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This week

MON 22 - SUN 28 JAN 2018

Penguin, North Wall Theatre, Oxford Sat 27 Jan

This book from Polly Dunbar was one of my favourites to read my kids – clever, sweet and a bit subversive (firing penguins into outer space in a fit of pique is perhaps not cool), it’s an ideal story to recreate for the stage. Songs by Tom Gray of Gomez, and puppetry from Long Nose Puppets, who previously charmed at North Wall with Arthur’s Dream Boat and Flyaway Katie.  For ages 2-8.

Book tickets 11am & 2pm. £8, concessions £6.


Meet The Expert, Windsor Castle, Sat 27 Jan

Windsor Castle conservationists restore the gilding on one of the antique chairs in the State Apartments

Between now until May, it’ll be wall to wall coverage of Harry and Meghan’s Windsor Castle shindig. So don’t miss this chance to have a nose around the State Apartments and St George’s Chapel and meet to the conservationists who have been applying gold leaf and restoring paintings.


The Corridor, New College Chapel, Oxford, Tues 23, Thurs 25 and Sat 27 Jan

Harrison Birtwistle’s subversive opera comes to the Oxford stage for the first time having premiered in 2009 at The Aldeburgh Festival. It’s  a short, pared down work for two singers and a small orchestral ensemble so probably one that will intrigue purists more than those of us who chirrup along to Mozart’s comic arias. The entire opera focuses on the point at which Orpheus, leading his beloved Eurydice out of Hades, turns to make sure that she’s following, and, in doing so, loses her forever. Da-da-daaaaaaa!

New College Holywell Street Oxford OX1 3BN. Tel: 01865 279108. Tickets £12, concessions £7. 


The Play That Goes Wrong, Oxford Playhouse, Mon 22 – Sat 27 Jan

An anecdote to the January blues? A spoof of ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s’  disaster-prone attempts to put on a 1920s murder mystery. And, you guessed it,  everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.

Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford,


Basquiat: Boom for Real, The Barbican, until Sun Jan 28

Quiccccck! The urban brutalism of the Barbican is the perfect setting for Jean-Michael Basquiat’s ground-breaking energetic post-punk street art and stunning paintings. This is the UK’s first large scale exhibition in Britain of the New York-based artist since his tragic death in 1988 of an accidental heroin overdose. It not only traces the origins as graffiti artist but his love of bebop jazz, particularly Charlie Parker, primitive African art, beat writer William Boroughs and Picasso. Basquiat: Boom for Real


We Love 80s, Clayton’s, Marlow, Sat 27 Jan

spandau ballet new romantic pop band wearing shiny silk shirts and staring into the camera

Grab your shoulderpads, swipe that blusher across your temples and hit the dance floor at former Muddy Award winner Clayton’s Marlow. Free before 10, or £5 from then on. 9pm-2am.

Clayton’s, Oxford Rd, Marlow,


Women Football Beginner’s Festival, Oxford, Sun 28 Jan 

Phil Neville, watch how many women can step away from the kitchen sink to kick a football down a pitch! This festival is designed to encourage those who haven’t played before, or those who currently just have a kickabout, on the new 3G pitch at the Oxford Academy School. No pressure to be brilliant and you can come as a team or on your own. GOAAAAAL!

2.30 – 4.30pm. G Pitch, The Oxford Academy School, Sandy Lane West, Oxford, OX4 6JZ. £3 per player.


Mindful Triathlon, The Swan at Streatley, Sun 28 Jan

Meditation and mindfulness woman stretching in sunshine

Triathlons are not my bag – all that running, cycling and swimming, I’m out of breath just thinking about it. But a Mindful Triathlon is something I can get on board with – a 5km walk, followed by yoga and meditation in the beautiful riverside setting of the Swan at Streatley. Treat yourself to mind, body and soul workout. Almost better than 14 hours sleep… zzzzzz.


Speakers, by Nicolas Party, Modern Art Oxford, until 18 Feb 2018 

This exhibition at Modern Art Oxford has been running since late November but if you’re yet to catch it now’s your chance. The Swiss artist Nicolas Party (formerly a graffiti specialist)  has produced Speakers, a theatrical selection of five five foot female heads, complete with two hour looped soundscape that seems to speak to you as you brush past. The work is a response to the masculine architecture and institutions of Oxford, particularly the Emperors’ Heads outside the Sheldonian Theatre. Weird, and kind of wonderful.


