FRI 27 – SUN 29
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
Reading Thames Festival, various locations Reading, Thu 26 – Sun 29 Sep
It’s baaaack! Reading Thames Festival has made quite a splash on Reading’s cultural scene – and this year it hopes to be even better. Using Reading’s rivers as a backdrop, you can enjoy theatre, music, cultural walks, film, writing, debate and exhibitions inspired by the local H2O. We can’t wait to see and Cirque Bijou (see above) fresh from London Lumiere and their unique mix of traditional circus skills and modern technology. Plus Turner Prize Winner Jeremy Deller’s Acid Brass performed by the Fairey Brass Band and author, Orwell Prize winner and Scottish rapper Darren McGarvey aka Loki
ARTS: Windsor Festival, various locations, now – Sun 29 Sep
For its 50th anniversary, Windsor Festival is pulling out all the stops. The doyenne of the Great British Bake Off (and romance novelist) Prue Leith has hosted a literary tea; the brilliant Lucy Worsley has talked about Queen Victoria and this week Simon Heffer, Anna Pasternak and Robert Hardman will all be in action. Music more your bag? How about the world premiere of a brand new work – Fred and the Fantastic Tub Tub – by EMI TV composer James Marangone.
FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe, various locations, now – Sun 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, saucy burlesque and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.
ART: The Blackbird Cafe Chapel Row, Bucklebury, Fri 27 Sep
Whether you’ve got blank walls to fill, want to discover local talent or you only go for the free fizz and nibbles, don’t miss this new art exhibition at The Blackbird Cafe in Chapel Row. The super-skilled Ella Rule of Art For Sunday will be showing her stunning figurative art, alongside Caroline Eccles, Wendy Doolin of Doolin Designs and more. Fun starts at 6.30pm-10pm.
EVENT: Charity Fashion Show and Afternoon Tea, Monkey Island Estate, Fri 27 Sep
COMEDY: Romesh Ranganathan – The Cynics’s Mixtape, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 27 Sep
Said to be his most brutally honest show yet, Romesh talks about all the things he has found unacceptable since the last tour, including why trying to save the environment is a scam, why none of us are truly free, and his suspicion that his wife is using gluten intolerance to avoid sleeping with him. Laughs are guaranteed, I’d say.
CULTURE: Cliveden Literary Festival, Cliveden House Hotel Taplow, Sat 28 – Sun 29 Sep
Politics, scandal and intelligent literary chat – kept civilised with an abundance of bubbles. Not a Boris Johnson house party but the Cliveden Literary Feswtival. Famous names this year include historian Chris Evans, Helen Fielding, Brett Easton Ellis, broadcaster Emma Maitlis, Professor Brian Cox, Jacob Ress Mogg and many more. With the sumptuous hotel as the backdrop, this promises to be a fabulous affair.
DANCE: The Nutcracker, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 28 Sep
No we’ve not fast forwarded to Christmas, but just as the supermarkets start selling festive goodies in August, the theares are packing in the tinsel-tastic shows before panto. In this case, The Nutcracker, performed by the Russian Ballet at the Corn Exchange. It’s a bucket list ballet, that everyone should see once… even three months before we’re mentally prepared.
CULTURE: Henley Lit Fest, Henley, 28 Sept – 6 Oct
Henley Literary Festival kicks off this week with a jam-packed programme including US! We’re back with Muddy Book Club Live (Sat 5 Oct), talking to Celebrity Masterchef champion Lisa Faulkner, former ELLE editor Lotte Jeffs and journalist turned author Ella Dove. We will be there. There will be wine. You in? In the meantime, this week you can see Laura Thomas with Clemmie Telford speak about their book Just Eat It, Marry Berry, Kate Atkinson and more, plus loads of events for kids too.
THEATRE: Gaslight, Theatre Royal Windsor, now – Sat 28 Sep
See it before it transfers to the West End, Gaslight is about woman on the brink of insanity who keeps losing stuff – watch, brooch, picture frame. A bit careless but standard practice in the Muddy household – but attaching a bleeping bit of tech to ensure the lost is found would not make a very exciting play. Here Martin Shaw plays detective to save Bella from madness, untangling fact from fiction.
