MON 16 – SUN 23 SEP
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
ART: Fresh:Art Fair, Ascot Racecourse. Thu 19 – Sun 22 Sep
This is MAJOR. Alongside mega-hits by Tracey Emin, Hockney, Banksy and Damien Hirst, this Chris Levine portrait of Her Maj will be on display at Fresh:Art Fair at Ascot Racecourse. Some of the best galleries (Muddy Award-winning ones among them) in the UK. Check out 12 artists to keep an eye out for here. Grab FREE tickets for the Private View on Thu 19 Sep (valid for the whole weekend) – quote MUDDY at checkout.
CULTURE: Windsor Festival, various locations, now – Sun 29 Sep
For its 50th anniversary, Windsor Festival is pulling out all the stops. The doyenne of the Great British Bake Off (and romance novelist) Prue Leith will be hosting a literary tea; the brilliant Lucy Worsley will be talking about Queen Victoria, alongside AN Wilson, Simon Heffer, Anna Pasternak and Robert Hardman. Not strictly a literary festival, there’s also a programme of music, exhibitions and tours.
COMEDY: Ben Elton Live – Work In Progress, Corn Exchange Newbury, Mon 16 Sep
Ben Elton was a thorn in Maggie Thatcher’s side, co-author of comedies The Young Ones and Blackadder, brought us the We Will Rock You musical and was a lover of a shiny suit. He defined the UK comedy scene of the 1980s and after a 15 year absence, he’s back with an all new stand-up show. Ben promises to try and make sense of a world which appears to have gone stark raving mad. Don’t miss this Work in Progress performance ahead of his UK tour.
THEATRE: Gaslight, Theatre Royal Windsor, Wed 18 – Sat 28 Sep
See it before it transfers to the West End, Gaslight is about woman on the brink of insanity who keeps losing stuff – watch, brooch, picture frame. A bit careless but standard practice in the Muddy household – but attaching a bleeping bit of tech to ensure the lost is found would not make a very exciting play. Here Martin Shaw plays detective to save Bella from madness, untangling fact from fiction.
CULTURE: Margaret Atwood Live in Cinemas, various locations, 18 Sept
I don’t know about you but I’ve been glued to The Handmaid’s Tale on TV recently. Author, Margaret Atwood released her long-awaited follow-up novel, The Testaments, last week which she will be talking about in an exclusive interview broadcast live from London to cinemas and theatres across the UK, find your nearest Bucks & Oxon locale here. There’s also still time to snaffle tickets for Atwood’s live appearance at New Theatre on 30 Oct – book up pronto as bound to sell out soon.
LAST CHANCE: Kiss Me Kate, The Watermill Newbury, now – Sat 21 Sep
From the BBC ballroom to the Watermill rehearsal studio, the talented Oti Mabuse is shaking her sequinned dance skills as choreographer of The Watermill’s latest production, Kiss Me Kate. Expect this Cole Porter classic to have all the razzle dazzle when its stars Olivier award-winner Rebecca Trehearn and David Ricardo take to stage this week.
CULTURE: Windsor Fringe, various locations, Fri 20 Sep – Sun 6 Oct
If you like your arts fresh out of the box, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.
DANCE: Tangomotion, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri 20 Sep
If you love Strictly, you’ll go nuts for Tangomotion. The tango and paso doble seem to be the dances that see the wheels fall off the celeb dancers relationships with all that latin fire and passion. Turn up the heat and see the pros in action, as Tangomotion brings Buenes Aires to Berkshire.
EXHIBITION: En Vogue, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – Mon 18 Nov
Strike a pose there’s nothing to it and saunter up to Basildon Park for a fabulous fashion exhibition. Lady Iliffe graced the glossy pages of Vogue in 1966, with the mansion as the backdrop to Henry Clarke’s stylish portraits. Bringing that shoot to life, you can rifle through her wardrobe and drool over the Dior, Valentino and Chanel. If you missed out on the V&A’s Dior exhibition, this will scratch that fashion itch.
EXHIBITION: The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, The Base Greenham Common, Fri 20 Sep – Sun 15 Dec
Fancy a literary trip down memory lane? Immerse yourself in the nostalgic world of Ladybird Books told through original artwork, books and objects. We all had them, and bring back the same childhood fuzzies as Space Invader crisps and Willow The Wisp. Explore an unparalleled collection of books, original artwork and artefacts, dating back to the WW2, at The Base.
