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This weekend

Fri 25 - Sun Oct


FAMILY THEATRE: Billionaire BoyWycombe Swan, Wycombe, 23 – 26 Oct

David Walliams’ Billionaire Boy comes to Wycombe Swan, about 12 year old Joe who is the richest boy in the country and receives £100,000 a week pocket money (don’t go getting any ideas, kids). It’s produced by the same team that created the award-winning West End show Gangsta Granny so should be a goodie and, knowing Walliams, will be packed with humour for the grown ups too.


EVENT: Biagio the Jeweller’s wedding ring event, Bicester or Thame, 19 – 26 Oct

Put a ring on it (and save up to 50% while you’re at it) at this annual event from multi Muddy Award-winning Biagio the Jeweller. Book ahead to receive a free mini bottle of Prosecco and lip balm, plus if you purchase your wedding rings on the day you’ll receive 20% off your next purchase and there’s also the chance to win £200 to spend in store. Ding flipping dong!


COMEDY: What’s In A Name, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Aylesbury, 22 – 26 Oct

Looking for laughs? The Inbetweeners Joe Thomas and Miranda’s Bo Poraj star in this comedic play about egos, childish resentment and unspoken feelings. This will be the first UK tour for the show which has been adapted from award-winning French film and stage show Le Prénom by Brit theatre director Jeremy Sams. Looks like a goodie. There’ll also be a free Q&A with the cast on 23 Oct.




FESTIVAL: IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival, various locations, 18 – 28 Oct

There are all sorts of science-y talks, activities and events going on in Oxford for IF Oxford Science & Ideas Festival – far too many to mention them all but we have our eye on indie film Let There Be Light, an Out of this World Cabaret, and for kids, Rhymetime Robotics.


NATIONAL TRUST: Waddesdon Manor, Aylesbury, 26 Oct – 3 Nov

Need to keep the ankle biters entertained? We’ve got you covered. Waddesdon Manor is hosting a spooky themed afternoon tea especially for children (there’s an adult offering too), featuring ghost meringues and eyeball cupcakes created by The Manor restaurant’s  in-house chef.


CULTURE: Wantage Literary Festival, various locations in Wantage, 26 Oct – 2 Nov

We love a lit fest here at Muddy and there are loads of great events happening at the upcoming Wantage Lit Fest. Highlights this weekend include the brilliant Pam Ayres, Lord David Owen, author of Hubris – The Road to Donald Trump: Power, Populism, Narcissism and, for families, singer-songwriter Nick Cope.




EXHIBITION: Daniel Meadows: Now and Then, Western Library, Oxford, until 24 Nov

This cool new exhibition of photographs taken by leading British photographer Daniel Meadows compares portraits taken in the 70s and then in the 90s.


THEATRE: Stick ManOxford Playhouse, Oxford, 26 – 30 Oct

Over in Oxford there’s Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s Stick Man, (it’s the duo who created The Gruffalo so should be brilliant) – expect more puppets, songs and live music.


EAT: Didcot Food Festival, Didcot, 26 – 27 Oct

In south Oxon, there’s Didcot Food Festival organised by Bake Off veteran Christine Wallace. There’ll be your usual foodie stalls plus demos from MasterChef The Professionals Nick Bennett (CV:Head Chef at Sudbury House) and MasterChef 2018 finalist and Oxford Uni grad Nawamin Pinpathomrat.


EVENT: Ghost Fest, Oxford Castle and Prison, 26 Oct – 2 Nov

Oxford Castle’s spook-tactualr Halloween event returns with spooky tours of the prison, Mystic Market seeking all sorts of Goth-y goods, trick or treating and potion making.


EXHIBITION: George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, 12 Oct – 26 Jan

The stunning MK Gallery has a new exhibition for Oct, George Stubbs: ‘all done from Nature’which is the first overview of the British artist’s work in the UK for over 30 years. The collection  brings together 80 paintings, drawings and publications including Stubb’s animal and equestrian paintings which he is best know for.



MUSIC: Peter and the WolfAylesbury Waterside Second Space, Aylesbury, 27 Oct

This family friendly concert looks like a great opportunity to introduce kids to classical music with a live wind quintet consisting flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon and French horn.



Must-see exhibitions on the go this week include  a Kiki Smith show ‘I am Wanderer’, at Modern Art Oxford, which promises to take visitors on a mythological and folkloric journey in her huge tapestries to her exquisitely-fashioned gold shells (until 19 Jan); The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective at Banbury Museum, which focuses on the artists work from the 1780s to the 1810s and includes works on loan from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections (until 12 Jan); the Ashmolean’s current display, Last Supper in Pompeii, with 400+ exhibits from the ancient Roman site buried by the enormous eruption of Vesuvius in 79 AD (until 12 Jan); An Earthly Paradise: William Morris at Oxfordshire Museum in Woodstock; First Animalsan interesting exploration of the first life on earth at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History (until 24 Feb); the brilliant Bears! exhibit in Henley at the River & Rowing Museum (Muddy review here).