The Thing That Came From Over There, Pegasus Oxford, Fri 26 – Sat 27 Jan

Three actors, 15 roles, murder, suspense and no doubt a few laughs. The Gonzo Moose gang have put together this fast-paced show inspired by the Scott and Amundsen race across Antartica.

Pegasus, Magdalen Rd, Oxford,


Daughters, Wives and Sisters, Museum of Natural History, from 8 Jan – 5 March 2018

Inspire your daughters and teach your sons a thing or two! Info on this exhibition is a bit sketchy but I’m liking the principle. This exhibition at Oxford’s Museum of Natural History is all about celebrating the scientific achievements of women in early natural history. Free to enter, and if all the #thisgirlcan feminism gets too much for you, you can go and stare at the dinosaurs for a while.


Andy Zalzman: Satirist for Hire, Old Fire Station, Oxford, Tues 23 Jan

Described by Time Out as one of the ‘finest satirical comedians this country’s ever produced’Andy Zaltzman returns with his uniquely interactive show where the audience suggest issues for The Bugle presenter to satirise.


Vintage Cinema: Lion, Kings Chapel, Old Amersham, Wed 24 Jan

The second of it’s new fortnightly ‘Food & Film’ screenings, Vintage Cinema will be serving a hearty chicken and mushroom pie with mashed potatoes and onion gravy (freshly prepared on site) along side the Oscar nominated Lion. The biographical drama tells the true story of Brierley, who sets out to find his family in Burhanpurthem 25 years after being separated from them. Food served from 7.20pm with film starting at 7.45pm.


Peppa Pig’s Adventure, New Theatre, Oxford, Weds 24 – Thurs 25 Jan

peppa pig characters on stage trees campsite stage set

Peppa Pig was my favourite kids show back in the day (now my children are bigger, I’m obsessed with Class Dismissed on C Beebies – the funniest show ever, seriously watch it with or without your kids). Anyway, I digress! Peppa Pig’s back with buddies Pedro Pony, Suzy Sheep and Gerald Giraffe. Lots of fun for fans of the cute cochon, and live music to boot.


Comedy at the Kenton, Kenton Theatre, Henley, Sat 26 Jan

In the mood to be amused? An eclectic mix of comedians grace the Kenton stage for its first comedy night of the year. Featuring Virgin Radio DJ and former Xtra Factor host Matt Richardson, Edinburgh Fringe star Tania Edwards and BBC3 regular Kieran Boyd – it’s bound to be a corker.


Star Light, Star Bright, 7 locations around Oxford, from 22 Jan to 28 Feb

A lovely idea this. Part of a series of Playable Cities all over the world, where various artistic projects help you see your city differently. The Star Light, Star Bright installation is a set of seven step-activated lights representing different constellations, including Cassiopeia and Orion – constellations that are normally visible in the winter skies above Oxford. You can get each constellation to light up, but you need to work as a group to press the buttons that light up the constellation  – so it’s a way to meet new people, have fun with mates, or just bounce around for a bit playing with lights!


Early Years Workshops, Modern Art Oxford, 11 Jan – 8 Feb

A second outing in the Muddy Guide this week for the brilliant Modern Art Oxford is running Make Play sessions, creating a sensory space for little ones (6 months – 5 yrs) to explore with their parent/carer to explore. To tie in with Hannah Ryggen’s tapestry expo, there’ll be wool, line, colour and more. Sessions run from 11am-12pm.



A Christmas Carol, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now – Feb 4 2018 


Bah humbug! The RSC’s eagerly-awaited stage adaptation by David Edgar of Charles Dickens’ seasonal classic starring the excellent PoldarkSherlock and Quadrophenia actor Phil Davis as Scrooge. Directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, who brought The Wind in the Willows to the London Palladium earlier this year, starring Rufus Hound as Toad. Review here.

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,


Cézanne Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, London, until 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.


Modigliani, Tate Modern, until 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.


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.

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