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All set for a super social September

Sexy September! 24 brilliant things to do in Berkshire and beyond this month including cinema, comedy, theatre, festivals, exhibitions and more.

DRIVE-IN CINEMA: Ascot Racecourse, Tue 1 – Sun 10 Sep

Drive-2011_Ryan Gosling

Drive-in cinema’s are huuuuge this year – getting you out out but with all the social distancing boxes ticked. Luna Drive In is pitching up at Ascot Racecourse with their big screen throughout August and September. They’ve got a smörgåsbord of cinematic greats from classics like Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing and Grease, musical numbers like RocketmanThe Greatest Showman and A Star Is Born. Drive and date night Jo Jo Rabbit and Knives Out and doing it for the kids there’s The Lion KingToy Story 4 and The Lion King.

OUTDOOR THEATRE: Midsummer Night’s Dream, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sat 5 Sep

Cricket DReam Midsummer Night's Dream South Hill park

Autumn, you say? Not on our watch. We’re pressing pause to enjoy a chaotic and confusing cricket-themed production of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Six actor-musicians from Scoot Theatre will perform at South Hill Park’s amphitheatre in cricket whites and armed with water pistols in this family-friendly comedy in just 60 minutes. Pack up the cucumber sarnies and a flask of squash for a fun night with the Bard. Owzat!

EXHIBITION: Open Air Sculpture, Shaw House Newbury, Sat 5 Sep – Sun 27 Sep

Winds of CHange Brendan Murless_1000x666
Winds of Change sculpture by Brendan Murless

Practice your arty-farty face and waft around The Orangery Lawn at Shaw House in Newbury. The postponed Altered States Sculpture exhibition opens this month and gives you the chance to discover artworks by top Uk sculptors in this lovely historic setting. Everything’s for sale so, if you find something you love, you can batter the credit card. Just make sure it’ll fit in the car boot.

COMEDY: Mark Watson – How You Can Almost Win, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sun 6 Sep

Comedian Mark Watson Norden farm

In 2017, Mark Watson – a man prone to considerable anxiety, with multiple phobias and a history of piss-poor self-esteem – was asked to go on Celebrity Island with Bear Grylls. To say it wasn’t his bag, is an understatement. Mark enjoys safety, comfort, food and not being scared and miserable. But the experience changed the shambolic comedian for the better, and now he’s written a sort of motivational talk with jokes. Join the socially distant audience or online.

NATIONAL THEATRE LIVE: Fleabag, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 9 – Sat 12 Sep

Pheobe Waller Bridge Fleabag actress black and white image head in hands messy hair

Fleabag may seem oversexed, emotionally unfiltered and self-obsessed, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The hilarious, award-winning, one-woman show that inspired the BBC’s hit TV series Fleabag, was captured live on stage from London’s West End in 2019. If you didn’t snaffle tickets for Phoebe Waller Bridge’s brilliantly dark comedy, catch the encore now.

EXHIBITION: Quentin Blake and John Yoeman – 50 Years of Children’s Books, The Base Greenham, Fri 18 Sep – Sun 6 Dec

Just like wine and cheese, Quentin Blake and Roald Dahl trip off the tongue. But a new exhibition at The Base in Greenham Common reveals Quentin Blake’s longest collaboration was in fact with the author John Yeoman. House of Illustration’s 50 Years of Children’s Books exhibition is the first to celebrate this partnership. It features the original drawings for A Drink of Water, and 10 other projects – from picture books and short novels.

ARTS: A Night At The Louvre – Leonardo Da Vinci, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 16 Sep and Thu 24 Sep

A night at the Louvre Leonardo da Vinci

Order in fine Champagne and French cheeses and pretend you’ve been whisked off for a naughty weekend in Paris. A Night At The Louvre is a special film shot after hours that takes you on a private guided tour of the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition. The is an opportunity to see Da Vinci’s work up close and free of thousands of tourists holding their cameras and phone in front of your face. In French with English subtitles.

ART: Cookham and Maidenhead Arts Trail, various locations, Sat 12 – Sun 13 Sep

Inge Du Plessis blue sky person peeping into shot wearing bowler hat
Image: Inge Du Plessis

Always wondered what artist’s 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.

OUTDOOR THEATRE: The Hound Of The Baskervilles, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sun 6 Sep

The Hound of the Baskervilles Watermill THeatre Poster

The show must go on and it helps when your theatre has a garden. The stunning Watermill Theatre in Bagnor usually puts on an immersive performance amongst its flora and fauna – and when they got the 2020 green light, they had the spooky retelling of Sherlock Holmes’ The Hound of the Baskervilles ready to go. Support the arts, book a table and get your culture fix. It’s elementary, dear Muddy readers, elementary.

ONLINE TALK: Simon Yates: My Mountain Life, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 17 Sep

Mountaineer Simon Yates climbing in Peru

He was the man who cut the rope. Mountaineer Simon Yates was climbing the remote Siula Grande in Peru in 1985, but was slowly being pulled off the mountain face by his injured partner, Joe Simpson, who was dangling on the rope 50m below. Simon’s decision to cut the rope saved both their lives, inspired their bestselling bookTouching The Void, which later became a film, stage play and turned them into household names. Apparently there’s a funny side to all this drama, and Simon’s going to tell you all about it.

