FRI 3 – SUN 5 MAY
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
KIDS: Duckie, South Street Arts Reading, Sat 4 May
The Ugly Duckling just gotta makeover – applying all the glitter and adopting a swagger and strut never seen before. I think Hans Christian Andersen would approve. Underneath the grease paint, it’s still a classic tale of identity and belonging, but with a dollop of cabaret glamour. Don’t miss the chance to see Le Gateau Chocolat break out of his shell as Duckie, in his first work for children.
THEATRE: American Idiot, The Hexagon Reading, Fri 3 – Sat 4 May
Like Green Day? Love musicals? If so, American Idiot is a dead cert. The double Tony award winning show returns to mark its 10th anniversary and the 15th anniversary of the Grammy Award winning original album. Luke Friend (X-Factor), Tom Milner (The Voice, Waterloo Road) and newcomer Sam Lavery star.
THEATRE: Rain Man, Theatre Royal Windsor, Fri 3 – Sat 4 May
I really want to see this one. Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, the brilliant Paul Nicholls (Eastenders, The C-Word, Death in Paradise, Bridget Jones 2) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in this touring show.
COMEDY: John-Luke Roberts – All I Wanna Do (FX Gunshots), Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 3 May
The longest and most obscure title ever, but you wouldn’t expect anything less from one of the Edinburgh Fringe’s most celebrated talents. John-Luke Roberts’ show was one of the most talked about shows of the Edinburgh Festival: a dizzying avant-garde ride through the mind of a gifted comic-philosopher. One with a blue moustache. Who thinks far more about the Spice Girls than anyone should. A masterclass in prop, clown, costume and Mel C-themed comedy.
BOOKS: Medicine Woman Louise Carrion Harris, The Little Bookshop Cookham, Sat 4 May
Calling all bookworms! (And anyone with an interest in spirituality and wellbeing). The Little Bookshop in Cookham is hosting an author event with contemporary medicine woman and author, Louise Carron Harris. This funny, charismatic lady will read from her book, Awakening Of The Western Woman on Saturday at 2pm. Wellbeing vibes just from being surrounded by the smell of new books.
The Little Bookshop, 16 High St, Cookham SL6 9SJ
DANCE: Free Dance Workshop With Becky Namgauds, 101 Outdoor Arts Newbury, Sat 4 May
With Christina Aguilera’s Dirty ringing in my ears, you’re invited to get your groove on and play in the set of touring outdoor dance work Rodadoras (Spanish for tumbleweed). It’s free, fun and absolutely filthy. You don’t need any dance experience, just a good imagination and a willingness to get a dirty!
THEATRE: Amélie, The Watermill Theatre Newbury, now – Sat 18 May
It has been a Broadway smash hit and now it will make its UK premiere at The Watermill Theatre. Amelie is a musical based on the award-winning 2001 rom-com starring Audrey Tautou, tells the story of an astonishing young woman who lives quietly in the world, but loudly in her imagination. A feel good musical filled to the brim with colourful observations and whimsical wonderings. A must see.
ART: Open Studios 2019, The Base Greenham Common, Sat 4 – Sat 27 May
From Muddy Stilettos to, er, hairy ones. We haven’t lost our minds and our luscious locks, this is the sculptural creation of Julie Parker who is taking part in Open Studios. It’s an opportunity to drop in and see artists across West Berkshire and North Hampshire throughout May – and it’s totally free Simply go to the Open Studios website, find an artist and pop along for a nose. The main exhibition is INSIGHT will be held The Base at Greenham Common.
MUSIC: Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, Arlington Arts Newbury, Sat 4 May
FESTIVAL: Mapledurham Food Festival, Sat 4 –Mon 6 May
Grab your biggest pair of pants and head of to the 16th Century Mapledurham House for its much-loved food festival. I cannot think of a more beautiful place to stuff my face than on the banks of the River Thames. Enjoy the street food avenue, producers’ market, celebrity and local chef demonstrations, master classes and more. Plus there’s a new health and wellbeing element for those less greedy than me. mapledurhamfestival.co.uk
DRINKIES: Reading Beer and Cider Festival, Christchurch Meadows Caversham, Thu 2– Sun 5 May
If you’d rather hit the May Bank Holiday with more liquid refreshment, this weekend is the 24th Reading Beer and Cider Festival. There’s more than 550 craft beers and ciders to sample, food to soak it up and music. Tickets are from £21.40 in advance and include priority access, drinks vouchers and a souvenir glass. Taxiiiiiii!
