What’s on February
Constructions of Thin Air, Corn Exchange Newbury, Thurs 1 Feb
Like a giant game of Jenga, but arty and theatrical, obvs. Constructions of Thin Air at the Corn Exchange see 9 performers merge contemporary dance, physical theatre and everyday objects to transform the stage into shifting architectural landscapes. Cool and creatively clever.
Wildlife of the World, Abbey Gardens Reading, Wed 3 – Sun 11 Feb
In my mind this was the image staring back at Wayne Rooney post hair implant surgery. Bright read head, tufts of black hair. Well, it’s a look. This handsome fella, alongside his wild mates, is part of the brilliant Wildlife of the World free photographic exhibition. The most patient and talent snappers on the planet.
Lucy Porter: Choose Your Battle, South Street Arts Reading, Fri 2 Feb
Lucy Porter’ a regular on the telly box and now she’s back in Berks with her new stand-up tour. Her new show deals the big issues: Trump, Brexit, equal pay, Hollywood sex pests – how do we know which causes are worth fighting for? Lucy will help you decide.
Horrible Histories: More Best Of Barmy Britain, Corn Exchange Newbury, 7-10 Feb
Love Horrible Histories and watch it without the kids (don’t judge, it’s hilarious). More Best of Barmy Britain is the dinner party you’d never want to host as HH bring back the dead so you get to meet all faves from Britain’s barmy past – from Elizabeth I to the Vikings!
Spamalot, The Hexagon Reading, until Sat 3 Feb
Jonathan Pie – Back To The Studio, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 2 – Sat 3 Feb
Following a sell-lout show at the London Palladium, Jonathan Pie, the frustrated News reportsr, is back. Pie attempts to host a night of serious discussions on current affairs whilst simultaneously attempting to smash the system from within. Political comedy that descends into chaos.
Banff Mountain Film Festival: Feb 2018, Hexagon Reading, Tue 27 Feb
EEK! Don’t look down. Love the mountains but largely from a gondola with a promise of fondue and hot wine at the top. But I am full of heart-pounding admiration for the adrenaline junky adventurers who use them like a playground. See the best of the best in action at the world’s most prestigious mountain film festival with the most amazing footage from the far flung corners of the globe.
Autism: Window on a Musical Mind, Queen Anne’s School Caversham, Thurs 22 Feb
Life can be a struggle for kids with autism, but there are moments of brilliance too. As part of Queen Anne’s School in Caversham’s BrainCanDo research and development, Professor Adam Ockelford and world-renowned musical savant Derek Paravicini, examine the impact of autism on musical development. Derek is blind and severely autistic. But he has the gift if perfect pitch and is able to play any piece of music after hearing it only once. A rare and fascinating FREE event not to be missed. Book now.
Morgan and West: Time Travelling Magicians, South Street Arts Reading, Thurs 15 Feb
Great Scott! Time-travelling magicians Morgan & West bring a magical extravaganza to a millennium near you! Not content with their lot as the 19th century’s greatest magic duo, these temporal tricksters burst into the 21st century with a show brimming over with baffling magic.
Cancion, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 24 Feb
Record labels are always trying to find their unicorn – and Virgin are adamant that Izzy Copper could be the one. Never heard of her? Izzy is a mould-breaking classical soprano and brit nominee, capable of crossing musical boundaries. Want to see what the record bosses are getting in a lather about? Now you can.
To Helen Back, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Tues 27 feb
In sickness and in health, Helen Seymour dmits you into a surreal hospital to create a funny, unique and powerful theatrical experience. It blurs the boundaries between spoken word, comedy and performance art. So come on, be on the look-out while Helen sneaks around wards, X-ray rooms and cupboards to discover the bizarre and the bemusing on the road to recovery
Romeo & Juliet, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tues 6 – Sat 10 Feb
Bit of an extreme Valentine’s gesture, so I wouldn’t recommend any Romeo & Juliet style romance. That said, the classic tale of star-crossed lovers and in the hands of director Joe Malyan it is guaranteed to be cinematic, full of drama and a theatrical stunner. It’s a great production to see, especially if you teenager is studying Shakespeare.
Ellie Taylor: This Guy, South Street Reading, Fri 23 Feb
Following a sell-out Edinburgh Festival season and 2016 tour, comedian Ellie Taylor presents an unmissable new stand-up show discussing whether or not she should breed. She’s been getting around in all the right ways, as the star of BBC’s Live at the Apollo, Mock the Week and The John Bishop Show, Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats, and BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show.
