What’s On This Weekend
FRI SEPT 14 - SUN SEPT 16
Arctic Monkeys, Arena Birmingham, Sat Sept 15 – Sun Sept 16
The Sheffield indie four-piece test out the tunes from their lounge music style new album Tranquillity Base Hotel & Casino with The Lemon Twigs supporting. Saturday is sold out but there are tickets remaining for Sunday’s gig.
Tartuffe, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, in rep Fri Sept 7–February 23 2019
A new version of Molière’s provocative French classic comedy created by BAFTA and Emmy Award-winning writers Anil Gupta and Richard Pinto (The Office, Goodness Gracious Me, The Kumars at No.42, Boomers) is set in a modern Birmingham Pakistani Muslim community. Directed by Iqbal Khan it tells the story of charismatic chameleon, Tahir Taufiq Arsuf, a Rasputin for the 21st Century armed with a Twitter handle and the gift of the gab, played by actor Asif Khan.
To book tickets Tel: 01789 403493, rsc
Save Our School Dinners…Jamie! B2 Stage, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 12 – Sat Sept 15
A slice of fresh, home-cooked comedy drama by Coventry writer Paven Virk, whose playwriting career began early when she founded the Second Generation Theatre Company aged just 15. Since then she’s gone on to have work shown at Hampstead Theatre, the National Theatre, Tricycle Theatre and the Old Rep. She’s recently relocated back to Coventry since becoming a mum. This is a fun, feelgood multi-cultural story following a group of multi-cultural dinner ladies who are inspired by celebrity chef and champion of quality school meals Jamie Oliver to save their small community school. But is it a recipe for success?
Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade
Coffee Festival, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat Sept 15 & Sun Sept 16
Yes please! FarGo’s first festival dedicated to lovers of the black stuff with Java Lounge, established by Birmingham-born Yemeni, Akram Almulad, who has four coffee houses in Colmore Row, Birmingham, Moseley, Solihull and Coventry’s Middlemarch Business Park, plus FarGo’s own Backhaus & Co. 12noon – 6pm. £1 entry.
THEATRE: Christopher Marlowe’s Tamburlaine, Swan Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Dec 1
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.
Heritage Open Days: Warwickshire & Coventry, Sept 6-9 and Sept 13-16
See here where you can visit over the two consecutive weekends. Sneak a peak inside sites including National Trust’s Upton House and Packwood House, the world’s oldest real tennis club in Leamington Sp and, award-winning Landmark Trust conversion, Astley Castle, in Nuneaton – all for free! And in Coventry you can check out the venues open across the city here including ‘Medieval Coventry’s Women of Influence – Queen Isabella and Queen Margaret of Anjou’ at Drapers Hall – a joint project with the University of Oxford featuring a series of exhibition panels of the very latest research on two women who made such a significant impact on 14th and 15th century Coventry.
Pop-up Cosy Chic Pet Boutique, Bell Court, Stratford, until Oct 28
Former London fashion student Courtney Gilbert, aged 26, who lives near Meriden, has swapped men and women’s clothes design for creating stylish handmade artisan and shabby chic pet beds which can be customised. We dropped into her new pop-up this week in the heart of Stratford, now open for 6 weeks and not only does she stock her painted pet furniture including a luxury pet four-poster but cool collars, ‘Paw’-drobes, funky kennels, and the latest trends in dog clothing They went down a treat at Crufts!
FAMILY FUN: Gravity, Xscape, Milton Keynes, opens Sat 15 Sep
Apparently NASA believes trampolining to be the most effective and efficient means of exercise so as long as my pelvic floor holds, I’ll be heading to the Gravity trampoline park opening at Xscape MK on Sat 15 Sep. Kids love it and it’s a sure fire hit for parties, plus there’s a range of exercise classes for adults, baby and toddler sessions, dedicated disability sessions, a climbing wall, dodgeball court and slam dunk areas to choose from.