COUNTRY LIFE: Berkshire County Show, Newbury Showhround, Sat 21 – Sun 22 Sep
There’s been a resurgence of interest in these kind of events – maybe it’s the Countryfile Live effect. It doesn’t rock my boat, but little kids will love the horse shows, vintage tractors Berkshire County Show in Newbury this week. New this year, is the Aspioneering Tent showcasing all things STEM, a fashion show courtesy of Camp Hopson (Fri 20 Sep) and a wedding showcase area.
ART: Wokingham Art Trail, various locations, Sat 21 – Sun 22 Sep
Fancy nosing around an artist’s studio? Now’s your chance to find out. Join the Wokingham Arts Trail and 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 ceramicist Suzanne Needham, jewellery Dana Kidson and the amazing landscapes by Clare Buchta.
WELLBEING: Wonderment Retreat Festival, Wasing Estate Aldermaston, Fri 20 –Sun 22 Sep
Detox before you retox. Come on, we can do this, one weekend of wholesome goodness in the stunning woodland setting of Wasing Estate. The Wonderment Retreat Festival – part festival, part retreat – it;s an Autumn Equinox manifestation weekend. A little woo woo and a lot of wellbeing. You can even learn to swim like a mermaid in the lake.
EAT & DRINK: Reading Vegan Festival, St Laurence Church Reading, Sat 21 Sep
Go the vegans! It feels forever ago when vegans were the weirdy beardies of society – now they’re hip, happening and with excellent digestive tracts. To celebrate the victory of the vegetable, head to the St Laurence Church Reading for this festival with stalls, demos and children’s entertainment.
KIDS: The Tiger Who Came To Tea, The Hexagon Reading, Sun 22 – Tue 24 Sep
f a massive wild cat really did come round and vandalize your kitchen, realistically you’d scarper long before it started loutishly drinking PG Tips out of the teapot spout, right? I must take this up with legendary children’s author Judith Kerr next time I see her. Anyway, the classic kids’ bedtime story arrives at The Hexagon this month in musical form. Director David Wood has also adapted BFG, The Witches and Meg & Mog for the stage, so you’re in very safe hands. Just don’t open the door without your tranquillizer gun..
EXHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden House, Berks, until 10 Nov
If you’re heading over the Berks border, this sculpture trail at National Trust site Cliveden is well worth a peek. Around the Grade I listed grounds you’ll find 16 of the iconic ’60s sculptural artist’s famous steel structures. nationaltrust.org.uk
NEW EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, 11 Sept – 2 Feb 2020
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake has created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, will feature over 300 original works, as well as an immersive recreation of the small domestic room in which Blake showed his art in 1809. Other pieces will be digitally recreated on an enormous scale. tate.org.uk
EXHIBITION: Maurizio Cattelan, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until 27 Oct
Italian conceptual artist Maurizio Cattelan is taking residence at Blenheim Palace, Woodstock. You may want to book a three-minute slot to see his piece ‘America’ – an 18-carat gold toilet, which will be hidden inside the palace. Over 100,000 people queued at New York’s Guggenheim to see it in 2016 (12 Sept – 27 Oct). Just don’t, erm, get caught short.
NEW EXHIBITION: Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, V&A Museum, London, from 21 Sept
POP-UP: The Modist, Bicester Village, Bicester, now – 24 Sept
Dubai-based luxury online brand The Modest pops up in Bicester Village this summer with its first European boutique (I need that pink dress, like, immediately). The brand will have pieces from contemporary labels as well as from its own brand LAYEUR. bicestervillage.com
THEATRE: Amelie, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 8 – Sat 12 Oct
It’s been a Broadway smash hit and now Amelie is coming to The Hexagon Reading. Based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, it’s a feel-good musical about a young girl with a big imagination. Get tickets here.
EVENT: Autumn Racing weekend and Beer Festival, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 4 – Sat 5 Oct
Even a vino stalwart like myself will sink a pint of the amber nectar during Oktoberfest! Ascot Racecourse will be transforming the Grandstand concourse into a very special local with a weekend of racing, Oompah music, traditional German grub and, of course, loads of beers. Race you to the finish line – there’s 200 beers, ciders and perries on offer plus 80 gins. Lederhosen optional.
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival – featuring Muddy Stilettos Book Club Live, Phyllis Court, Henley, Sat 5 Oct
It’s back, baby! We’re returning to Henley Lit Fest (28 Sept – 6 Oct) this year with lashings of wine, plenty of pizzazz and a panel of brilliant authors: actor, Celebrity Master Chefwinner and Meant to Be author Lisa Faulkner, former deputy editor of ELLE and How to be a Gentlewoman author Lotte Jeffs, and Five Steps to Happy debut novelist Ella Dove. More info here. Get your tickets pronto, last year was a sell out.