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What’s on this weekend

FRI 23 – SUN 25 FEB

Frank Bruno: Let Me Be Frank, Hexagon Reading, Sun 25 Feb

Frank Bruno Let me Be Frank UK Tour The Hexagon Reading

Raise your giant trophy belts aloft, all hail the king of the ring Frank Bruno – champion boxer, panto dame and mental health patient. Every time he;s been knocked down, he gets back up again and you can hear him in conversation with comedian Jed Stone, and the gloves are off. Not to be missed. Frank talks about his recent book and boxing career, from starting out to becoming one of Britain’s most loved sports personalities.


Cancion, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 24 Feb

Izzy Cooper British classical soprano Cancion Norden Farm Maidenhead

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.

Ellie Taylor: This Guy, South Street Reading, Fri 23 Feb

Comedian Ellie Taylor on tour wearing black and white polka dot dress and red lipstick

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.


VinylFrontier: OK Computer, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Sat 24 Feb

Radiohead OK computer album cover

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.


The Hound of The Baskervilles, Mill at Sonning, now – 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, Fri 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.

Murder Mystery Treasure Hunt, Central Reading, Sat 24 Feb

steam rising out of saucepan on hob

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 Walk, Welford Park Newbury, until Thu 1 Mar

carpet of snowdrops in woodland at Welford Park Newbury

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.


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.


An Evening with Levison Wood, The Anvil Basingstoke, Sun 25 Feb

Levison Wood Crossing the Caucasus, by Simon Buxton

Hello handsome! Want to spend an evening with an adventurous explorer? Now you have the chance to, as Levison Wood (from Channel 4’s Walking the Nile) will be recounting tales of his adventures with lots of behind the scenes moments, as well as sharing how he transitioned from life in the Parachute Regiment to an explorer of international standing. Tickets are £20 and all proceeds go to local charity Challengers, who provide play schemes for disabled children across Surrey and Hampshire.

May the Toys be with You at Willis Museum and Sainsbury Gallery, Basingstoke, Jan 13 – April 14

Credit: Joe Low Photography

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.

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, now – 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.

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