TOP FILM CHOICE: BlacKkKlansman, out in cinemas now
Spike Lee returns with this humorous, nostalgic 70s period piece based on the memoir of black police officer Ron Stallworth’s memoir about his experiences infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan – and a damning portrait of the USA under Trump.
ART: Conscious Perception by Susan Laughton & Richard Miller, The Stratford Gallery, Sat Sept 8 – Oct 4
An exhibition of new work by two award-winning artists. Architectural technician turned painter Susan Laughton and accomplished potter Richard Miller, the on-screen technician in BBC’s Great Pottery Throw Down.
Heritage Open Day: Free guided tours, Royal Pump Rooms, Leamington Spa, Thurs Sep 13 – Sun Sept 16
Go backstage on a 1hr tour of the Royal Pump Rooms celebrating the historic buildings heritage, community and history at 10.30am, 11.45am, 1pm & 2.15pm. Places are limited tel 01926 334418.
THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, until Sept 22 (in cinemas Wed Sept 12)
Fiona Laird has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch and Daniel Craig to Dame Judi Dench and Adrian Lester (lucky lady!). She not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled production, which has a TOWIE feel to it! A glamorous suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over inflated egos starring a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison, Charlotte Josephine and RSC Associate Artist David Troughton. (In cinemas Sept 12).
Falconry Photography Workshop – Owls, Squirrel at Wellsborough, Sat Sept 15
Resident wildlife photographer Mark Green and falconry experts Hawkwise will guide and assist photographers to capture their very own images of three native British owls.The workshop will take place in the grounds of this converted grade II listed rural cottage, £47.50 per person. For more details see here: facebook
The Marvellous Mechanical Museum & Rodney Peppé’s World of Invention, Compton Verney Art Gallery & Park, ends Sun Sept 30
THEATRE: Macbeth, RST, Stratford, until September 18 (LAST WEEK!)
Romeo and Juliet, RST, Stratford, until Sept 21
Check out the RSC’s youthful, gender-fluid revival with Coventry’s Bally Gill and Glaswegian actress Karen Fishwick as the doomed teen lovers. Erica Whyman examines Generation Z, grime culture and the destructiveness of knife crime in this present-day production.
Sunday Lunch & Live Music, The Arden Hotel, Stratford-upon-Avon, Sept 16
Enjoy two courses for £20.50 per person or 3 courses for £25 per person at this waterfront hotel, opposite the RSC theatres.
GIG: Jack White, O2 Academy Birmingham, Wed Oct 17
After string of electrifying, but intimate live shows earlier this year, the super-cool former White Stripes front-man is back and he’s bringing his full band and hugely successful new album, Boarding House Reach along for the ride.
THEATRE: Hymn for Robots. Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Wed Sept 19 – Fri Sept 21
Following 4 and 5 star reviews for performances at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Noctium Theatre return to the Belgrade Theatre this September with their Delia Derbyshire-inspired Hymns for Robots. Described as the “mother of electronic music”, Coventry-born Delia Derbyshire is now best remembered for her work on the original Doctor Who theme tune. Raised in Coundon in the late 30s and 40s, Delia Derbyshire went on to earn a place at the then-girls’ grammar school, Barr’s Hill, before winning a scholarship to study at Cambridge. Later, she joined the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, where she helped to create the iconic theme music for Doctor Who. This was only the beginning of her career: less widely recognised are her massive contributions to electronic music, cited as an influence on bands ranging from The Beatles to The Chemical Brothers and Pink Floyd to Orbital. Now Noctium are joining a growing chorus of voices calling for her work to receive the recognition it deserves. Go support!
Tel 024 7655 3055, www.belgrade.co.uk
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.
Jason Donovan & his Amazing Midlife Crisis, Royal Spa Centre, Leamington Sept 27 & Thurs Oct 4, The Albany Theatre, Coventry
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!
