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5 must-see events before Xmas

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Sometimes it’s just hard yakka wading through listings, papers and all the rest, trying to find something cultural to do. So I am waving my little fairy wand….  brrrrrring!  There you go, Cinders – just don’t forget to come home before midnight.

1. New Ancient Egyptian galleries, The Ashmolean, Oxford. From 26th November

The Ashmolean houses one of the world’s most replete Egyptian collections, and this £5 million revamp includes twice as many mummies as usual (including two females), a massive stone shrine and many exhibits that have been hiding in the vaults for decades. Best of all, it’s free. Check out the guardian’s review here, and then go yourselves.

The Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford, OX1 2PH. Tel: 01865 278000.

2Tchaikovksy Spectacular at the Aylesbury Waterside, Nov 30th 2011

Great orchestra, shame about the audience walkout

Do you get tingly listening to the 1812 Overture or weep silently into your kerchief to the straining strings of Romeo and Juliet Fantasy Overture? Excellent, then you’re in for a corking night out. The acoustics at the Waterside are excellent and with the renowned Royal Philharmonic Orchestra playing, what’s not to like?

Aylesbury Waterside,  Exchange Street, Aylesbury, Bucks, HP20 1UG. Box office 0844 871 7607 (bkg fee)

3. Cinderella, at the Wycombe Swan. From Dec 10th 2011

If you’ve have kids, the Christmas panto is an obligatory evil (oh yes it is!), so it’s really a case of choosing your celebrity poison. This High Wycombe-based Cinderella has Lesley ‘Birds of a Feather’ Joseph at the helm. There’s Jonathan Wilkes as Dick Whittington at the Aylesbury Waterside, Gareth Gate’s Aladdin in Milton Keynes, Oxford has Tommy Steele and his prosthetic Scrooge nose. Or if you want to head into London for the campest experience of all, Dame Edna Everage in Dick Whittington. Widow Twanky, pass the tramadol now!

Wycombe Swan, St Mary Street, High Wycombe, Bucks, HP11 2XE 

4. Matilda, the musical. Currently performing.

I missed it in Stratford-on-Avon where it all started, and so I have to pilgrimage to London’s Cambridge Theatre for the award-winning RSC musical Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl book. With music and lyrics by brilliant Australian comedian Tim Minchin it was always going to be a winner. I’m booked in for January so if anyone makes it before me, please leave your feedback for everyone else. In the meantime, here’s a typical, 5 star rave review from The Daily Telegraph.

Cambridge Theatre, Seven Dials, 32-34 Earlham Street, London WC2H 9HU. Tel: 0844 412 4652 for See tickets, no booking fee.

5. SOLO, Modern Art Oxford. This weekend coming.

Coming up on Friday and Saturday,  SOLO is the second in a series of Modern Art Oxford’s contemporary one-person performances. Participating artists include Stuart Brisley, Sandra Johnston, Anne Bean, Michelle Griffiths, Magnus Palsson and Christian Thompson. You’ll either love it or hate it, but I’m pretty sure you won’t be bored by it!

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke Street, Oxford, OX1 1BP. Tel: 01865 722 733

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