janine’s a musical powerhouse having collaborated with Paloma Faith, Take That, George Michael, Ray Davies, The Who, Kaiser Chiefs and the list continues.
The Sunshine Family Festival, Palmer Park Reading, 26 Sep
Make some noise! Little Mix, Spice Girls, Justin Bieber and Dua Lipa will be headlining at Palmer Park. Well, their tribute twins will be. Shh! Don’t tell the kids they’ll never know. There’s plenty to entertain the whole family including live DJs, fun fair, play areas – plus special guest appearances from hey Duggee and Paw Patrol. A pear cider should take the edge off for the grown ups.
Peter Rabbit’s Musical Adventure, Corn Exchange Newbury, 18 Sep
James Corden’s Carpool Karaoke makes it to the Corn Exchange! Nope, but this is the next best thing. This is an intimate theatre show (first performed at the Waterperry Opera Festival in 2018) filled with dynamic music and storytelling based on Beatrix Potter’s The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Even Mr McGregor would raise a smile.
OOPS MISSED IT
Adam Kay – This Is Going To Hurt, The Hexagon Reading, 1 Sep
After sell-out shows at the Edinburgh Fringe 2016, 2017 and 2018 and 2019 Adam Kay’s bestselling book, and the long-awaited BBC TV Series, starring Ben Whishaw is out this autumn. His hilarious and sometimes stomach-churning observations on his time as a junior doctor are certainly causing a stir and you can catch him for yourself at the The Hexagon Reading.
Just So, The Watermill, Bagnor, until 4 Sep
As usual, there’s loads of treats on at The Watermill Theatre. This bijou theatre takes it outside during the summer – making the most of the gardens and the theatre’s stunning riverside location. Don’t miss the grand garden finale – a semi-staged concert performance of Just So (now – 4 Sep) – showcasing five of Rudyard Kipling’s stories.
National Theatre Live: Follies, various locations, 2 Sep
A chance to see the National Theatre’s dazzling Follies – winner of the Olivier Award for Best Musical Revival. On the eve of the demolition of the crumbling Weismann Theatre, veteran Follies girls (including Imelda Staunton and Janie Dee) gather to drink, sing and lie about themselves, haunted by their ostrich-feathered younger incarnations. See this NT Live encore film at Norden Farm Maidenhead, Corn Exchange Newbury and South Hill Park Bracknell.
Ben Fogle – Tales From The Wilderness, The Hexagon Reading, 9 Sep
The serial adventurer (he’s climbed Everest, dodged pirates and walked to the South Pole) will be discussing his past expeditions and answering questions from the audience.
Professor Brian Cox: Horizons Work In Progress, South Hill Park Bracknell, 8 Sep
Having set two Guinness World Records with his previous sell-out World Tour, Professor Brian Cox is back with a brand-new show for 2021. Be the first to see it (even if it’s rough around the edges) at South Hill Park. Horizons: Work in Progress takes audiences on a cinematic journey of how we came to be and what we can become. Venues will be filled with images of far-away galaxies, alien worlds, supermassive black holes and a time before the Big Bang.
RISC Edible Roof Garden, Global Café Reading, 11-12 Sep
Reading’s secret edible roof garden is open! For two days only you can mooch around this small urban oasis in the sky (OK, on top of the Global Café in Reading). The garden has been developed to demonstrate sustainability – all the plants have an economic use for food, clothing, medicine etc. and come from all over the world.
Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail, various locations, 11 – 12 Sep
Always wondered what artists do all day? Now’s your chance to find out. The Covid safe Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail is on and gives you the opportunity to have a nose around the studios of the talented creatives working in the area and even buy, it you like. I’m loving the work of figurative painter and Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Year finalist Inge Du Plessis (above), the ceramic sculptures of Caroline Gatfield and the work of Michael Restrick.
SHOPPING: Donna Ida & Friends Pop Up, Swan At Streatley, 15 Sep
Did anyone say new season 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 Wyse London and Cottens & Gems) along for you to shop the new AW21 trends. Try them on for size in a relaxed, fun space – not a queue or hassly changing room in sight!
BoyzLife, The Hexagon Reading, 11 Sep
It’s an Irish mash-up (apologies for the potato pun), but fans of boybands Westlife and Boyzone are in for a treat as the two become one for the first time ever, with a full-band production show which features Brian McFadden and Keith Duffy. Expect to hear top tunes from both bands. Cheesy yes, but you’ll know the words and if you take your own stool, you’ll be ready for the upstanding key change.
Travelling by Tuba – Olympics, Brownlow Theatre, Horris Hill School, 11 Sep
Brace yourself, this is a show packed full of audience participation and musical athletics. Slip into your Lycra, adjust your sweatband and quietly avoid eye contact or else. Travelling by Tuba is an unforgettable musical extravaganza for all the family. Imagine you are in the New National Stadium in Tokyo and hear the Olympic Hymn before the competition starts. This hour-long family concert features the ancient Greek Pan Pipes before visiting every continent – African Kudus, Australian Didgeridoo, American Sousaphone, Italian Cimbasso and the Asian Dungs to name just a few.
Down At The Abbey Festival, Abbey Ruins Reading, 11 Sep
The opportunity to see great bands before they get too big for Berks. From the creators of the award-winning Are You Listening? Festival, this is a relatively new outdoor music fest that caters for all tastes and we’re sitting up like meerkats for headliners the elusive tree-loving electronic rock outfit Snapped Ankles, Flamingods and LoneLady
Sparkle Bright Festival, Stonor Park Henley, until 2 Sep
If you’ve not visited Tumblestone Hollow at Stonor Park, head there this summer for its Sparkle Bright Festival. Throughout August, this magical adventure playground, designed for 4-12 year olds, brings to life its Legend of Tumblestone Hollow. The magical woodland characters have hung out the bunting for your little people this summer where they can to play in their flower-filled home and enjoy bubbles, storytelling and face paint style decorations. Plus there’s the brilliant Rumble Hut’s serving fresh pizza, coffee and gin. Tickets £7.50-£9.50; under 92cm go free.
Kite Festival, Boyn Grove Park Maidenhead, 5 Sep
Find your inner Mary Poppins and go fly a kite at Boyn Grove Park for the first ever Community Kite Festival (1pm-4pm). It’s free (good job as we’re all broke by now) and join in the kite flying fun on the hill. The pros will be there to provide the wow, plus there’s pizza and beer.
Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered, The Base Greenham Common, now – 5 Sep
Ah, remember when gaming required more than one player and came out of a box? Take a screen break and head to The Base’s new exhibition – Game Plan – Board Games Rediscovered – on load from London’s V&A. It’s not a look and don’t touch exhibition, there’s plenty on display that you can try out and a nice reminder how much fun (and competitive) getting friends and family round a game can be.
Kendal Mountain Film Festival, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 8 Sept
Held annually in Cumbria, on the edge of the Lake District, the Kendal Mountain Festival celebrates adventure and the outdoors with brilliant short films from around the globe. The festival goes on tour every year to showcase the films and will be stopping off at the Norden Farm.