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What’s On This Weekend?

FRI MARCH 2 - SUN MARCH 4

The Duchess of Malfi, The Swan, Stratford-upon-Avon, Thurs March 1 – Aug 3

l-r Will Brown, Joan Iyiola and Richard Hurst in rehearsal. Photo by Helen Maybanks

After her inventive and critically-acclaimed production of Doctor Faustus in 2016, Maria Aberg returns to the RSC to direct The Duchess of Malfi in her own distinct style. Don’t miss this brutal – but darkly humorous – tragedy. Playing the title role is Joan Iyiola who returns to the RSC having performed in The Roaring Girls’ and World Elsewhere Seasons. Recent theatre performances have included Boudica (Shakespeare’s Globe), The Convert (Notting Hill Gate Theatre) and They Drink it in the Congo (Almeida Theatre). Her twin brother Ferdinand is played by Alexander Cobb – Indian Summers (Channel 4) and Ripper Street (BBC) – and their brother The Cardinal is Chris New, who was Glen in the critically-acclaimed 2011 film, Weekend.

Tel: 01789 403493, rsc

First Aid Kit: Ruins UK tour, Mon Feb 26 – Fri March 2

The melodic Swedish sisters have four UK dates – sadly not in Warwickshire – but definitely worth a trip to Manchester’s Albert Hall or The Roundhouse, London this week before they jet off around Europe, Scandinavia, Australia and the US. Then they’ll be returning for the summer festival season playing Larmer Tree Festival in Salisbury, Cambridge Folk Festival, Bestival and Waterford’s All Together Now Festival in Ireland.

firstaidkitband

Monty Python’s Spamalot, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry, Tue Feb 27 – Sat March 3

Lovingly ripped off from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, this new UK tour by acclaimed producers Selladoor (FootlooseAmerican IdiotAvenue QLittle Shop of Horrors) and Mercury Theatre Colchester,  follows King Arthur and his hapless Knights of the Round Table on a divine mission to locate the illusive Holy Grail. Don’t be a knight who says, “no” – grab your coconuts, head down to the theatre and hum along to Always Look on the Bright Side of Life!

Tel Belgrade Box Office team on 024 7655 3055, belgrade

Paul Weller, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Fri March 2

The Modfather will be joined by special guests The Strypes.  In reviewing his 2017 album A Kind Revolution The Guardian reviewer rated The Cranes Are Back, “a jazz-gospel plea for global understanding that ranks as one of the most beautiful things Weller has ever done”. This summer Weller’s headlining Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival on Aug 25 with The Libertines and The Prodigy.

gentingarena

Tactile Textiles, Fargo Village, Coventry, Sat March 3 & Sun March 4

A weekend all about textiles from crotchet to weaving. Join in one of the workshops and learn a new skill if that takes your fancy. More info here.

Elbow, Genting Arena, Birmingham, Sat March 3

Elbow are now bona fide members of rock’s A league. This is an extension of the Manchester band’s recent No 1 Little Fictions’ album tour following a run of sold out theatre shows in March 2017. The band has re-recorded a version of the album track Kindling, which sees the song transformed into a duet between lead singer Guy Garvey and John Grant.  John Grant and his band will also be the very special guest on tour.  In 20 years and seven albums, Elbow’s gentle music has rarely steered from its understated, low-key, emotional vibe and self-effacing Garvey works the crowd like “a virtuoso standup comic”.

gentingarena

Satinder Sartaaj, Symphony Hall, Birmingham, Sat March 3

After the huge success of the highest grossing Punjabi feature film in the UK, The Black Prince, a story of Queen Victoria and the Last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh, Sufi singer, composer and poet, Satinder Sartaaj is back performing live at Symphony Hall straight from the Cannes red carpet and IIFA Awards 2017.

thsh

Shakespeare for All! Stratford-upon-Avon Public Library, Henley Street, Sat March 3

Fancy listening to some Shakespeare on a Saturday morning? Course you do. Experts from The Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in partnership with Warwickshire Libraries, will be reading through the Complete Works. Sit back and listen,  11am – 1.30pm, with a tea or coffee (cure that hangover?!).

(Recurring event, first Saturday of the month)

Big-ups to Warwickshire’s British Motor Museum, Gaydon

The British Motor Museum in our neck of the woods has been awarded a VisitEngland Gold Accolade, the highest quality achievement available to British attractions. It’s only only awarded to a small percentage of venues each year as part of the Visitor Attraction Quality Scheme – woo hoo!

britishmotormuseum

Handbagged, The Loft Theatre, Leamington Spa, Wed Feb 21 – Sat March 3

Two female icons born six months apart: Margaret Thatcher and the Queen. One was destined to rule, the other to lead. But when the gloves came off, which one had the upper hand? Moira Buffini’s Olivier award winning comedy, Handbagged, looks behind the closed doors of the palace to speculate what really happened when two of the most powerful women in the world clashed. The play cleverly interweaves politics with personality, lacing cutting exchanges with dry humour.  Directed by the Loft Theatre’s Gus MacDonald.

