MON 25 SEPT – SUN 1 OCT 2017
Eating, drinking, dancing, flirting and you haven’t even left the house yet! Out you go and have some serious fun in the hood this week.
Thame Food Festival – Sat 30 Sept – Sun 1 Oct
My how you’ve grown! The Thame Food Festival has expanded its waistline over the last few years to include a pop up restaurant with Weston-on-the-Green’s fabulous The Milk Shed, chef demos, gin emporium and an awesome chef’s banquet on Sat evening starring Stoke Park’s superchef Chris Wheeler (above) and some serious quantities of Beef Wellington. The festival has totally outgrown the centre of town and is now at the Thame Showground, but there’s loads of free parking plus a free shuttle bus from Thame.
Thame Showground, Oxon, thamefoodfestival.co.uk
Legally Blonde, Wycombe Swan, Mon 25 – Sat 30 Sept
I took my mum to see Legally Blonde last year and we both hooted our way through it, it was much funnier than I thought it would be. The current show has a celeb cast – Rita Simons (Roxy Mitchell in BBC’s EastEnders) Lucie Jones (Eurovision UK representative 2017) and the delicious Bill Ward (James Barton in Emmerdale, Charlie Stubbs in Coronation Street) as Professor Callahan. I went to see this new production with my daughter and we both loved it, read my review here. Grab a group of girlies and go have a giggle.
The Daylesford Health & Wellness Retreat, Daylesford Cookery School, 29 -30 Sept
This two day retreat allows you to experience the best of both The Cookery School and Bamford Haybarn Spa, whilst staying in the Daylsford cottages. What a tough gig! In collaboration with Daylesford’s resident nutritionist, Rhaya Jordan and yoga teacher Nikki Jackson, there are classes, massages and facials, demos and hands on classes in The Cookery School, plus a Chef’s Table Supper on Saturday evening. All you have to do is relax (and, er, don’t look at your bill till you get home).
No Frills, The North Wall, Oxford, 29 Sept
dotdotdot dance (great name!) use flamenco as a medium to create innovative dance, and in No Frills, they set out to strip flamenco down to its bare essence to connect with contemporary way. The show has toured the UK three times, winning the Buxton Fringe Dance Award two years running, so it’s a goodie. Bravo too to North Wall for continuing its innovative programming.
Owl and the Pussycat, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, Sun 1 Oct
Sweeeeet! A gorgeous new ballet for family audiences by Let’s All Dance takes a humorous look at the famous Lear poem. Rather like English National Ballet’s ‘First Ballet’ series, this performance is especially designed for kids aged 2-11 years, including those with special needs.
Cornerstone Arts Centre, 25 Station Rd, Didcot, cornerstone-arts.org
Softer – Jenny Holzer Exhibition at Blenheim Palace, Thurs 28 Sep – 31 Dec
The fourth artist to to showcase contemporary art at Blenheim Palace (my kids still talk about Ai Wei Wei back in 2015), Holzer will be creating new work directly addressing our military and political history – eeek! For this show she’s developing large-scale light projections that will transform the Formal Gardens after dark in a series of night time public events. Sound cool right? Plus visitors can also explore more meditative areas featuring examples of Holzer’s best-known work.
Donnie Darko, Live Screening, Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe, Tues 26 Sept
Fancy watching a classic film in the Hell-Fire Caves under West Wycombe? Of course you do! With real in house bats, dark tunnels and legendary tales of haunting in the caves, will be guaranteed to freak you out. You can warm-up with a bloody cocktail served in the underground bar, then delve deeper into the caves whilst taking part in a classic horror movie hunt. All guests will receive complementary popcorn and themed food whilst watching the film.
Hell Fire Caves, West Wycombe, Bucks, vintagecinema.co.uk
Sunday Scramble, Bicester Heritage, Sun 1 Oct
One for petrol-heads. The 10th 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. Hagerty International, the classic car insurance specialist, will be hosting its live Valuation Arena to inspect and photograph vehicles, and provide owners with a valuation certificate. Plus there are Tiger Moth flying lessons, workshops, showrooms and buildings will be open and there’ll be so much revving of engines on site you’ll be high as a kite.
Bicester Heritage, Buckingham Road, A4421, Launton, Bicester, bicesterheritage.co.uk
Windsor Fringe Festival, Sat 23 Sept – Sat 7 Oct
If you like your arts fresh out of the box and are nudging the West of Muddy Bucks/Oxon territory, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of events and shows, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing judged by Hilary Mantel, Fay Weldon and Kenneth Branagh, to name a few.
