FRI 28 – SUN 30 SEPT
CULTURE: Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House, Sat 29 – Sun 30 Sep
For a small festival, this sure punches above its weight. Famous names this year include historian Kate Williams, actress Ruth Wilson, broadcaster June Sarpong, author Professor Simon Schama, MP Priti Patel, psychologist Tanya Byron and barrister/former PM wife Cherie Blair. With the sumptuous hotel as the backdrop, this promises to be a fabulous affair.
FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe Festival, various Windsor locations, Fri 21 – Sat 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, gin tasting and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.
THEATRE: Trial By Laughter, Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 27 Oct
Following on from the record-breaking play The Wipers Times (if you missed it, it’s on at the Oxford Playhouse 3-8 Sep), Ian Hislop and Nick Newman are back at the Watermill Theatre to premiere a new play. This true and extraordinary story is about the trial of William Hone – a forgotten hero of free speech, he was charged with ‘impious blasphemy and seditious libel’. The only crime he had committed was to be funny. Worse than that he was funny by parodying religious texts. And worst of all, he was funny about the despotic government and the debauched monarchy. I enjoy Ian Hislop’s razor-sharp wit so it’s bound to be a fun evening an it’s got a whiff of Private Eye…
SPORT: Half Marathon, Windsor Great Park, Sun 30 Sep
Well it’s not quite a marathon (thank god) but it’s still a sizeable puff around the royal splendour of Windsor Great Park in the shadow of Windsor Castle. It’s essentially a family fun day in aid of The Prince Philip Trust with a more leisurely 2.5-mile option also available for ages 10+, so if you’re a horrifically lapsed exerciser like me this could be the kickstart to your fitness you’ve been looking for.
CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival, various locations in Henley, Sat 29 Sep – Sun 7 Oct
Did you know Muddy is part of the Henley Literary Festival this year? Squeals of excitement at the uber literary-ness, fizz and intelligent chatter at the Muddy literary salon. A few other highlights: Kate Humble talks about her new book Thinking On My Feet, Cathy Newman on Bloody Brilliant Women, Bryony Gordon on Eat, Drink, Run (following in the same venue after our salon so you can make a night of it), Kate Mosse on The Burning Chambers, Lucy Mangan on Bookworm and Rebecca Front on Impossible Things Before Bedtime. Plus, we’ve snaffled a stellar panel of three dazzling writers for our salon – Viv Groskop, award-winning comedian and author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons From Russian Literature, Farrah Storr, Cosmopolitan editor and author of The Discomfort Zone: How To Get What You Want By Living Fearlessly and Caroline O’ Donoghue, writer for The Pool whose Promising Young Women is one of the most acclaimed debut novels of 2018. The festival is now one of the biggest in the UK and well worth a visit to this chichi riverside town.
THEATRE: Forbidden Nights: Sexy Circus Tour, Hexagon Reading, Sat 29 Sep
This brings a whole new meaning to the Big Top, because Forbidden Nights is where circus gets sexy (their line not mine). Who knew? Not one for the kids as although the clown count maybe high, the moves are anything but PG. Brace yourself for the ultimate strip tease from a cast of acrobats, aerial artists, fire acts and circus performers. Steer clear of the front row, there’s a high risk of baby oil in your eye.
COMEDY: Brewery Comedy Spectacular 2, Windsor & Eton Brewery, Sat 29 Sep
Following on from the sellout Brewery Comedy Spectacular of 2017, we have Brewery Comedy Spectacular 2. Like all good sequels is doesn’t need a fancy title, just a number. I’m a big fan of the monthly comedy nights on the factory floor of Windsor and Eton Brewery, so you know they’ll be massively upping their game for the Fringe. It’s also Brewery Comedy’s 4th birthday, even more reason to give it some welly. Names of the acts are being kept under wraps, but it promises to be an unforgettable night with a lorra laughs, silliness, surprises and booze. If they can’t organise the proverbial p*&% up in a brewery, I don’t know who can. Tickets £10 in advance or £12 on the door.
MUSIC: Toffeetronic, Chad Jackson and Se7ens, The Old Court Windsor, Sat 29 Sep
Back to the old skool for a superclub flashback, hands in the air kinda night with Toffeetronic‘s acid house-techno-hip hop musical mash up, former Hacienda Club resident DJ Chad Jackson (remember Hear the Drummer Get Wicked? That was him) and Windsor’s renowned Se7en’s crew will be playing the crowdpleasers. Raid the depths of your wardrobe, smiley faces and crop tops (*cough * perhaps not) and remember 90s rave culture the second time round. Tickets £5.
