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What’s On This Month

JAN 2018

Imperium Part I: Conspirator & Imperium Part II: Dictator, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Feb 10 2018

Imperium Part I: Conspirator production photos, 2017. L-R – Jade Croot as Tullia and Siobhan Redmond playing Terentia, Photo: Ikin Yum, (c) RSC

RSC Artistic Director Gregory Doran directs Richard McCabe in the title role of Robert Harris’ best-selling Cicero trilogy along with Siobhan Redmond. It follows playwright Mike Poulton’s highly successful RSC adaptation of Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. A critically-acclaimed two-part, seven hour epic




Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, now – Feb 24 2018

Dinita Gohil as Viola. Photo: Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia – Kara Tointon’s dour steward Malvolio in Shakespeare’s bittersweet comedy. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, who recreated Warwickshire’s Charlecote Park on stage for the RSC’s fabulous Love’s Labour’s Lost and Much Ado About Nothing, it’s set in Victorian Britain. Also starring Birmingham’s Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew Aguecheek.


Lady Gaga’s Joanne World Tour, Arena Birmingham, formerly Barclaycard Arena Jan 31 & Genting Arena, Feb 1

Expect back-to-back performances, jamming though hits like “Poker Face,” “Perfect Illusion,” “John Wayne,” “Alejandro,” and an unexpected but widely appreciated fan-favourite “Born This Way” track “Scheiße in true superstar form. Tickets bought for Lady Gaga’s original Arena Birmingham date (Oct 15 2017) will still be valid. Tickets available here.


A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Feb 4 2018 


Bah humbug! The RSC’s new eagerly-awaited stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic starring the excellent PoldarkSherlock and Quadrophenia actor Phil Davis as Scrooge. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year, starring Rufus Hound as Toad. Review here.

Book here.


Basquiat: Boom for Real, The Barbican, London, until Jan 28


The urban brutalism of the Barbican is the perfect setting for Jean-Michael Basquiat’s ground-breaking energetic post-punk street art and stunning paintings. This is the UK’s first large scale exhibition in Britain of the New York-based artist since his tragic death in 1988 of an accidental heroin overdose. It not only traces the origins as graffiti artist but his love of bebop jazz, particularly Charlie Parker, primitive African art, beat writer William Boroughs and Picasso. Review here.

Basquiat: Boom for Real


Upton House, nr Gaydon, Warks, open on weekends in January

room of paintings, heritage,

Many of the heritage estates are closed at the mo, but Upton House is pluckily resisting the trend, with the house open on weekends all through January. I’m a big fan of this place – the artworks are incredible (think Canaletto) and an inventive, child-friendly way of presenting exhibitions and the house itself. On the border near Warwickshire, dip over The Kitchen in nearby Farnborough for lunch afterwards, you’ll love it.


Frost/Nixon, The Priory Theatre, Kenilworth,  Mon Jan 29  – Sat Feb 3

In the TV age of 1977, image is king! British talk-show host David Frost has become a lowbrow laughing-stock. Richard M. Nixon has just resigned the United States presidency in total disgrace over Vietnam and the Watergate scandal. Determined to resurrect his career, Frost risks everything on a series of in-depth interviews in order to extract an apology from Nixon. The cagey Nixon, is equally bent on redeeming himself in his country’s eyes. Both men are desperate to out-talk and upstage each other as the cameras roll. The result is the interview that sealed a president’s legacy. Peter Morgan’s play – made into the 2008 Oscar nominated  film – makes it clear that the competitor who controls the camera reaps the spoils.



Burns Night Whisky Tasting, The Fat Pug Neighbourhood Pub & Kitchen, Leamington Spa, Fri Jan 25

Join Matt on Malt for an exclusive tasting of 5 single malt Scotch whisky’s, alongside a traditionally Scottish two-course dinner in their Private Dining Room above the pub

££: £30 all in – two-course dinner & 6 drams of Whisky! thefatpug


The Rose & Crown, Warwick, Thurs Jan 25

Rose & Crown Warwick / refurb

This characterful town centre celebrates all things Scottish, with traditional dishes and a blind whisky tasting session from the experts at Glenfiddich to start the night! Specials on the menu include Arbroath Haddock Smokey, Brown Bread & Butter; Veggie Haggis Scotch Egg, Drambuie & Dill Hollandaise; Macsween Haggis or (Veggie), Neaps & Tatties, Wholegrain Mustard Whisky Cream and Pan-roasted Balmoral Estate Venison, plus Raspberry & Whisky fool, Toasted Oats or Bramble Eton Mess.

