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This week

Mon 27 Feb – Sun 2 Feb


FILM: Banff Film Festival, The Hexagon Reading, 29 Jan

Banff Film Festival Man walking on ridge of snow topped mountain range

Adrenaline fuelled while sitting. This is an opportunity to see a brand-new collection of jaw-dropping short films from the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. Witness epic human-powered feats and mind-blowing cinematography as the best adventure film-makers and explorers push themselves to the limits in the most remote and stunning corners of the globe.


THEATRE: One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, 29 Jan – 15 Feb

One-Million-Tiny-Plays-About-Britain-man in pink tutu pretending to me an aeroplane

A critically-acclaimed jumble of micro plays about everyday life, The Watermill’s One Million Tiny Plays About Britain is funny and heartbreakingly moving. Listen hard and see the daily dramas – from a couple peering into an estate agent’s window and two sports fans having a heart-to-heart to a daughter questioning her mother’s love life, it’s a fascinating window into our world.


BROADCAST LIVE: ROH – La Bohême, various UK cinemas, 29 Jan

La Boheme ROH Live couple walking in the snow

Love is in the aria (sorry, couldn’t resist) for the Royal Opera House’s live broadcast of La Bohême. Richard Jones’s production and Puccini’s stunning score bring to life the joy and heartbreak of young love in Paris. If you’re put off opera by the eye-watering cost of a Covent Garden ticket or can’t be figged with the schlep into London, this is for you.


COMEDY: John Luke Roberts, South Street Arts Reading, 31 Jan

John-Luke Roberts comedian performer

Critically acclaimed idiot John-Luke Roberts

Possibly the longest show name in history – After Me Comes the Flood (But in French) drip splosh splash drip BLUBBP BLUBBP BLUBBPBLUBBPBLUBBP!! – courtesy of critically acclaimed idiot John-Luke Roberts (pictured above). In a brand-new hour of extraordinary daft-hearted comedy, expect to not know why you are laughing once more…even when he gives you the punchline first.


THEATRE: Common Salt, The Museum of English Rural Life Reading, 29 Jan

Common Salt two women hold up cut off ties

Show and tell theatre, it’s a thing. Well it is now. Common Salt is a theatrical performance that takes place around a table while exploring the colonial, geographical history of England and India. Time travel without leaving your seat, as a ‘home museum’ of objects and stories are played out in front of you.


WORKSHOP: Learn the Art of Candle Making, Swan At Streatley, 30 Jan

Literati and Light candles white glass jars on wooden shelf

We love a scented candle at Muddy but it’s become something of an addiction – a pricey one at that. So a candle-making workshop sounds like a great idea. Run by Justine – the creative genius behind Newbury-based Literati and Light – you’ll learn to make a 240g soy and beeswax candle, with a scent inspired by literature.


MUSIC: The Servants’ Ball, The Museum of English Rural Life Reading, 30 Jan

the merl servants ball band

Party like you’ll below stairs. The Servants’ Ball had a long tradition in the country house estates, a cultural melting pot of popular music and dance tunes. Party like it’s 1920 at the Museum of Rural English Life.


MUSIC: Sing-a-Long Bohemian Rhapsody, Corn Exchange Newbury, 31 Jan

No need to bleach your moustache, slip into your PVC mini, grab the Hoover and strut to I Want To Break Free at the Corn Exchange’s Bohemian Rhapsody sing-a-long. A live host will warm up your voices in true Freddie Mercury style, teach you some iconic dance moves and show you how to use your interactive prop bags. Then sit back and sing along with the on-screen lyrics.


COMEDY: The Comedy Cellar, South Hill Park Bracknell, 31 Jan


The Comedy Cellar at South Hill Park launched the careers of many top comedians – Al Murray, Eddie Izzard, Greg Davies, Sarah Millican, Micky Flanagan, Katherine Ryan, Jack Whitehall and Russell Howard. The list is long. Now in its 32nd year, it’s the longest-running comedy club in the UK outside of London and continues to showcase the best new and established acts every Friday. Book up.


OUTDOORS: Winter Walk, National Trust Cliveden, throughout 2020

Cliveden House Hotel gilded gates to the newly renovated sounding chamber

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 are 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.


DRINKS: Wine Tour, Stanlake Vineyard Twyford, 1 Feb

Wine glasses with white wine Grapesmith wine tasting

January abstainers, I salute you. Reward yourself in fun Feb with a drinkie event at Stanlake Park Vineyard. Less sniffing and spitting and more quaffing (nothing wasted, here), Stanlake’s wine tours delve into its history as one of the oldest wineries in England, how wine is made plus generous samples. Book a taxi.


OUTDOORS: Winter Walk, Basildon Park Lower Basildon

Basildon Park Autumn walk up two people walking up the gravel drive iron railings and autumn trees

West Berkshire’s National Trust belter is a great place for walkies, with stride outs that are gentle for the hungover to challenging stomps for the smugly sober and overeager. If you’d like to pick the brains of the pros, join the Park’s ranger on 13 Jan for a Tree ID stroll and play nature’s answer to spot the difference.


COMEDY: Mates Rate Comedy Club, Bluegrass BBQ Reading, 2 Feb

Man wearing glasses and military uniform

Max out your weekend fun with a Sunday comedy night in Reading. Headlining is President Obonjo, the Original African Dictator (aka award-winning comedian Malcolm Hardee). As the larger-than-life, uber-confident, self-appointed, side-splitting dictator of ‘Lafta Republic’, President Obonjo has quietly been leading a comedy revolution.



BOOK NOW: The Tempest, South Hill Park Bracknell, 4-9 Feb

Nothing like a wet, miserable night to give you the willies before a couple of hours watching Shakespeare’s famous last play, The Tempest. This fantastical adaptation reunites director Joe Malyan with award-winning set designer Victoria Spearing who have the ability to make magic happen on the stage.


BOOK NOW: 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 SlaveSteve 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 3on show at Tate Britain until 3 May.



MUSIC: Madonna – Madame X, London Palladium, 27 Jan

Madame X Madonna wearing cowboy hat with veil smoking a cigar

She’s 61, people and still got it. Madonna kicks off a series of rare and special performances celebrating the release of her new album Madame X, giving you the opportunity to see her in a uniquely intimate environment. Having played arenas and stadiums since her ground-breaking 1985 Virgin Tour, see Her Madgesty up close and personal. You never know when she’ll retire her corseted bodice.


Tate Late, Tate Modern, London, 31 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 monthShirley May read from her poetry collectionShe Wrote Her Own Eulogy which discusses her family’s Jamaican heritage and the Black-British experience, which explores love, loss and the struggles we all face in relationships.


Lightopia Festival London illuminated peacock

Lightopia Festival London, Chiswick House, 22 Jan – 1 Mar

January can be a bit bleak so flick the switch and let there be light. Lightopia is coming to Chiswick House for its annual illuminations and the show is expected to be bigger, better, and uses more light bulbs than ever before.No one will be able to make a cuppa in West London but it’ll be oh so worth it.



Cirque Du Soleil, Royal Albert Hall London, 12 Jan – 1 Mar

Luzia Cirque Du Soleil performers in stage of sea with acrobats balancing above the water

Cirque du Soleil returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall, bringing their dazzling luminous spectacle, LUZIA to Europe for the first time. You’ll be transported to an imaginary Mexico, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul. Always a wow production that the whole family will love.



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.

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