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This week

MON 1 - SUN 7 JAN 2018

STILL HAPPENING…

Missed the pre-Christmas scramble for panto tickets? Fear not – there’s still plenty of time to catch a show if you’re quick. Oh yes there is!

 

Cinderella, Milton Keynes Theatre, until Sun 14 Jan

Given a new lease of credibility by Strictly, Brian Conley is the headliner here with Gok Wan (where’s he been hiding recently?) in Milton Keynes’ version of Cinderella. Conley’s jovial humour and delivery is made for panto so my bet is it’ll be a good ‘un.

Milton Keynes Theatre, 500 Marlborough Gate, Milton Keynes, atgtickets.com

 

Peter Pan, The Hexagon Reading, until Sun 7 Jan

Mr TUUUUUUUUUMBBBBBLE! The irrepressible CBeebies demi-god Justin Fletcher may make you reach for the gin bottle but any small people in your charge will surely go insane in the membrane at the prospect of seeing him live on stage. He plays hapless trainee pirate Mr Smee in his sixth panto for The Hexagon.

The Hexagon Theatre, Queens Walk, Reading, readingarts.com

 

Jack and the Beanstalk, Oxford Playhouse, until Sun 7 Jan 2018

Jack the lad is also bean-counting in Oxford this festive season, at the Playhouse. This one isn’t a celeb-fest but nevertheless looks very sweet and is suitable for very young children.

Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford, oxfordplayhouse.com

 

A Christmas Carol, North Wall Theatre, Oxford, until Sat 6 Jan

The ever-excellent Creation Theatre group promise a totally different take on Dickens, with their reboot of A Christmas Carol. Only a total Scrooge wouldn’t warm to this one, I reckon. This year they’re offering cabaret seating, so you sit round a circular table as a group.

The North Wall Arts Centre, South Parade, Summertown, Oxford , thenorthwall.com

 

Sleeping Beauty, The Theatre Chipping Norton, until Sun 14 Jan

I got insanely drunk on my 18th birthday but Sleeping Beauty celebrated hers by pricking her finger on a spinning wheel and falling asleep for hundreds of years. Bummer, eh! This promises to be a curveball, time-travelling rendering of the classic tale, spanning from Tudor times to the flower-powered late ’60s.

The Theatre Chipping Norton, 2 Spring Street, Chipping Norton, Oxon, chippingnortontheatre.com

 

Gourmet Picture Company, Bisham Abbey Berkshire, until Fri 5 Jan

red sofas and big screen of the Gourmet picture company – Tom Kerridge

Following the sell out screenings at Cliveden House this Summer, Tom Kerridge is back with his pimped up daddy of pop-up cinemas. The stunning Tudor grandness of Bisham Abbey is the setting with only two nights of Rick Stein cooking left, on the 3 and 4 Jan while you settle in for classics Withnail and I and Spinal Tap. gourmetpicturecompany.co.uk

 

War Horse, New Theatre Oxford, until Sat 6 Jan 2018

The last few days to see this outstanding National Theatre production of War Horse is at Oxford New Theatre. Based on the novel by Michael Morpurgo and featuring those incredible, life-size puppets of the horses, it’s nearly sold sell-out and for good reason!

New Theatre, George Street, Oxford, atgtickets.com

 

 

Neill Cameron’s Comics Club, Story Museum, Oxford, Sat 6 Jan

A workshop for 8 to 12 year olds – drop ’em off and hit the Westgate for an hour – led by cartoonist/writer Neill Cameron who’ll help your comic-loving kids develop some skills with a lot of fun thrown in. storymuseum.org

 

The BFG in Pictures, River and Rowing Museum, Henley, now to 21 Jan 2018

Last few weeks to catch this exhibition, curated by Quentin Blake himself, of everyone’s favourite giant. It includes unpublished illustrations that have never been exhibited in public before. The exhibition includes Blake’s first designs that weren’t included in the book, and provide a glimpse of a BFG that might have been in 40 original artworks. Don’t forget there’s the permanent John Piper exhibition at the museum too – that’s well worth seeing in its own right. rrm.co.uk

 