DANCE: Fagin’s Twist, Warwick Arts Centre, Warwick University campus, Coventry, Fri Sept 28 & Sat Sept 29
Fagin’s Twist is the critically-acclaimed untold story of Charles Dickens’ notorious and complex Victorian villain told in a new light by risk-taking London-based Avant Garde Dance in 1hr 40 mins for ages 8+. The narrative tells the story of Fagin and Bill Sykes’ childhood, imagining how it may have resembled Oliver’s. Avant Garde Dance flips your expectations of five familiar characters, with their unmatched contemporary hip hop style.
THEATRE: Evita, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue Sept 25 – Sat Sept 29
Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV).
Tel: 024 7655 3055, belgrade
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. Another West End colossus arrives later in the month with Bill Kenright’s production of Evita, starring Lucy O’Bryne (who has the Sound of Music and Les Mis on her CV). Both Swan Lake (below) and Evita are bound to be sell-outs so get booking.
ART: Spellbound Exhibition, on now, and Baby Asmoles, Fri 14 Sep at The Ashmolean
The spine-tingling exhibition Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft (see our review here) is on now and is a real must-see. It’s creepy, fascinating and surprisingly moving, especially the exhibits about witchcraft. Not really one for kids so if you have a little one, you could pop along to one of their Baby Ashmoles events. The next one’s this Friday where you can visit the galleries to learn all about 18th Century art with sensory play and singing for the babies. Let’s face it, it’s a heck of a lot more civilized than a the soft play centre.
THEATRE: Sylvia the Musical, The Old Vic, London, now – Sat Sept 22
Nowadays it seems that any topic can be given the musical theatre treatment and this time, one hundred years after the first women in Britain were granted the vote, it’s Sylvia Pankhurst’s turn. This modern musical combines dance, hip hop, soul and funk to shed new light on her remarkable story and how her passion for equality tore her family apart. It’s even got Beverley Knight playing Sylivia’s mum, Emmeline Pankhurst, no less. Go sister!
Women Leading the Way, Museum of London, 150 London Wall, Ec2Y 5HN, Thurs Sept 13
As part of The City of London’s Women: Work & Power festival Carolyn Fairbairn, The Director General of the CBI, Ann Francke, CEO of the CMI and feminist campaigner and former labour MP Fiona Mactaggart are to lead discussion panel on women in business. The number of women in work has never been higher but the issues of the gender pay gap and a lack of women in top executive roles continue to be problematic in British businesses. What is the reality of being a woman in the workplace in 2018? Join three high profile people from business and politics as they discuss the progress made and challenges ahead for women at work, £5.
THEATRE: Heathers, the Musical, Theatre Royal Haymarket, London, Mon 2 Sep – 24 Nov
Remember the 80s cult classic film Heathers starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater? Thank goodness social media wasn’t around then. Heathers The Musical, a comic rock extravaganza, has already enjoyed sell-out runs and is now hitting the West End. Carrie Hope Fletcher stars as Veronica Sawyers, who takes the quest for high school popularity to new extremes.
FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri Sept 14 – Sun Sept 23
If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festivalwith designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.
FOOD & DRINK: MK Food Festival, Milton Keynes, Sat 15 Sep
If you’re serious about locally sourced food, then the MK Food Fest only allows producers within a 20 mile radius of Linford Manor Park to have a stall. You can sample artisan nibbles and drinks to your heart’s content, watch some demos and feel mighty smug about your grub’s food miles in this celebration of MK’s thriving local food scene.
THEATRE: Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019
Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season. To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton, star of the RSC’s Hamlet Paapa Essiedu and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke.
SHOPPING: The Great Antique & Vintage Car Boot Fair, Stonor Park, Sun 16 Sep
I’m not sure how Stonor Park polices what qualifies as vintage and antique but this sounds like the kind of event where you could find a real bargain or two. Tickets are £7 between 9am and 10am and only £3 from 10am onwards, so if you’re serious about snaffling that masterpiece, get there early! Otherwise meander around until 4pm at your leisure.
TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep
To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral, poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.