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What’s on this week


FAMILY: Kneehigh’s Fup: A Modern Fable, Tues Oct 2 – Sat Oct 6

This is a big-hearted, uproarious modern fable about family, love and nature set in a weird and wild Cornwall not so different from the one you know told in 2hrs 10mins. Featuring live, foot-stomping music, quacking puppetry and Kneehigh’s infamous eccentricity and charm for ages 10+.


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 re-imagined 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 here.


Anna Calvi, Town Hall, Birmingham, Thurs Oct 4

The BRIT award and double Mercury Music Prize-nominated Twickenham-born singer has the most amazing voice. Hunter, her third album came out on August 312018 via Domino.


NEW AFROBEATS MUSICAL:  Olivia Tweest, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 4 – Sat Oct 6

Latisha Antoine playing the roles of Testimony and Joanna

The UK’s first ever Afrobeats musical  returns to the stage after sell-out runs in London in 2013-14 starring award-winning actor, comedian and media personality Eddie Kadi, Let It Shine star Clinton Elvis plus Latisha Antoine, who has performed with Leona Lewis at the Royal Albert Hall and as part of BBC Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend Festival. Created, produced and directed by radio presenter and producer Yinka Ayinde (aka PureYinkz), Oliva Tweest tells the story of London hustler, club promoter and gyalis (ladies’ man) Tobi as he attempts to stage the ultimate concert in the hopes of attracting his hero, D’Banj.

Tel: 024 7655 3055,

Birmingham Literature Festival, Oct Thurs 4 – 10

This culturally-rich 10-day festival returns to the city this autumn with an exciting line up of novelists, poets, food writers, cartoonists, journalists, philosophers and performers, including Nigel Slater, Caitlin Moran (sold out) and beauty journalist Sali Hughes. The festival kicks off on National Poetry Day on Thursday with local poets Liz Berry, Roy McFarlane and Jane Commane. Also this week there’s Unwritten: Caribbean Poems After the First World War, How to be an Urban Birder with David Lindo, Radio 4’s Any Questions? live  and Pretty Iconic with Sali Hughes and Lauren Laverne, plus short story writing with Irenosen Okojie, one-to-one fiction surgeries as well as talks with short fiction writers include Warwick University lecturer and author Sarah Moss. It’s positively action-packed!

See everything going on here

THEATRE: We’ll Live and Die in these Cities, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Sat Oct 29 – Oct 20

l-r Geoff Thompson, The Enemy’s former frontman Tom Clarke and Hamish Glen. Photo by Joe Bailey

A new home-produced musical about a young musician inspired and sound-tracked by the 2007  debut album of Coventry indie band, The Enemy – with lead singer Tom Clarke acting as musical director. Written by acclaimed local playwright Geoff Thompson (Fragile, 2012), directed by Artistic Director Hamish Glen and designed by Patrick ConnellanWe’ll Live and Die in These Towns forms part of a series of productions bearing witness to local stories as Coventry moves towards its year as City of Culture in 2021.

GOLFING FOR THE GIRLS: Inspired by Ryder Cup? Challenge yourself to The Brabazon course, 4-time Ryder Cup host, The Belfry Resort, Wishaw, nr Sutton Coldfield

If you’re feeling inspired by Team Europe’s win at the 2018 Ryder Cup and want to play like Garcia or Molinari ever fancied personalised 1-2-1 tuition with a PGA professional on The Brabazon – literally your doorstep. Or if you’re already pretty good a golfing break? Check out golfing breaks here.

Improve your game and book a tee time here.

THEATRE: Maydays, Mischief Festival October, Studio Theatre@The Other Place, Stratford,  Thurs Sept 27 – Oct 20

Older man in glasses, plaid shirt and jacket sitting at a table

David Edgar in rehearsal for A Christmas Carol, 2017, Photo by Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

A new version of David Edgar’s 1983 award-winning hit play, Maydays, directed by Owen Horsley and three performances of his one-person show Trying It On in which the 70-year-old actor/playwright confronts his 20-year-old self.


Jason Manford: Muddle Class, Butterworth Hall , Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Thu Oct 4 

Delivered with Jason’s amiable charm and captivating wit, Muddle Class promises to feature a wealth of new material about Jason growing up ‘working class’ then finding, over the years, that part of him has become ‘middle class’ – causing much confusion! Age 13+


TALK: Jason Donovan & his Amazing Midlife Crisis, The Albany Theatre, Coventry, Thurs Oct 4

Especially for you, Jason Donovan is loitering with intent in our ‘hood. Celebrating his 50th birthday, the Australian cheesemeister we all secretly love is sharing a whole load of funny and insightful stories from his career spanning Neighbours, Joseph, I’m a Celebrity and Strictly , all interspersed with some musical faves. We’re told a certain Ms Minogue will get a mention or two as well. Can’t wait!

