What’s on this week
Mon 17 – Sun 23 July
On Track For Summer, Windsor Racecourse, Sat 22 July
It’s been a pretty crappy year, so a Summer of Love nostalgia fest could be the perfect antidote. Head to On Track For Summer for a celebration of peace and love. Fifty years after music fans partied at Balloon Meadow at Windsor Racecourse, the venue will once again rock the Queen’s foundations. Sophie Ellis Bextor’s dad, Robin, is the man in charge, so expect a starry turn out. Probably best to keep top on though, some things can never be unseen. Tickets £35.
Sons of Picthes, The Dome Reading, Tues 18 July
I love a fringe festival. Creative, bonkers with a collective of brilliant performers doing something a bit left field. Reading’s Fringe Festival launches this month with a performance from the Sons of Pitches. These boys are kicking a cappella up the arse having won BBC2’s Naked Choir, presented by Gareth Malone. Having notched up 2.5 million YouTube views, they are setting the bar high for everyone else. Tickets start from £22.
NT Live: Angels In America Part 1, UK cinema release, Thurs 20 July
Another National Theatre Live broadcast with a kickass cast of Andrew Garfield, Nathan Lane, James McArdle, Russell Tovey and Denise Gough. Hello? sparkly showbiz types. Twenty-five years after its first production, Angels In America is back with an epic eight-hour show (it’s a two parter so no numb bums). What’s it about? Written by Tony Kushner, this multi-award winning play s set during the 90s AIDs crisis, a conservative Reagan administration and New Yorkers were grappling with life, death, love, sex, heaven and hell. Take some Kendal Mint Cake for endurance but don’t miss it. Part 2 will be screened on 27 July.
You Having Olaf?, Olympia Ballroom Reading, Wed 19 July
Never work with children or animals, yes it’s a cliche, but it’s true. Kids parties should come with a government health warning because organising a group of children is like hurting cats. Just ask Joseph Cullen. He is a recovering children’s party entertainer. He was told to work with kids to cheer him up. It didn’t. You Having Olaf? starts at his decision to take the heinous job in the first place, to his breakdown at a six-year-old’s birthday party. Tickets are £8.
A Gamble With Death, Forbury Gardens Reading, Sat 22 July – Sat 5 Aug
A Gamble With Death is a murder mystery treasure hunt that sends teams of intrepid detectives to find clues hidden on the streets of Reading. Using your smartphone, you race around Reading to find hidden evidence, crack cryptic clues and converse with suspicious-looking characters to catch the culprit – before the time runs out. Imagine the Crystal Maze, Escape Room puzzles, a scavenger hunt, a team of live actors, your phone and a murder mystery all got together – with a timer. Tickets £20.
The Big Camp, Cliveden National Trust, Fri 7 – Sat 22 July
The Big Camp at Cliveden is perfect. The family sleep under canvas in the five-star gorgeous grounds. They’ll discover wildlife, play games, explore the nearby Play Trail and be taken on a bat walk through the woods before hot chocolate round the campfire. You, on the hand, need to be checking in to the hotel, enjoying a nightcap on a squishy sofa and star-fishing in a giant bed. Everyone gets to have an adventure. It’s just one as a luxury bathroom and the other doesn’t. Adults £27, Children £17.
Bad Luck Cabaret, The Firestation Windsor, Fri 21 July
Laurie Black is badass alternative cabaret artist who taunts the gods of Bad Luck. Her cabaret features acts including My Bad Sister – the impeccable tap dancing, ‘cabarave’, all singing, all dancing badass intergalactic twins, burlesque beauties and nu-drag storytellers. ‘Kick bad luck in the dick’ is her mantra – angry at Brexit, angry at the world, she’s not taking no for an answer. This is a glitzy, glam and dangerous night out. Dress for the end of the world, or the beginning! Tickets £11
Fruit Salad, Purple Turtle Reading, Sun 23 July
When SESKA comes to town kids laugh out loud, Dads f*rt out loud and mums faint at his feet! He’s that good. Fruit Salad contains magic, mayhem and happiness and is crazier than finding a penguin in your fridge! Jonathan Ross’s kids love him. His shows sell out fast and the whole family end up bent double and in pain from laughing so hard. He’s back for another year at Reading Fringe Festival, it begins at 4.30pm and lasts for one hour. Tickets are £7. Grab a ticket while you can.
Ben & Holly’s Little Kingdom, The Hexagon Reading, Sat 22- Sun 23 July
If you’ve endured the drip drip water torture of children’s television, then there’s a strong chance you’ll be familiar with Ben And Holly’s Little Kingdom. As it goes, it’s not the worst. A sarcastic fairy does wonders for a show’s credibility in my eyes. So the theatre show if this BAFTA award-winning TV animation has a lot going for it! Holly’s a young Fairy Princess, who is still learning how to fly and her magic doesn’t always go quite according to plan. Her best friend, Ben the Elf, doesn’t have wings and he doesn’t do magic, but he runs very fast and flies on the back of Gaston the Ladybird. Tickets £18, U16s £2 off, Family of four £64. Pop a Tramadol, you won’t feel a thing.
Dubai International Arabian Raceday, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 30 July
All dressed up with somewhere to go. Yes, I know nothing about racing, but I love a bit furlong fashion. And this year I’m judging the Best Dressed Lady at the Dubai International Arabian Raceday. First prize is blinkin’ holiday for 2 to Dubai. Let’s give Ascot a run for their money. It’s a family day out, free to enter and guaranteed fun, fashionable and fab. See you there.
Refresh Festival, Wellington Country Park Riseley, Sat 2 – Sun 3 Sept
I know it’s just the start of the summer hols, but we all know by the end of it we’ll be fried. Sun scorched, brain scrambled from juggling work, life, kids. Well I have just the tonic. The Refresh Festival is a first for the South of England and it’s happening right here in Berkshire. An outdoor health and fitness festival for all the family. It’s a two-day event with workshops, activities and taster sessions. It’s not all crystals and downward dogs either, did I mention the celebrities? No? Well none other than Dame Kelly Holmes is hosting the event and will be running a kids’ sports day on Sunday 3 September. Plus you’ll see karate, free runners and other cool stuff. Limited early bird tickets available: U13s go free; adults £21.50; kids £13.50; weekender £35; family £55; family weekender £80.