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This week

MON 11 – SUN 17 FEB


THEATRE: Ian McKellan On Stage, Theatre Royal Windsor, Tue 12 – Wed 13 Feb

Sir Ian McKellan 80 t shirt and gold confetti

You shall not pass… without buying a ticket! The legendary Sir Ian McKellan celebrates his 80th birthday performing in 80 theatres with his one-man show – and all proceeds go to local charities. This month he rocks up to make his debut at Windsor’s Theatre Royal, one minute you’ll have Gandalf on stage the next you’ll probably be up there him. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting.


THEATRE: Murder For Two, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 23 Feb

Murder for two – one man playing piano

I reviewed Murder For Two when it premiered at The Watermill last year, and after a run in London’s West End, this hilarious high-energy whodunit is back. Starring Ed MacArthur and Jeremy Legat, it’s a madcap murder mystery with a twist, a hysterical blend of music, mayhem and murder


FOOD: Steak Week, The Hind’s Head Bray, Mon 11 – Sun 17 Feb

Often with Valentine’s dinners you’re packed in so tight you’re practically giving a stranger a lap dance every time you get up. Not at The Hind’s Head Bray – it’s all about the love of food. Ready to drool? You’ll get three steak choices – Ribeye, Wing Rib or Fillet; plus 3 sauces and sides to choose from. Throw in a beer/wine pairing and its winner winner steak dinner – cooked to Michelin star perfection. Book up.


EVENT: Circus of Screams, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 16 Feb

striped circus tent and illuminated circus sign


Roll up and race round Reading for A Circus of Screams – a three-hour Murder Mystery where you must find hidden evidence and catch a circus killer against the clock! The whole town becomes the set for this real-life whodunnit.Crack clues using their smartphones, converse with characters and find hidden evidence before the time runs out. Try not to kill each other in the process.


WALKS: Snowdrop Walks, Welford Park Newbury, now – Sun 3 Mar

carpet of snowdrops in woodland at Welford Park Newbury

It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry-ish day and wander through drifts of snowdrops at Welford Park. Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until Sun 3 Mar. You can find more snowdrop walks here.


WELLBEING: Alternative Friday Night, Orchard Life Midgham, Fri 15 Feb

Yoga cross legged on mat in wooden floor studio

Spend your Friday nights flat on your back in a state of total bliss. And on this occasion, you won’t have emptied a bottle of wine. Friday nights have never looked so good… no, seriously, you’ll be polishing your halo after an evening with Laura of The Wellbeing Feeling’s deep reiki infused meditations, yoga nidra (yogic sleep) and a sound meditation.


ACTIVITY: Friday With Friends, Madhatter’s Pottery Cafe, Fri 15 Feb

Image: Ghost/ Paramount

I’m trying really, really hard not to mention Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore in Ghost, but I can’t help myself. For those of you who need a little refresher, it’s the one that involves a phallic lump of clay, lots of hands and Demi wearing nothing but a white shirt. Let’s spare all our blushes and move on. Just for the record, is not that kind of night, but it is child-free (tick), you bring your own booze (I can work with that), nibbles are provided (hello) and you channel Grayson Perry to create a ceramic masterpiece. Price £5 per head plus the price of your pottery. If nothing else, you’ll make a memory that will reduce you to a fit of giggles.


FAMILIES: Charge The Castle, Windsor Castle, throughout Feb

black white chess board knights

Chaaaaaarge! Windsor Castle its under siege and it’s up to your mini knights to fight them off pronto. Don’t worry they’ll have all the gear – armour and weapons – and a bit of an idea (did someone say risk assessment?), leaving you time to wander off and swoon over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Wedding exhibition. It’s only on until 17 Feb. Charge The Castle is on every Saturday in Feb, and every day over half term.


DANCE: 5 Soldiers, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tue 12 Feb

5 Soldiers dance performance female soldier in tyres surrounded by men

Attteeeeention! The award-winning 5 SOLDIERS is coming to Bracknell and it’s a must-see. Choreographer Rosie Kay joined the 4th Battalion The Rifles, to watch and participate in full battle exercises, and visited the National Defence Medical Rehabilitation Centre. What came of these observations was this production – stripping back the war effort to reveal the solders as humans and individuals.


EAT OUT: Beer pairing taster menu, West Berkshire Brewery Taproom, Tue 12 Feb

cheers two brown beer bottles

There’s not much focus on the fellas when it comes to Valentine’s Day. A card, perhaps a small gift, but generally it’s all me me me. I’m not complaining. But West Berkshire Brewery Taproom is going the extra mile to pull together a five-course tasting menu paired eight West Berkshire Beers. A gentle whiff of testosterone, dontcha think? Sounds chuffing lush. They’re also showing Pretty Woman at their next film night on Tue 19 Feb.