Tickets £27, Suitable for ages 12+, Tel: Albany Theatre Box Office: 02476 99 89 64 (open 10.30 – 13.30 Monday to Saturday),

THEATRE: The Fear of Fear, Warwick Arts Centre, University of Warwick campus, Coventry, Wed Oct 3 & Thurs Oct 4

Stephanie Ridings’ The Fear of Fear wrestles with the question of what makes us afraid and why it isn’t always a bad thing. Running time: 1hr for ages 12+.


MUSIC: Graham Parker & The Goldtops, The Assembly, Leamington Spa, Thurs Oct 4

UK singer-songwriter Graham Parker’s career was reinvigorated when acclaimed US film producer and director Judd Apatow cast him in hit film, This Is 40. The first song from new album, Dreamin’ is featured in Netflix series, Love Again also directed by Apatow.


Anna Meredith & the Southbank Sinfonia orchestra present Varmints, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Fri Oct 5

Anna Meredith presents her award-winning debut album with her band and the Southbank Sinfonia Orchestra. Described as “one of the most innovative voices in British music”, Anna Meredith is a genre-crossing composer and producer. Her work encompasses the worlds of contemporary classical, art pop, electronica and experimental rock. Anna’s work has seen her create soundtracks for Prada fashion campaigns, compose music for an MRI scanner, write symphonies for nursery children and melodies for sleep-pods in Singapore.


COMEDY: Birmingham Comedy Festival, venues across the city, Fri Oct 5 – 14

One of the longest running comedy festival’s in the UK, this award-winning annual event features stand-up, theatre, improv’, music, and loads more, across the UK’s Second City. Highlights include Joanna Lumley at Symphony Hall, Rich Hall, James Acaster and the The Infinite Monkey Cage’s Robin Ince. It opens with the EG Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award,  (The Glee Club), which recognises the very best new talent from the region.

L-R: EG Birmingham Comedy Festival Breaking Talent Award 2018 shortlist (Adam Beardsmore – Phil Carr, Good Kids, Laura Monmoth and Sham Zaman.

There’s also two free half-dayers!


Waterloo – The Best of Abba, The Albany Coventry, Fri Oct 5

A two-hour performance celebrating all the favourite songs from Sweden’s biggest musical export – bar First-Aid Kit! Expect a live band, stunning costumes, choreography and captivating harmonies by this Abba tribute.


Dylan Moran’s Dr Cosmos, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Sat Oct 6 

BAFTA and Perrier award winning comedian Dylan Moran embarks on his brand new tour, where he offers his unique take on love, politics, misery and the everyday absurdities of life, all served with poetical panache from one of the finest comedians of his generation. Age 15+


Rebus: Long Shadows, Birmingham Rep, Thurs Sept 20 – Oct 6

International best-selling author Ian Rankin

The latest story in Ian Rankin’s legendary detective series, will be told exclusively on stage.  The author has been working with award-winning playwright Rona Munro to bring iconic detective John Rebus to the stage for the very first time in a tense, gripping and thoughtful story set on the streets of Edinburgh starring Charles Lawson alongside John Stahl as Big Ger Cafferty, Cathy Tyson as DI Siobhan Clarke, Dani Heron as Angela, Eleanor House as Heather/Maggie and Neil McKinven as Mordaunt. After Birmingham it will tour Edinburgh, Malvern, Nottingham, Manchester, Northampton, Aberdeen and ending in Guildford on 24 November.


THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until  Dec 1

An actor in gold armour playing a warrior

Jude Owusu as the king of Persia, Tamburlaine Photo by Ellie Kurttz (c) RSC

Watch Jude Owusu’s chillingly charismatic portrait of Christopher Marlowe’s violent 14th century warlord, who started life as a shepherd, before conquering Asia. Directed by former RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd, who stepped down in 2012. A big critical hit.


Leamington Comedy Festival, Royal Spa Centre, Sun Oct 7 – 13

Henning Wehn

Madcap Izbekistan magician Seska showcases a family performance at Temperance Bar in Bath Street at 2pm on Sunday, prior to German stand-up Henning Wehn’s Get On with It, who kicks off the main festival entertainment at 7.30pm. The line-up over the next seven days includes Hal Cruttenden (Oct 10, Gary Delaney (Oct 11), Juliette Burton, (Oct 12) Sarah Johnson (Oct 12) and finale headliner Reginald D Hunter (Oct 13). With extra fun stuff at Procaffeinate’s Apehangers Comedy Club (Oct 11) and The Royal Pug (Oct 8, 9 & 12). Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children and the Comedy Club 4 Kids is on Sat Oct 13.

Check out the full Comedy Festival Line Up here: leamingtoncomedy

COMEDY **SOLD OUT RETURNS ONLY**: Sara Pascoe’s LadsLadsLads, Warwick Arts Centre, Sun Oct 7

Always honest, always regretting it later, Sara opens her heart and mouth again to share the adventures of the last year. Full of jokes, hope and white wine, LadsLadsLads is the thinking person’s stag do. Age 15+.


STUDIO THEATRE: The Pity of War Season, Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Sun Oct 7 – 20

Ensemble cast performing in The Loft’s First World War reflection, Anthem for Doomed Youth. Photo by Richard Smith Photography

Marking the Centenary of the end of WW1, the Loft is presenting two very different productions in rep in The Studio over two weeks: Anthem For Doomed Youth based on poems by Wilfred Owen and other writing from the period and The Silence, a new play by The Loft’s David Fletcher, based on the experiences of soldier who returns the Falklands to a military hospital in the UK


ARTJourneys with The Waste Land, The Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry, Opens: Sept 15 – Sun Nov 18

John Stezaker Mask CCV, 2016 © John Stezaker. Courtesy The Approach, London. Photo: FXP photography.

This exhibition explores the contemporary significance of TS Eliot’s seminal poem written in 1921 in the aftermath of the First World War and the way it has resonated with artists over the years. An extension of the exhibition continues in Coventry Cathedral with John Newling’s ‘Eliot’s Notebooks and Eliot’s soil’.


CLASSICAL: Russian State Symphony Orchestra, Butterworth Hall, Warwick Arts Centre, Coventry, Fri Oct 5

Photo by Mark Harrison

The Russian State Symphony Orchestra is from Moscow so, with rising star Valentin Uryupin conducting, expect a roof-raising concert that begins with Khachaturian’s droll, deliciously tuneful Masquerade Suite, and features a giant amongst British pianists, the great Barry Douglas, as soloist in Rachmaninov’s bejewelled Fabergé egg of a First Piano Concerto. Shostakovich’s Fifth Symphony is music that demands to be heard: angry, heartfelt, and utterly compelling. Pre-concert Talk: Helen Martin Studio 6.15pm £2.50




CULTURE: Henley Literary Festival, various locations in Henley, now until Sun 7 Oct

We’re really excited to be part of this year’s festival as there is so much uber literary-ness going on but before we tell you about the Muddy Literary Salon, we should also mention a few other highlights, although in all honesty there are too many to mention. But here we go – Kate Humble talks about her new book Thinking On My Feet, Cathy Newman on Bloody Brilliant Women, Bryony Gordon on Eat, Drink, Run (following in the same venue after our salon so you can make a night of it), Kate Mosse on The Burning Chambers, Lucy Mangan on Bookworm and Rebecca Front on Impossible Things Before Bedtime. Plus, we’ve snaffled a stellar panel of three dazzling writers for our salon – Viv Groskop, award-winning comedian and author of The Anna Karenina Fix: Life Lessons From Russian Literature, Farrah StorrCosmopolitan editor and author of The Discomfort Zone: How To Get What You Want By Living Fearlessly and Caroline O’ Donoghue, writer for The Pool whose Promising Young Women is one of the most acclaimed debut novels of 2018. The festival is now one of the biggest in the UK and well worth a visit to this chichi riverside town.

ART: Turner Prize Exhibition, Tate Britain, London, now until January 6

Works by the four shortlisted artists the 34th Turner Prize are now on show for another year of discussion and debate. They are Luke Willis Thompson, Charlotte Prodger, Naeem Mohaiemen and a collective of filmmakers called Forensic Architecture, founded by architect Eyal Weizman, a professor at Goldsmiths, University of London. For the first time each artist is showcasing film works.

ART: Frieze Art Fair, Regents Park, London, Fri  Oct 5 – Sun Oct 7

Considered the world leading platform for contemporary and modern art, the Frieze Art Fair unites 160 of the world’s leading galleries. You can view and / or buy art from over 1000 contemporary artists, some emerging talent, others more established. Daily events include talks and performances plus there’s Frieze Sculpture and Frieze Masters (showcasing work from the ancient era and Old Masters) in Regent’s Park. If all this culture makes you hungry, there are loads of delish food pop-ups whilst you contemplate the art and what it’s all trying to say.

THEATRE: The Wider Earth, The Natural History Museum, Tues Oct 2 – Sun 30 Dec

Exciting news – there’s a theatre being opened in the Jerwood Gallery at the Natural History Museum for the European premiere of award-winning drama The Wider Earth, a play about the young Charles Darwin. Puppets, an original score and cinematic animations make this theatrical event a great draw for kids plus they’ll learn a helluva lot in the process.

BOOK NOW! Modern Couples, Art, Intimacy and the Avant-Garde, The Barbican, opens Wed Oct 10

In this hotly anticipated exhibition explores the life and creativity of modern art artist couples who forged new ways of making art and of living and loving, from Frida Kahlo & Diego Rivera to Barbara Hepworth & Ben Nicholson, Lee Miller Man Ray to Salvador Dalí & Federico García Lorca…Alongside a “personal, fun and inquisitive” free installation in The Curve by Francis Upritchard, who’ll be talking about her work (see below) on Thurs Nov 8.

Credit: Francis Upritchard: Wetwang Slack, Installation View, The Curve, Barbican Centre, see until 6 Jan 2019. Photograph by Angus Mill.


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