The Muddy Guide
This weather is awesome! Let’s get out and have some fun, shall we?
Folk Weekend Oxford, Fri 21 – Sun 23 April
Fiddles at the ready, it’s time for the 6th Oxford Folk Weekend – invading the city centre with concerts, family ceilidhs, playing the spoons workshops, shanty singing and a whole lot of do-si-doing (or, um, have I moved into country dancing?). Anyway, plenty for the folk loving family to enjoy, plus the chance to bring out last season’s plaid shirts again.
Jane Eyre, Aylesbury Waterside, Mon 24 – Sat 29 April
Charlotte Brontë’s masterpiece is brought to the stage in a collaboration between the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, starting next week at the Aylesbury Waterside, and it’s going to be a corker. The touring production was given five stars by The Observer, and unless you’re up near Milton Keynes in July it’s your only chance to see it as it’s zipping around York, Woking and Brighton for the next few months.
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, atgtickets.com
The Bluebells are here
Yes OK, not very rock n roll but let me tell you, those bluebells are looking mighty fine this month. If you’re waiting until May to see the displays, please don’t – this year the bluebells are slightly early because of the recent warm weather in recent weeks and they’ll be at their peak for the next two weeks. As alternatives try Wendover Woods, Adams Wood (near Lane End), Bradenham Woods (High Wycombe), Bottom Wood (Stokenchurch), Cowleaze Woods (Watlington), Ipsden Heath (Henley). Here, I’ve written a whole feature about the best places to see them!
Modernist Bohemia – Montparnasse to St. Ives, Aidan Meller Gallery, Oxford
The young Henry Moore and Roger Hilton in London, plus original pieces by Chagall, Cocteau, Dali and Pascin from their Paris years, this exhibition reveals La Manche as the crux of Modernism. The gallery is bang in the middle of Oxford if you’re passing Turl St (drop in on Oxford’s hippest cafe The Missing Bean for your cafe fix first).
Aidan Meller Gallery, Turl St, Oxford, aidanmeller.com
French Horn Cushion Concerts, JdP Building at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, Sun 23 April
Rozzy and Mr Cello bring out the brass to introduce children and their families to the French Horn. The concerts are supersweeeeet and kids can get up, touch the instruments, dance, pick their noses enjoy the music. Bring your own cushion!
Concerts at 10 & 11 am for under 5s and 12pm for over 5s. JdP, St Hilda’s College, Oxford, jdp.st-hildas.ox.ac.uk
Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France, Ashmolean, Oxford, ends Sun 7 May
After the success of last year’s Andy Warhol exhibition, the fabulous Ashmolean Museum in Oxford spools back to 19th century bohemian Paris where Manet, Pissarro, Cezanne, Degas and Picasso were collectively whipping up era-defining paintings and dreaming up the Modernist movement. It promises to be a doozy. And for a post-culture coffee or bite, don’t miss the chic Ashmolean Dining Rooms on the top floor, with its cute outdoor terrace for when things get a bit warmer
‘Degas to Picasso: Creating Modernism in France’ continues until 7 May. Tickets: £10, £9 concessions, children under 12 go free.
A Passion for Fashion – 300 Years of Style, Blenheim, ends Sun 23 April
A fabulous new exhibition tracing the weird and the wonderful fashions that have passed through Blenheim in its 300 years of history from metre high wigs to literally drop-dead make up containing arsenic and lead! There’ll be some beautiful Dior vintage dresses from the 50s and more recent high fashion from Louboutin and milliner Stephen Jones.
Two plays How to Hide a Lion, Oxford Playhouse, Weds 19 – Sun 23 April
Oxfordshire was late to start the Easter holiday party but with a full week of kids off it’s bringing out the big guns. First up, How to Hide a Lion, Oxford Playhouse, based on Helen Stephens’ sweet story of a little girl with the coolest name in the world (OK I’m biased, she’s called Iris) who tries to hide her new friend Lion in sneaky places. Puppetry, songs, cuteness everywhere and an hour in a dark room where you can nod off in peace (just saying).
Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St, oxfordplayhouse.com
David Walliams’ The First Hippo On The Moon, New Theatre Oxford, Fri 21 – Sat 22 April
The big guns are out at the New Theatre with David Walliam’s The First Hippo On The Moon for kids 3+ – basically it’s a fight between two hippos to be the first to succeed in their lunar mission. Adapted for the stage by award winning theatre company Les Petits whose team has worked Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax, Warhorse and The Bear, it’s a sure fire hit.
Ghost, Aylesbury Waterside, Tues 18 – Sat 22 April
The type of show that would see Mr Muddy put on an Olympic style sprint away from the theatre, but I’ve seen this production and it’s way better than you might expect. Sarah Harding from Girls Aloud has ethereally disappeared from this production, but you can see Andy Moss (Hollyoaks) giving it the full phallic with a more reliable Demi substitute and the potter’s wheel in this touring production of 1990 cinematic hit Ghost.
Chocolate Lollypop Making, Rumsey’s Thame, Weds 19 – Fri 21 April
This is my youngest bratlet, getting in the thick of chocolate making with the eponymous Mr Rumsey at his café in Thame. Pig in muck. Kid in chocolate. What’s the diff? If you’re stuck fo something to do over the next few days Rumsey’s Chocolaterie is running a series of short chocolate lollipop making sessions for children aged 5 and older over the next few days – small groups, 30 minute sessions, long enough for your kids to make and decorate a lollipop and for you to down three coffees, a large cake and a couple of Tramadols. Aprons and chefs hats are provided – but seriously, they’ll look better on your children.
3pm and 3.30pm each day. The session costs £6 and includes a child’s hot chocolate. Tel: 01844 260 303 or drop into Thame Rumsey’s to book. rumseys.co.uk