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This week


THEATRE: Ventoux, Corn Exchange Newbury, Tue 30 Oct

Love a man in Lycra? Ventoux will give you thrills on a Tuesday night with the benefits of a cracking story. Set in 2000, it’s about the iconic cycling race between Lance Armstrong and Marco Pantani. Considered the greatest race ever, both men were prepared to do anything to win – great bike, max pedal power, oh and the best performance enhancing drugs money can buy. Expect breath-taking video projections, real-life race commentary and two road bikes.


FOODIE: Guest Chef  Simon Hulstone, Hind’s Head Bray, Wed 31 Oct

Chef Simon Hulstone ginger beard glasses and chef white coat

Trick or treat? If you’re heading to Heston’s Hind’s Head this Halloween, you’re going to be in for something more foodie than apple bobbing and a bucket of Haribo. West Country Michelin star chef Simon Hulstone will be flying up from his Torquay restaurant, The Elephant, to join the Hind’s Head team for one day only. Expect devilishly good food with a south west twist.


Duke and Duchess of Susses Exhibition, Windsor Castle, until Jan 2019

Prince Harry and Meghan – Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding 2018 Windsor Castle steps

Better late than never, but we’ve all been invited to Windsor Castle to get up close and personal with newlyweds Harry and Meghan. Ok, so they won’t actually be there but a new exhibition will display Meghan’s Givenchy bridal gown designed by Artistic Director Clare Waight Keller is, her 5m veil embroidered with flora symbolising the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 1932 Queen Mary diamond and platinum tiara loaned to the Duchess by the Queen. It’s not all about the bride (even though we known it is really), Harry’s Blues and Royals frock designed by Dege & Skinner on Savile Row will also be standing to attention.


SPORT: Halloween Masquerade 5 Nite Run, Thames Valley Park Reading, Wed 31 Oct

White Halloween mask with mud and bloody marks on it

One for adrenaline junkies and anyone bewitched by running. Ditch the Saw marathon and get your heart racing at Reading’s 10th Halloween 5k. Lace up and join 750 thrill seekers on the start line for a run in the dark. Pitch black, masks, mayhem and exercise, er, maybe next year. For anyone mad enough, there’s a special commemorative medal, goody bag and hot pumpkin soup. What no wine?


KIDS: Halloween parties and trails, Wed 31 Oct

Orange glow from the spooky designs carved into pumpkins

Pumpkin carved? Costume sorted? Nope me neither. Emergency 24-hr supermarket run, it is then. See you in aisle 2, sifting through the Halloween leftovers. My kids love this time of year, but trick the treating can feel a bit meh. A spooktacular shindig could be the answer to every frazzled parents looming dread. The Jelly Lounge is hosting a spooky disco (4.40pm-7.30pm), with fancy dress comp and games; get creepy in the countryside at The Old Boot Inn Stanford Dingley‘s Halloween party (6pm) with creepy food, fun and games from 6pm, Shaw House Newbury (6pm-8.30pm) has planned a night of spooky fun with trails, apple bobbing and ghostly storytime plus Stonor Park in Henley is perfect for littlies (10am-4pm) with its pumpkin carving and Halloween trail.

THEATRE: Finding Joy, Corn Exchange Newbury, Wed 31 Oct

Masked puppet theatre with man woman baby having a picnic while elderly grandma sits in the background
No it’s not a Halloween nightmare? Finding Joy is by the UK’s leading full mask theatre company (how many full mask companies do you think there are? The mind boggles). Step into the the Vamos Theatre’s wordless world as this  story of lost memories and discovered love is vividly brought to life as Joy celebrates her 83rd birthday and her rebellious grandson’s decides to look after her. Yikes.


THEATRE: Murder For Two, Theatre Royal Windsor, Thu 1 – Sat 3 Nov

Murder for two play two actors high five. one stood up and the other sat at the piano

I reviewed the brilliant Murder For Two when it premiered at The Watermill Theatre last year, and after a run in London’s West End, this hilarious high-energy whodunit is back in Berkshire. Starring Ed MacArthur and Jeremy Legat, it’s a madcap murder mystery with a twist, a hysterical blend of music, mayhem and murder. Originally a massive off-Broadway hit, it’s directed by Luke Sheppard, winner of Best Musical Olivier for In The Heights.


