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What’s On: Thurs 28 July – Weds 3 August

Throughout the Summer don’t forget to check back into Muddy as I’ll regularly be updating and adding to the weekly Muddy Guides, and if you know of anything utterly amazing that you think I’ve omitted, feel free to let me know: or just leave a comment below.

Right, shall we do this people? Let this week’s Muddy Guide begin!

Bracknell Festival 2016, South Hill Park, Sat 30 July, 12pm to 9pm

Who needs Nashville when you’ve got South Hill Park and an absolutely cracking line up for this year’s Bracknell Festival with awesome country duo The Shires headlining! Seriously, THE SHIRES! I’ve played Brave to death in the car pretending I’m driving round Tennessee in my pick-up truck (as opposed to what I’m actually doing, which is the school run, obvs). Also appearing are local Berkshire boys The Hoosiers and Liverpudlian indie band, Space. A full day of music from 12pm to 9pm, it’s child-friendly too with loads of activities for kids, plus food stalls, drink tent and VIP area. Updates on the Bracknell Festival FB page. Tickets: Adults £30; Children £8; under 5s free.

Crazy for You, The Watermill, Newbury, Thurs 28 July to Sat 17 September


I can’t think of a better way to lose yourself for a couple of hours than with this totally glorious musical comedy filled with plot twists, mistaken identity, fab choreography and stunning music by Gershwin. And the icing on the cake? Tom ‘Strictly’ Chambers plays Bobby, the lead. Scrummy. From ‘I Got Rhythm’ to ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’ you’ll be toe-tapping and feeling good all the way home and into next week. I’m off to see this on Monday, so will let you know asap what I thought! Tickets from £18.

Re-made in Reading, Broad Street, Reading, Sat 30 July, 10am to 5pm


Reading town centre is being turned into a film set for the day on Sat 30 July and the star of the show is YOU! Re-Made in Reading is part of the town’s free summer arts programme, ARENA, and on Sat locals will get the chance to take part in remaking classic scenes from the movies including Casablanca, Taxi Driver and Night of the Living Dead. The films will then be available to watch online and there will be a special screening at The Rising Sun Arts Centre on Fri 16 Sept. If you’re a budding Bogart or Bacall, or you can deliver De Niro’s ‘Are you lookin’ at me?’ better than the man himself, get down there. The camera’s going to love you dahhling!

An Evening of Opera, St Laurence Church, Friar Street, Reading, Sat 30 July, 7.30pm


Whether you’re already an opera fan, or have yet to fall for its charms, An Evening of Opera promises a wonderful selection of arias by Puccini, Mozart and Rossini, and duets and trios from some of the most popular operas of all time including The Marriage of Figaro, Cosi Fan Tutte, The Barber of Seville and Don Giovanni. During the interval there will be canapés and tapas from Pop-Up Reading with wine from The Tasting House, all included in the ticket price.  Performed by professional opera singers including local Berkshire girl Harriet Kirk (pictured), Krystal MacMillan, Ryan Ross, and pianist Susan Holmes. A percentage of the ticket sales will be donated to the local charity Launchpad.

St Laurence Church, Friar Street, Reading, RG1 1DA. Tickets.

Kids go free, Legoland Holidays, book before 4 August

If you haven’t made the annual pilgrimage to Legoland yet then now would be a good time because if you book before 4 August kids go free on a Legoland holiday. Book a short break at any of the nearby partner hotels and not only do kids go free, but you also get your 2nd day at the park free too. You’ll also get a voucher for 20% off food and drink at the park. To quote the deep and meaningful lyrics from the Lego Movie theme tune, ‘Everything is AWESOME!’.

Finding Dory, Vue Newbury, from Fri 29 July


How long have we been waiting for this sequel to the much-loved Finding Nemo?! Feels like forever, or that could be because I’m as forgetful as loveable Dory. Anyway, in Pixar’s long-awaited fishy blockbuster, Dory goes on an adventure to find her family, crossing three oceans to get to them with Marlon and Nemo behind her all the way. There’s also the BFG in cinemas now, and if you have older children, Matt Damon is back as Jason Bourne – it’s a 12A and explodes onto our cinema screens from today. And from the trailer I saw, old Matty boy is looking pretty stonking, just saying. Check your nearest cinema for films and times.

Pirate Trip on the Galleon Jubilee, The Wharf, Newbury, Tues 2 & Weds 3 August, 2.30pm


The Galleon Jubilee, a 29-seater narrowboat, will be running special Pirate Trips every Tues and Weds at 2.30pm until 24 August. Trips last about an hour and the boat will be converted into a pirate ship with cannons on its roof, skull and crossbones flag and the crew will be dressed accordingly and hope you will too! Sounds perfect if you’ve got little pirates who will love a day out pretending on the high seas. The trip takes you up under Newbury town bridge (where a ghost lives that needs scaring away), through a pirate cave (Newbury lock), a swing bridge and out into the countryside before returning. Let’s hope there’s a barrel of rum for pirate parents to enjoy. Booking advised. Tickets: Adults £6; Children £5.


Further afield

Steam Days, Didcot Railway Centre, Sat 30 – Sun 31 July


Calling the anoraks! OK, well, maybe the kids too. This weekend you can view the Didcot Railway collections of locos, coaches, wagons and buildings, plus you can ride in coaches from the 1930s, pulled by locomotive. If you’re in no hurry, stay on the train as long as you like – it’s just one charge, so you can sit their all day with sarnies and flask admiring the Oxfordshire countryside.

Didcot Railway Station,

Finding the Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter Studios, until Mon 5 Sept

The Philosophers Stone

The Harry Potter Studios manage to come up with new ideas every year to hoik Harry fans into its attraction, and this summer they’ve managed it again. For the first time, there’s a moving display of the Devil’s Snare that the trio encountered in their hunt for the Philosopher’s Stone in Creature Effects, plus the chance to  touch the giant tentacles that have been specially created as they were in the films. Kids can learn how one of Ron Weasley’s favourite games, Wizard’s Chess, was brought to life on a large scale with the giant chess pieces moving across a chequered board, as if by magic, on the HP backlot.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,

The Wind in the Willows, Kew Gardens, 23 July to 28 August


The Australian Shakespeare Company perform Kenneth Grahame’s classic story of four animal best friends, Ratty, Mole, Badger and Otter and of course, hilarious Toad, messing about on the river. An outdoor production set against the backdrop of Kew Gardens’ lake, and of course wonderful Kew to explore too. Performances twice a day at 11.30am and 6pm Weds to Fri; and 11.30am and 6pm Sat and Sun. Tickets: Adults from £19.90; Children from £12.90.



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