What’s On Thurs 16 – Weds 22 June
Watership Down, The Watermill, Newbury, Thur 16 to Sat 23 June
If, like me, you sobbed your way through the book as a child, be prepared to relive all those poignant moments, but well worth getting through a packet of tissues for, as it sounds amazing! Director Adam Penford has put together a great cast and creative team to tell Douglas Adams’ epic adventure story through movement, music and puppetry. Think War Horse but with rabbits! I’m going to the press show on Monday so will report back. Suitable for adults and children; Tickets £15 to £26.50. Box Office: 01635 46044.
Gyles Brandreth – Word Power! Norden Farm, Maidenhead, Sat 18 – Sun 19 June
Don’t be frightened, it’s only Gyles Brandreth. Come on, the guy’s a legend! Whether it’s global domination you’re after – or getting some nookie on a Friday night – you need the right words to get the right results. Discover them right here with the witty word-meister. He’s also an Edinburgh Fringe award winner (which I didn’t know) so he’s the perfect match with Norden Farm, the award-winning Best Theatre in this year’s Muddy Stiletto Awards 2016 (Tenuous link? How dare you!). There are a few tickets left so get in there quick for what is bound to be a very funny play on words.
The Gap Festival, Goring & Streatley, continues daily until Sun 19 June
This fab festival punches well above its weight covering music, art, dance, theatre, comedy, literary performances, workshops and more – I defy you not to find something for all the family to see or do here. All the music and arts organisations in the Goring Gap contribute to the programme and it’s a really buzzy event. Highlights include Ruby Turner belting out some hits on Saturday night; historian Lucy Worsley giving a fascinating talk about the history of your home, ‘If walls could talk’; plus outdoor yoga, a drumming workshop, learn how to Lindy Hop a Festival flash mob, and even ‘How to write a successful blog’ by Ben Hunt (*sniff* must have had my phone on silent when they called). The Festival’s patron is Gyles Brandreth (but he’s busy with his Word Power tour, see above!) and I know resident Dragon Sarah Willingham is a big supporter. Tickets available online and on the door.
Bug Safari & Workshop, Sheepdrove Organic Farm, Lambourn, Sun 19, 2pm
Celebrate National Insect Week (what do you mean it’s not in your diary?!) by joining specialist bug expert (entomologist for all you word nerds) for a tractor and trailer safari of Sheepdrove’s 2,500 acre farm to learn all about their busy bugs, bees and butterflies. It promises a fascinating insight into the secret world of insects and is suitable for adults and children aged 5 years and over with interactive and hands-on bug activity! There’s also a Bug Hotel and Bee B&B workshop (sweeeeeet!) with all materials provided so you can take your Bug Hotel home with you. Tickets: £10 adults; £5 children, available online.
Reading Symphony Orchestra, Great Hall, Reading University, Sat 18 June, 7.30pm to 10pm
Not one, but TWO pianos will be centre stage for the Reading Symphony Orchestra’s special summer concert. Conductor Stefan Hoflkes will be joining soloist You-Chiung Lin to perform Mozart’s Concerto No. 10 for two pianos (you see, it’s necessary, they’re not just being flash). The second half of the programme will feature Mahler’s magnificent Symphony No. 1. A great opportunity to hear two amazing works in the beautiful surroundings of the University Great Hall. Tickets £15 are still available online or from the RSO Box Office. Tel: 0118 9860707.
Pineapple Palace summer market, 17–19 June
Live music and food on Fri 17 from 5pm-9pm then on Saturday and Sunday 10am to 4pm. Raffle prizes, over 50 art and craft stalls, craft demos, food, music, workshops, children’s activities and… cream teas (ok, now I’m sold!). Pineapple Palace is the recent winner of Best Emporium in the Muddy Stilettos Awards 2016 so they are well worth a visit. Can’t think of a better time to check them out.
The Sorcerer’s Apprentice, South Hill Park, Sun 19, 3pm
The mudlets saw so many shows by Blunderbus children’s theatre company when they were little that I’ve honestly lost count. They create brilliant, engaging, dynamic shows for kids. Their brand new show for 2016 is The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. About a little boy called Charlie Hubble who wants to be a world-class magician. And it just so happens the local toy shop owner Mr Zacoor, is no ordinary shopkeeper, he’s a real life Sorcerer! The show unfolds with music, puppetry and storytelling. There’s apparently a lovely toy shop set filled with all sorts of magical surprises. Brilliant for younger children aged 3-7 (and I’ll be in the front row). Tickets £12 adults; £10 children, available online or from the Box Office: 01344 484123
Comedy at Milk’s Edinburgh Previews, Reading, Tues 21, 8.30pm
JoJo Smith and Geoff Norcott preview their Edinburgh shows at Milk in Reading (above the Shed café) on Tuesday night. JoJo is a veteran of the comedy circuit and was all over TV in the 90s – this is her first ever full length show so be kind. Geoff Norcott who is soon to appear on Live at the Apollo also previews his full length show. Show starts at 8.30pm and finishes at 10.30pm. Tickets £5.
Pointless at Hungerford Bookshop, Weds 22, 1.30pm – 2.30pm
Alexander Armstrong and Richard Osman, stars of the hit BBC quiz show Pointless will be at The Hungerford Bookshop (Best Bookshop winners at the Muddy Stilettos Berkshire Awards, just saying) between 1.30pm and 2.30pm on Wednesday, signing copies of their book, The A-Z of Pointless (£8.99) to celebrate Independent Bookshop Week. No tickets needed, but it would help if you let the bookshop know if you’re coming so they can organise crowd control (apparently these guys have a HUGE following). They are doing a whistle-stop tour so will definitely only be there for one hour. Arrive early to ensure you get a look in!
The Hive, Kew Gardens, opens Sat 18 June
Check this baby out! Science and beauty come together at Kew with The Hive, a 17 metre tall, 40 tonne installation that aims to tell the story of the honeybee and the important role of pollination. Designed by UK based artist Wolfgang Buttress, The Hive is constructed from around 170,000 parts with 1000 LED lights dotted around its core which glow and fade. The humming sound and light of the Hive respond to the real-time energy levlels of bees in a beehive behind the scenes at Kew, giving visitors an insight into the life inside a bee colony and encouraging us all to help bees to help us. Entry to The Hive is included with day admission to Kew Gardens.
Kids Week, Free London Show Tickets, on sale NOW!
Whoo-hoo! Kids Week is back, offering free tickets to more than 35 top London Shows for kids 16 or under when accompanied by a full paying adult. Also if you’re riddled with children, you’ll be pleased to know that you can get two extra kids tickets at half price! Booking is now open, and the offer is valid for performances from 1-31 August, but you’ve got to be quick as the good ones sell out really fast!