What’s On Nationally This Weekend
Feel like exploring somewhere new? Muddy tenticles cover the South of England and who better to know the cool stuff that’s hard to unearth than our brilliant regional Muddy editors (all national journalists in their own right) who are constantly scouring their counties for the best arts and cultural highlights? Whether you’re day tripping or planning for longer, here are some of the treats in store for you.
Meet Louis Sidoli, Castle Fine Art Windsor, Sun 20 Mar
Love neon? I do, I do. Elbows sharpened then, as we bowl down to Castle Fine Arts in Windsor to meet celebrated British artist Louis Sidoli. He’ll be popping into the gallery between 1pm and 4pm to present the Neon David Bowie collection. It’s a celebration of the pop icon’s ‘golden years’ from 1970-1980, during which he produced over 10 albums. I wonder if I get Mr Muddy down there to pick up my Mother’s Day pressie? You’re right, it’s a little extravagant, but a girl can dream.
The Best Things, South Street Arts, Wed 22 – Thur 23 Mar
No it’s not a masked armed robbery? The Best Things by the UK’s leading full mask theatre company (how many full mask companies of you think there are? The mind boggles). Step into the the wordless world of Vamos Theatre for this bittersweet story of mistaken morals and broken hearts, 45s and beehives, where sexual revolution is a rocky path to tread. It’s all set in the Swinging 60s, Tickets £12.
Disgusting Creatures: Paper Balloon Theatre at Waddesdon Manor, Sat 18 – Sun 19 March
If your children are the kind who are forever picking up worms, they’ll enjoy Disgusting Creatures, an interactive performance by storyteller Alex Kanefsky from Paper Balloon Theatre. Appearing this weekend at the Powerhouse at Waddesdon Manor, he’ll embark on an interactive safari of creepy crawler from around the globe and answer all their insect-based questions. Just don’t forget to frisk them for slugs before you go home. Suitable for children aged 5-16.
Oxbow & Peach, Whittlesford, Thurs 23 – Sat 25 Mar
If you love all things vintage then this complete little gem will be right up your street Childhood friends Georgie and Lizzie have turned their passion for seeking out unusual antique pieces, from chamber pots to chandeliers, into a busy and thriving interiors business. You might have seen Oxbow and Peach at charity and country home fairs, but they also host pop ups at their quirky but charming showroom as well. Oxbow and Peach are opening for their first 2017 pop up this week. Mini Mudders get down there right now – I’ll leave my Mothering Sunday wish list with them. If it’s a bit of a hike to get there, make a day of it and treat yourself to lunch at The Tickle Arms in the village – it’s had a bit of botox lately so is looking rather smart and definitely younger.
The Old School, Whittlesford, Cambridge CB22 4YS, oxbowandpeach.co.uk
Music from the Grand Tour, Wimpole Hall, Cambridgeshire, Fri 24 Mar
In 2017 Wimpole Hall are celebrating the achievements of former owner Philip Yorke, Third Earl of Hardwicke, and the architect Sir John Soane, who met in Italy and collaborated to make impressive additions to the magnificent house. Enjoy an evening of music, by Mozart, Haydn, Brahms and Strauss, and song from two sopranos and a pianist in the Long Gallery at Wimpole Hall and enjoy an opportunity to explore the Ground Floor rooms after hours with the hall’s knowledgeable room guides.
Wimpole Hall, Arrington SG8 0BW, nationaltrust.org.uk
Tattoo Exhibition, National Maritime Museum, Opens Fri 17 March
For a giant dose of cool, get down to The National Maritime Museum in Falmouth, where a ground-breaking exhibition, delving into the history and future of British Tattoo Art, opens this week. Items from three of the most important private collections of tattoo material in Britain will be on show, among more than 400 original artworks, photographs and historic artifacts. There will also be specially commissioned works from stars of the tattooing world Tihoti Faara Barff, Matt Houston and Aimée Cornwell, displayed on hyper-realistic body sculptures. The exhibition is curated by Dr Matt Lodder, lecturer in Contemporary Art History at the University of Essex, who says, “tattooing is a romantic, exciting and often-misunderstood art-form, and we hope that our exhibition will communicate some of that magic.”