SHOPPING: Miranda Dunn Pop Up, Jax Jeans Hungerford, Thu 27 – Sat 29 Sep
Hotober can do one, I’m all about sunshine and f-f-f-reezing temperatures. Only because I’m longing for a Miranda Dunn London hug in a faux fur ‘Happy Coat’. Miranda will be popping up at Jax Jeans Hungerford this week, so you can stylishly snuggle up to your coat of dreams which come in different lengths, styles and designs, plus you can add your initials on the back too.
CULTURE: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep
To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral, poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.
MUSIC: Portugese Fado with Claudia Aurora, Windsor Baptist Church, Fri 28 Sep
Relive the sounds of summer with the critically acclaimed singer/songwriter Claudia Aurora in the ethereal surroundings of Windsor Baptist Church. Claudia will perform traditional Portugese folk songs, as well as her own beautiful passionate songs of loss, love and longing. She has performed throughout the world, and her sell out concert at the Festival Hall was broadcast live on BBC Radio 3. A unique voice in an equally unique venue. Just add custard tarts and good wine. Cue stampede. Tickets £13.50.
FILM: The Wife, UK cinema release, Fri 28 Sep
Superbly acted by Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce, this intimate look inside a marriage is based on the book by Meg Wolitzer. Joan and Joe Castleman have been together for 40 years but when Joe wins the Nobel Prize for literature, the award exacerbates strains in the marriage. Interestingly, this is less a portrait of a marriage and more about the compromises a mid 20th century creative woman felt she had to make in order to survive.
FAMILY FUN: The Marvellous Picnic, Great Missenden Abbey, Bucks, Sat 29 Sep
Enjoy loads of family-friendly activities and a yummy picnic in the grounds of Missenden Abbey, all in aid of Roald Dahl’s Marvellous Children’s Charity. Activities include story-telling, puppets, bouncy castle, face painting, cake bake off, bouncy castle, acapella choir and, if you’re in need of a pick-me-up after that lot, a Pimm’s Bar, thank you very much.
CHIT CHAT: Graham Norton in Conversation, Old Town Hall, Wycombe Swan, Fri 28 Sep
Plugging his second novel The Keeper (his debut Holding was a Sunday Times bestseller), Graham pops up in High Wycombe to talk about his book – a tale of secrets and ill-fated loves – followed by a Q&A. Let’s face it, the opportunity to ask Graham some nosey questions is the draw rather than the free signed copy of his book but we’ll humour you, Graham.
THEATRE: Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre, London, now – Wed 19 Jan 2019
Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge (who even took a trip to Egypt to consider how the country might differ in our imaginations from that of Shakespeare’s day) and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it’s shaping up to be a special theatrical event.
THEATRE: Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019
Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke
EXHIBITION: Dark Arts, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios, Watford, Fri 28 Sep – Sat 10 Nov
Back by popular demand, Harry Potter Warner Bros Studios will be decorated the Great Hall with over 100 floating pumpkins, as seen in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, along with a table laden with a Halloween feast of red apples, pumpkins and cauldrons of lollipops. Kids can also delve into the sinister world of the Dark Arts – wand combat techniques and Death Eater duels as well as filmmaking snot, blood and drool. Er, nice!
EXHIBTION: Black Mirror: Art as Social Satire, the Saatchi Gallery, London, Fri 28 Sep – Sun 13 Jan 2019
In these troubling times, satire can provide some light relief and hold up a mirror to modern-day politics. This new exhibition explores how art and satire can question and commentate in a way that can diffuse situations. All sorts of media have been used, including photography, installations and more obviously caricatures, and what’s even better is it’s completely free (very helpful when in Chelsea flexing the credit card).
UNIQLO Tate Lates, Tate Modern, London, Fri 28 Sep
Totally groovacious after hours event at Tate Modern on the last Friday of every month, with a mix of art, music, film and workshops. Yours from 6-10pm and absolutely free. tate.org.uk
TALK: Rob Lowe: Stories I Only Tell My Friends, The Royal Albert Hall, Sat Dec 1
Tickets for Rob Lowe’s live show go on sale this Friday and are bound to sell out fast (as they have in the States). Inspired by his memoirs of the same name and his previous book Love Life, Mr Lowe will spill the beans on a career from the Brat Pack to The West Wing to Parks and Rec and beyond. Apparently, he’s quite the raconteur with loads of witty anecdotes that touch on his career, fame, Hollywood, fatherhood and marriage.
THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, Tues Oct 2 – Sun 30 Dec
Exciting news – there’s a theatre being opened in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, a play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.