Book a table and quote ‘Burns Night’


Burns Night Whisky Tasting, Slurp, 121 Regent Street, Leamington Spa, Fri Jan 25

A night traditionally celebrated with haggis, poetry, dancing and most importantly – whisky!  So join in the celebration, and try a variety of whiskies from different regions of Scotland.

££: £40. Book here.


Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, now until Sat 27 Jan & Birmingham Hippodrome Tue Feb 6-Sat Feb 10

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award. Book now for Birmingham Hippodrome (Tue 6 – Sat 10 Feb) here.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1, sadlerswells.combirminghamhippodrome


Amadeus, the National Theatre, London from Thurs Jan 11 – Tue April 24

Following a critically lauded sell-out run in 2016, Michael Longhurst’s production of Peter Shaffer’s play returns with the brilliant Lucian Msamati – who played Iago in the RSC’s 2015 production of Othello – as composer Antonio Salieri, who strikes a deal with God and is overtaken by a jealous vendetta against his musical rival, Mozart.

National Theatre, SE1,


Learn the Transcendental Meditation technique, Free introductory courses available in Stratford & Birmingham from Thurs Jan 11

Transcendental Meditation is having a moment. After the Sixties peace ’n’ love era it largely faded from view, but now everyone from Lena Dunham to film director David Lynch is into it. Jarvis Cocker even dedicated one of his BBC 6 Music Sunday Service’s to TM last month. More than 300 scientific studies show huge health benefits including reduced anxiety and depression. Learning TM involves a free introductory talk, then personal instruction by one of 79 fully accredited, qualified UK teachers, including media lecturer Huw Meads, wife Linda and artist Claire Winteringham, who run courses in Stratford-upon-Avon and Birmingham., Tel: 07775 409644


Ahir Shah: Control tour, Studio, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Spa,  Sat Jan 27

The 2017 Edinburgh comedy award nominee explores the current global socio-political turmoil in a show about freedom, fascism, history, hope, and resistance.


Mean Girls Brunch, The Mockingbird Cinema & Kitchen, Custard Factory, Birmingham, Sat Jan 27

Who doesn’t want free-flowing Prosecco or Bloody Mary’s? Enjoy a two courses brunch with unlimited booze included!!! Dining 11am – 1pm. The film starts just after 1pm.

£29.95 plus booking fee, book heremockingbirdcinema


The God of Carnage, Loft Theatre Company, Leamington Spa, Wed Jan 17 – Sat Jan 27

Photo credit: Richard Smith Photography

French playwright Yasmina Reza’s award-winning comedy deals with the aftermath of a playground spat between two 11-year-old boys. Christopher Hampton’s translation premiered in London in 2008 to great acclaim, winning both the Tony and Laurence Olivier Awards for best comedy the following year.

Book on loft-theatre or email, Tel: 01926 800360 (answerphone service).


Clare Woods: Reality Dimmed, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, Mon Jan 8 – Sat March 10

Clare Woods, Creeping Eruptions, 200 cm x 150 cm, Oil on Aluminium, 2017

Mead Gallery’s Spring exhibition will see renowned Hereford based painter, Clare Woods, exhibit a solo show of never seen before paintings in Reality Dimmed (Sat 6 Jan – Sat 10 Mar). Her work is held in many international collections and this major exhibition will see her exhibit her raw and powerful painting, which are frequently vast in scale.

Mead Gallery, free 


Comedian Stephen K Amos kicks off Warwick Arts Centre’s 2018 programme, Thurs Jan 18 

Stephen K Amos will be followed by comics John Kearns (Sun Jan 28) and Bill Bailey (Mon Jan 29 & Tue Jan 30) this month, while the classical music programme welcomes the Philharmonia Orchestra with a concert filled with Dvorak  (Wed Jan 31) and Mead Gallery’s Spring exhibition featuring British painter Clare Woods (see above).

Box Office: 024 7652 4524,


Burns Nights Tasting Menu, The Cross, Kenilworth, Thurs Jan 25

The menu at Warwickshire’s Michelin starred restaurant includes Cock-a-Leekie Soup; -Haggis, Neeps & Tatties; Roast Fillet of Beef Savoy cabbage, onion & mushroom tart, bone marrow & Heather Ale sauce and Whisky Baba Cranachan cream with raspberry.