THEATRE: The Think Drinker’s Pub Crawl, South Street Arts Reading, Thu 1 – Sat  3 Nov

Black and white image of two men in black suits and ties one holding a pint the other a cocktail

Any show that involves a pub crawl, had me at hello. The Thinking Drinkers are back on tour with a brand-new, intoxicating bar-hop through history. Enjoy five free drinks as the award-winning experts take you from the symposiums of Ancient Greece to the classic British boozer via Wild West saloons, Victorian gin palaces and the secret Speakeasy. You’ll learn a lot, you’ll laugh a lot and, don’t forget, you get five free drinks.


COMEDY: Croft & Pearce Double Take, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 2 Nov

Croft and Pearce Double Take mirror images of brown hair comedians wearing black vests

If you missed there show in Reading, get yourself down to Maidenhad! Croft & Pearce are back on tour with a brand new show and, if it’s anything like the others, it’ll be a sell out. So hurry. Stars of BBC Radio 4’s The Croft & Pearce Show and Sketchorama, winners of the Mervyn Stutter Spirit of the Fringe Award, recipients of the official Edinburgh Fringe ‘Total Sell-Out Show’ laurel and WhatsOnLondon Comedy Award nominees 2017. The list goes on and on. Buy a ticket and see why everyone loves these gals.


EVENT: Spookfest & Sparkle, Royal Windsor Racecourse, Sat 3 Nov


It doesn’t get much bigger than this. Windsor’s epic fireworks display – courtesy of British Fireworks Championship double award-winners Fantastic Fireworks – is set to music from spooktacular movies like The Addams Family, Ghostbusters, Scooby Doo and Psycho. But it doesn’t end there, once you’ve been wowed by the fpretty explosives, you can head over to the drive-in outdoor cinema to watch the original 1984 Ghostbusters. How cool is that? Book up, it’ll be a sell out.


EVENT: Fireworks Spectacular Family Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 3 Nov

Rockets light up the sky with plumes of red and orange

Why not make a day of it? Ascot Racecourse is offering a full day of National Hunt racing, white knuckle fun fair rides and gentler ones for littlies (free until 4pm, then £1 per ride), they’ll also be showing The Greatest Showman in the Ascot Pavillion, finishing with an enormous fireworks display. Under 18s go free and all proceeds go to local charities. Talk about bang for your buck. Fnar.

Other fireworks displays this week:

Thu 1 Nov: Sonning Pyromusical Spectacular, Reading Blue Coat School

Sat 3 Nov: Sparks In The Park, Swallowfield Park Reading; Wellington College Charity Fireworks 2018; Upton Court Park Fireworks, Slough; Boyn Hill Cricket Club Fireworks Display, Maidenhead; Pangbourne Fireworks Fiesta 2018, Pangbourne Primary School.

Sun  4 Nov: Thameside Firework Extravaganza, Mapledurham Lock Purley On Thames; Chieveley Fireworks, Chieveley Recreation Ground.

Read about Berkshire’s biggest and best displays, here.


KIDS: There  Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sat 3 Nov

There was an old lady who swallowed a fly stage show pink room actors dressed as old lady, a fly

Kids love nursery rhymes that takes a macabre twist – an antidote to the saccharin sweet storytelling of Peppa Pig. To celebrate the 45th anniversary of Pam Adams’ classic There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed A Fly the People’s Theatre will bring the story to life. Suitable for ages 2yrs+. Meet the characters after the show for a book signing and photos.


MUSIC: BR  James, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sat 3 Nov

Soul singer BR James black suit and short cloud background piano in corner

When you’re described as the John Legend of the UK, that’s putting a whole heap of expectation out there. But that’s what music peeps are saying about BR James – Berkshire’s finest soul singer. Not only can the man sing, he’s also pretty nifty on the piano. You can see him perform at South Hill Park in Bracknell. Check out and let me know what you think.


DRINKIES: Gin Club, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 3 Nov

short glass tumbler gin and tonic lemon slices rosemary sprigs and ice

First rule of Gin Club, you do not talk about Gin Club. We don’t everyone tucking into our favourite tipple, now do we? A monthly shindig at the Corn Exchange, you’ll get to sample four different premium minis, tonics and garnishes with like minded lovers of botanicals. Drinks o’clock is 8pm, and I’m happy to be ruined.


FILM: Scream @ WBB, West Berkshire Brewery Yattendon, Sun 4 Nov

Cream film black cloaked person wielding knife and scary white mask

Arrrrrrrgggh! Ditch the kids, they’ve had their fun this week and head out for your very fright night at the movies. West Berkshire Brewery will be showing the 90s classic, Scream, starring Drew Barrymore, Neve Campbell and  Courtney Cox, poking fun at every horror cliche in the book. Entry is £5 and includes a pint of WBB beer plus the Kitchen will be be serving hotdogs (veggie & vegan options available) & popcorn.