SPORT: Windsor Running Festival, Windsor Great Park, Sat 28 – Sun 29 Sep
Windsor Running Festival is a mash up of the Women’s 10K and the Windsor Half Marathon, after a ‘gooooood’ summer the idea of running up the stairs is enough the make me wheeze. If I start training now, I could be set for next year. Shall we? Team Muddy – I will, if you will.
EXHIBITION: En Vogue, Basildon Park Lower Basildon, now – Mon 18 Nov
Strike a pose there’s nothing to it and saunter up to Basildon Park for a fabulous fashion exhibition. Lady Iliffe graced the glossy pages of Vogue in 1966, with the mansion as the backdrop to Henry Clarke’s stylish portraits. Bringing that shoot to life, you can rifle through her wardrobe and drool over the Dior, Valentino and Chanel. If you missed out on the V&A’s Dior exhibition, this will scratch that fashion itch.
MUSIC: Acid Brass by the Fairey Brass Band, Reading Town Hall, Sun 29 Sep
The brainchild of Turner Prize winning artists Jeremy Deller, Acid Brass is the unlikely fusion of Acid House anthems with the sound of a traditional British Brass Band. But audiences around the world love it. Since its conception in 1998, Acid Brass has been performed in locations such as the Tate Modern (London), The Louvre (Paris), and music festivals all over. The legendary Stockport-based Fairey Brass Band will do the honours.
EXHIBITION: The Wonderful World of the Ladybird Book Artists, The Base Greenham Common, now – Sun 15 Dec
Fancy a literary trip down memory lane? Immerse yourself in the nostalgic world of Ladybird Books told through original artwork, books and objects. We all had them, and bring back the same childhood fuzzies as Space Invader crisps and Willow The Wisp. Explore an unparalleled collection of books, original artwork and artefacts, dating back to the WW2, at The Base.
TOUR: 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.
XHIBITION: Anthony Caro, Cliveden House, Berks, until 10 Nov
If you’re heading over the Berks border, this sculpture trail at National Trust site Cliveden is well worth a peek. Around the Grade I listed grounds you’ll find 16 of the iconic ’60s sculptural artist’s famous steel structures. nationaltrust.org.uk
NEW EXHIBITION: William Blake, Tate Britain, London, now – 2 Feb 2020
Poet, painter and printmaker William Blake has created some of the most iconic images in British art. This new exhibition, the largest of Blake’s work for almost 20 years, will feature over 300 original works, as well as an immersive recreation of the small domestic room in which Blake showed his art in 1809. Other pieces will be digitally recreated on an enormous scale. tate.org.uk
FESTIVAL: Emerge Festival, various London locations, 27 – 28 Sept
Dubbed as ‘Night at the Museum meets Glastonbury’ this new arts festival, hosted in venues across London, features 30 ‘late’ events from music, performance, poets, DJs and cocktails. The aim of the game? To visit as many as you can – a ticket gets you a wristband that gives you entry to every single event on the night. See the full line up here. emergefestival.co.uk
NEW EXHIBITION: Tim Walker: Wonderful Things, V&A Museum, London, from 21 Sept
EVENT: Autumn Racing weekend and Beer Festival, Ascot Racecourse, Fri 4 – Sat 5 Oct
Even a vino stalwart like myself will sink a pint of the amber nectar during Oktoberfest! Ascot Racecourse will be transforming the Grandstand concourse into a very special local with a weekend of racing, Oompah music, traditional German grub and, of course, loads of beers. Race you to the finish line – there’s 200 beers, ciders and perries on offer plus 80 gins. Lederhosen optional.
THEATRE: Amelie, The Hexagon Reading, Tue 8 – Sat 12 Oct
It’s been a Broadway smash hit and now Amelie is coming to The Hexagon Reading. Based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, it’s a feel-good musical about a young girl with a big imagination. Get tickets here.