RSC Live: Twelfth Night, UK cinemas release, Wed 14 Feb
It’s been getting rave reviews, so if you can’t drag yourself up to Stratford-upon-Avon, now’s your chance to catch the RSC’s Twelfth Night starring Adrian Edmonson, Kara Tointon. The play, about mistaken identity and role reversal, will be broadcast live on Valentine’s Day. Ditch the squishy hearts and garage flowers for a cultural comedy.
See it at the Corn Exchange Newbury, South Hill Park Bracknell, Norden Farm Maidenhead and Vue Cinemas
VinylFrontier: OK Computer, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 24 Feb
God I feel old. If there was a mix tape (OK, Spotify list) of music from my Uni days, Radiohead’s OK Computer would be on it. This LP has just celebrated it’s 20th birthday and in recognition of this Vinyl Frontier will tell the story of how Oxfordshire’s finest came to record one of the ground-breaking albums of the past quarter century.
Swiss Army Man, The Hope Library Windsor, Sun 4 Feb
Matron! Harry Potter’s looking a bit peaky. To the sick bay. Sorry wrong movie. Swiss Amry Man is probably the strangest buddy flick you’ll ever see, a road movie on acid – and indie cinema at its best. It tells the story of Hank, stranded on a desert island, who becomes best friends with talkative corpse, Manny. Unmissable Sunday night viewing.
Laurent Perrier Supper club, Bel and the Dragon Cookham, Tues 27 Feb
Champagne’s on ice. What are we celebrating? Lighter evenings, Winter Olympic success, do we need a reason? Bel and the Dragon in Cookham is hosting its first Supper Club of 2018 and each delicious course comes with a different glass of Laurent Perrier Champagne. Pop the corks, and book in for this bubblicious dinner party.
Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra with Hyejin Kim, Hexagon Reading, Mon 26 Feb
The ever popular Russian State Philharmonic Orchestra is back in Berkshire and joined by concert pianist, Hyejin Kim. One of South Korea’s most exciting young classical stars, Hyejin’s won international acclaim for her flawless musicality and technique. Born in Seoul, South Korea, she started playing the piano at the age of 5. It’s safe to say, she’s pretty good.
The Hound of The Baskervilles, Mill at Sonning, Thurs 1 Feb – 17 Mar
Dartmoor is a pretty creepy place even in daylight. My impression of it didn’t improve after reading Arthur Conan Doyle’s Hound of the Baskervilles. But if you love a terrifying mystery on a dark winter’s night, Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson using their powers of deduction at the Mill at Sonning. Hopefully George Clooney will console me (he was in the audience with Amal to seeMy Fair Lady – just saying).
Malbec Wine Dinner, The Vineyard Stockcross, 23 Feb
*Thud* The wine list at The Vineyard in Stockcross is the size of War & Peace but don’t let that put you off. You don’t need to be a wine buff (or snob) to enjoy its Malbec Wine Dinner. Five frisky courses, each dish created to compliment Argentina’s defining grape variety. Great wine and food, what;s not to love? £95 person, call 01635 528770 to book your place.
Dracula: The Bloody Truth, Theatre Royal Windsor, Wed 28 Feb – Sat 3 Mar
It’s a night of garlic and stakes! Sounds delicious but this is not a romance killing meal out – instead, go heavy on the eyeliner and enjoy the Gothic gigglefest Dracula: The Bloody Truth. It’s a theatrical comedy that’ll take you across Europe from the dark and sinister Transylvanian mountains to the, er, Whitby. It’s a show full of song, dance, shadow puppets and Victorian parlour tricks.
Murder Mystery Treasure Hunt, Central Reading, Sat 3, 10, 17, 24 Feb
Murder mystery has shrugged off its dusty Bridge crowd credentials to become cool. A Dish to Die For is the latest case to be solved in Reading. Answer the clues and discover whodunnit – you have just 2hrs and 15 minutes. So there’ll no time to nip into Zara.
Snowdrop Festival, Welford Park Newbury, until Thu 1 Mar
It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry day (there must be one coming soon, surely?) and wander through drifts of snowdrops at Welford Park. Why Welford Park? It’s only got one the finest natural snowdrop woodlands in the chuffing country – four fabulous acres. Visit Wed-Sun (11am-4pm) until 1 Mar.
Craft beer and comedy, it’s a match made in a brewery. Nothing like a few lagers (don’t panic, they’re serving wine too) to get the giggles at this very cool comedy club, live from the factory floor at Eton and Windsor Brewery. Crack on and organise the proverbial p*** up.
Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, 9 Feb – 3 June
I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see. rrm.co.uk
Dinner Pop-Up, Hinds Head Bray, Sat 3 Feb
Want to try Heston’s legendary Meat Fruit? Now you can. For one day only, – Chef Director Ashley Palmer-Watts’ 2-Michelin-star team from London’s Dinner will decamp to the Hind’s Head Bray to dish up a 5-course menu of signature dishes. Only a table for 4 and 6 left – £95 per head. Not to be missed!
