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This week

14 – 20 Jan


COMEDY: Andrew Doyle: Friendly Fire, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 18 Jan

Andrew Doyle comedian short dark hair black suit and tie

Andrew Doyle is the UK’s political satirist in chief. He’s co-writer of internet sensation Jonathan Pie, and has collaborated with Pie creator Tom Walker on numerous viral videos. Their response to Donald Trump’s election has been viewed online more than 150 million times and a more recent piece was described by Ricky Gervais as “one of the most perfect (and important) pieces of comedy I’ve ever seen.” Need I say more? Friendly Fire is not to be missed.


THEATRE: NT Live – The Tragedy of King Richard II, UK live broadcast, Tue 15 Jan

BT Live The Tragedy of Richard II beard man in yellow paper crown

Give yourself a culture shot with the National Theatre’s brilliant live broadcasts. Kicking off 2019, Simon Russell Beale plays Shakespeare’s Richard II. No need to forage around for Cliff’s Notes, the story’s about Dick’s inability to rule which leads to the ambitious Bolingbroke making his move to seize power. Could it sound any more like our current Brexit soap opera?

See it at South Hill Park, Corn Exchange, Norden Farm


FAMILY FUN: Crowns and Coronations, Windsor Castle, Sat 19 Jan

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation crown and sceptre

Too much for January? This was just like my New Year’s Eve outfit. And no it wasn’t fancy dress. You can get the look too, as Windsor Castle is running an art workshop celebrating The Queen’s Coronation where you can make a crown inspired by the Crown Jewels. Need more pomp and pageantry? On Sat 26 Jan, listen to the story of The Queen’s Coronation, read by Olivia Armstrong, and see a role play of the ceremony.


THEATRE: The Lady Vanishes, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sat 19 Jan

Alfred Hitchcock The Lady Vanishes suited gunmen and woman in tweed suit and fur collar

Hitchcock’s cinema classic: The Lady Vanishes – a very civilised whodunnit

The Theatre Royal Windsor always kicks off the new year with a theatrical whodunit – and 2019 is no exception. The Lady Vanishes is a gripping crime story, based on Alfred Hitchcock’s cinema classic, with a solid cast of actors including Juliet Mills (Wild At Heart) and Maxwell Caulfield (Dynasty). Grab your fur collar and seamed stockings, slick on a red lippie and pour yourself a martini, it’s that kinda show.


CRAFT: Arm Knit A Throw, B The Lifestyle Shop Newbury, Tue 15 Jan

Channel your inner nana and knit one purl one at an arm knitting workshop. With you Mr Tickle arms and a mahoosive ball of yarn, you’ll learn create woolly mammoth blanket with Sophie of A Boat Full Of Wool at B The Lifestyle Shop in Newbury. Oh and there’s cake too, so winner winner – £79pp.


WALKS: Winter walk, National Trust Cliveden, throughout 2019

Frosty image of the ornamental south parterre at Cliveden National Trust

If you’ve been cooped up for days at the relis or nursing a monumental NYE hangover, pop some pills get some fresh air at Cliveden. There’s s stonking 375 acres of gardens, woodland and riverside walks to explore. Plus the hotel is on hand for a coffee or hair of the dog.,uk/cliveden


EXHIBITION: Stanley Spencer: Friends and Family, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, now – Mar  2019

First self portrait of british artist Stanley Spencer and one of the last

Youth and experience” Self portraits of Berkshire-born Stanley Spencer

Not a loyalty scheme, but the latest exhibition at the brilliant Stanley Spencer Gallery on Cookham High Street. Although more famous for his local landscapes, his portraits are world class – in fact one on his first self portraits hangs in the Tate Britain. This new exhibition is an intimate snapshot of the artist’s private life, demonstrating his immense talent at capturing the mood and character of those closest to him.


KIDS: Under The Sea, The Look Out Discovery Centre Bracknell, Sat 19 Jan – Sun 24 Mar

Sea Turtle swimming in ocean

If you have littlies, the post Crimbo come down can be, well, challenging. Take your kiddie-fuelled commotion to the ocean  at The Lookout Discovery Centre’s Under The Sea show. Dive in and discover the creatures that live there and help protect them through different challenges.


SPORT: Clarence House Chase Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 19 Jan

Ascot jumps season with the first raceday of 2018 – Clarence House Chase

Love a day at the races but can’t wait for Royal Ascot? Saddle up for a January raceday with a little less pomp and ceremony (ok a lot less), but the fashion is fabulous (coats, faux fur and boots) and you can have a little flutter to spend on the totally unnecessary shoes you have seen in the sales.


DRINKIES: Gin Tasting, Thames St Windsor, Thu 17 and Fri 18 Jan

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

Dry January? Er, what’s that? No me neither, not a clue. Ginuary on the other hand, has my name written all over it. Head along to Thames Valley Wine School (17 Jan in Reading and 18 Jan in Windsor), get in the spirit, quaff the good stuff and leave with plenty of ginspiration. Taaaaaaxi!


SPORT: Windsor Winter Half Marathon, Dorney Lake Eton, Sun 20 Jan

Lace up your trainers and get your warm running gear on for a winter run
If you’re on of those smug people who has managed to keep on running despite the wine and cheese tempting you to fall off the wagon – good on you. You might be interested in shifting unwanted Crimho pounds with a easy peasy 13-mile Sunday jog. I’ll see you at the start line… one day.


DANCE: Bolshoi Live: La Bayadere, UK live cinema broadcast, Sun 20 Jan

An iconic 19th-century Russian ballet, La Bayadère was originally performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877, and was unknown to the West until 1960s – Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn’s starring roles at the Royal Opera House in 1963, went down in dance history. Now the Bolshoi are broadcasting live La Bayadére from Russia with love. A story of love, death and vengeful judgement set in India.


A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, until Sat 26 Jan

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

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).


FILM: Mary, Queen of Scots, UK cinema release, from Fri 18 Jan

More period queeny drama as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I battle it out in in 1569. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I. Fab costumes, extraordinary make up and good performances are promised but some critics aren’t happy about some historical inaccuracies. What, you mean Elizabeth I doesn’t marry King Eric of Sweden after all? *thud*



THEATRE: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 15 – Sat 19 Jan

If you enjoyed The Play that goes Wrong and Mischief Movie Night, then you’ll be tickled by this hit comedy from the same team. A priceless diamond is being stored by a corrupt city bank – what could possibly go wrong? A mad-cap fast paced caper for a fun night out when you need it most in the middle of January.


MUSIC: Someone Like You – The Adele Songbook, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Sun 20 Jan

Katie Markham was hand-picked by Adele herself on The Graham Norton Show to take her music on tour accompanied by a six-piece band. All the hits are belted out, plus some of those by Adele’s musical heroes, including George Michael and The Cure.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves, the National Theatre, London, Wed 16 Jan – 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.


ART: London Art Fair, Islington, London, Wed 16 – Sun 20 Jan

London Art Fair modern abstract ceramics of person

Xiao-yang Li, Offerings to Pythia of the East (XII), 2017

Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.


THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, London, until 19 Jan

The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music and mince pies if you’re still feeling festive.


Madagascar The Musical, The Hexagon Reading, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb

Madagascar The Musical Reading Hexagon 2018 Matt Terry as Lion

Youth and experience” Self portraits of Berkshire-born Stanley Spencer

Kids are back to school, you’re getting back in the groove – half term is 5 weeks away. Don’t panic, book Madagascar The Musical now so that you all have something to look forward to. X Factor winner Matt Terry stars in this fab production that’ll be coming to The Hexagon in Reading from 19-23 Feb.

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