WHAT’S ON: The Muddy Guide Thurs 12 – Weds 18 Nov 2015
Whoa there, we’re really starting to crank up for Christmas now – I can feel it in my water. Loads going on festive-and-other-wise. Wrap up warm, eat a banana to line your stomach and don’t forget to be back by midnight, Cinders. x
Hogwart’s in the Snow, Warner Bros. Studio, Fri 13 Nov – Sun 31 Jan
There’s always a new spin on the Hogwart’s theme and from tomorrow, Warner Bros Studios are offering Hogwarts in the Snow – basically an opportunity to see the Harry Potter film series’ most iconic sets decorated for festive scenes. So eight Christmas trees will line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room will be dressed for the season
and a blanket of filmmaking snow will be applied to the majestic Hogwarts castle model. If your kids are HP fans, they probably don’t need a new incentive to go, but even so, it’ll no doubt look beautiful and festive.
Warner Bros. Studio Tour, Leavesden, WD25 7LR, wbstudiotour.co.uk
Lord of the Flies, Wycombe Swan, Tues 17 – Sat 21 Nov
William Golding’s 20th century classic Lord of the Flies comes to the Wycombe Swan and looks A.Maz.Zing. You’ll remember the story of course – a group of schoolboys survive a catastrophic plane crash, and what starts as a desert island adventure quickly descends into a struggle for survival. It’s produced by London’s award-winning Regent’s Park Theatre who created the recent smash hit To Kill A Mockingbird and has been gushed over by the nationals, with the Daily Telegraph calling it “thrilling, a triumph and unmissable’ which leads me to believe they’ve mistaken the review and have actually been watching me in my underwear again (*sigh*, it happens). But anyway, it’s definitely worth a watch. I’m not sure it will be a comfortable night at the theatre, but it will be riveting. For 11+
Wycombe Swan, Saint Mary Street, High Wycombe, wycombeswan.co.uk
Robin Hood, Panto, Chipping Norton Theatre, 17 Nov -10 Jan
I think we can safely say the countdown for Christmas is here *sigh*. The first local panto is launching next week – I know!!! – when Chippy Theatre slips on its green tights and feathered cap for its production of Robin Hood. It’s a long run, right until 10 January, and as you’d expect it’s full of dames and damsels, swashbuckling sword-fights and sweets by the sack-load. Other than the Grande Dame of pantos at The Hackney Empire, most other productions are waiting until December to get cracking with the double entendres and foam guns – check out the Muddy 2015 Panto Guide, lovingly curated by me for you!
The Theatre, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, chippingnortontheatre.co.uk
The London Jazz Festival, Fri 13 – Sun 22 Nov
Dig out your turtle neck, cough over a Galloise, pretend you have some rhythm and head to London to watch 2,000+ artists in 300+ gigs at 50+ venues in this 10-day celebration of jazz.
Southbank Centre & Royal Festival Hall, London SE1, efglondonjazzfestival.org.uk
Cocktail Making competition, The Hinds Head pub, Bray, Mon 23 Nov
This one’s for the pros out there (my expertise being in drinking rather than shaking cocktials). Available for bartenders in Berks and neighbouring counties, the competition focuses on my Mastermind specialist subject of gin, in the 1930s – 1950s (yes, seriously!). Firstly they have to make a cocktail that brings a traditional recipe into the 21st century. Then if they’re chosen to go through, they will have 10 minutes to make a cocktail from a box of ingredients at The Hinds Head. It’s not clear what happens to those drinks once they’re made, but I’m planning to go there just in case they need an extra set of taste buds to help with the judging. If you’re interested in entering the comp, here are the deets.
An Evening with Noel Fielding, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Thurs 12 Nov
I’ve never really liked Noel Fielding (The Mighty Boosh, Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Luxury Comedy) but I know he has a really massive following so maybe this one’s for you! He’s embarking on his first live tour in five years: An Evening With Noel Fielding and we’re told to expect a magical mix of stand up comedy, live animation, music and some of Fielding’s best known TV characters (such as The Moon and Fantasy Man). There are 7 tickets left at time of writing so get to it fast!
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, atgtickets.com
On the Edge, Pegasus, Thurs 12 Nov
Another show just for tonight. I went to see this at North Wall Theatre a few weeks ago with my 13 year old and we laughed all the way through. If you want to introduce your children to theatre in a very accessible, humorous, and touching way, this is it. It’s improvised theatre, so the audience is asked to write down lyrics from songs before the show starts and then the writer/actor Kevin Tomlinson and Abi Hood have to use them in the performance. You get to choose their jobs, how they meet, their interests, everything. It’s just great fun and work seeing if you can.
105 minutes, Suitable for all ages from 8+ Pegasus, Magdalen Road, Oxford, pegasustheatre.org.uk
The Granary Supper Club, Watlington, Thurs 12 Nov
This popular deli and cafe in the smallest town in the UK (FACT!) magics itself into a supper club from time to time. For £22 per head, it’s a three course meal (venison casserole tonight) starting at the witching hour of 7pm. Bung the kids in front of the telly – hell, even book a babysitter if you must! – and head on out for some food.
The Granary Delicatessen, 18 High Street, Watlington, Oxon, granarydeli.co.uk
Peppa Pig’s Surprise, Wycombe Swan, Sat 14-Sun 15 Nov
Awwww, I remember the days of Peppa and George. If you’re still firmly in pig territory, Peppa and her family are coming to High Wycombe this weekend for a brand new live stage show, Peppa Pig’s Surprise. Life-sized puppets, games, songs, and all the usual stuff that your kids will squeal about.
Our Teacher’s a Troll, Kids’ Theatre, North Wall, Oxford, Sun 15 Nov
This sounds fab – not least because it’s scripted by Dennis Kelly, the writer of the utterly amazing award-winning Matilda the Musical. Two terrible twins rule their school with terror and tyranny. That is, until the arrival of a new head teacher with green scaly skin, sharp gnarly fangs, and a long spiky tail…
2pm and 5pm. thenorthwall.com
The Circus of Horrors, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Tues 17 Nov
The show that stormed into the finals of Britain’s Got Talent began a series of dates in London last year, becoming the first circus to appear in a West End Theatre for 100 years. Welcome to the Carnevil is set in Victorian London in 1899, with Killer Klowns, Sword Swallowers, Demon Drawfs, Death Deifying Aerialists, A Guinness World Record holding diva swinging solely from her hair. You get the picture. It sounds like the kind of show you’ll watch from behind your hands. Grimly compelling.
Aylesbury Waterside, atgtickets.com
Skate at Somerset House, 18 November until 10 Jan 2015
Get ready to land that triple sulko. Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason starts next week and tickets have been on sale for months, so get your, um, skate on. Highlights this year include Club Nights, Jazz Skate and Fortnum’s Lodge (an après-Skate restaurant and bar).
Waddesdon Christmas Fair 2015, Weds 18 Nov – Thurs 6 Dec
It’s back. The second year for this whopper outdoor Christmas Fair at Waddesdon Manor running for 15 days. Set on the south side of the Manor overlooking the Parterre, with over 50 hand selected local artisan producers in charming wooden chalets, you can pick up your Crimbo gifts with a glass of mulled wine in hand.
Waddesdon Manor, waddesdon.org.uk