Teddy, Watermill Theatre Newbury, Thurs 11 Jan – Sat 10 Feb
Come on January can be sooooo boring. Don’t make it an entirely no-fun zone. The Watermill is hitting 2018 hard with punchy new musical Teddy. After a successful run in London, Teddy is going on tour, first stop Newbury to unleash the teen rebellion. Let the good times rock ‘n’ roll.
Monstersaurus, Theatre Royal Windsor, Thurs 8 – Sun 11 Feb
A brand-new show from the creators of Aliens Love Underpants follows the young inventor Monty as he creates a whole world of whacky inventions and incredible monsters, but now he has made them all, how is he going to get rid of them? It’s an energetic show full of magic, mayhem and audience participation. Pack the emergency Tramadol.
Imagine Children’s Festival, Southbank Centre, Weds 7 Feb – Sun 18 Feb
12 days of jam-packed half-term fun in this brilliant annual festival by kids for kids. Aimed at 0-12 year olds, there’s a mind-boggling array of activities and events, including a whole clutch of free possibilities in The Clore Ballroom, Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes, dance-theatre Tidy Up, Fun DMC, Bedtime stories, plus debut authors comedian Harry Hill and Radio One’s Greg James.
May the Toys be with You at Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, Jan 13 – April 14
In a galaxy not so far, far away an unmissable exhibition for Star Wars fans young and old has come to Basingstoke. May the Toys be with You is a beautiful exhibition containing rarely seen toys and original posters, spanning the franchise’s 40-year history. From X-Wings and light-sabres to cuddly Ewoks, expect treats for Star Wars fans young and old.
Admission Free, donations welcome.
An Evening with Levison Wood, Guildford Cathedral, Thurs 8 Feb
Variety Night: Grayson Perry, Sir Michael Parkinson, Gareth Malone, New Theatre Oxford, Weds 28 Feb
Perry, Parkinson and Malone. The most unlikely boyband ever? A new firm of solicitors? Actually, the artist, the interviewer and the choirmaster are appearing together, in conversation, on stage for this charity fundraiser. What on earth will they talk about? We’re promised ‘laughs, discussion, insight and costume changes’ (presumably the latter from Perry rather than Parkinson).
Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London, 10 Feb – 11 March
Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please.
National Theatre Posters, National Theatre, South Bank, London, until 31 March 2018
Theatre posters advertising National Theatre productions from 1963 to the present day are on display in a free exhibition at the building until March. Curated by Rick Poynor, professor of Design and Visual Culture at the University of Reading. it explores changing promotional styles and features some famous productions. nationaltheatre.org.uk
Speakers, by Nicolas Party, Modern Art Oxford, until 18 Feb 2018
Running since late November at Modern Art Oxford, but if you’re yet to catch it now’s your chance. The Swiss artist Nicolas Party (formerly a graffiti specialist) has produced Speakers, a selection of 5ft female heads, complete with 2-hour looped soundscape that seems to speak to you as you brush past. Weird, and kind of wonderful.
George’s Marvellous Medicine, Aylesbury Waterside, Tues 30 Jan – Sat 3 Feb
A Roald Dahl adaptation that’s perfect for kids ages 5 plus, as George tries to cure his rather mean Grandmother of her nastiness with a special potion that sets him off on a big adventure. atgtickets.com
David Walliams’ Awful Auntie, Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe, Thurs 1 Feb – Sun 4 Feb
Another month, another David Walliams book transformed for the stage, but who cares when the kids love them so much? From the award-winning producers of Gangsta Granny comes the world premiere of Awful Auntie with its tiny ghost, huge owl and little person-pleasing humour.
Hip hop karoake, Terrace Bar, Tate Modern, Fri 2 – Sat 3 Feb
I feel cool just writing this. How about an evening of hip hop at Tate Modern’s Terrace Bar? Join DJ Rob Pursey and the Hip Hop Karaoke team as they lead the party, with craft beer from Brooklyn Brewery and old school gems from the 80s, 90s and 00s so you can still feel you know where it’s at. Add your stick on tooth diamond and remember not to talk about property prices.
Julius Caesar: First Encounters, RSC, Swan Theatre, Stratford-Upon-Avon, Fri 2 Feb – Sat 3 Feb
Great idea this. A new version of Julius Caesar for 8 -13 year olds. Part of the RSC’s First Encounters with Shakespeare series, these engaging adaptations are 90 minutes long, use Shakespeare’s original language and ask audiences to participate in the story. Beats Lett’s Notes any day (come on admit it, you used them too!).
North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, now – Feb 4 2018
Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. If you visit after 15 Nov, you can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink.