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This weekend


FILM: Stan & Ollie, released in cinemas on Fri Jan 11

Do you remember the days when you’d come home from school and Laurel and Hardy would be on TV? Steve Coogan has this week been nominated for a Best Actor award at the BAFTAs for his turn as as iconic comedian in Laurel and Hardy biopic Stan & Ollie with John C Reilly in what has been described as “a wonderfully funny tribute” to the slapstick duo.


MUSIC – Fontaines DC, Coventry Central Library, Sat Jan 12

Photo by Molly Keane

If you like fast and furious garage indie punk rock this noisy Dublin band of ‘musical agitators’ will be just up your street. Their gigs are quickly selling out across Ireland and the UK due to the word-of-mouth fervour attached to their live shows. Their new single Too Real is phenomenal! You can totally hear vocalist Grian Chatten’s thick Irish accent barking out ‘tales of disillusionment and mental dissolution’ (NME).


THEATRE: Timon of Athens, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 22 2019


Simon Godwin directs the acclaimed Kathryn Hunter (above) as Timon in Shakespeare’s sharp satire on wealth, greed and betrayal.  Poignant, funny and bitter, it tells the story of how the world moves from privilege to poverty with heart-breaking speed. Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo star in Godwin’s sumptuous award-winning production of Antony & Cleopatra (above) at The National in London, ending Sat Jan 19 2019. rsc


NEW ROOFTOP BAR & RESTAURANT: Sky By The Water, Rooftop bar and Restaurant, Resorts World, now open

January sees the opening of Resort World’s latest multi–million pound venture despite the sudden departure of Michelin-starred chef Andy Waters. The new restaurant menu has been created by Birmingham-born Head Chef Aaron Darnle, who started his culinary career at just 15 alongside Michelin-starred Brad Carter. Spectacular desserts along with a new Afternoon Tea experience come from a pastry team headed by Darryl Collins, finalist on last year’s Channel 4’s Bake Off: The Professionals. Darryl, a self-taught Patissier, has worked at some renowned venues across the country, such as Headland Hotel in Newquay, The Lygon Arms in The Cotswolds and The Welcombe Hotel in Stratford-upon-Avon. There’s also a new cocktail menu curated by the team from the former Sky Bar and a cosy Secret Garden area, featuring chic, private covered outdoor pods. Enjoy a new social dining and drinking experience with stunning views, near the NEC.



FILM: NT Live – Antony & Cleopatra (Encore Screening), Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Jan 13

Broadcast live from the National Theatre, Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo play Shakespeare’s famous fated couple in his great tragedy of politics, passion and power. Director Simon Godwin’s Timon of Athens is currently showing in Stratford at the RSC’s Swan Theatre. warwickartscentre


THEATREA Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford, until Jan 20

Photo by Manuel-Harlan

Bah, humbug! With a new cast for 2018 including Aden Gillett replacing Phil Davis as Scrooge and all the magic and cosiness of last year’s smash new adaptation by David Edgar, this ‘magnificent & wonderful’ (Daily Telegraph) show focuses’ not just on the text but on the writer’s early life and his abhorrence of child labour. My favourite Christmas show of 2018 – it combines vitality, slick choreography and touching humanity. As Mark Kermode illustrated in his Christmas Cinema Secretsmodern Christmas films owe so much to Dickens’ storytelling. Review herersc


FILM: The Favourite, from Tues Jan 1

Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star in this love-triangle / power battle that looks wonderfully bitchy. Olivia Coleman is Queen Anne, dominated by her scheming courtier Rachel Weisz. When Emma Stone appears at court she is determined to win the Queen’s favour. What ensues is a jaw-dropping power struggle, played out against the backdrop of England during the Restoration. Colman’s Anne has just won Best Actress award in the 2019 Golden Globes.


THEATRE: Commonism, Birmingham Rep, Tues Jan 8 – Fri Jan 11

Bothered by Brexit? Award-winning theatre makers Andy Smith from the North of England and Amund Sjølie Sveen, from the North of Norway go in search of some common ground in this UK premiere. / 0121 236 4455.


ART: Haroon Mirza: Reality is somehow what we expect it to be, Ikon, Birmingham, until Feb 24 2019


UK artist Haroon Mirza recently displayed two new artworks at Frieze London in response to French Fashion house, Louis VuittonImitation, featuring Louis Vuitton bags and wallets, are installations created by the artist, “in response to window displays in various cities by the French fashion house that Mirza says are ‘blatant appropriations’ of his solar-powered sculptures,”. The artists’ new show is the most comprehensive exhibition of his work in the UK to date. The Ikon’s exhibition space will be filled entirely with moving imagery, sculptural installation and electronic sound.


THEATRE: Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford, until Feb 23

Asif Khan as Tartuffe and Sasha Behar as Amira. Production photos by Topher McGrillis (c) RSC

BAFTA and Emmy-Award winning TV writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto – creators of The Kumars at No. 42, Goodness Gracious Me, Citizen Khan and The Office – have reimagined Moliere’s great French comedy in modern-day Birmingham. The result is a sharp, vigorously funny and topical comedy set within the home of a well-to-do Brummie Pakistani family. It cleverly blends themes of religious hypocrisy, #metoo “victim shaming”, Brexit jokes and music styles including a freestyle beatbox rap battle. Review herersc


HERITAGE: Shakespeare Birthplace Trusts’ The Secrets of Conservation, Shakespeare’s 5 family homes, throughout Jan


The charity is lifting the lid on some of the conservation work that takes place at the 5 historic Shakespeare Family Homes in Stratford-upon-Avon and in its internationally recognised library, archive and museum collection. Special events will take throughout January, including an exhibition of never-before-seen photographs taken during the £6m redevelopment of Shakespeare’s New Place, a talk on how the archaeological finds dating back to the Shakespeare’s time are being conserved and the rare chance to see some of the normally hidden discoveries at Anne Hathaway’s Cottage. Experts from the Trust will also be sharing their hints and tips on how to care for household antiques.