FAMILY FUN: Morgan & West Unbelieveable Science, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sun 4 Nov

Morgan and West Unbelievable Science Victorian suits and lightening

Kaboom! Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West are back with a brand new ‘Work In Progress’ show. Their magical extravaganza was a massive hit, but these boys have been hiding another talent they are genuine, bona fide, legitimately qualified scientists, and now are bring their love of enlightenment to the stage! Expect explosive thrills, chemical spills and a risk assessment that gives their stage manager chills.



CULTURE: Royal Opera House, Month of Sundays Festival, London, Sun 4 – Sun 25 Nov

The Royal Opera House is opening itself up for a month of interactive fun. They’ll be live demos from technicians and craftspeople who work on the ROH productions, you can take guided tours and learn new moves in a dance class, sing tunes from opera classics and make something crafty to take home. The Royal Ballet and the Royal Opera artists will be performing in the public areas and there’s a sound installation that explores the history of the Opera House.


THEATRE: Shakespeare’s Troilus and CressidaRST, Stratford-upon-Avon, now  –  Sat 17 Nov

Directed by RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran, this is the company’s first gender-equal production of Shakespeare’s “most testosterone-fuelled” play. Set in a futuristic dystopian Troy, it will involve close collaboration with the virtuoso percussionist, Evelyn Glennie.



KIDS: First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, Swan Theatre, Stratford, now – 2 Nov

Wondering what’s the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for 7 – 13-year-olds? The RSC’s fab First Encounters with Shakespeare: The Comedy of Errors, a 90-minute abridged version just for kids, is touring several partner schools and theatres across the UK including Leamington, Warwick, Nuneaton, Birmingham, Northampton, Blackpool, Middlesbrough, Kent, York, Bradford and Stoke-on-Trent. It will have a number of public performances in The Swan. A lovely experience for families.



THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, London, now –  Sun 30 Dec

Exciting news – there’s a theatre in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, a play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.


ART: Edward Burne-Jones, Tate Britain, London, now – 24 Feb 2019

Sir Edward Coley Burne-Jones ‘Love Among the Ruins’ 1870-1973 Private Collection

Pre-Raphaelite artist Burne-Jones was one of the most influential British talents of the 19th century and this exhibition will bring together 150 works including paintings, stained glass and tapestry in a major new retrospective. Rejecting the starched world of the Victorians, he looked to myths, legends and the Bible to create his otherworldly work. He wanted to bring beautiful design to everyone and along with his friend William Morris, pioneered the Arts and Crafts Movement.



PEOPLE: Nigella Lawson, Oxford New Theatre, Mon 13 Nov

Chatting about her life in food, saucy Nigella Lawson is on tour celebrating the 20th anniversary of her first cook book, How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. Nigella manages to make everyday cooking seem sexy and easy and here she talks about her love of food and what it means to be an author, cook and TV personality. Don’t miss the book signing after the performance too.


PEOPLE: Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends, The Royal Albert Hall, Sat Dec 1

There are still tickets available for Rob Lowe’s live show (a sell out in the States). Inspired by his memoirs of the same name and his previous book Love Life, Mr Lowe will spill the beans on a career from the Brat Pack to The West Wing to Parks and Rec and beyond. Apparently, he’s quite the raconteur with loads of witty anecdotes that touch on his career, fame, Hollywood, fatherhood and marriage.


THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Milton Keynes Theatre, Wed 23- Sat 26 Jan

I loved this book by Paula Hawkins and enjoyed the film (although shame it was set in the US instead of London) and now there’s a stage play. Starring Samantha Womack (Eastenders, Game On and Kingsman) critics are raving about it. Even if you already know the story of Rachel Watson and her obsession with her past life, apparently there are plenty of surprises in this gripping new play.


THEATRE: The Lehman Trilogy, Piccadilly Theatre, London, from 11 May

Heads up – tickets go on sale on Nov 2 for this National Theatre play directed by Sam Mendes and staring Simon Russell Beale, Ben Miles and Adam Godley. Tracing 150 years of the banking family, it doesn’t sound like riveting entertainment but it has been a sell out at the National and is transferring to the West End next spring. Grab a ticket whilst you can.

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