Beer & Mussel Festival, The Cornish Arms, St Merryn, Fri 17 – Sun 19 Mar
My idea of a perfect weekend feast! At Rick Stein’s North Cornwall pub, The Cornish Arms the team will be serving up signature mussel dishes accompanied by a choice of 40 local beers and ciders all weekend at their annual festival. There’ll be lots of live music too, from the likes of Mowtown Pirates, Mango Tiger, The Stowes and Josh Curnow, cookery demos and a big charity quiz. And never fear rugby fans, the Six Nations games will be showing on big screens for all to see. To whet your appetite, dishes will include Rick’s moules mariniére, mussels with beer and bacon, and mussels with black bean, garlic and ginger.
Craig David, Following My Intuition, Plymouth Pavilions, Tues 21 March
Re-re-wind and the crowd say bo! Selecta! Craig David is back at last for his first UK arena tour in fif-teeeeen freaking years! I don’t know about you, but I was last bopping around to his songs at university. Things have changed a bit since then, including my ability to handle a hangover.
Another New Restaurant for Plymouth!
Just a little heads-up that there’s another new opening on the restaurant scene in Plymouth. Can our waistlines take it? Oh, I think so. This time, celeb chef Marco Pierre White is bringing his Steakhouse Bar & Grill to the Skyline restaurant looking out across the Hoe. Marco calls the brand ‘affordable glamour’; I’ll be having a little looksie at the launch night on Thurs 16th, so I’ll let you know what it’s like, shall I?
Vienna Festival Ballet: Cinderella, Hertford Theatre, Sat 8 April
I’m giving you a heads up on this one because ballet always sells out in Hertford. Dreamy music from Rossini, the fairy tale to end all fairy tales, and the dancing includes pure and classical with something more contemporary. 5pm
Nobodies and Somebodies, Jo Brocklehurst, House of Illustration, until Sun 14 May
Jo Brocklehurst died 11 years ago and this is the first retrospective of her work. She worked as an artist all her life, painting other artists and performers including Marc Almond, George Melly, Pina Bausch and Boy George. I went to see this last week and it was wonderful to be immersed in another time and culture. If you don’t know the House of Illustration, you absolutely must visit. It’s five minutes’ walk from Kings Cross station, in one of my favourite places, Granary Square.
Contemporary Royal Academicians, Chapel Arts, Cheltenham, Sat 18 March
Saturday is the last chance to see Chapel Arts’ Royal Academicians show, with works by Chris Orr, Michael Craig-Martin, Antony Gormley and Christopher Le Brun, among others (see my review here). Enjoy the light and airy space, a former Baptist’s chapel, with all the art expertly and imaginatively hung by gallery owner Ian James. There’s a great café too, which serves hard-to-resist cakes, pastries and pretzels.
Rachmaninov: All-night Vigil, Gloucester Cathedral, Sat 18 March
The marriage of the great Russian composer’s finest composition and the stunning setting and acoustics of Gloucester Cathedral is inspired. The piece, which Rachmaninov composed in less than two weeks in the freezing days of January and February 1915, will be sung in Russian by the Gloucester Choral Society without accompaniment. A highly religious work, it consists of settings of text taken from the Russian Orthodox all-night vigil ceremony. It was one of the composer’s favourite works (although he’d lost his faith by the time he wrote it) and he requested that its fifth movement be sung at his funeral.
The Crucible, The Orchard Theatre, Dartford, Tues 14 – Sat 18 Mar
Wow, this production looks goooood. The cast is superb for a start – it stars Charlie Condou (Coronation Street), as the witch hunter, Reverend Hale, and Victoria Yeates (Call the Midwife), as the falsely accused Elizabeth Proctor. Gripping, chilling, powerful, intense…if you like those things, you’re in for a treat. Did you read the play at school? I did… When a group of young girls are discovered dancing in the woods trying to conjure spirits, the God-fearing people of a small New England town are told the devil and witchcraft is in their midst and must be rooted out at all costs. This retelling of a classic serves as a timely and chilling reminder of the frailty of reason in the face of hysteria, fanaticism and the terrifying power of false accusations. Do not miss this!