A full programme of events is listed here: shakespeare


VEGANUARY: Turtle Bay, Leamington Spa, Solihull & Birmingham

Hurray! This quality Caribbean chain has this month launched a new three-course plant-based Vegan Lunch deal for £15 and updated its vegan and veggie offering including its first vegan burger, the Kernel Burger – as sweetcorn patties are given a Caribbean twist with vibrant flavours and spices, roasted red peppers and sweet onion chutney. Other specialities include: Crispy Chickpeas, Caribbean Hummus, Smashed Avo, Chilli Pineapple Salad, Sunshine Quinoa, Supergreen Salad, Sweet Potato Fries, Spiced Fries, Coconut Rice‘n’Peas, Steamed Rice, Green Herby Rice, Lemony Rice, Bara Roti, Sweet Plantain and Creamy Coconut Callaloo. 


WELLBEING: Drift Away Spa Day, The Belfry, Wishaw near Sutton Coldfield, book before Jan 14

Start the year as you mean to go on with a reduced ultimate spa day in the January sale.  Your treatment will include a shoulders, neck and scalp massage followed by Afternoon Tea. Was £109, now £89. Available until 28th February 2019. Subject to availability. Book by Jan 14, thebelfry



AFTER-DARK PARTY: The Winter Revel, Royal Shakespeare Theatre Foyers, Sat Jan 26

Fancy revelling in some live dancing, feasting and creativity at the RSC’s late night winter party with live music? Feast your senses with circus acts and pop-up performances. Indulge in cocktails and international street food. Climb to the tower-top silent disco and dance like nobody’s watching. Form new communities and be part of creating an internationally renowned exhibition, Home Sweet Home for public display, 7.30pm – 11pm. Tickets £18 including food, rsc

The 1975, Arena Birmingham, Wed Jan 23

This is a band who like long album titles! Their second album  I like it when you sleep, for you are so beautiful yet so unaware of it was a huge hit topping charts in the UK and the US with critics hailing them as this generation’s Radiohead. Their new album A Brief Inquiry Into Online Relationships is slightly shorter. arenabham


BINGO: Bongo’s Bingo, The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Fri Feb 8

The new wave alternative bingo night that’s the latest craze combines the fun of Legs Eleven and Two Fat Ladies with intermittent dancing on tables, awkward dance-offs, rave intervals and pub quiz-style challenges. Bongo’s Bingo are back at The Assembly, Leamington Spa in 2019 and their first of 3 shows on Sat Jan 12 was a sell-out!



BALLET: Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Birmingham Hippodrome, Feb 5 – 15 2019


Matthew Bourne’s menacing, witty and unique production of Swan Lakehas won tons of awards and rightly so. It’s best known for the all male corps-de-ballet – unheard of in the ballet world before – but it’s an all-round winner even if you’re not a ballet fan. birminghamhippodrome


THEATRE: All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre, London, Sat Feb 2 – Sat May 11

Not the recent fabulous tv series but a play based on the award-winning 1950s film starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a Broadway star, and her young fan, Eve Harrington, who inveigles her way into her life. With Gillian Anderson and Lilly James in the starring roles, director Ivo van Hove at the helm, and with the themes of celebrity and youth at its core, this looks like a dead cert for success.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves, the National Theatre, London, Wed Jan 16 – Sat Mar 2

Cate Blanchett makes her debut at The National alongside Stephen Dilane in this new play by Martin Crimp, based on Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. It explores desire, sexual violence and the complicated roles men and women play – blimey!. There’s also a series of talks with members of the production and the playwright throughout the play’s run though Cate isn’t on the menu I’m afraid.


ART: Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory, Tate Modern, Jan 23 – May 6

Pierre Bonnard Le Jardin 1936 Musée d’Art moderne de la Ville de Paris (Paris, France).

Rediscover this French post-impressionist master of colour and composition in this first major exhibition of Bonnard​‘s work since a much-loved show at Tate 20 years ago. The exhibition concentrates on Bonnard’s work from 1912, when colour became a dominant concern, until his death in 1947. Interesting tie-in events include Yin Yoga, brunch and Bonnard (Jan 26, Feb 2 & Feb 9)


EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, Sat 2 Feb

Christian Dior by Maria Grazia Chiuri (b. 1964), Éventail de vos hasards, Dress, Haute Couture, Spring/Summer 2018. Dior Héritage collection, Paris

This is going to be maaassive! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and there will be a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight will be the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.




TALK: An Evening with Alice Roberts, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Fri Jan 11

Prof Alice Roberts, TV anthropologist and author, will be Digging into Britain’s Past with her touring show that shares her insights, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from her career. They’ll be footage from her many shows (Time Team, Coast, Digging for Britain, Britain’s Most Historic Towns) and excerpts from her books, finishing with a 20 min Q&A.


WALK: Sobell House Winter Walk, Blenheim Palace, Sun 13 Jan

A six mile walking event organised by Sobell House (hospice charity) around the beautiful grounds at Blenheim. Tickets include entrance to the grounds and a hot drink. Suitable for all ages and abilities, dogs and pushchairs.


FAMILY DAY OUT: Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, Watford, now until Sun 27 Jan

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.


THEATRE: A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic, London, until Sat Jan 19

The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music, mince pies and much merriment for a fab festive night out.

Find more ideas here

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