OPERA: Welsh National Opera, New Theatre Oxford, 19 – 23 Nov

Opera fans will no doubt be aware that the awesome Welsh National Opera is coming to Oxford this November with its productions of Verdi’s RigolettoBizet’s Carmen and Janáček’s The Cunning Little Vixen (tickets from £13).



THEATRE: The Snow Queen, The North Wall Arts Centre, 30 Nov – 5 Jan 

Can’t stand the panto? Muddy favourite Creation Theatre are steering clear and performing The Snow Queen for its Christmas show. If you’ve seen the quirky theatre group’s last few festive shows (Peter Pan, A Christmas Carol, Snow White) you’ll be pleased to know that it’s the same team behind the production. Get booking now as it looks like a goodie.



THEATRE: Lungs, Old Vic theatre, London, 14 Oct – 9 Nov

The Crown alumni Claire Foy and Matt Smith (aka The Queen and Prince Philip, of course) are reunited in Lungs at the Old Vic (14 Oct–9 Nov), playing a couple wrestling with life’s big issues, such as whether to have children, against the backdrop of a world teetering on the edge of environmental and political disaster.



Vogue fashion and portrait photographer Tim Walker‘s enchanting, fantastical, frankly insane work is the subject of a new V&A exhibition (until 8 March). Tilda Swinton, Björk and, er, Sir David Attenborough are among his subjects and he’s also created 10 new works for the show.

Meanwhile this autumn’s big-hitter is William Blake at Tate Britain, below, (until 2 Feb 2020). The visionary painter and poet’s work will be imaginatively displayed – some of it blown up to enormous scale using digital technology, other works in an immersive room that recreates the space in which Blake first showed his art in 1809.

Elsewhere Into the Night: Cabarets & Clubs in Modern Art at the Barbican (4 Oct – 19 Jan) is probably the nearest I’ll get to clubbing this autumn. It’s such a cool concept – a history of cabarets, clubs, dancefloors and party spaces that inspired artists from the 1880s to the 1960s, including the Berlin cabaret scene in Weimar Germany and Harlem’s jazz clubs and lifesize recreations of some of the hotspots.

Then there’s a major retrospective of 88-year-old Bridget Riley‘s life’s work at the Hayward Gallery (23 Oct – 26 Jan), taking in her famous monochrome, makes-your-eyes-go-funny Op Art paintings from the 1960s among its 70 year career span.

And finally, playing “spot the Angel Of The North” as we drive up the A1 to Newcastle is a family ritual in our house (Geordie in-laws, you see), so I’ve got a soft spot for Antony Gormley’s striking sculpture. His new show at the Royal Academy (until 3 Dec) is billed as his most ambitious in a decade and involves six tonnes of steel mesh, eight km of coiled tubing and a gallery flooded with clay and sea water. Blimey!



CHILDREN’S THEATRE: I Believe In Unicorns, Roxburgh Hall Theatre, Stowe, 26 Oct

Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe In Unicorns, performed by Olivier Award nominated Wizard Presents theatre, comes to Roxburgh Hall Theatre at Stowe. The show is performed on a library set and if you bring along a book you can add it to the stage and swap it for a different book at the end, which is a really sweet touch.


BOOKS: Richard Ayoade, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street, Oxford, 26 Oct

The hilarious Richard Ayoade is popping up in Oxford this weekend for a signing of his new book Ayoade on Top.

MUSIC: Oxford Lieder Festival, various locations, until 26 Oct

In Oxford there’s the final week of the 18th Oxford Lieder Festival; one of the leading events of its kind in the world, singers and pianists from all over descend on Oxford for concerts, workshops, masterclasses, talks, and a bit of networking. This year will have over 100 events, with the theme Tales of Beyond: Magic, Myths and Mortals.


DANCE: GiselleMK Theatre, Milton Keynes, 25 Oct

This genre bending performance by South Africa’s internationally renowned choreographer Dada Masilo reimagines the iconic ballet, Giselle, in a lively South African village and features Tswana dance. Masilo stars in the title role.

TALK: Charles Simonyi Lecture, Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, 25 Oct

Held at Oxford Playhouse – the annual lecture is the highlight of the University of Oxford’s programme to engage the public in science. This year Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock MBE, above, will be discussing research surrounding the moon.

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