££: £45 per person, for bookings Tel: l 01926 853 840 (Reservations office is open 9am-5pm, Mon-Fri), thecrosskenilworth


Coming Out: Sexuality, Gender and Identity, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, until April 15

More than 80 modern and contemporary artworks by internationally renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Sarah Lucas, Grayson Perry, David Hockney, Francis Bacon, Steve McQueen, Derek Jarman, Sunil Gupta, Chila Kumari Burman and Gillian Wearing exploring themes of gender, sexuality and identity in art.

birminghammuseums, free


Storytelling Corner, Slate Art Gallery, Oxford Street, Leamington Spa, Thurs Jan 25

Slate Art Gallery is currently showing a solo exhibition by Neil Moore called Sympathetic Magic until Thurs Feb 1

StoryTelling Corner presents Episode Three: How Did I Get Here?  It’s an evening with a difference; no loud music, no shouting and no fighting (unless it’s in the script). Celebrating women in literature, the first evening of 2018 is dedicated to an all-female cast of storytellers sharing their  ‘real life’ tales including Julie Goddard, Jo Howarth, Helena Whymnet-Lester and Stephanie Summersthat will take you on an adventurous, dramatic, mysterious and humorous journey. Tickets start at £6.


Beautiful, The Carole King Musical, Birmingham Hippodrome, Wed Jan 31 – Sat Feb 3

Beautiful tells the story of King’s remarkable rise to stardom, from being part of a hit songwriting team with her husband Gerry Goffin, to her relationship with fellow writers and best friends Cynthia Weil and Barry Mann. Along the way, she wrote the soundtrack to a generation, with countless hits such as You Make Me Feel Like a Natural Woman, You’ve Got a Friend and So Far Away.



Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, now – Feb 4

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden,
Cider Tasting & Supper with The Ciderologist, Talton Mill Supper Club, Mill Woodhouse, nr Stratford, Fri Jan 19

The countdown is on to the launch of Talton Mill’s new Supper Club in the Mill Woodhouse led by charismatic cider maker, international cider judge and global cider expert Gabe Cook to guide you through a tutored cider tasting and a short Wassail.  Supper will be home reared slow cooked Talton pork and apple casserole with baked potato and greens followed by cinnamon spiced pear cake and cream, coffee and chocolates.  Only a few tables left for their first event now so hurry and book if you are interested.

You can book tickets here or pop into the cafe to buy your tickets on a Friday or Saturday, Talton Mill, Newbold On Stour, Stratford Upon Avon, CV37 8UG.
North – Fashioning Identity, Somerset House, now – Feb 4 2018

Alice-Hawkins, LOVE magazine, ‘The Liver Birds’, 2012

Forget the north/south divide, London doffs its hat to Manchester, Newcastle et al in this new exhibition. Social documentary film and photography detailing life in the north of England in the mid-20th century sits alongside works by photographers, designers and artists inspired by the parts of our green and pleasant land beyond the Watford Gap. Contributors include Nottingham’s finest Paul Smith and Manchester’s Factory Records designer Peter Saville. If you visit after 15 Nov,  you can also take a twirl on Somerset House’s gorgeous outdoor ice rink.
Veganuary: new ‘Meet Feast’ menu, Comptoir V, London, until Jan 31

New London-based vegan restaurant, Comptoir V, has launched a ‘Meet Feast’ menu, available throughout January to celebrate Veganuary – a month-long campaign inspiring people to give veganism a try. This year is set to be the most successful Veganuary yet with over 100,000 people already officially signed up to the campaign, which launched on Jan 1. Comptoir V’s ‘No Meat Meet’ menu has been designed around the idea of vegan options for those who love meat. The four-course tasting menu will be available from jan 3, and includes unique treats such as Tempura ‘Shrimp’,  Barbecue Mushroom ‘Ribs’ with Vegan Mac and Cheese, and Oreo ‘Cheesecake’. All of the dishes have been inspired by traditional meat or dairy recipes to appeal to those toying with the idea of giving veganism a try and for long time vegans who want to try something new. On Jan 10, guests will also have the chance to hear from vegan head chef Michael Ninville.