The Loft Theatre, Victoria Colonnade, Leamington Spa 7.30pm & 5pm Sunday Feb 24  loft-theatrebox-office@loft-theatre.co.uk, Tel: 01926 800360 (answer phone service). 

The Winslow Boy, Birmingham Repertory Theatre, Wed Feb 21 – March 3

A major new revival of Terence Rattigan’s gripping masterpieced irected by Olivier award-nominated Rachel Kavanaugh, Rattigan’s family drama stars Tessa Peake-Jones, who famously played Del Boy’s longtime girlfriend Raquel in Only Fools and Horses, Aden Gillett and Timothy Watson.

Box Office: 0121 236 4455 Online Booking: birmingham-rep.co.uk

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

Made in the Middle, Rugby Art Gallery & Museum, Rugby, now to March 10

 An exhibition celebrating the best contemporary craft and applied art from the Midlands including jeweller Dauvit Alexander Aimee Bollu, who creates beautiful minimal ceramic vessels,  John Grayson the creator of whimsical, humorous and decorative metal objects like the ones above and Karina Thompson, who pushes the boundaries of digital embroidery. Free.

The exhibition runs Jan 20-March #madeitm30 #madeitm; http://madeinthemiddle.org

The Lights of Leamington, Leamington Spa Art Gallery and Museum, until April 15

During the ’50s an annual autumn festival known as The Lights of Leamington drew 300,000 visitors to the town. Thousands of coloured electric lights turned Jephson Gardens into a wonderland until the switch was turned off in 1961. This new exhibition curated by Birmingham-based artist Stuart Whipps illustrates the diverse ways light runs through the gallery collection. Lights used during the historic festival will be on display alongside light emitting objects linked to Leamington’s history, such as lights used in medical spa treatments, plus paintings and photographs depicting or utilising light. Free.

Clare Woods: Reality Dimmed, Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, now – 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. 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 

FURTHER AFIELD:

Barbara Hepworth: Finding Form, River & Rowing Museum, Henley, until June 3

I love Barbara Hepworth’s work – if you’re ever in St Ives, be sure to visit her gorgeous house/studio, with its striking sculptures dotted all around the pretty garden. So I’m very excited about this – and what a coup for Henley’s little museum. This retrospective covers the sculptor’s work from the 1930s to the 1960s, borrowing pieces from the Tate and National Portrait Gallery. A must-see. rrm.co.uk

Live Lambing every day @Cotswold Farm Park until April 15

Live lambing takes place every day in the state-of-the-art animal barn right up until Easter. Established in 1971 and the home of rare breed conservation, Cotswold Farm Park offers a fun day out for visitors of all ages. cotswoldfarmpark

Amadeus, the National Theatre, London, until  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,

Another Kind of Life – Photography on the Margins, The Barbican, London, Feb 28 – May 27

Paz Errázuriz:_From-the-series-La-Manzana-de-Adán-Adam’s-Apple-1983. Copyright: Paz Paz Errázuriz, courtesy of the artist

Touching on themes of countercultures, subcultures and minorities of all kinds, the show features the work of 20 photographers from the 1950s to the present day. Featuring communities of sexual experimenters, romantic rebels, outlaws, survivalists, the economically dispossessed and those who openly flout social convention, the works present the outsider as an agent of change. From street photography to portraiture, vernacular albums to documentary reportage, the show includes the includes the Casa Susanna Collection, Paz Errazuriz, Pieter Hugo, Mary Ellen Mark and Dayanita Singh. Book here

Orchid Festival, Kew Gardens, London,  now – March 11

Things are going totally tropical this month at London’s gorgeous Kew Gardens. Their annual orchid festival takes in Insta-friendly displays of the vibrant Thai blooms, Thai street food and musical performances, workshops on how to grow these notoriously tricky flowers and Thai afternoon tea at The Botanical restaurant. King prawn, lemongrass and coriander tartlet followed by Thai sticky coconut cream rice with mango salsa? Yes please. kew.org

Snowdrop Time, Batsford Arboretum & Garden Centre, until Wed Feb 28

snowdrop flowers field

It’s snowdrop time! Choose a dry day (there must be one coming soon, surely?) and wander through drifts of snowdrops, aconites, crocuses and hellebores in the arboretum. Batsford are predicting this as the time to see the snowdrops, but advise calling first on 01386 701441 in case the weather has put the snowdrops in a grump and they’re late flowering.

Pots With Attitude, British Museum, WC1, now to March 11

Bonaparte Dethron’d April 1st 1814. Creamware jug, Cambrian Pottery, Swansea, Wales, transfer-printed in black and painted in enamels, 1814. On loan from a private collection.

In the Georgian age, satirical art really did include images on the inside of chamber pots. Pioneering transfer techniques allowed caricatures to be reproduced on jugs, bowls and other ceramics, piss pots included, taking  contemporary art of the day to a popular audience in alehouses and inns. One reviewer described it as “like Grayson Perry on snuff”.

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. tate.org.uk

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