Vintage Fair, Tunbridge Wells, Sat 18 Mar
Like a bit of vintage fashion? With 25 stalls of the finest local and affordable vintage fashion, home-ware, costume jewellery, french brocante and original records you could unearth some real treasures at this fair and get a serious hit of nostalgia.
10:30 – 16:00, Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells, facebook.com/events
Brickish Weekend, The National Space Centre, 18-19 March
Lego fans will be lining up to clap their eyes on some of the largest LEGO displays in the UK thanks to the Brickish Association. This UK-based group work with the iconic bright bricks to build amazing structures including planes, trains and automobiles. There’ll be a whole gallery dedicated to space, with huge LEGO builds of real and fictional crafts and plenty of opportunities for the midgets to get creative by building a giant mosaic, creating their own LEGO masterpiece or taking part in a LEGO treasure trail. There’s also a chance to win some very exciting brand new Star Wars LEGO kits. Tie your visit in with a screening of the LEGO movie at 5.30pm (showing 18 March only) book online in advance.
The National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester, LE4 5NS
Asian Film Festival, Phoenix Cinema, 16-19 March
In such a diverse city like Leicester, it’s surprising that there has never been an Asian film festival, until now. This unique festival celebrates South Asian cinema over four days in the cultural quarter’s Phoenix Cinema,. Opening night starts with the premiere of Wrong Side Raju with six other films showing throughout the event. I’ve already booked my ticket for Lipstick Under My Burkha, a heart-warming film about muslim women hiding secret dreams and inner desires.
Thorpe Antiques & Collectors’ Fair, Thorpe – Sun 19 Mar
As someone that owns a proper typewriter, far too many old cameras and one of those record players that you pick up and carry, there’s nothing I like more than trawling around an antiques market on a Sunday afternoon, even if I have no intention of buying anything (which, in truth, I usually do). Roxley Hall is the setting for this Sunday’s Antiques & Collectors’ Fair with anything from fine porcelain, glass and silverware to vintage kitchenware on sale. The atmosphere is relaxed and, well, suitably Sunday-ish and refreshments are provided by at The Vintage Café – think filter coffee and homemade cakes. One man’s trash, etc. 9am-3pm; admission £1.
Tel: 07919 022352
The Scratch Band, The Connaught Hall, Attleborough – Sat 18 Mar:
I absolutely love live music hosted in village halls – free parking, cheap beer and…. really decent music. Attleborough welcomes The Scratch Band this Saturday, a London-based 12-piece blues ensemble formed in 1993 that can add New York’s Ronnie Scott’s to its play list. Performing a eclectic mix of covers from the 1960s to now, as well as their own tracks, gig-goers can expect an energetic cacophony of keyboards, alto sax, flute, guitars, bass and percussion, as well as vocals (including four-part capella harmonies). So, get your butt off that uncomfortable chair (I’ve found one negative about village halls) and hit that dance floor pronto!
Ran Kan Kan & Lakuta, Arts at the Old Fire Station, Sat 18 March
Broaden your musical horizons with this double-header of live world music. Ran Kan Kan are a Cuban-style big band who play mambo classics, while vivacious eight-piece Lakuta are all about Afrobeat, jazz, soul and funk; with their roots running through Kenya, Tanzania, Ghana, Malaysia and mainland Europe. What’s more, DJ Si will command the dancefloor with African, Caribbean and Latin cuts through until midnight. Tickets on the door cost £13 and dancing shoes are compulsory.
Arts at the Old Fire Station, George St, oldfirestation.org.uk
Goldfrapp, O2 Academy, Oxford, Mon 20 March
Alison Goldfrapp is a proper old school pop star – a bit bonkers, insanely theatrical outfits, breathtaking voice, dynamite stage presence. Hers and Will Gregory’s propulsive disco-electronica is pretty special too. They’re back with their first album in four years at the end of the month, titled Silver Eye at the O2 Academy, and here’s a chance hear them debut this new material, including infectious new single Anymore. Last time I saw them live, she stalked the stage with a horse-whip so who knows what she’ll have in store this time round.