Tel 0203 092 0047, 


The Vinyl Frontier 2018 Album Championships, Norden Farm, Sat 20 Jan

Stacks of vinyl records and the headphones

It’s the vinyl countdown: 8 contestants bring their fave LP to battle it out to be crowned 2018 Vinyl Frontier Album Champion. The audience chooses the winner of each round. Last year’s winner was American Idiot by Green Day. Come and have a go if you think you’re muso enough.


Winter, The Stratford Gallery, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Jan 31 2018

Kate Iles, Moth Bulb, 2017

This lovely little gallery celebrates its first birthday with a Christmas exhibition welcoming back new work from artists who have helped make their first year “so wonderful” and introducing several new artists.

The Stratford Gallery, 32 Sheep Street, Stratford-upon-Avon, WarwickshireCV37 6EE.


Crafts of the Punjab, The Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry, until Jan 21 2018

A rare opportunity to view these stunning works from the V&A’s South Asian Collection outside London. Discover the skilful art of Buddhist, Hindu and Jain sculpture, Amritsar’s delicately carved ivories, Hoshiarpur’s elaborate musical instruments and Sialkot’s gold-inlaid steel artefacts. One of the most extraordinary pieces on show will be the Golden Throne made by a Muslim craftsman in Lahore for Ranjit Singh, the first Sikh Maharaja of the Punjab.


Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, now – 11 Feb 2018

This started just last week, Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work.

Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – April  2 2018

The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne.

The RSC’s Rome MMXVII, The Barbican, London, until Jan 20

This winter the RSC transports London audiences to Shakespeare’s Rome with Angus Jackson’s thrilling London season of 4 of the playwrights most gripping plays – Coriolanus has ended its run but Julius Caesar, Antony & Cleopatra and Titus Andronicus are now showing.

More info and booking info here



Codebreaker and Groundbreakers, Fitzwilliam Museum, Cambridge, until Sun Feb 4

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game, the Oscar-winning film about the life of Alan Turing

A pioneering exhibition to feed your mind celebrating the genius of Second World War codebreakers like Alan Turing at Bletchley Park with Michael Ventris who in the same year deciphered Linear B, the ancient Greek language.  It includes an Enigma machine, a rare loan from GCHQ, and unique archival documents held at the University of Cambridge, as well as encouraging visitors to explore ‘codebreaking’ in all its forms.



Burns Night, Abington Park Museum, Northants, Fri Jan 26

Celebrates Burns Night in the atmospheric setting of Abington Park Museum. An evening of bagpipes, poetry and dancing, along with Scottish inspired canapes. Complimentary glass of fizz on arrival and refreshments are available from the bar. Tickets cost £30 per person and can be purchased online or by calling 01604 838110. So brush off your tartan!

Abington Park Museum, Park Ave South, Northampton NN1 5LW, Tel 01604 838110.


Imagining the Divine – Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, now to 18 Feb 2018

Could have had a catchier title truth be told! But anyhoo, this major exhibition is the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Blimey! Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed…


Paramore, The Genting Arena, Birmingham, Sun Jan 14
Paramore, in the same vein as Destiny’s Child and the Sugababes, would appear to have a revolving door of members. The  Grammy-award-winning Nashville band’s current line-up – Hayley Williams, Zac Farro and Taylor York – return to the UK this week in support of last year’s synthpop and new wave-inspired After Laughter album, Top 10 in both the US and the UK, and featuring their most upbeat single Hard Times. This tour takes in three massive arena shows, including the Genting Arena.
Cinderella, The Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, until Sat Jan 13 2018

Two tartan panto dames for the price of one: seasoned panto actor Greg Powrie, left, joins actor, writer and director Iain Lauchlan, right

‘Loch’ up your men – Cinderella’s raucous Scottish step-sisters Dyspepsia and Listeria, played by the brilliant panto legends Iain Lauchlan and Greg Powrie are looking for no strings attached festive fling in the Belgrade’s annual fun-filled festive shindig! Craig Hollingsworth returns for his 6th Belgrade panto, and Alice Rose Fletcher will be putting on her glass slippers as Cinderella.


