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What’s on this week

Music Oft Hath Such A Charm, OPERAUPCLOSE, Fri 15 April 



Olivier award-winning OperaUpClose mark the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a performance of songs, operatic arias and ensembles inspired by his plays and poetry, performed in the company’s engaging, intimate and theatrical style. The quartet of singers are accompanied by a virtuoso pianist in staged scenes that allow the audience to enjoy opera in an exciting, intimate environment. ExpectsSpectacular show-stoppers from Verdi’s Macbeth with well-loved songs like Schubert’s Who is Sylvia? and lesser known operas inspired by the Bard. The critics love OperaUpClose and if you like classical music, I reckon you will too.

The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford,

The Herbal Bed: The Secret Life of Shakespeare’s Daughter, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 19 – Sat 23 April

First produced to acclaim by the Royal Shakespeare Company before transferring to the West End and Broadway, Peter Whelan’s moving and funny play follows Susanna Hall, William Shakespeare’s daughter and talented apothecary, who is accused of having an affair with her neighbour. Based upon real events in Stratford-upon-Avon during the summer of 1613, The Herbal Bed explores the conflict between public and private morality.

Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford,

A Moment of Grace , Modern Art Oxford, Sun 16 April –  22 May

A 1232392

A Moment of Grace is the second exhibition in Modern Art Oxford’s Kaleidoscope a year of celebrations to mark 50 years of the MOA. I’ve had a sneaky pre-peak and it’s really fab – a mix of past artists including Yoko Ono and John Latham, plus contemporary artists like Gustav Metzger (pictured), all in the beautiful MOA building in Pembroke St. And lest we forget, it’s also FREE!

Modern Art Oxford, 30 Pembroke St, Oxford,

Jane’s Enchanted Tea Garden Opens! Kirtlington, Sat 16 April


It’s back! The first weekend of Jane’s Teas in Kirtlington – my tip for the top for an unusual, special, eccentric outdoor cafe. You can only get there by foot or boat. My tip for the top is to park at the top of the road and walk through the old quarry, down into the woods by the river – it will take you 30 minutes and on a sunny day it’s just magical. Bring cash with you to the cafe (no cards or cheques possible) and go later in the afternoon if you want to avoid the queues.

12pm-5pm, Saturday and Sunday. janes-cream-teas.moonfruitcom

Tulip and Spring Flower Festival, Stonor Park, 30 April – 2 May

master exterior and park

A lovely cross-generational event at 850 year old Stonor Park (nearly Henley), this tulip and spring flower festival offers gorgeous flower arrangements throughout the house, plus Tulipomania by floral designer and expert Jonathan Moseley (he of the BBC’s Big Allotment Challenge). There are stunning grounds for the kids to run around in, and a pantry for the obligatory tea stop.

£15 adults, £7.50 (5-16 years), under 5s (free).

Rob Beckett: Mouth of the South, Kenton Theatre, Sun 17 April


In the mood to be amused? The star of BBC1’s Live at the Apollo, BBC2’s Mock the Week & Channel 4’s 8 out of 10 Cats promises to take on the big issues like, er, Kit Kats and flatbread in his new show at Henley’s Kenton Theatre.

Folk Weekend Oxford, Various Venues, Sat 16 – Sun 17 April

Dig out your fiddle! Attach your Morris dancing ankle bells! Folk Weekend Oxford returns for the fifth year from 16 – 18 April with Martin McCarthy, who influenced both Paul Simon and Bob Dylan, as the headline act. Plenty of live music, plus a family ceilidhs at The Pitt Rivers, Morris dancing workshops, and a very inclusive folksy vibe.

Under 12s go free to all events if accompanied by an adult.

Mark Thomas: Trespass, North Wall Theatre, Tues 19 – Weds 20 April

mark thomas

Mark Thomas offers an unusual stand-up, part theatre, comedy and activismn. He’s one of the most established comedians in the country and possibly the only one to ponder what how we turn the skyscrapers and corporate squares into our playgrounds!.

The North Wall, South Parade, Oxford,

Footloose, Oxford New Theatre, Mon 18 – Sat 23 April


Is that the whiff of fromage I detect? Luckily I love cheese so I’m going to see this production of Footloose that starts next Monday at the New Theatre. It stars Lee Brennan (formerly of 911) and Maureen Nolan, two performers who must be thrilled that can claim not six degrees but a mere one degree of Kevin Bacon. The image is of Kev himself – had to put it on, those high-waisted jeans just about deserve their own show.

New Theatre, Oxford,

The Potters Arms, Comedy Festival, Penn St, 29 April – 1 May


I’m really excited to have found out about this pub. All the big comedians are desperate to play here in this leafy part of Buckinghamshire, not only because it’s an intimate friendly (250 seater) venue but the  landlord who really knows his comedy (his cousin-in-law is Rob Brydon which must help!). This is the pub’s first three day Comedy Festival and it looks amazing – Lee Hurst, Russell Wicks (the next big thing apparently), Zoe Lyons plus a Kids Comedy Fest with its own MC and perfomers are all booked. They’re hoping to raise £20k for charity from the event too if you needed any more reason to go.

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