Andrew Doyle is the UK’s political satirist in chief. 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.
Too much for January? This was just like my New Year’s Eve outfit. And no it wasn’t fancy dress. You can get the look too, as Windsor Castle is running an art workshop celebrating The Queen’s Coronation where you can make a crown inspired by the Crown Jewels. Need more pomp and pageantry? On Sat 26 Jan, listen to the story of The Queen’s Coronation, read by Olivia Armstrong, and see a role play of the ceremony.
The Theatre Royal Windsor always kicks off the new year with a theatrical whodunit – and 2019 is no exception. The Lady Vanishes is a gripping crime story, based on Alfred Hitchcock’s cinema classic, with a solid cast of actors including Juliet Mills (Wild At Heart) and Maxwell Caulfield (Dynasty). Grab your fur collar and seamed stockings, slick on a red lippie and pour yourself a martini, it’s that kinda show.
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.
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.
KIDS: Under The Sea, The Look Out Discovery Centre Bracknell, Sat 19 Jan – Sun 24 Mar
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.
SPORT: Clarence House Chase Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 19 Jan
Love a day at the races but can’t wait for Royal Ascot? Saddle up for a January raceday with a little less pomp and ceremony (ok a lot less), but the fashion is fabulous (coats, faux fur and boots) and you can have a little flutter to spend on the totally unnecessary shoes you have seen in the sales.
DRINKIES: Gin Tasting, Thames St Windsor, Thu 17 and Fri 18 Jan
Dry January? Er, what’s that? No me neither, not a clue. Ginuary on the other hand, has my name written all over it. Head along to Thames Valley Wine School (17 Jan in Reading and 18 Jan in Windsor), get in the spirit, quaff the good stuff and leave with plenty of ginspiration. Taaaaaaxi!
SPORT: Windsor Winter Half Marathon, Dorney Lake Eton, Sun 20 Jan
If you’re on of those smug people who has managed to keep on running despite the wine and cheese tempting you to fall off the wagon – good on you. You might be interested in shifting unwanted Crimho pounds with a easy peasy 13-mile Sunday jog. I’ll see you at the start line… one day.
DANCE: Bolshoi Live: La Bayadere, UK live cinema broadcast, Sun 20 Jan
An iconic 19th-century Russian ballet, La Bayadère was originally performed at the Bolshoi Theatre in St Petersburg in 1877, and was unknown to the West until 1960s – Rudolph Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn’s starring roles at the Royal Opera House in 1963, went down in dance history. Now the Bolshoi are broadcasting live La Bayadére from Russia with love. A story of love, death and vengeful judgement set in India.
A Royal Wedding: The Duke and Duchess of Sussex, Windsor Castle, until Sat 26 Jan
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).
FILM: Mary, Queen of Scots, UK cinema release, from Fri 18 Jan
More period queeny drama as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I battle it out in in 1569. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I. Fab costumes, extraordinary make up and good performances are promised but some critics aren’t happy about some historical inaccuracies. What, you mean Elizabeth I doesn’t marry King Eric of Sweden after all? *thud*.
THEATRE: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 15 – Sat 19 Jan
If you enjoyed The Play that goes Wrong and Mischief Movie Night, then you’ll be tickled by this hit comedy from the same team. A priceless diamond is being stored by a corrupt city bank – what could possibly go wrong? A mad-cap fast paced caper for a fun night out when you need it most in the middle of January.
MUSIC: Someone Like You – The Adele Songbook, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Sun 20 Jan
Katie Markham was hand-picked by Adele herself on The Graham Norton Show to take her music on tour accompanied by a six-piece band. All the hits are belted out, plus some of those by Adele’s musical heroes, including George Michael and The Cure.
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.
ART: London Art Fair, Islington, London, Wed 16 – Sun 20 Jan
Xiao-yang Li, Offerings to Pythia of the East (XII), 2017
Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.
THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, London, until 19 Jan
The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music and mince pies if you’re still feeling festive.
Madagascar The Musical, The Hexagon Reading, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb
Youth and experience” Self portraits of Berkshire-born Stanley Spencer
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.