The Muddy Guide: What’s on Thurs 7 – Weds 13 July
Chicago, The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside, Mon 11 – Sat 16 July
The multi-awardwinning musical about the 1920s nightclub singer, a double murderess, a smooth talking laywer nad all that jazz comes to Aylesbury Waterside all next week from next Monday. John Partridge of EastEnders fame leads the fun – he has surprisingly good musical theatre credentials, having starred Cats, A Chorus Line, Miss Saigon and Starlight Express. Coro Star Hayley Tamaddon makes it a double soapsuds whammy playing Roxy Hart. A good bet for musicals fans.
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, atgtickets.com
Storms War and Shipwrecks, Ashmolean, now ’til end Sept 2016
The major Ashmolean summer exhibition Storms, War and Shipwrecks tells the extraordinary story of Sicily, the island at the crossroads of the Mediterranean through the discoveries made by underwater archaeologists. For 2500 years, Sicily was the place where great ancient civilizations met and fought – Phoenicians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs and Normans have all stomped the ground. The exhibition explores this through objects rescued from the bottom of the sea – from chance finds to excavated shipwrecks. And to think I spent my entire holiday stuffing my face by the pool in Taomina….
Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont St, Oxford, ashmolean.org
Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet, various venues, from Mon 11 July
I ask you – how hot are Lily James and Richard Madden?! There are not enough superlatives to describe their chemistry as modern star-crossed lovers in perennial favourite Romeo and Juliet at the Garrick Theatre. Lucky for us, Branagh Theatre Live is broadcasting the production live to cinemas, and there are several screenings across Bucks/Oxon, including Henley (Mon 11 & 14), Gerrard’s Cross (Mon 18 July), Oxford (Mon 11 July).With the likes of Derek Jacobi as Mercutio and Meera Syal as Nurse, seriously do whatever you need to do to clear the diary. To crank up the cool factor, the production will be broadcast in super sexy black and white.
Summer Series at Somerset House, London, Thurs 7 – Sun 17 July
If you’re heading into London — or want an excuse to — this sounds perfect. The Summer Series at Somerset House has an impressive line-up of headline acts including Laura Mvula as well as some names you’ll want to watch in the future.
Oxford Pro Musica Singers, Mass In Blue, Oxford, Sat 9 July
Loving the sound of this jazzy/sacred music clash. Oxford Pro Musica Singers is one of Oxford’s most accomplished chamber choirs and they sing on Saturday at the stunning 700 year old University Church of St Mary’ the Virgin on the High Street, promising sacred music with a jazz and blues beat – works like Bob Chilcott’s Little Jazz Mass, with the choir accompanied by a jazz trio.
University Church of St Mary the Virgin, Oxford, musicatoxford.com
Festival of Love, South Bank, London, Sat 9 July – Mon 29 Aug
No excuses needed to head down to the South Bank really, but here, if you insist – the Festival of Love has returned with a packed programme of music, art, dance and performance – half of which is completely free. So much going on its hard to choose highlights but you can hang out at the copaCABANA beach, book for Air Play, a circus adventure featuring flying umbrellas and giant balloons, see indoor and outdoor installations like the Appearing Rooms fountain where jets of water shoot up to create rooms that instantly disappear, and loads more. Frankly, more fun than you can shake a stick at.
South Bank Centre, London SE1, Waterloo/Embankment Tube, southbankcentre.co.uk
Loads of great stuff at the Roald Dahl Museum…
The Roald Dahl museum is upping its fun quotient in perfect time for the summer hols. Loads going on this week including chocolate making, peering into the archive, trail finding and story-telllin and songs for little ones. Cuuuuuute.
Roald Dahl Museum, High Street, Great Missenden, Bucks, roalddahl.com
Family Sunday at Henley Festival, Sun 10 July
If you couldn’t get tickets for Elton and Shirley (or couldn’t afford them – they’re not cheap!) this is your chance to enjoy a bit of Henley Festival action on this kids day. The day includes stints from the Henley Music School, Henley Youth Choir, Science Mania, Schlomo’s Beatbox Adventure for Kids aerial skills workhops for kids, Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children, and loads more. £35 for a family of 5.
The Taming of the Shrew, Handlebards, Oxford and Aylesbury, Tues 12 & Weds 14 July
Sir Ian McKellen described The Handlebards as ‘uproariously funny’ so they must be doing something right , and you can see for yourself on Tues and Weds as this all-female troupe present and irreverent and bicycle-powered version of The Taming of the Shrew. The four performers are cycling over 1000 miles over 50 venues through the UK, carrying all their sets and props on just four bikes, stopping off on Tuesday 12 July at Buckinghamshire County Museum, to perform accompanied by live music from a local musician before moving onto Oxford and The Story Musuem on 13 July. Sounds a lot of fun.
Summer Fair and Craft Market, Missenden Abbey, Sun 10 July
Where would the summer Muddy Guides be without a summer fair? This one, at the lovely Regency Gothic style mansion and grounds of Missenden Abbey is a biggy, featuring 80 craft stalls, a Bake Off, hot air balloon rides, a beer tent, BBQ and kids activities. It’s all in aid of Rennie Grove Hospice Care so well worth the £3 entry fee for adults or £1 for under 16s.
Missenden Abbey, London Road, Great Missenden, Bucks, missendenabbey.co.uk
Kew The Music, Kew Gardens, Tues 12 – Fri 15 July
Haven’t maxed out on live music yet? Simply Red, Will Young, Jools Holland, Kid Creole, and the Gipsy Kings are all lined up to play this relaxed festival at the lovely Botanic Gardens in Kew.
Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Richmond, Surrey, kewthemusic.org
Peter Pan in Scarlet, Oxford Playhouse, 12 Aug – 4 Sept
My big family flagwave for the summer, this is a big deal – the world premiere of the play Peter Pan in Scarlet, based on the best-selling novel by three-times Whitbread Children’s Book Award winner (and local writer) Geraldine McCaughrean, and adapted/ directed by the brilliant exec director of the New Vic Theresa Heskins. It promises circus and fire, shipwrecks and battles, as the grown up Wendy and the Lost boys return go Neverland to rescue Peter in one last adventure armed with, er, fairy dust (and let’s be realistic, probably a few swords too when it comes down to it). It will be amazing, don’t miss it.