Craftivism, Modern Art Oxford, Sat 6 Jan

These textile workshops sound amazing and waaay different from your usual craft-type sessions. Sarah Corbett is a really forward-thinking craft ‘activist’ and she’s created these workshops in response to the brilliant Hannah Ryggen tapestry that’s currently showing at Modern Art  Oxford. There’s sessions for children with their grown ups making ‘solidarity bunting’ and for just adults and older children (from 14 upwards) which introduce the idea of craftism as a ‘gentle protest’ and give you the chance to make mini banners together. modernartoxford.org.uk

 

Imagining the Divine – Art and the Rise of World Religions, Ashmolean, Oxford, now to 18 Feb 2018

This major exhibition is the first to look at the art of the five world religions as they spread across continents in the first millennium AD. Brand new research from a major project between The Ashmolean Museum, the British Museum and Oxford Uni, with amazing objects created when the iconography of each of the major religions was still being developed… ashmolean.org

 

Hogwarts in the Snow, Harry Potter Studios, now until 4 Feb

You’ll have decent elbow room to see Hogwarts in the Snow post-Christmas if you’re still in the mood to indulge your children (er, NO).  Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room is dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors can touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice.

Warner Bros. Studio Tour London, Studio Tour Drive, Leavesden, wbstudiotour.co.uk

 

 

Hannah Ryggen, Modern Art Oxford, now until 18 Feb 

Another corker of an expo from Modern Art, Oxford. Hannah Ryggen was one of Scandinavia’s most outstanding artistic figures of the 20th century, an impassioned artist responding to the socio-political events of her time, from the the rise of fascism and the Nazi occupation of Norway, to nuclear power and media coverage of the Vietnam War. This is the first major presentation of the artist’s work in the UK and surveys her career from early portraiture through to the intricate tapestries that characterised her career from the 1920s onward. Don’t forget that Modern Art Oxford is free entry, and there’s a brill café on site too. modernartoxford.org.uk

 

Twelfth Night, RST, Stratford, until Feb 24 

Dinita Gohil as Viola. Pic credit: Manuel Harlan (c) RSC

The RSC’s winter production Twelfth Night is set in Victorian Britain and sees Ade Edmondson, of The Young Ones and Bottom fame, as Olivia. Directed by Christopher Luscombe, also stars Dinita Gohil as Viola and Michael Cochrane as Sir Andrew. rsc.org.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD…

Dick Whittington, London Palladium, until Fri 12 Jan

Filed under ‘go big or go home’, we have London Palladium’s offering, starring Julian Clary and Elaine Paige. Oh yeah! And you thought Su Pollard was camp. Fans of ’80s cheesiness will be thrilled to hear that Gary Wilmot co-stars alongside Nigel ‘The Charmer’ Havers.

London Palladium, Argyll St, London, dickwhittingtonpalladium.com

 

Matthew Bourne’s Cinderella, Sadler’s Wells, London, now until Sat 27 Jan

Matthew Bourne’s productions are always stunning and this is no exception. He transposes the story of Cinderella to London during the Blitz, rebooting it as a wartime romance between our heroine and an RAF pilot. The reviews have been of the rave variety, with Lez Brotherston’s sumptuous costumes and sets winning Olivier Award.

Sadlers Wells, Rosebery Av, London EC1, sadlerswells.com

 

Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, now – 11 Feb 2018

Brings together over 50 of Cézanne’s portraits from collections across the world, including works which have never been on public display in the UK . Over a working life of some forty-five years, Cézanne made almost 1,000 paintings of which around 160 are portraits and this exhibition offers a fascinating insight into this central aspect of his work. npg.org.uk

 

Modigliani, Tate Modern, now – 2 April 2018

The Tate Modern’s comprehensive retrospective of Modigliani’s work is quite a treat. During his brief, turbulent life Modigliani developed a unique and instantly recognisable style. His nudes that are a highlight of the exhibition – with 12 nudes on display, this is the largest group ever reunited in the UK. First shown in 1917, police closed down his only ever solo exhibition on the grounds of indecency. Also expect sculptures, and portraits of his friends, lovers and supporters, including Pablo Picasso and his partner Jeanne Hébuterne. tate.org.uk

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