Set Your Career Compass Workshop, Heart of England Language School, Leamington Spa, Warks, Sat Jan 13 

Do you have a teen who’s struggling to know what to do in the future? Warwickshire and West Midlands based Teen Direct has a few places left on this course, ideal for 15 – 17-year-olds wishing to develop and clarify their ideas of potential careers. Delivered by experienced, professional coaches, it gives teens the opportunity to discover where they could fit into the “World of Work” based on their own strengths, personality and interests. They will be asked to complete a questionnaire beforehand to identify certain characteristics and during the workshops, develop the skills and confidence to act on their chosen career action plan as well as creating a professional CV and learning dynamite Interview Skills, 9.30am – 3.30pm. £150.

email: or Tel 07901 517012, teendirect

Dick Whittington, London Palladium, until Fri Jan 12

Filed under ‘go big or go home’, we have London Palladium’s offering, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. Oh yeah! And you thought Su Pollard was camp. Fans of ’80s cheesiness will be thrilled to hear that Gary Wilmot co-stars alongside Nigel ‘The Charmer’ Havers.

London Palladium, Argyll St, London,

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, The Goose Nest, Warwick Arts Centre, until Sun Jan 7 2018

An intrepid family and their musical dog will take you on an incredible quest through the swishy swashy grass, the splishy splashy river and the thick oozy, squelchy mud filled with catchy songs and interactive scenes. The stage adaptation of Michael Rosen’s award-winning book is brought vividly and noisily to the stage by Sally Cookson and accompanied by Benji Bower’s versatile lively score. For ages 3+


Celebrate Twelfth Night with a special RSC-led Wassail and procession, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sat Jan 6

The RSC’s winter production of Twelfth Night on now at the RSC. Photo-by-Manuel-Harlan-_c_

Coinciding with the RSC’s Twelfth Nightfamilies are invited to a lovely celebration of the actual Twelfth Night with choirs from across the Midlands who will sing traditional wassailing songs and carols followed by a winter procession and special ceilidh, 2pm – 4pm. This free event will include 4 specially commissioned arrangements from ex-Bellowhead member and choral arranger Paul Sarti. Wassailing is an English tradition taking place on the Twelfth Night of Christmas. The procession is followed by a festive ceilidh, similar to a barn dance where a caller explains the moves, at The Other Place with music provided by English folk band Faustus. Hot dogs, mulled cider and non-alcoholic festive punch will also be on offer as part of the ticket price, £12. The event runs from 6.30pm to 9.30pm.

War Horse, New Theatre Oxford, until Sat 6 Jan 2018

Soooo excited that the outstanding National Theatre production of War Horse is coming to Oxford New Theatre this month. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and featuring those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses, it’s nearly sold out, so please don’t leave it too late to book.

New Theatre, George Street, Oxford,

Christmas at Windsor, Windsor Castle, until Fri Jan 5
25ft lit christmas tree in the gothic surroundings of St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle

Visit the post where Harry and Meghan will say ‘I do’ – currently all decked out for Crimbo. To commemorate the 20th anniversary of the Windsor Castle restoration following the fire of Nov 1992, the State Apartments will be dressed with gold decs inspired by the intricate gilding work that was undertaken to restore the Castle’s interiors to their former glory.

The HRCR (Historic Rally Car Register) Open Day, British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warwickshire,  Sat Jan 13 2018

As ‘the Home of Historic Rallying’, the HRCR Open Day is a social gathering where the rally community comes together to view a selection of rally cars from the 1950s – 1980s and talk to organisers of events that take place across the country making up the 6 HRCR championships. The theme for the 2018 HRCR Open Day will be the MG Metro 6R4 with models on display, including the Museums own car.  Developed for Austin Rover by Williams Grand Prix Engineering, it is one of the most spectacular MG cars ever produced.  Entry to the HRCR Open Day is free and attendees can visit the Museum  for the discounted rate of £9 per person, 10am – 3pm.

britishmotormuseum or

The Hundred and One Dalmatians, Birmingham Rep, until Sat Jan 18

Gloria-Onitiri-as-Cruella-De-Vil. Photo credit: Graeme-Braidwood

Your last chance to catch West End performer Gloria Onitiri as Cruella de Vil with delightful tail-wagging puppets in this enjoyable Dodie Smith stage adaptation by writer and director of the Nativity films, Debbie Isitt from Coventry. Running time: 90 mins. For ages 5+, Tel: 0121 236 4455.

Burns Night, The Fuzzy Duck, Armscote, nr Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs Jan 25

Pic credit: Anthony Cullen

Head Chef Ben at his stylish revamped village pub has created a specials menu filled with traditional Scottish flavours but with a Fuzzy Duck twist and sample a selection of Scottish whisky’s.

Book your table on Tel: (0)1608 681 030 / (0)1608 682 635, fuzzyduckarmscote

Find more ideas here

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