What’s on this month
Finding Joy, South Street Arts Reading, Wed 1 Nov
No it’s not a Halloween hangover? Finding Joy is by the UK’s leading full mask theatre company (how many full mask companies do you think there are? The mind boggles). Step into the the Vamos Theatre’s wordless world as this story of lost memories and discovered love is vividly brought to life as Joy celebrates her 83rd birthday and her rebellious grandson’s decides to look after her. Yikes. You can also see it at the Corn Exchange Newbury on 14 Nov.
Christmas Party, Camp Hopson, Thurs 2 Nov
I’m calling it, it’s November and we can officially start the Christmas countdown. To get this party started, Camp Hopson are pulling out all the stops to get shake their jingle bells. On Thursday 2 November from 9am to 9pm, head to Camps for fun, fizz and an awesome 20% off almost everything. There’s a fashion, Santa will make a guest appearance– and you work your way through that gift list like someone pulled by prosecco.
Joan, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Wed 1 Nov
Anarchic Cabaret from drag king Lucy Jane Parkinson – drag king rather than a drag queen because there’s no sequins or false lashes in sight, and she’s on stage with a whopping beard wearing Joan of Arc’s breastplate, defying the men in her path. A fearless solo show, with songs and mayhem, exploring what it means to stand out. You’re doing that Lucy, no doubt.
Under Milk Wood, The Watermill Newbury, until Sat 4 Nov
Dylan Thomas’s Welsh masterpiece Under Milk Wood is described as a play for voices. Enter stage left… Alistair McGowan! The TV star and impressionist leads the cast in this comic play about religion, death and sex. It’s the penultimate show in the theatre’s 50th anniversary season, but it was also the first production performed there in 1967, featuring David Jason.
Lions Club Fireworks Display, Newbury Racecourse, Sat 4 Nov
Grab your sparklers! This year Newbury Lions Club Fireworks marks the organisation’s 100 years of charitable work. Ooh and aah at the popping, banging and sparkle of this fireworks display. Plus you can enjoy all the fun of the fair, a BBQ, bar and hot drinks. Scream if you want to go faster or just to stop after too many beers and bangers.
Fireworks Spectacular Family Raceday, Ascot Racecourse, Sat 4 Nov
Bonfire Night is coming atcha with a boom shakalaka boom. Ascot Racecourse’s Fireworks Spectacular Family Raceday, takes the toffee apple and sparkler experience to another level. Marking the start of the Jump season, you can watch the gee gees, enjoy the fun of the fair and U18s can tag along for for FREE too. Proceeds go to local charities. Winner winner
Timpany’s Pop Up, Sunningdale, Nov and Dec
If you haven’t visited Timpany’s in Sunninhill, then this is your time to shine. It is a beautiful (Muddy award-winning) fashion boutique, stocking stunning pre-loved designer clobber. Top quality fashion at prices so tantalising we can all dip our toe in designer waters. But Timpany’s HQ is bursting at the seams, so owner Antonia is popping up for two months in Sunnindale. If you’re looking for Christmas outfits, partywear or gift ideas, head to the new pop up at 1-2 Broomhall Buildings, Sunningdale. You’ll come out in a cloud of Chanel.
Christmas at Stonor, Stonor Park Henley, Weds 29 Nov – Sun 10 Dec
Yeah, my fireplace looks just like this one. If you want to see a manor house beautifully decorated (and get a sense of how the other half live – the Stonor family are still in situ) then head to Stonor Park. No I’m not jealous at all. *gnashes teeth*
Stonor Park, Stonor, Henley-on-Thames, stonor.com
The BFG in Pictures, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, until 21 Jan 2018
Curated by Quentin Blake himself, the exhibition of everyone’s favourite giant includes unpublished illustrations that have never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition includes Blake’s first designs that weren’t included in the book, and provide a glimpse of a BFG that might have been in 40 original artworks. Don’t forget there’s the permanent John Piper exhibition at the museum too – that’s well worth seeing in its own right.
Amy Macdonald, Hexagon Reading, Sat 4 Nov
Scottish singer-songwriter Amy Macdonald has been performing for a decade, sold 12million records and has a 700k social media followers. She’s a pretty big deal and she will be gracing the Hexagon stage this weekend. If you love your indie music to have an uplifting hint of pop, then Amy’s your go-to gal. Tickets are selling fast, so don’t miss out.
Perfect Wedding, The Mill at Sonning, until Sat 18 Nov
Theatre’s answer to The Hangover, The Mill at Sonning’s new production The Perfect Wedding is all about the pitfalls of the stag do: naked girls, memory loss, cover ups and a bride on the warpath. The perfect medicine for all those thinking of getting married! Plus all tickets come with a two-course meal. Just in case you needed a clincher.
Tidy Up by Peut Etre Theatre, South Street Arts Reading, Sat 4 Nov
So THIS is how you get your kids to tidy up! Take them to the theatre, let the performers create chaos and let your rugrats channel their inner Monica. Hmm. We will see. Peut-Être Theatre’s Tidy Up looks at why some of us gravitate towards mess and whether the ‘right way’ really exists. You’ll discover balloons can create pandemonium and tidiness becomes exciting. If it means I don’t step on another lego brick, I’m sold.
1st Birthday Party, No1 George Street Kingsclere, 14 Nov
Call it a birthday party, Christmas countdown… or just a great opp. Make the shopping bubble and fizz with prosecco, a canapé or six and 10% off . No1 George Street just over the border in Kingsclere, Hants, is celebrating its 1st birthday and you’re all invited. Pop along on Tues 14 Nov 8.30am-8pm and discover unique homeware and beautiful fashion and accessories – the Christmas list will be ticked off in no time.