Cirque Berserk – 7.30pm Tuesday 14- 18 March
In Northampton for the very first time! Direct from six sold-out seasons in London’s Hyde Park Winter Wonderland and three packed-out tours, Britain’s favourite contemporary thrill circus is setting out once again to amaze and entertain the nation….Combining contemporary “cirque” style skills with off-the-scale thrilling stunt action, Cirque Berserk! is a danger-filled spectacle that will amaze audiences of all ages. Check out the self proclaimed “world’s most dangerous circus act”, the legendary Globe of Death, with 3 motorcyclists speeding at over 60mph inside a steel cage, seen for the first time live on stage in the UK. Showtimes vary depending on the day you book for. Tickets £13.50 – £27.
Get Outside: Visit Naseby battlegrounds
How many times have you passed the sign on the A14, Naseby battleground, and not given it a second thought? Well it’s history on our doorstep and a really great excuse to get outside and enjoy some beautiful country and educate yourself. Did you know, that The Battle of Naseby was a decisive engagement of the English Civil War. As a national monument, Naseby field is unmatched. Despite the addition of farm buildings and the enclosing of fields, the landscape remains intact and has not been built over. Today’s visitors can stand on the ground where democracy was won, confident of how the action unfolded. The Naseby battlefield project footpath and viewing platforms are the best way to take it all in and you can pick up a Battlefield Trail leaflet from local shops and Tourist Information Offices.
Vintage and Retro Fair, Wells Town Hall, Wells Sat 18 March
A cornucopia of vintage stuff for your edification, delight and a good rummage: clothes, accessories, vinyl records, home wares and collectables. Wells Town Hall, 9.30am-4pm. There’s more vintage fabrics and textiles at the Ilminster Arts Centre on Weds 22 March.
Funny Girl, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 21-Sat 25 March
This iconic musical follows Fanny Brice from Brooklyn music hall singer to Broadway star. The film made Barbra Streisand a global sensation; in this production, the Funny Girl is Sheridan Smith – so don’t rain on her parade, go and see this all singing, all dancing, all joking show.
Leatherhead Theatre Spring Fair – Sun 19 March
So with a spring in our step (see what I did there?), let’s go gambolling (and again, see?) to help our social lives fully bloom (OK, even I’ve had enough of this now) – at the Leatherhead Theatre Spring Fair. There’ll be lots of stalls with everything from garden accessories to women’s clothing and accessories. Plus you can meet artist Emma J White, and learn a thing or two about painting. It’s from 10am to 4pm and entry is £1, which also gets you a raffle ticket.
The Leatherhead Theatre, 7 Church St, Leatherhead KT22 8DN. Tel: 01372 365141. theleatherheadtheatre.org
Sister Act – New Victoria Theatre, Woking – Mon 20 March to Sat 25 March
Alexandra Burke, last seen warbling in The Bodyguard, has swapped sequins for a habit to take the starring role in Sister Act made famous by Whoopi Goldberg in the film version. It’s directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, and I’m guessing it sticks to the film script like a wafer on the tongue. Alexandra isn’t doing matinee performances so if you want to see La Burke, book evenings people. Tickets are £20.40 to £55.90.
New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, GU21 6GQ, Tel: 0844 871 7645. atgtickets.com
Abigail’s Party, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Mon 20 – Sat 25 March
If there were a Desert Islands Discs for TV, Abigail’s Party – the Mike Leigh play about the 70s drinks party from hell – would be in mine. It’s forty years since passive aggressive host Beverly first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesey-pineapple ones, plied her guests with alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos and slow-danced her way across the shag-pile into theatrical history. You’re bound to have caught the TV play on one of its many reruns but here’s a chance to see it live on stage as a Theatre Royal Bath production starring Amanda Abbington – best-known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock. Tickets are form £19. Alright Tone?
Vintage Fair, Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells, Sat 18 Mar
Like a bit of vintage fashion? With 25 stalls of the finest local and affordable vintage fashion, home-ware, costume jewellery, french brocante and original records you could unearth some real treasures at this fair and get a serious hit of nostalgia. It runs 10:30 – 16:00 at Warwick Park.