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The Muddy Guide Thurs 21 – Weds 27 April 16

Ready to trip the light fantastic – or maybe, you know, go out once or twice this week? Alrighty then, let’s do this!


Pop-Up Opera, Tythe Barn, Launton, Weds 27 April

pop up

OMG, Jed from The Night Manager is singing opera?!! Oh hang on… well, it did look a bit like her, you have to admit. This lovely lady is involved in Pop-Up Opera at the stunning Tythe Barn in Launton next Wednesday. Pop-up Opera does what it says on the libretto – pops up in unlikely places, hoping to to make opera enjoyable and inviting and making it fun, fresh and intimate. It’s Bellini’s classic bel-canto opera I Capuleti e i Montecchi (The Capulets & The Montagues) on the programme at the Tythe Barn, sung in Italian with English subtitles. Tom Hiddleston is booked in the interval to sing an aria of his own composition. Yes *cough* really.

Pop-Up Opera, Running time 1 hour 45 minutes plus interval. Recommended ages 12+. Tythe Barn, Launton ,

Best of Be Festival, Pegasus, Thurs 21 April


This one-nighter sounds a bit bonkers but I have a feeling it will be awesome. Three shows (theatre, dance and circus) in one night, plus the chance to share tapas and chat with the artists during the interval and after the show. Interactive comedy and theatre from Quintetto (1st prize award winner at Birmingham’s BE Festival this year); #sobrejulieta, a one-woman show using English, Spanish and projected video in a contemporary adaptation of Shakespear’s greatest love story; and The Whistle, drawing ideas from theatre and circus. The Guardian describes it as ‘some of the most innovative work being made across Europe’. Go and see if they’re right.

Running time: 2 hours 15 minutes including interval. Pegasus, Magdalen Rd, Oxford,

Open auditions for Doctor Dolittle the Musical, Wycombe Swan, Sun 24 April

Jazz hands at the ready! The Wycombe Swan’s Summer Youth Project this year is Doctor Dolittle – the classic story of kindness to animals in a big Broadway-sized family musical. The theatre is looking for aspiring young performers and technicians aged 9 -21 to audition to be the cast and crew for the show. Working with a professional creative team this will be the theatrical experience of a lifetime. Visit the website for more details and to download an audition pack. Audition date: Sun 24 April, 10am; Project dates: Sun 24 July – Sun 7 August 2016.

Wycombe Swan, St. Mary Street, High Wycombe, HP11 2XE. Tel: 01494 512 000.

CADA Antiques Fair, Blenheim Palace, Thurs 21 – Sun 24 April


The Cotswolds Art & Antiques Dealers’ Association Fair (try saying that after your morning G&T) returns to Blenheim Palace for its fifth year. It’s billed as one of the best quality art and antiques events outside London with a price range from £100 to £100,000 which I have to admit does seem rather extreme. I mean, don’t buy anything for £100. Book an afternoon tea or picnic  hamper, and make a day of it.

Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, Oxon,

SJE International Piano Series 2016 – Angela Hewitt

This is the third of the St John the Evangelist Arts Piano Series in Oxford. Rather than lumping artists together in a two week festval, the  SJE Arts Piano Series dripfeeds the talent through the year in 10 brilliant concerts, playing at the newest music venue in Oxford on a new Steinway D grand piano (opposite the University sports ground on Iffley Road). On Thursday evening Angela Hewitt, one of the world’s leading pianists, just admitted last year into Gramophone’s Hall of Fame and also an OBE, plays a mix of Haydn and Schubert for your delectation.

The Church of St John the Evangelist, Oxford,

Spring Homes and Garden Fair, Sudeley Castle, Thurs 21 – Sun 24 April


An excuse to wander around the grounds of Sudeley Castle. It’s a homes and garden event, selling furniture for indoors and outdoors; decorative accessories, gifts in aid of Maggie’s, Cheltenham. Children under 16 go free, but please note that pushchairs aren’t allowed in the marque, though they do offer freebaby backpacks if you want to lug the little darlings around on your back.

Sudeley Castle, Winchcombe, Cheltenham,

A Taste of the Hinds Head, Bray, Thurs 26 May, 7pm


A Taste of The Hinds Head
 is a journey through the classic dishes of days gone by in Heston Blumenthal’s 15th Century British pub. The team will pay homage to signature dishes of the past and present, as well as showcasing some brand new dishes from the menu. Tickets £100 per person including drinks and canapés on arrival and a 3-course meal with paired wines. And if you fancy a little amuse bouche to whet your appetite, I nipped in recently and reviewed.

To book, call 01628 626151.

