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This Week

MON 21 – SUN 27 JAN


COMEDY: Andrew Doyle: Friendly Fire, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Thu 24 Jan

Andrew Doyle comedian short dark hair black suit and tie

If you missed Andrew Doyle – the UK’s political satirist in chief – in Reading last week, he’s back and this time he’s in Theresa May’s constituency of Maidenhead. 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.


OPERA: ROH LIVE: The Queen of Spades, UK live cinema broadcast, Tue 22 Jan


Royal Opera prices are eye wateringly expensive, so unless you want to sell a kidney, rock up to your local arts centre cinema or multiplex, squint a little and you could almost be in Covent Garden. A lot less gold leaf but a lot more popcorn. The Queen of Spades is Tchaikovsky’s intense opera of obsession and the supernatural. Expect gothic storytelling, so go have on the eyeliner.


BEAUTY:  Skincare Workshop, Park Spa at Warbroook House Hotel Eversely, Thu 24 Jan

How’s your skincare routine? Basic is an understatement, in my case. Yes, I sometimes forget to take my make up off, and cute laughter lines are becoming crevices that could hold loose change. Alther me in all the lotions and potions at the Park Spa’s Skincare Workshop, showing us how and why we need to cleanse, tone and moisturise, twice a day. It cost a tenner and you even get a glass of bubbles.



DRINKIES: Posh v Plonk, Sir Christopher Wren Hotel Windsor, Thu 25 Jan

If you’re doing Dry January, look away now. As for the rest of you, enjoy 50 shades of plonk. But can you really taste the difference between the cheap and the posh stuff? It’s about to get a bit fruity as the cork-popping kids from the Thames Valley Wine School pop a blindfold on your peepers before you sip, slurp and, er, swallow the cheap and the expensive to determine if you’r a wino or a oenophile. Book up.


COMEDY: Brewery Comedy, Windsor & Eton Brewery, Sat 26 Jan

Brewery comedy Windsor brewing tanks barrel seats and comedian on stage

Comedy + beer – what could possibly go wrong? Head to the factory floor of Windsor & Eton Brewery for a unique night of laughs and heckling as five up and coming circuit comics take to the stage. Jo Coffey, Dan Mayo, Matt Bragg, Jake Farrell and MC James Lillis will be bringing the craft comedy, the brewery’s got the craft beers nailed, you just need to bring the laughs. Doors at 7pm Comedy starts at 8.


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.


COMEDY: Friday Night Comedy Club, Hungerford Town Hall, Fri 25 Jan

Comedian Roger Monkhouse Black suit bald head hands clasped

You’ve gotta love a comedy night somewhere totally unexpected. A place more accustomed to coffee mornings, flea markets and quick ‘I dos’, Hungerford Town Hall also hosts a great comedy. Roger Monkhouse, considered on the best live acts on the circuit, headlines the night. A master of observational comedy, Roger employs a deadly combo of charm and menace. Break the misery of Jan with a belly laugh.


KIDS: Under The Sea, The Look Out Discovery Centre Bracknell, now – 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.


WELLBEING: Ultimate Bliss Workshop, Inspire Hot Yoga Maidenhead, Sat 26 Jan

Lucy Jackson yoga instructor lying outstretched on the ground in her garden

If you need to hit the reset button after the endurance test that is Christmas, I hear you sister. Head to Inspire Hot Yoga for Lucy Jackson’s Ultimate Bliss workshop – two hours of relaxing deep stretching and meditation. You’ll come out feeling so light, it’ll feel like those mince pies never passed you lips.


EVENT: Australia Day, Smash Reading, Sat 26 Jan

It’s minus 3 but don’t let that stop you slipping into your flip flops, throwing a shrimp on the barbie and pretending it’s summer. It’s Australia Day, mate, and Smash will be getting their (inside) grill on, knocking back the stubbies with over 60 craft beers in the chiller and Fair Dinkum ping pong games galore – and not a bush tucker trial in sight.


SHOPPING: Windsor Auctions Antiques and Collectables, Unit 18B Vansittart Estate Windsor, Sat 26 Jan

The High Street this is not, but there’s something satisfying about discovering a unique gem, built to last whether it be furniture, knick knacks, art or jewellery. Windsor Auction’s monthly sale is a goodie and Celebrity Antique Road Trip are filming too. Get ready for your close up.


EVENT: An Evening of Opera and Wine, The Vineyard Stockcross, Sun 27 Jan

The Vineyard Hotel Stockcross Berkshire The Judgement of Paris Mural

If the box set bingeathons and reality TV has left you feeling like a cultural blancmange, then pull up a velvet-cushioned pew for an evening of opera and wine (there will be food too) at The Vineyard in Stockcross. Belshazzar’s Feast is is on the menu and each wine will be hand selected from the famous 30,000 bottle wine cellar and paired with the characters of each performance. How brilliant is that?! See how the pros do it, then try it yourself while watching Silent Witness. £135pp


THEATRE: Guy & Dolls, Mill at Sonning, until Sat 23 Feb

Guys and Dolls Mill at Sonning woman in yellow dress held in the air.

