MON 17 – SUN 23 FEB
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
COMEDY: Jimmy Carr, The Hexagon Reading, 19 Feb
Performing not once, but five times this year in Berks. Having political correctness at a comedy show is like having health and safety at a rodeo. Not for the easily offended, but definitely for anyone who loves the LOLs. Jimmy’s brand new stand-up show contains jokes about all kinds of terrible things. Terrible things that might have affected you or people you know and love. You’ve been warned.
DAYS OUT: Space Craft Week, Wellington Country Park, Riseley, 17 – 23 Feb
Whoop whoop! Wellington Country Park is one of the first family fun palaces to reopen in 2020. Set an alarm for Sat 15 Feb and go go go. It’s got it all – an awesome adventure play area with giant zip wire, dinosaurs, mini golf, animal farm, jumbo bouncy pillow, miniature railway and more more. Plus from 17 Feb they’re running Space Crafts as well. It’s a guaranteed hit for those with younger children. There’s also a superb cafe serving quality local produce –much it from Wellington Estate itself.
KIDS: Pop-up interiors workshop, Dream Make Newbury, Wed 19 Feb
Huzzah! Arts and crafts I can get on board with. Dreammake is a brilliant Newbury-based biz for creative kids. Annelies, an award-winning architect, started ‘Dreammake’ to fire up kids’ imaginations and introduce them to the world of architecture and design. It’s such a fab idea, you’d be mad not to book up. Take your pick from Pop-Up Interiors and Treetop Living workshops running over half term.
THEATRE: Billionaire Boy, Theatre Royal Windsor, 19-22 Feb
We’re pretty late to the party, but finally, David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy comes to the Theatre Royal Windsor – about 12-year-old Joe who is the richest boy in the country and receives £100,000 a week pocket money (don’t go getting any ideas, kids). It’s produced by the same team that created the award-winning West End show Gangsta Granny so it should be a goodie and, knowing Walliams, will be packed with humour for adults too.
DAYS OUT: Bonnets, Bustles and Top Hats, Windsor Castle, now – Sun 23 Feb
Best bib and tucker for a visit to see the queen at Windsor Castle… Queen Victoria, that is. Let your kids run wild-ish and immerse themselves in the bonkers world of Victorian fashion, try on a costume and make a fashion accessory. Plus you’ll get to hear the inside scoop on Queen Victoria’s wedding, which took place 180 years ago this month.
THEATRE: Chloe And The Colour Catcher, Corn Exchange Newbury, Norden Farm 18 Feb and Corn Exchange Newbury, 19-20 Feb
Chloe and the Colour Catcher is a charming story about bravery as a young girl goes on a mission to defeat the Grey Queen by unleashing all seven colours of the rainbow (Norden Farm, Maidenhead on 18 Feb and Corn Exchange Newbury, 19-20 Feb).
KIDS: Half Term Fun The Jelly Lounge, Windsor, 17-23 Feb
As always The Jelly Lounge in Windsor is on it for half term. In addition to the superb soft play area, there are running cookery lessons for mini chefs on Wednesdays and Friyay Fun on, well Fridays. Save your sanity and your home from the mini wrecking balls and book ’em up. The Jelly Lounge serves a damn good coffee, wine, gin and lush fresh food. Park up and relax. You can tire them out, feed them up and head home with a parenting gold star.
THEATRE: Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, 19 Feb – 7 Mar
Head west for the perfect introduction to Shakespeare as A Midsummer Night’s Dream (above) returns to The Watermill Theatre in Newbury (19 Feb – 7 Mar) for a limited run at the end of a UK tour. Fizzing with magic and a large dose of chaos in an enchanted Victorian music hall; secrets, love and mistaken identities collide to the soulful sounds of Nina Simone and Billie Holiday.
FOOD AND DRINK: Blind Wine Tasting, Cliveden House Taplow, 21 Feb
Cliveden’s calling it – 2020 is the year of wine. We’re liking their style. Join Head Sommelier, Zareh Mesrobyan for a series of wine dinners, kicking off with a blind tasting – where you’ll experience the same wines that you would be served in a sommelier competition, plus three delicious courses of food.
OUTDOORS: Snowdrop Walks, Welford Park Newbury, now – 3 Mar
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 of 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.
