The top 9 things to do this weekend in Oxon, Bucks and beyond
Black is the Color of My Voice, Oxford Playhouse, Fri 20 Jan
If you love jazz, you’ll want to head straight to Black is the Colour of My Voice, a show inspired inspired by the life and music of Nina Simone. Written by and starring Apphia Campbell who has toured the production to New York, London and Shanghai the first half tells the story of Simone as an artist and civil rights campaigner, with the second part of the evening as Apphia’s Soul Sessions cabaret, celebrating Simone’s music.
Oxford Playhouse, Beaumont St, oxfordplayhouse.com
Bodleian library at winter prices, until 31 Jan
I did a Bod tour last year and it was fantastic so it’s worth letting you know that there’s currently money off personal tours at the mo (not that they’re expensive in the first place, but this month I’m well into saving the pennies). You can do a 30 minute mini drop in if you’re short of time, inclination or you think the kids may kick off when the Benedril wears off, or if you’re feeling excited about seeing the 15th century Divinity School, library reading rooms, the Convocation House (where parliament was held during the Civil War) and Duke Humfrey’s medieval library (pictured), go the whole hoggetty hog with the 90 miute version.
Pride & Prejudice, Wycombe Swan, Tues 24 – Sat 28 Jan
Yes this is an entirely gratuitous photo of Colin Firth, what of it?! Anyway, to the point if I can just tear my eyes away from that tantalising gap in Mr Darcy’s shirt…. mmmmm, yes *sigh*. Er, what was I talking about? Following sell-out performances at Regent’s Park Theatre, this touring production of Pride and Prejudice features the Olivier award-winning Matthew Kelly etched forever in my memory in Game for A Laugh (remember that?!) but now of course superfamous as an actor, and Felicity Montagu who you’ll know from Alan Partridge and Bridget Jones’s Diary. The Observer thinks the production is “dazzling” but you can make your own mind up from next Tuesday at the Wycombe Swan.
Burglar Bill, Chipping Norton Theatre, Sat 21 Jan
Chipping Norton regulars Pied Piper Theatre Company return to the Chippy Theatre in this stage adaptation of Janet and Allan Ahlberg’s charming picture book starring Burglar Bill and Burglar Betty.
The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring St, chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
Waterperry Gardens, free throughout January
Waterperry Gardens near Wheatley are beautiful all year round and for the next week or so you and yours can sneak in for free. Keep an eye out for the snowdrops that are starting to emerge.
The Bear, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, Sun 22 Jan
Ever wondered what it would be like to give a polar bear a bath, or clean up it’s poo? No? Well, your kids probably have, so take them to Didcot’s fabulous Cornerstone Arts Centre to see The Bear, where a snowy white bear climbs into a little girl’s bedroom – cue comedy, puppetry and Tilly who refuses to be scared.
The Twits, Aylesbury Waterside, Tues 24 – Sat 28 Jan
Dig out those earth worms disguised as spaghetti strands and reacquaint yourself with Roald Dahil’s repulsive The Twits at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from next Tuesday It’s directed by Max Webster who was behind The Lorax at The Old Vic so the credentials are good.
Recommended for ages 6+ atgtickets.com
Royal Photographic Society’s International Images for Science, Banbury Museum, Sat 21 Jan – 25 Mar
Free. Banbury Museum, Spiceball Park Road, Banbury, banburymuseum.org
London Art Fair, Islington,Weds 18-Sun 22 Jan
The London Art Fair in my old stomping ground of Islington, North London, offers punters museum-quality Modern British art alongside contemporary work from today’s leading artists, covering the period from the early 20th century to the present day. In addition to the main Fair there are two curated sections focusing on younger galleries, new work and contemporary photography so it’s a great chance to find something beautiful for your walls that doesn’t cost the earth.
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 londonartfair.co.uk
Room On The Broom, The Hexagon Reading, Mon 30 Jan – Tues 31 Jan
Iggety ziggety zaggety zoom! It’s time to book tickets for Room on the Broom. (What can I say, I’m a poet). This classic picture book by the legendary Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is a HUGE fave with my boys and now we get to see it brought to life in this Olivier-nominated show. Tall Stories’ magical, musical adaptation follows the witch and her cat – and a whole host of hitchhikers – on a mission to defeat the dragon. A lorra lorra great songs, belly laughs and scary fun. Tickets from £12.50.
The Hexagon, Reading, readingarts.com/hexagon
Magic Lantern Festival, Chiswick House & Gardens, Thurs 19 – Thurs 25 Jan
Chiswick House and Gardens are an exquisite reason to go into London, more so this week with The Magical Lantern Festival returning for a second year, celebrating the Chinese New Year of the Rooster. The theme for this year’s festival ‘Explore The Silk Road’ and begins with a 15-metre wide lantern of London’s Houses of Parliament as well as lanterns related to the Silk Road representing Europe, Arabia, Egypt, Persia, India and Ancient China. If it all gets a bit too, you know, ‘lanterny’, there’s also a 30-metre synthetic ice-rink, virtual reality gaming and a mini funfair and games.
Chiswick House, Conservatory Yard, London W4, magiclantern.ukHead’s Up:
Tickets on sale for Elbow, Forest Live 2017 at Westonbirt Arboretum, Fri 20 Jan
A summer concert series organised by the Forestry Commission? Um, yeah crazy cats, rock on! Forestlive is being held this summer at the beautiful Westonbirt Tetbury, Glos with Elbow headlining. Tickets go on sale on Friday – let’s go wild and form and ordely queue for them.