Get your glad rags on because The Mill at Sonning are bringing New York to Berks with Guys & Dolls. Director Joseph Pitcher and Conductor Charles Ingles, who put on last year’s My Fair Lady, are back along with the promise of post-show piano tunes on Friday and Saturday evenings and cocktails from the Waterwheel Bar – music to my ears. First person to spy George wins Christmas at the Clooneys (joke, obvs). Ticket price also includes lunch/dinner.


LAST CHANCE: A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, until Tue 19 Feb

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).


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


FILM: Serenity, UK Cinema release, from Fri 25 Jan

Interstellar co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway reunite for this thriller about a fishing boat captain pulled into a web of deceit when his ex-wife begs him to save her from her abusive new husband.



KIDS: Dr Dolittle The Musical, Oxford New Theatre, until Sat 26 Jan

This acclaimed musical extravaganza is great fun for all the family with stunning puppetry and memorable songs. Based on the 1967 Rex Harrison film, it tells the story of a wacky but kind doctor who can talk to animals and his quest to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail. The doctor is played by Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potterfilms) but the puppets are the stars – the doctor’s trusty sidekick Polynesia the parrot, the bespectacled horse having his eyes tested and an hilarious dance routing from a two-headed camel are real highlights. It looks like the perfect antidote to a cold grey January.


SCIENCE: Stargazing Oxford, Dept of Physics, Oxford University, Sat 26 Jan

Loving Astronomers from Oxford Uni will be on hand throughout this free drop-in stargazing festival to try and answer your questions. During the day, you can pop by to talk to the researchers and explore space science through interactive activities and stalls, there will be space-themed craft activities, talks, an inflatable planetarium and you can even present a space weather broadcast in front of a green screen (weather in space?). As darkness falls, you can observe the night sky through telescopes with amateur astronomy groups to lead you round the heavens.


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.


CULTURE: Tate Late, Tate Modern, London, Fri 25 Jan

More art, you cultured lot, in this monthly open evening at Tate Modern that includes music, workshops, talks and more as you wander the galleries after hours. This Friday Bridget Minamore, poet, critic, essayist and journalist, will be reading from her debut pamphlet Titanic, which explores love, loss and the struggles we all face in relationships.


EVENT: Home Sweet Home & the Winter Revel, Royal Shakespeare Company, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Fri 25 – Sun 27 Jan

Be part of this fun creative art project and make a home, factory, shop or nightclub out of cardboard and help build a new suburb which will turn into an exhibition from Feb 8. You can build alone or with a group, decorate your property, decide on street names and even make plans for future buildings. It’s free and you can drop in but they recommend booking a property in advance. If you go on Sat 26, stay for the late night party with live music, pop-up circus acts and performances, street food and cocktails in their Winter Revel.



THEATRE: Macbeth, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tue 5– Sat 9 Feb

Macbeth South Hill Park Lady Macbeth sits in black cloak between two rocks

Image: Macbeth 2017

Something wicked this way comes… and it’s not a hoody wearing yoof giving you attitude (just my kids then). Joe Maylan’s critically-acclaimed 2017 production of Shakespeare’s Macbeth returns to South Hill Park for more blood, violence and trouble than a Brexit meeting. If you love your theatre dark and dramatic (or you have a teen studying it), it’s an edge-of-your-seat stuff must-see.


FILM:  Evelyn, Vue Newbury, 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.


THEATRE: Madagascar The Musical, Hexagon Reading, 19 –  23 Feb

Madagascar The Musical Reading Hexagon 2018 Matt Terry as Lion

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.


FOOD: Guest Chef Paul Ainsworth, The Hind’s Head Bray, 27 Feb 

No need to spend hours crawling along the M5 to eat Paul Ainsworth’s phenomenal dishes. The prince of Padstow is bringing his Cornish culinary magic to Berkshire. The Michelin star chef – owner of No.6, Rojano In the Square and The Padstow Townhouse – will be cooking a special 6-course menu at The Hind’s Head in Bray on Wed 27 Feb. Tickets are on sale. Snap ’em up. There are just a few tables left.


FESTIVAL: Pub In The Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 17-19 May

Pub in the park Tom Kerridge Giant PITP letters

Roll up, roll up for Tom Kerridge’s Pub In The Park festival – they go on sale on 1 Feb, or 31 Jan if you sign up to their newsletter. The Higginson Park festival in Marlow, this year 17-19 May, is always a hot ticket, with its blend of Michelin-starred pop-ups (Heston’s The Hind’s Head will be there, along with Bibendum’s Oyster Bar and Dominic Chapman’s The Beehive) and live music acts Jake Bugg, Kaiser Chiefs, Scouting For Girls and Gabrielle.

Find more ideas here

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