THEATRE: Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 Feb
A new play based on the work of comic novelist and playwright PG Wodehouse, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense – the play was a hit on the West End and previously won an Olivier Award for Best New Comedy so expect chortling galore.
EXHIBITION: A Beautiful World, Bray House Maidenhead, 22–26 Feb
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but when the beholder’s a pro snapper, magic happens. This exhibition reveals the wonders of the natural world, captured by 19 brilliant photographers, that an iPhone simply cannot recreate. Be inspired and take your grid to the next level.
COMEDY: Simon Munnery – Alan Parker Urban Warrior Farewell Tour, Norden Farm Maidenhead, 22 Feb
Multi-award-winning comedian Simon Munnery reprises his notorious alter ego, the bedsit anarchist Alan Parker Urban Warrior. Once the most radical, now the only radical, Alan returns with the old gold, the old truths, and some new truths (based on the old truths). 16+ years.
SPORT: Run for Chocolate, Kings Meadow Reading, 23 Feb
Running lovers, the loved up and chocolate lovers too… this one’s for you! Brace yourself for a stampede – there’s just the little business of covering 5km before you get the sweet stuff. Walk, jog or run, simply pop on your trainers whizz round Reading and a warm luxury hot chocolate will be waiting for you at the finish line (and a giant bar of Galaxy too,in my dreams). The event is open to all ages and abilities, starts at 10am.
MUSIC: Royal Philharmonic Orchestra – Noisy Kids Circus Circus, The Hexagon Reading, 23 Feb
Roll up in Reading for the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra’s fun-filled family concert – Noisy Kids Circus Circus (The Hexagon, 23 Feb). You’ll hear bite-sized pieces from The Greatest Showman, Monty Python, Gladiators and more, mixed with fun and games from your ringside seat!
SPORT: Winter Woolly, Elstree School Woolhampton, 23 Feb
The inaugural Winter Woolly 10K, from the fabulous grounds of Elstree School in Woolhampton. Don’t be lulled into a gentrified amble around the grounds, this 10K is multi-terrain with muddy lanes, footpaths, trails and woodland and a fair few hills.
EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, The Base Greenham Common, 7 Feb – 26 Apr
Wildlife photography requires patience, lightning reactions and a little bit of luck. But when they get the money shot… POW! the results are extraordinary. This year’s prestigious Wildlife Photographer of the Year exhibition is being held at The Base at Greenham Common Business Park in Newbury. It’s an international showcase of 100 images taken by the very best in nature photographers around the world.
EXHIBITION: India & Me, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – 23 Dec
Basildon Park’s India-inspired Zuber wallpaper was designed in 1806 by a French artist who had never been to India. It makes the new audio-visual exhibition in the mansion’s Garden Room even more extraordinary, as it looks at personal stories from Basildon’s collaboration with the Reading Indian Centre.
NEW EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb – 11 May
I love this shot! 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. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3, on show at Tate Britain until 3 May. tate.org.uk
THEATRE: Pretty Woman The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, London, 13 Feb – 2 Jan 2021
This month I’m excited for the start of Pretty Woman’s West End stint after it’s successful Broadway premier in 2018. The production has some major creds with choreography from two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray), and an original score from Grammy winner Bryan Adams (yes, really!).
CONCERT: Lana Del Rey, O2 Arena, London, 25 Feb
Lana Del Rey follows up last year’s incredible Norman F****** Rockwell album with a new one, White Hot Forever, and will be taking to the stage to share it this month.
FAMILY FUN: Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, 12-23 Feb
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, hang out with Michael Rosen, Dermot O’Leary, Cressida Cowell and Konnie Huqs, plus the chance to play in the soundpit.
Busy last month? There’s still time to see Tutankhamun – Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at the Saatchi Gallery. One of the biggest cultural events in the winter calendar, the exhibit features 150+ original artefacts found in the Pharaoh’s tomb that was unearthed in 1922 (until 3 May). Elsewhere, at the O2 Arena, there’s ABBA: Super Troupers, a journey through the Swedish band’s career featuring personal items and artefacts never seen before in the UK (until 21 Aug 2020). And finally, there’s the fantastically bonkers Tim Walker exhibition (above) at the V&A with snaps from his career as a fashion and portrait photographer, a must-see before it ends on 8 Mar.