FRI 5 – SUN 7 APR
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
COMEDY: Matt Richardson – Slash, Corn Exchange Newbury, Sat 6 Apr
It’s practically a homecoming gig. Didcot-born Matt Richardson, won the Newbury Comedy Festival in 2010, and since then he’s hosted Virgin Radio’s Drive-Time Show, ended up with Heat Magazine’s Weird Crush trophy, has interviewed millionaire dogs in LA, ghost hunted with Craig Revel Horwood and had his phone nicked by KateMoss. Rich pickings for his new stand up show.
THEATRE: Octopus Soup, Theatre Royal Windsor, Mon 1 – Sat 6 Apr
Whatever happened to Nick Hancock? One minute you can’t turn on your TV without him popping up somewhere – They Think Its All Over, The Mary Whitehouse Experience, Mr Bean, Room 101… oh there was more. Then nothing. But up he pops as an insurance consultant in Octopus Soup with a neurotic actress and a psycho crime boss. What could possibly go wrong?
MUSIC: The Vinyl Frontier… Best Cover, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 5 Apr
It’s the first week of the month and it can only mean another Vinyl Frontier music battle. Ten brave souls will present their favourite cover versions on vinyl. First you’ll hear a snippet of the original, then the full cover. Which one will the audience decide is the best? Whitney and Dolly could be going head to head ove I Will Always Love You or Madonna v Don McLean’s American Pie. You decide.
KIDS: Inside The Royal Wardrobe, Windsor Castle, now – Sun 13 Apr
It’s almost a year since Harry and Meghan’s I dos, but that doesn’t stop you, I mean the kids, channelling their inner prince and princess and play Royal dress up at the castle. There’s an Easter activity trail and an art workshop inspired by royal fashion throughout history.
COMEDY: Stuart Goldsmith – End Of, South Streets Arts Reading, Fri 5 Apr
Hello handsome! Former Warwick Castle court jester, host of The Comedians Comedian Podcast (downloaded a stonking 10million times), Stuart Goldsmith is a familiar face on the comedy circuit and brings his latest show End Of to Maidenhead. Intelligent stand-up of particular interest to people over 30 who can’t eat just one pain au chocolat. *Raises hand*.
FILM: Banff Film Festival. Hexagon Reading, Fri 5 Apr
The latest and best films touring around the UK courtesy of the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival. On 17 April at The Hexagon Reading there are 5 short films. My favourite? Reel Rock: Break On Through – a demo of true girl power. Nineteen-year-old Margo Hayes is the only women to have achieved a grade 5.15 climb (a ‘magical barrier’ similar to breaking the four-minute mile). At the start of 2017, only a few male climbers had achieved the grade and no women. Not any more.
EASTER EGG HUNTS
Every venue across Berkshire is going chocolate crazy but my top tips include The Cadbury Easter Egg Trail at Basildon Park (Sat 6 – Tue 23 Apr), and Cliveden (Sat 6 – Mon 22 Apr) and Pinkney’s Green (Sat 20 Apr, 11am-2.30pm) – skip through the Spring flowers, solve the clues and, ta-da, chocolate reward (£3 per egg); Highclere Castle‘s Easter Egg trail (Sun 21 April), through ‘Downton’s’ exquisite Capability Brown gardens and woodland in aid of The Murray Parish Trust; Bucklebury Farm Park‘s Great Easter Egg Hunt throughout the park, with giant decorated eggs to find (not sure of the catch, it sounds well easy!) with lamb feeding and Wellington Country Park‘s Mega Easter Egg Hunt (Sun 21 Apr)– just a great excuse to enjoy the grounds.
FAMILY FUN: Easter Fun, Rosebourne Aldermaston, Sat 6 – Mon 22 Apr
Wanna meet the Easter Bunny? Hop to it. He’s rampaging all over Berks. Rosebourne in Aldermaston‘s running an Easter Bunny hunt (don’t panic, it’s not as sinister as it sounds), find the hidden rabbits, collect letters, unravel the word and win a prize. The big bunny will also be in da house on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays from 11am-3pm.
KIDS: Morgan & West: More Magic For Kids!, South Hill Park Bracknell, Sun 7 Apr
Mutton chops, waistcoats and a cabin set the scene for Morgan & West’s More Magic for Kids (Bigger, bolder, and more brilliant than before!). With lots of Victorian style comic banter, the time-travelling duo perform a boxful of bafflement and impossibility. The magic is mysterious with brain-bursting illusions with a helping of tom-foolery. A heavy dose of silly sounds good to me.