No1 George Street, Kingsclere RG20 5NH
David Starkey: Henry Vlll: The First Brexiteer?, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tues 7 Nov
Brexit has taken a back seat while we watch the car crash of the latest Westminster sex scandal implodes. But if there’s one person who could find an historical link between Brexit and parliamentary pervs, David Starkey is it. And Henry VIII would be in the thick of it. David Starkey draws on his unique knowledge of Henry’s reign to illuminate both the Tudor age and our own – apparently Brexit is just a rebrand of The Reformation.
Jan Ravens: Difficult Woman, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 11 Nov
With so many powerful women in the public eye, Dead Ringers star Jan Ravens is as happy as a pig in the Westminster quagmire. Her new show Difficult Woman pokes fun at these fierce females and the ridiculous situations they find themselves in. You’ll be thanking your luck stars, you’re not Theresa May or Nicola Sturgeon.
Superposition, South Hill Park Bracknell, Tues 7 – Wed 8 Nov
If you locked Stephen Hawking and Peter Stringfellow in a room for long enough, do you think they could answer the big questions in life? It’s a bizarre meeting of mind. ,Superposition at South Hill Park is a play that takes you down the rabbit hole of physics – via a lap dancing club – in a journey of discovery: about science; sensuality and spirituality (suitabl for 15+).
Illuminated woodland walk, Basildon Park, until January
Wrap up, wellies on and trudge through the woods to see the trees in all their glory – preferably before the leaves get blown off. Now that we are spending most of our time in darkness, we might as well get something out of it. In this case, an enchanting woodland walk, twinkly lights and all the Winter wonderland magic that goes with it. No need to book.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory Fireworks, Windsor Racecourse, Saturday 4 November
It’s fireworks war – so many fab displays. But if you fancy a bit different, Windsor Racecourse’s fizz whizzing spectacular is set to the Charlie & The Chocolate Factory with an army of little orange Oompa Loompas providing treats and surprises. Plus you could £500 and a year of chocolate. Now you’re talking.
Fireworks, Chieveley Recreation Centre, Sun 5 Nov
It’s big, it’s busy and it’s actually on bonfire night. I’ve been to Chieveley Fireworks with the famalam a few times and it is blissfully traditional. It’s an all-ticket affair as a huge crowd is expected, there’s a ‘Guy Competition’, torchlit procession and locally sourced food and drink, all followed by bonfire and fireworks. Buy tickets here.
OMD, Hexagon Reading, Thurs 9 Nov
They sold out the Royal Albert Hall last year and now synth pop pioneers OMD have given the tour bus a good scrub before heading out on the road again. OMD will perform their 13th studio album The Punishment of Luxury – a collection of stylish synth pop and masterful songwriting which will certainly rank alongside their very best.
Ruby Wax Frazzled, The Cancert Hall Reading, Thurs 9 Nov
I was never really a fan of Ruby Wax as a stand up, but when she went public with her depression and used her talent to talk about mental health, I had a new-found respect. A Mindfulness Guide For The Frazzled gives a tour of the mind – how to use it, not lose it. Personal experience and an Oxford psychology graduate, she knows her stuff.
Simon Amstell, The Concert Hall Reading, Sat 18 Nov
Never Mind The Buzzcocks star Simon Amstell disappeared off our telly box and now seems to spend most of his time on the road. He’s like the One Direction of comedy, but with fewer screaming teens. Critics love him, and the gigs sell out in a flash, so grab your tickets while you can as Amstell takes social norms and gently mocks it until it seems utterly ridiculous.
Russell Brand: Re-Birth, Wed 29 Nov
Russell Brand only lives down the road in Henley, so we see quite a lot of him in Berks. London’s loss is our gain. Following a series of sell-out preview shows last year, Russell is back with RE:BIRTH. a show that tries to make sense of life having just made a new one. The man’s got questions… parenthood leaves most us baffled. Tickets will be gone in a flash. Be quick.
The Secret Keeper, Corn Exchange Newbury, Fri, 10 Nov
A political fairytale for adults – with songs, magpies and a murderous gothic heart. A father confides in his daughter and lifts a sad weight from his heart and soon the whole town is confessing to her – including a murder. Der, der, DERRRRRRRRR!
Glass Christmas Wreath Making, The Learning Centre Newbury, Sun 12 Nov
I’m not a crafting kinda gal, but I do love making a wreath at Crimbo. The results are mixed – usually an indicator of wine consumption – but at least it’s memorable. I love the idea of making a glass wreath with artist Shirley Eccles at The new Learning Centre in Newbury, another visual feast to distract from the dry turkey and soggy brussels on the big day.
Miki, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Tues Nov 21 – Sat 30 Nov
If you haven’t come across Stephen Mackey’s book Miki, take a look. My youngest loves it. It’s a charming story about Miki, Polar Bear and Penguin who live in a very far away place. One midwinter eve, they make a wish and Miki embarks on a magical adventure in search of a star… It’s a gorge alternative to traditional panto, and will be a stunning stage show.
Beauty & The Beast, South Hill Park Bracknell, Thurs 30 Nov
There’s nothing like a dame, so brace yourselves for the OTT panto season of fake boobs, heavy slap, innuendo and lots of daft fun knitted into the Disney classic, Beauty & The Beast. Brad Clapson as the Good Fairy and Faye Allen as Belle will be rocking the big frocks, fighting over the blusher backstage to bring Christmas alive at the Wilde Theatre. Adults only, signed and autism friendly performances available.