The Tiger Who Came to Tea, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Mon 25 – Tues 26 Sep
If a massive wild cat really did come round and vandalise your kitchen, realistically you’d scarper long before it started loutishly drinking PG Tips out of the teapot spout, right? I must take this up with legendary children’s author Judith Kerr next time I see her. Anyway, the classic kids’ bedtime story arrives at Aylesbury Waterside theatre this month in musical form, fresh from a hit West End run. Director David Wood has also adapted BFG, The Witches and Meg & Mog for the stage, so you’re in very safe hands. Just don’t open the door without your tranquiliser gun.
Henley Ploughing Match, Sun 1 Oct
The annual Ploughing Match in Bishopsland, Dunsden will bring out the finest farmers in the area, plus celebrity scyther Aidan Turner will be turning up ready oiled and shirtless to judge the winner (er, not true, but let’s just stay in this happy place for a moment). There are 40 tractors ploughing, a companion dog show, a poultry auction at 12pm (dare you to have a go!), ferret racing, terrier racing, plus a 8 working pairs of heavy horses. Basically it’s more farmy fun than you can shake a stick at.
Potter’s Arms Comedy Night – Leo Kearse, Thurs 28 Sept
This rural pub outside Amersham continues to boggle the mind with its A-list comedy talent. Its regular last Thursday of the month comedy slot is being filled this month by Leo Kearse, with opening act Glenn Moore and regular MC Simon Clayton. Food is included in the interval as usual.
La Voix Humaine, North Wall, Oxford, Sat 30 Sep
Olivier Award-winning OperaUpClose returns to The North Wall this autumn with a new production of Poulenc and Cocteau’s La Voix Humaine. Poulenc and Cocteau had shared the perils and pleasures of early-20th-century gay life – including Nazi occupation – for decades by the time the composer tackled his friend’s hit play, and this intense 50-minute tour de force for solo soprano is the result. Performed by Sarah Minns and Richard Black on piano and directed by OperaUpClose’s Artistic Director, Robin Norton-Hale, it’s a devastating musical portrait of a human being on the brink of disintegration. Sneak in a stiff drink if it all gets too much.
Curiosity Carnival, Live Friday, The Ashmolean Museum, Fri 29 Sept
A huge festival of curiosity across the University of Oxford’s museums, libraries, gardens and woods, joining hundreds of other European cities celebrating European Researchers’ Night (er, sounds like a ball!). The Ashmolean is celebrating as it does best, with its innovative free entry Live Friday event, offering dance, art, talks, demonstrations and music to consider how researchers use time and space to think about what makes us and the universe tick. There’s the Orchestra of the Enlightenment, combining music with cutting-edge science about the rhythms of sleep; 3D virtual reality to explore DNA; FLUX dance theatre performing and basically a whole load of kind of weirdy cool stuff.
Free to enter but you do need to book a ticket in advance. Tickets
Thorpe Park Fright Nights, Fri 29 Sept – Tues 31 Oct
Wah-ha-haaaa! This is my idea of total hell, but if you or your kids like to be frightened to death, be my guest at Thorpe Park Fright Nights. They’re promising new horror experiences, live action attractions based on The Walking Dead, extreme live action horror mazes, Derren Brown’s Rise of the Demon ghost train and and all manner of other horrific stuff not suitable for middle-aged women called Hero over 40.
Seurat to Riley: The Art of Perception, Compton Verney until Sun Oct 1
Don’t miss this excellent critically-acclaimed summer exhibition including the leading figures of 1960’s Op Art – Bridget Riley, Jesus Rafael Soto, and Victor Vasarely -installations, and a stunning site-specific wall painting by German abstract artist Lothar Götz. “This show fizzes with the zinging colours and eye-popping patterns of Op Art, from the Impressionists to the mind-bending Sixties experiments of Bridget Riley … a trippy, wild ride” – The Daily Telegraph. Daily tours at 12noon & 2.30pm.
Tue – Sun & bank holidays until Sun Oct 1 2017, 11am – 5pm, comptonverney.org.uk
Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, Tate Modern, until Oct 22
‘An exhibition that uncovers an entire lost history of American art’ is how Guardian critic Jonathan Jones describes this visual journey through the civil rights movement. Some engage with legendary figures from the period, with paintings in homage to political leaders Martin Luther King, Malcolm X and Angela Davis, musician John Coltrane and sporting hero Jack Johnson. Muhammad Ali appears in Andy Warhol’s famous painting. Unmissable era-defining artworks.
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