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The Muddy Guide – Thurs 23 Feb to Weds 1 March

It’s with delight, pleasure and a little shiver of excitement that I must inform you that, at the end of this Muddy Guide week to view, we’ll be changing seasons. So with a spring in our step (see what I did there?), let’s go gambolling (and again, see?) to help our social lives fully bloom (OK, even I’ve had enough of this now).

Sheridan Smith, Funny Girl, MK Theatre, Tues 28 Feb – Sat 4 March

 Sheridan Smith is approaching acting royalty these days and it’s a great chance to see her up this way – or at least across at Milton Keynes in Funny Girl, starting next Tuesday. Barbara Streisand made her name in the musical 50 years ago, but now Sherry,  who previously stared in Legally Blonde, Cilla, Mr Biggs and most recently The Moorside, takes centre stage as Fanny. Should be brilliant.

Oxford International Art Fair – Fri 24 – Sun 26 Feb

A great opportunity to buy art direct from the artist in the beautiful Oxford Town Hall. This now established art fair, in its fourth year, runs over 3 halls, exhibiting international exhibitors from 26 countries. The London-based InVogue Art Gallery meanwhile is aiming to bring an original Damien Hirst to the city, with the chance to view the work of one of the most prominent contemporary British artists. Free entry.

Oxford Town Hall,

Wonderland at New Theatre Oxford, Mon 20 – Sat 25 Feb

Love your musicals? Keen on bunnies? Well, hello Wonderland! Wendi Peters (Cilla in Coro) in this UK tour of the multi-Grammy award-winning Wonderland at New Theatre. She plays Queen of Hearts alongside Britain Got Talent’s Rachael Wooding as Alice. Hailed as ‘inspirational’ by the New York Times, the musical is an adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass. Go with your girlfriends or take your kids.

The Party, Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 25 Feb

A man excitedly waits for the guests to arrive at his party. The cake is made, the presents have arrived, and the music is playing – all he needs are his friends to make this the best birthday ever. Enter some unexpected guests: a French cyclist, a man dressed as a giant chicken and a mysterious stranger who has apparently never had a birthday. Presented by Nearly There Yet with support from the brilliant Hampstead theatre Jacksons Lane. Age guidance: 3+.

Comedy at The Potters Arms, Imran Yusuf, Thurs 23 Feb

Apparently it’s taken four years for The Potters Arms to lure Imran Yusuf out to the sticks, so don’t miss the chance to see him now! Also appearing are Mark Maier and Ninia Benjamin. I’ve been to one of the Potter’s Arms comedy nights before and totally loved it, so it’s worth heading along if you’re anywhere near.

The Potters Arms, Fagnall Lane, Winchmore Hill, Bucks,

 Native Feasts Michelin pop up in Bourne End all through March

The Muddy ear is firmly to the ground on anything new or different that’s happening in Bucks/Oxon and this is a biggie – the pop up dining club Native Feasts run by Michelin chef Chris Godfrey, who was the chef at the Sir Charles Napier near Chinnor. To remind you – on the Fri & Sat of each weekend in March, at the Cooper & Co restaurant on Bourne End marina, Chris gets behind the gas decks and spins out 4 courses of banging culinary classics. The first weekend starts on 3/4 March so this is your final warning!

Bourne on the Water, Coopers & Co, Wharf Lane, Bourne End Marina, Bucks


London Science Museum, general awesomeness

I tend to keep my beady eye on London-based events, and the Science Museum is rocking it at the mo. Masses on here including the new exhibit of  Tim Peake’s Spacecraft, a brand new exhibition  Robots, not to even get started on Wonderlab, which is billed as the newest and most spectacular interactive gallery in the world. Plot and plan your day there and if you’re still standing at the end of that, hop over to the V&A to check out its new exhibition  Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.

Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington tube,

Volcanoes, Weston Library, now to 21 May

A newish exhibition at the Bodleian’s Weston Library, this exhibition shows a spectacular selection of eye witness accounts, scientific observations and artwork charting how our understanding of volcanoes has evolved over the past two millennia with eruptions from the likes of Vesuvius, Krakatoa and Santorini are all. Highlights include fragments of ‘burnt’ papyrus scrolls buried during the 79 AD eruption of Vesuvius, the earliest known manuscript illustration of a volcano, found in the margin of a 14th century account of the voyage of St Brenda, and lava and rock samples, maps, lecture notes and scientific equipment. Watch her blow!

Murder Mystery, Cliveden, Weekends from Sat 25 Feb -to 25 June

 I’ve never been a fan of those murder mystery nights where you have to dress up as a Victorian and pretend to be someone else the whole evening until you get so drunk you can’t even remember your own name, let alone your fictional one (come on, we’ve all been there!), but this brand new Murder Mystery event on weekends in the gardens at Cliveden is a much more appealing spin on the idea. Basically you band together your family and friends to solve the murder of Lord Mucke, found murdered on the estate. It’s a day time event so perfect for kids, it’s £5 per group with no booking necessary and with clues, puzzles and lots of running around it’s fun for kids. Ideally for 8+.

Cliveden House, Taplow, Maidenhead, Bucks,

Evita, New Theatre, Oxford, Tues 7  – Sat 11 March

Evita comes to the New Theatre from next Tues 7 March, starring Emma Hatton, fresh from the West End production of Wicked. More than 20 major awards to its credit, the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice has as five day run here. Book tickets now if you can it’s selling well, but I’ll be going to the first night on Tuesday so will be able to report back next Wednesday for you too.


Tom Jones, Forest Live 2017

Hemp knickers at the ready! The living legend that is Tom Jones has announced dates as part of Forest Live, the summer concert series organised by the Forestry Commission where acts perform in spectacular woodland locations across the country. Tickets go on sale at 9am on Fri 24 Feb for concerts at Sherwood Forest (Sat 24 June), Delamere Forest in Cheshire (Sat 1 July) and Cannock Chase Forest, Staffs (Sun 9 July).

David Hockney, Tate Britain, now until 29 May

Have you bought tickets yet? This awesome exhibition of David Hockney’s most famous works at Tate London celebrates his achievements in painting, drawing, print, photography and video across 6 decades. From his portraits and images of Los Angeles swimming pools, through to his drawings and photography, Yorkshire landscapes and most recent paintings – some of which have never been seen before in public – it’s the London exhibition of the year. Even better, on 3 March, there’s a massive party to coincide with the exhibition. Festival No. 6 brings its unique multi-arts programme to Tate Britain for one night only, featuring music from Blossoms, Charlotte Church, comedy from Sara Pascoe, poetry from Dr John Cooper Clarke and a closing set from DJ Greg Wilson. Guests will have after-hours access to the Paul Nash and Hockney exhibitions, plus dine with a Yorkshire theme (the mind fair boggles).

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, Nearest tubes, – Pimlico, Vauxhall & Westminster,

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