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9 fab things to do this week

Crikey is this the longest month ever?! January’s massively overstayed its welcome – and I haven’t given up booze. At least there are plenty of distractions to keep us from crawling back into hibernation.

ROH Live: Il Trovatore, Corn Exchange Newbury, Tues 31 Jan

Polish your tiara and call Richard Gere, you’re  being whisked off for a night at the opera… in Newbury. Thanks to the popular ROH Live series, enjoy world class singing and staging via the big screen. It’s not going to quite the same having your bum parked on the plush red velvet seat in this ornate London opera house, but it also doesn’t come with the £190 price tag. Il Trovatore, is a Verdi classic telling a tale of love, vengeance and murder in David Bosch’s epic staging. Tickets £14.50.


Young Singer Songwriters, Croft Hall Hungerford, Sat 28 Jan

Who needs The Voice on a Saturday night when you can experience the real deal right here. Three young singer songwriters will be bringing down the house as they perform their own great music (and a few covers) for a great cafe style evening. Hannah Dorman, Beth George and Jenny Bracey will be taking to the stage revealing their musical and vocal talents. Call me Simon Cowell, it’s a yes from me.


Croft & Pearce, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Fri 3 Feb

Who doesn’t love laughing so hard your cheeks and belly hurt? So I urge you see the brilliant Croft & Pearce if you can, because these gals have got quite the reputation. Stars of their own BBC R4 comedy show, Edinburgh Fringe award winners, Hannah Croft and Fiona Pearce are kicking off their hilarious new sketch show in Maidenhead. The glitterati of funny rave about this duo as future stars of TV and theatrical comedy – so don’t miss the chance to say, ‘you saw them here first’. Tickets £12.


Gin Club, Balcony Bar Newbury, Fri 27 Jan

The first rule of Gin Club… don’t talk about Gin Club. So shhh, I’m only tell you lot. As you have probably gathered, I’m quite partial to a G&T, so when I discovered Gin Club, how could I not share it with you lovely lot. I know, it’s like a public service. Those clever (slightly tipsy) lot at the Corn Exchange are hosting a gin evening. You’ll get four premium gins, tonics and garnishes to sample in a bid to introduce you to new flavours and combos. Tickets: £25. No expertise required. Just a love of gin. Hic!

BalconyBar, Corn Exchange Newbury


Chinese New Year, Sat 28 Jan & Sun 29 Jan

Welcome to the Year of the Rooster. This weekend marks the Chinese New Year, and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved in Berks. Head to Maidenhead High Street for its biggest Chinese New Year celebrations to date. The parade kicks off at 1pm but head to the Nicholson Centre (11am-3pm) to make your own lantern. Pop over to Reading on Sunday and enjoy more lion dancing and cultural performances at the Town Hall from 1.30pm.


Street Food Pop-Up, Swan at Streatley, Thurs 2 Feb

January is done and for all of you who managed the whole month detoxing (yes, I know not me), this is your reward. For the rest if us, pah, who needs an excuse, but you’ll probably need your biggest pants. The Swan at Streatley is hosting a cool street food event – Wandering Kitchen will be serving their gourmet game burgers, American pancakes from Hack the Stack and live music from the Young Women’s Project, plus cocktails in the Swan’s new bar and terrace right by the river.


Room On The Broom, Hexagon Reading, Mon 30 Jan & Tues 31 Jan

Iggety ziggety zaggety zoom! It’s time to book tickets for Room on the Broom. (What can I say, I’m a poet). This classic picture book by the legendary Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a HUGE fave with my boys and now we get to see it brought to life in this Olivier-nominated show. Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation follows the witch and her cat – and a whole host of hitchhikers – on a mission to defeat the dragon. A lorra lorra great songs, belly laughs and scary fun. Tickets from £12.50.

The Hexagon, Reading,


Young Men – BalletBoyz, Norden Farm Maidenhead, Weds 1 Feb

Hello Boyz! If you were lucky to catch the BaletBoyz’s half-naked droolfest, Life, when it jeté’d into Reading last year, you’ll be familiar with this athletic crew of all-male dancers. But they have created something a bit different this time – a film. A WW1 Centenary Art Commission,  Young Men is a moving portrayal of love, loss and survival set in Northern France. Unfortunately they keep most of their clothes on but what they lack in exposed flesh, they make up for in agility. Tickets £15.


Embrace: The Documentary , Odeon Maidenhead, Mon Feb 6

Women are a force nature. You don’t need much more proof then the success of last week’s Women’s Marches. So it is timely that Aussie Taryn Brumfitt, founder of the the Body Image Movement, is having her crowd-funded documentary shown in cinemas. What’s it about? Well, having discovered body shaming and body loathing had reached epidemic proportions, Taryn launched her quest for change. Embrace is the result. This is a funny, touching, gut-wrenching documentary that demands we say no to unrealistic body images; no to the objectification of women; no to the sexualisation of girls and no to preying on women’s insecurities. It’s powerful stuff. Tickets: £9.75.

Image Consultant Jo Haley is hosting the Odeon Maidenhead screening of Embrace

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