FAMILY FUN: Around The Boundary, Gallowstree Common, Sun 5 May
Bank holiday vibes mean we can embrace Sunday funday with total abandon. A boutique festival on the Berks/ Oxon border sounds pretty darn perfect, to me, so head to Around The Boundary. Live music, kids entertainment, street food, craft beers and wines. In fact the bars are fully stocked. Let the kids run wild and relaaaaax. Sunshine would be a bonus.
FAMILY FUN: Spring Jousting Tournament, Blenheim Palace Woodstock, Sat 4 – Mon 6 May
Charrrrrrge! The annual Blenheim Palace ye olde joustingy thingy on the South Lawn featuring ‘The Knights of Royal England’. Falconry displays, archery, puppet shows, jesters and knights on horseback charging in the traditional tilt, and battling on foot with the mighty mace and quarter staff. Are you yawning? Well cheer up, lift your visor and head for the Champagne and Pimms tent!
EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, from Sat 6 Apr
This is going to be awesome! The iconic 1960s designer and the mother of miniskirts, Mary Quant, gets her own exhibit at the V&A with over 200 garments, accessories and exclusive unseen pieces from the designer’s personal archive.
Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, now – Sun 2 Jun
More Lego! New for Easter, Whipsnade Zoo introduces its Brick Safari- there’ll be loads of LEGO brick beasts and animals around the mammoth zoo (it’s the biggest in the UK doncha know) made from over one million bricks, as well as hands-on family activities. Included in entry price.
ART: Chihuly Trail, Kew Gardens, from Sat 13 Apr
Run free my pretties but watch out for the delicate glass sculptures. Iconic artist Dale Chihuly’s stunning pieces are on display at Kew Gardens from Easter weekend, but I fear it’s an accident waiting to happen. Kids smashing the place up, children skewered on a giant flower. A true test of your parenting skills… but an Insta winner.
EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, until Tues 27 Aug
This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon and David Bomberg.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
This exhibition, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). Tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him, it’s based on the a Parisian exhibition but with a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
ART: Contemporary Arts Fair, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 10 – Sun 11 May
Sick of looking at blank walls? For the first time ever, the Contemporary Art Fair will be bringing more than 160 artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and independent galleries from all over the UK and Europe to Newbury Racecourse. Have a mooch, chat to artists and, if you find something you love, prices start at just 40 quid. Phew. You can read about the five artists on my lust list here..
EVENT: Ladies Day at The Al Shabaq Lockinge Raceday, NewburyRacecourse, Sat 18 May
Love a Ladies Day? Sound the klaxon. The summer social season starts here. Newbury Races’s Ladies Day (traditionally in August) has moved to Al Shaqab Lockinge Day on Sat 18 May. It’s first out of the fashion blocks, with Epsom Derby, Royal Ascot and Henley following –and they’re going BIG. Garden party vibes, pop up bars, an abundance of flroa and fauna, cocktails and Sophie Ellis Bextor and her hubby Richard Jones on the decks for the after party floor fillers. Go go go.
KIDS: The Little Welly obstacle course and festival, Henley, Sat 8 – Sun 9 June
This is all about getting Muddy so we are IN! A 3km hop, skip, jump and dash through 30 challenges, taking in streams, trails, mud and woodland The Little Welly’s obstacle course is the largest in the UK for kids. There’s also an accompanying festival with – deep breath – kart racing, rope climbing, circus skills workshops, live music, helter skelter, laser tag, climbing wall, pony rides and loads of family activities. I think it’s such a fantastic idea – get them away from screens, into the fresh air and doing some exercise.