FILM:  Evelyn, Vue Newbury, Sun 17 Feb

Evelyn documentary film people on hilltop arms out

Mental health can be a tough sell, but no matter how uncomfortable it makes us feel, we have to break the silence. I urge you to go and see the BIFA award-winning documentary Evelyn, about a family living with the grief of suicide. It’s being shown on Sun 17 Feb at at Vue Newbury. It’s raw, profoundly moving and a must-watch. There are very few opportunities to see it outside of London. Book up.


LAST CHANCE: A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, now –  Sun 17 Feb

Meghan Merkle wedding dress andPrince Harry's military uniform on display in Windsor Castle

Roll up roll up, it’s your last chance to see 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. We can all look forward to the collection of Royal maternity clothes in the summer. (Only joking).



SUPPER CLUB: Anti-Valentine’s Tapas, Claytons Marlow, Thurs 14 Feb

Native Feasts and XECO wines collab on a supper club at Muddy favourite Clayton’s Marlow; a tapas style dinner prepared by Chris Godfrey, Michelin star holder and former head chef of Ox’s Sir Charles Napier Inn. There’ll be cocktails and live music to accompany. Who needs romance when you’ve got food and booze, right? £38


EXHIBITION: Turner, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Sat 16 Feb – Mon 22 Apr

The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective takes place in Blenheim’s Gallery with works from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections. The exhibition celebrates some of his earliest commissions and shows his progress in depicting architecture and perspective in drawings, paintings and engravings from the 1780s – 1810s. You can also see one of Turner’s sketchbooks and some diagrams from a lecture he gave to the Royal Academy on perspective, which have rarely been exhibited before. Between Thurs 21 – Sun 24 Feb, the Cotswolds Art and Antique Dealers Association Fair also rocks up with over 30 dealers selling the very best furniture, pictures, silver, sculpture, carpets, jewellery. Prices start around £100 and you can imagine where they’ll end up!


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, V&A Museum London, from Sat 2 Feb

Christian Dior pink tulle gown

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

This is going to be maaassive! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there will be a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.


FASHION: Celebrating China pop-up boutique, Bicester Village, now until Sun 17 Feb

Curated by fashion influencer Susie Bubble, this pop-up boutique of ten cutting-edge Chinese designers is opening to celebrate Chinese New Year. It includes rising stars Ryan Lo, Mukzin and I Am Chen and with Chinese designers starting to make their mark on catwalks around the world it’s definitely worth checking out what they have to offer.


FAMILY FUN: Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds 13 Feb – Sun 24 Feb

cartoon of aliens

Twelve days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual kids festival. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a clutch of free possibilities in Strictly Kids, We’re Going On A Bear Hunt Concert, meet How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, Sue Perkins conducting Noisy Notes, plus the chance to play in the soundpit, create your spoon alter ego and train to be astronaut.


EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum Henley, now – Sun 14 July

This exhibition’s focus is on how the Thames and its tributaries influenced William Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxon and enjoyed angling and boating and the influence of the river can been seen in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics so you get a sense of the man as well as his iconic work.


THEATRE: All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre, London, now – Sat 11 May

Not the recent fabulous tv series but a play based on the award-winning 1950s film starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a Broadway star, and her young fan, Eve Harrington, who inveigles her way into her life. With Gillian Anderson and Lilly James in the starring roles, director Ivo van Hove at the helm, and with the themes of celebrity and youth at its core, this looks like a dead cert for success.


EXHIBITION: David Adjaye: Making Memory – Seven Monumental Projects, Design Museum London, now – Sun 5 May

National Catherdral of Ghana. Image: Leonardo Finotti

Can a building shape our perception of events? We’re about to find out. Celebrated Ghanaian-British architect Sir David Adjaye showcases seven of his architectural projects that speak louder than words for social justice – all with a sense of fashion and style. From the National Museum of African American History and Culture, opened by President Barak Obama, to the UK Holocaust Memorial Centre, each project is presented in a dedicated room alongside video interviews and immersive displays.


THEATRE: The Winter’s Tale for Young Audiences, National Theatre, London, now – Thurs 21 Feb

This is a great way to introduce primary-age children to Shakespeare (and it’s only an hour long). The Winter’s Tale, the story of Perdita, the girl who was once lost but is found, returns to the National Theatre in February 2019, following a sell-out run at the Dorfman Theatre last year.  Adapted by Justin Audibert and directed by Ruth Mary Johnson, the show is also touring round primary schools in Greater London.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves, the National Theatre, London, now – Sat 2 Mar

Cate Blanchett makes her debut at The National alongside Stephen Dilane in this new play by Martin Crimp, based on Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. It explores desire, sexual violence and the complicated roles men and women play – blimey!. There’s also a series of talks with members of the production and the playwright throughout the play’s run though Cate isn’t on the menu I’m afraid.

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