Bach to Baby, Chalfont St Peter, Fri 22 April


The critically acclaimed classical series Bach to Baby was set up by mum and pianist and professor of piano at Guildhall School of Music and Drama, Miaomiao Yu, after becoming frustrated at not being able to take her children to the sort of quality classical music concerts  she regularly enjoyed as a professional musician.Her Thames Valley Bach to Baby group is run by Tim (countertenor in the Windsor Castle choir) and Deborah (music therapist and trained at Guildhall too). They both live at Windsor Castle with their two daughters, so they’re great friends of Liz’s too.

St. Peter’s Church, Chalfont St. Peter,

Shakespeare’s Dead, Bodleian Weston Library, Fri 22 April – 18 Sept

Er, cheerful title! To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, the Bodleian Libraries are showing a major exhibition Shakespeare’s Dead that confronts the ‘d’-theme in the Shakey’s works. It explores how Shakespeare used the anticipation of death, the moment of death and mourning the dead as contexts to bring characters to life, using key items from the Bodleian’s famous literary collections.
ST Lee Gallery, Weston Library,

Artists and Makers Fair, Thame Town Hall, Sat 23 April


Pink ice lolly 3

Looking for somewhere to mooch this weekend? Sally Evans’ long-established Artists & Makers Fairs offer a lovely way to find hand-crafted, locally made ceramics, textiles and paintings. This one is at the lovely Thame Town Hall on Saturday.

Thame Town Hall,

British Life Photography Award, River & Rowing, Sat 23 April – 17 July

british life
This competition for professional and amateur photographers is a showcase for the images that capture the very essence and spirit of British life in 10 categories covering everything from street life, rural life, and portraiture to a special award for the best documentary feature. Catch the Hockney exhibition while you’re there too.

River & Rowing Museum, Henley,

DJ Joda at Clayton’s Marlow, Sat 23 April


Gridlock on the dancefloor! Named by Q magazine as ‘one of the ten DJs to see before you die’, multi award winning DJ Yoda is coming up to Buckinghamshire – Buckinghamshire I say!! – to Clayton’s Marlow pub this Saturday night. He performed at Banksy’s Dismaland to was the first choice guest mixer On Dr Dre’s inaugural Beats 1 show. Supported on the night by Twisted Soul Collective + guests, here’s your chance to show that all those jibes about your dad or mum dancing is just malicious rumour.

Clayton’s, Oxford Road, Marlow,

Amersham Festival, Chenies Manor, Tues April 26


As part of a year-long festival of music from the Amersham Festival, Chenies Manor hosts a dinner and concert, with Rosanna Rolton (Harp) and Alexander Rolton (Cello) performing music by Bach, Piazzolla, Tournier and Saint-Saens. It’s welcome drinkies and canapes in the Long Room, before decamping to Chenies Church for the concert. A buffet supper will be served afterwards in the Long Room and Garden Room, and all for a bargain £48.

Chenies Manor, Chenies,

Northern Ballet – Swan Lake, Milton Keynes Theatre, Tues 26 – Sat 30 April

Voted Best Company at the Taglioni European Ballet awards, Northern Ballet bring the most popular ballet in the world to life for a whole week at the MK Theatre. Trust me, it’s gonna be amazing.

Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate,

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.

New Treetop Walkway Opens, Westonbirt Arboretum, Weds 27 April

Oooh this looks fun! A bird’s-eye view of Westonbirt’s 15,000 wonderful trees opens on 27 April, offering spectacular views across the arboretum landscape. The main walkway is step-free, making it accessible for all, – at 300 metres long and gradually rises on serpentine path through the trees, inclining gently to a height of 13 metres. For the more energetic there’s a crow’s nest viewing platform and a swing across the rope bridge.

Access to the walkway is included in the cost of admission. The National Arboretum, Westonbirt, Tetbury,

Bicester Heritage Sunday Scramble, Sun 24 April


One for petrolheads. The 8th Sunday Scramble at Bicester Heritage near is mainly an excuse for hundreds of classic vehicle enthusiasts to come together and enjoy a relaxed social gathering.  The Bicester Gliding Centre in operation, there’s a new Motor Market where people can sell their pre 1990 vintage or classic car to others on the day, and live valuation arena where you can get your cars valued on the day.

9 am – 4pm. Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, Bicester,

Reading Contemporary Art Fair, Rivermead, Reading, Sat 23 & Sun 24 April


Keeping Busy, by Sarah Berry Art

This is my kind of art fair. An eclectic mix of over 100 artists, printmakers, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists and selected galleries offering a tremendous range of affordable, contemporary art with prices from £40 to £4000. The Reading Contemporary Art Fair is deservedly popular for its relaxed and friendly atmosphere where you can chat to the artists and pick up a stunning piece of modern art, without having to sell a kidney. Tickets £7; children 5-16 £5; under 5s free.

Rivermead Leisure Complex, Richfield Avenue, Reading RG1 8EQ.


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