EXHIBITION: Matilda at Thirty,Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre, Great Missenden, until Sun 2 Jun
To celebrate Matilda’s 30th birthday, the Lower Babbling Room has a mini exhibition of eight new drawings by Roald Dahl’s illustrator Quentin Blake, each showing a different version of a grown-up Matilda. The museum is also piling on the activities for the Easter period (Sat 6 – Mon 22). Kids can make crazy glasses and kaleidoscopes at Matilda’s Phizz-whizzing Eye Tricks workshop (try saying that after a couple of gins), mould their own villainous Miss Trunchbull out of clay, learn about opposites at Miss Honey’s Science School and more.
KIDS: Underbelly Festival, Southbank London, Fri 5 Apr – Sun 22 Sept
Underbelly Festival is back! If you’ve never been, then make a beeline for Southbank this Easter. Brilliant for littlies, teens and grown ups, the line up is a superb mix of top comedy, cabaret, kids theatre and eye popping circus acts. There’s a real festival atmosphere with street food and crafty drinks. It’s an absolute must visit.
STARS: Stargazing, Waddesdon Manor, Sat 6 Apr
Wycombe Astronomical Society host a star gazing supper club at Waddesdon (Sat 6 Apr) with a two course meal with wine in the Manor, a talk in the Powerhouse and stargazing on the Parterre. The best bit? No kids allowed. Tickets here.
EXHIBITION: Mary Quant, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 6 AprThis 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.
DAY OUT: Warner Bros. Studios, Herts, from Sat 6 Apr
Just when you think the Harry Potter hype is finally over, Warner Bros figure out another way to get us through the door. On Sat 6 Apr, the studios unveil their biggest expansion to date, Gringotts Wizarding Bank full of with crystal chandeliers, original film props and, er, a gallery of goblins. The new set will be a permanent addition to the tour.
DAY OUT: Great Brick Safari, ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, Beds, Sat 6 Apr – 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.
KIDS: The Falconers Quest & Horrible Histories Maze, Warwick Castle, Berks, from Sat 6 Apr
It’s a jam-packed Easter over at Warwick Castle with the brand new Falconer’s Quest – the biggest birds of prey show in the UK, with 70 majestic birds taking to the skies and doing all sorts of aerial acrobatics. Plus the world’s largest siege machine fires twice a day in a brand new show as well as the first Horrible Histories adventure maze featuring fun challenges, Terrible Tudors, Vicious Vikings, Storming’ Normals and more.
KIDS: Southbank Centre, London, Sat 6 – Mon 22 Apr
Free fun by the bucketful if you’re heading to London this Easter with music from Camp Bestival regulars Dizney Rascal, cool folk singer London Rhymes and comedy theatre group Mrs H and the Sing-Along Band. Paid events include giant musical sandpits, an immersive colourful performance called Kaleidoscope and the brilliant Tabby McTat (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler) Freckle Productions, the team behind Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Zog.
RACE: Oxford vs Cambridge boat race, London, Sun 7 Apr
Ahhh, I do love a bit of healthy competition – Cambridge you’re going down! The iconic boat race kicks off at the rather random time of 2.13pm for the women, followed by the men’s race at 3.10pm. Grab a G&T and a spot on the Thames riverbank between Putney and Mortlake to see the action live.
INTERIORS: Ideal Home show, Olympia London, until Sun 7 Apr
The whopper Ideal Home Show rocks up at Olympia London with hundreds of free talks, 600 companies and the latest tech. This year the theme is Best of British so expect loads of UK companies. Does anyone else feel a splurge coming on?
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.
THEATRE: Avenue Q, Hexagon Reading, Tue 23 – Sat 27 Apr
Avenue Q is Sesame Street for grown ups – introducing Trekkie Monster, Lucy the Slut, Christmas Eve and many more. It’s like the puppets’ PG rebellion while tanked on the tequila. Robert Lopez, Jeff Marx and Jeff Whitty’s homage to the puppet TV shows of our childhood is unashamedly frank, exploring the lives, hopes and dreams of an eclectic mix of characters in downtown Manhattan. You’ll appreciate the smutty humour. Suitable for 14+.
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.