MUSIC: Camelot, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 5 Sep

The Watermill Theatre Newbury garden

A garden concert, you say? Your wish is my command, m’lady. The Watermill Theatre will be performing Camelot – a special concert of Lerner and Loewe’s music based on the legend of King Arthur, Guinevere and Lancelot. Lose yourself in a socially distanced world of knights and chivalry, royalty and romance.

MUSIC: The Vinyl Frontier – The Best Of Madonna, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 17 Sep

Madame X Madonna wearing cowboy hat with veil smoking a cigar

All hail Her Madgesty – the Queen of Pop’s talent is undeniable but can you pick one all-time favourite track? From Holiday to Hung Up via La Isla Bonita and Vogue, The Vinyl Frontier (hosted by Jeff Lloyd and nine guests) will debate which of her 127 tracks is the worthy winner. Host Jeff Lloyd is joined by nine guests to play their favourite Madonna track simultaneously to live and online audiences! For me, it’s a toss up between Like A Prayer and Borderline. Join the live theatre audience or lurk online, your choice.

COMEDY: The Horne Section, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 22 Sep

Musical comedy troupe The Horne Section

A night with the Horne. Not a seedy sex club to spice things up, but the outlandish musical and comic talent of Alex Horne and his band of musicians. The man has had a hit series on Radio 4, sell-out shows at Edinburgh Fringe and in London’s West End, Dictionary Corner faves on 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. In real life comedy is back, so one to add to the diary.

DANCE: Matthew Bourne’s Red Shoes, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 30 Sep

Red Shoes Matthew Bourne

Head to Norden Farm in Maidenhead for your culture fix. The live screening of Matthew Bourne’s acclaimed stage adaptation of The Red Shoes is back for an encore and it is not to be missed. Set to romantic music of golden-age Hollywood composer Bernard Herrmann, the story follows a girl’s dream of becoming the greatest dancer in the world – and it’s Matthew Bourne, so there’s no doubt the moves will be excellent.

FESTIVAL: Picnic in the Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 25-27 Sep

No need to get down in the dumps about this year’s cancelled Pub In The Park. Tom Kerridge has pulled out all the stops to bring you Picnic In The Park – a socially distant mini festival of live music and comedy with lashings of posh piccalilli. Performing live will be Rick Astley, Jack Savoretti, Dara Ó Briain, Tom Allen, Josh Widdicombe, Mark Watson, Reginald D Hunter, Desiree Burch and Angela Barnes. While Tom, Atul Kochhar and Paul Ainsworth will be firing up the grill. Tickets go on sale Fri 4 Sep.

MUSIC: Voices of the West End, Stonor Park, Henley, 11 – 13 Sept

Stonor Park Henley on Thames

West End stalwarts Earl Carpenter and John Owen-Jones (they played the lead in Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s The Phantom Of the Opera for over nine years between them) will be staging an outdoor production of musical hits against the back drop of the stunning, historic Stonor Park. They will also be joined by Kerry Ellis (Wicked) and Katie Hall (The Phantom Of the Opera).

COMEDY: Drive-in Comedy, Millets Farm, nr Abingdon, 5 & 12 Sept

If you’re looking for belly laughs, pull up to Millets Farm for an award-winning Jericho Comedy night from the comfort of your motor (if the weather’s nice, you can bring a picnic blanket and watch the show outside your car instead). The show will be broadcast on bluetooth speakers, plus you can pre-order pizza and burgers from the Millets Farm Kitchen.

CARS: Stonor Breakfast Club, Stonor Park, 20 Sept

Vroooom! Head to Stonor Park on the morning of 20 September for bacon rolls and an eclectic collection of motors, from supercars and sportscars to GTs.

BOOKS: Henley Literature Festival, online, Sat 26 Sept – Sun 4 Oct

We love a literature festival at Muddy, so are pleased to hear that instead of postponing, Henley Lit Fest is heading online for the first time. Speakers this year include Bake Off‘s breakout star Nadiya HussainMichael Morpurgo (tickets for his talks sell like hotcakes so be quick off the mark), social media stars Candice Brathwaite, Florence Given & Bryony GordonFern Britton, plus Russell & Laura Brand who’ll be reading from Judith Kerr’s The Tiger Who Came to Tea for the little people.

FURTHER AFIELD

FESTIVAL: London Design Festival, various locations, 12 – 20 Sept

Now in its 18th year, this cool festival features commissions and installations across the city, including The Hothouse, located in the newly coined International Quarter (Stratford). The glasshouse installation provides a controlled habitat for cultivating plants that would not ordinarily grow within the UK’s climate. 

EXHIBITION: Aubrey Beardsley, Tate Britain, until 20 Sept

Aubrey Beardsley

Here’s the last call to see this awesome retrospective exhibition of Aubrey Beardsley’s work, from his early medievalist and mythological subjects to his bold illustrations covering themes of sex, death and humour.

EXHIBITION: Electronic: From Kraftwerk to the Chemical Brothers, The Design Museum, London, until 14 Feb

From underground raves to the pioneering sounds used in Dr Who, this exhibition explores the history and culture of electronic music throughout the ages. 

EXHIBITION: Ai Weiwei: History of Bombs, Imperial War Museum, London, until 24 May 2021

Part of Refugees, a free season of exhibitions, artistic commissions and immersive events taking place across IWM London and IWM North, this exhibition draws on renowned artist Ai Weiwei’s ongoing investigation into politics and power.   

EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, until 6 Sept 

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).

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