Fri 29 - Sun 31 March
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
THEATRE: The Rocky Horror Show, New Theatre Oxford, Sat 30 Mar
Pelvic-thrusts at the ready for the Time Warp! You can catch Duncan James (Blue, Hollyoaks) in a corset, tights and lippy – yep, you read that right – at Oxford’s New Theatre this month. Also starring is Strictly champ Joanne Clifton and Kristian Lavercombe who’ll be reprising his role as Riff Raff, following more than 1,300 performances in The Rocky Horror Show around the world. My question is – who’s that guy in the leopard budgie smugglers in the back of the photo, he deserves his own show!
OPERA: Welsh National Opera, Milton Keynes Theatre, Fri 29 Mar
For its Spring season, WNO perform its dramatic production of The Magic Flute, Fri 29. It’s worth going just to find out what on Earth that giant lobster is all about.
TOUR: Twilight Vintage Bus Tours, Broad Street, Oxford, Sat 30 Mar
Oxford Bus Museum sends out its beautifully restored 1950s and 60s double decker busses onto the streets of Oxford for their annual tour of the city. All buses are restored by volunteers at the museum and will have a conductor dinging the bell and issuing tickets. Tours are free and leave Broad Street every 15 mins from 6.15pm, the last leaving at 8.30pm.
More info here
THEATRE: Dirty Dancing, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Sat 30 Mar
If you missed Dirty Dancing last month at the Wycombe Swan the theatre gods have answered your prayers as it’s showing again 30 mins up the road in Aylesbury. I saw it last year with my mum and loved it. It’s like seeing an old friend, they really don’t mess with the film version at all, and the only squeamish moment from memory was the sex scene – zipped along on the big screen but my god it felt like a long time being a voyeur in the theatre! Anyway, Johnny this time round is Michael O’Reilly, previously a dancer with Matthew Bourne and also, titillatingly, one of the Magic Mike performers on The X Factor. Bring your watermelons – apparently overwhelmed women have been throwing them at him.
FOOD: Free From Festival, Oxford Town Hall, Sat 30 Mar
Zero gluten, dairy or refined sugar- yes, there really is food that contains none of these ingredients (no croissants though, sorry). The UK’s first Free From Festival comes to Oxford with loads of local exhibitors and those further afield, as well as talks with nutritionists and industry professionals. Tickets include a drink on entry.
Punting season is upon us and fingers crossed the sunshine follows. All the local punt spots are now opening for business, central Oxford has Magdalen Bridge or Folly Bridge (opening up soon), but if you want to escape the crowds and grab a posh lunch while you’re at it, head to Cherwell Boat House– it’s all very civilised until you fall or crash into the river bank.
OUT OF HIBERNATION
Lots of gorgeous heritage spots waking up ready for Spring this month. Waddesdon Manor reopened its collections for viewing on Wed 27 Mar with loads of different tours around the stunning building including the wine cellar and unseen parts of the manor. Chiltern Open Air Museum also opens this weekend with a themed WW1 day with reenactors and a poppy trail, Sat 30 Mar.
FAIR: Wedding Fair, Bucks County Museum, Aylesbury, Sat 30 Mar
The charming museum in Aylesbury’s Old Quarter is now offering wedding ceremonies and you can see what the venue has to offer at its wedding fair that’ll showcase the spaces on offer- the Georgian Room, the Hall and the Walled Garden. The museum’s wedding planner will be on hand as well as over fifteen supplies of photography, car hire, flowers, marquees and more. 11am – 3pm.
THEATRE: The Effect, Modern Art Oxford, Sat 30 Mar
If you enjoyed watching Emma Stone and Jonah Hill in Maniac on Netflix (it’s definitely worth a watch) then this looks like it’ll be right up your street. Performed in my favourite Oxford gallery by local contemporary theatre company Ronin, The Effect is about two drug trial volunteers who fall in love. Worth a punt.
Biagio Spring Wedding Event, Bicester & Thame, until Sat 30 Mar
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. Expect champers, complimentary engraving and wedding day treats in the Thame or Bicester stores, with the added bonus on Thurs 28 that you can snaffle a free mini mani, styling advice and 20% off any purchases made on the night. Ding flipping dong!
COMEDY: Seann Walsh, The Beacon, Wantage, Sat 30 Mar
Seann’s new stand up, After This One, I’m Going Home, has been selling like hotcakes (everyone wants the goss on THAT Strictly kiss, no doubt). Still a few tickets left at The Beacon for comedy’s Lothario, so get booking soon if you want to nab them.
KIDS: Day out with Thomas, Didcot Railway, Sat 30 – Sun 31 Mar
I’m always slightly puzzled by the enduring appeal of Thomas, though my oldest son would probably still choose ‘Episodes of Thomas the Tank Engine 2002 – 2007′ as his specialist subject on Mastermind. Anyway, kids can meet the big blue guy, his friends and The Fat Controller at Dicot- hop on rides, activities and stories throughout the day.
KIDS: Lambing Festival, Earth Trust, Abingdon, Sat 30 – Sun 31 Mar
Spring has sprung and so have the baby lambs! The annual lambing festival at this charming outdoor Earth Trust lets kids go behind the scenes of a working farm and feed the baby animals. There’s also bale climbing, activities, tractor rides and the Poem Tree Café will be open for refreshments along with a BBQ serving local grub. It’s pretty lo-fi but in an age of overactive thumbs and smart phones I’m all for it.
CULTURE: Oxford Literary Festival, various locations, Sat 30 Mar – Sun 7 Apr
We love a good lit fest here at Muddy and this one’s a biggie – over 100 events with talks from leading authors and public figures all in fantastic settings including Sheldonian Theatre and Blackwell’s. Highlights this year include interviews with Strictly’s Darcy Bussell, Ranulph Fiennes and Micheal Morpurgo. Other speakers announced include Jo Brand, journo Kate Adie and Nobel Prize winning novelist Kazuo Ishiguro.
EXHIBITION: The British Life Photography Awards, Banbury Museum, until Sun 12 May
The photos in this super cool exhibit candidly document everyday life in Britain, from street life and portraiture to Brits on holiday and even the weather- many of them thought provoking, humorous and poignant. Banbury Museum gets a first look being the first venue in the national tour of the best photographs from the 2018 competition- it’s well worth checking out.
NEW OPENING: MK Gallery
This place is amazing. This massive stainless steel gallery, designed by cool and contemporary architecture firm 6a is now open for business, complete with five double height exhibition spaces and The Sky Room that overlooks Campbell Park- it will host the city’s first independent cinema, comedy, concerts and workshops. There’s also be a community space and new independent café, shop and garden. The gallery’s first exhibit, The Lie of the Land, looks at design, architecture and social history since the 18th century in relation to the city and features work from over 80 artists.
EXHIBITION: 1066: A Medieval Mosaic, Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum, Woodstock, until 31 May
I’m slightly puzzled by the popularity of this but the exhibit has been extended by an extra few months so it must be pretty cool! The Medieval Mosaic is a complete recreation of the Bayeux Tapestry handcrafted from 3 million pieces of spring steel and took 33 years to complete (!). It’s listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the world’s largest steel mosaic- history buffs, check it out!
EXHIBITION: Lui Shou-Kwan Centenary exhibit, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, until Sun 7 Apr
With paintings from the Ashmolean’s own collection, this exhibit celebrates the birth of 20th century Hong Kong artist Lui Shou-Kwan. The artist is most known for his Zen paintings, abstract landscape art using ink.
Say goodbye to snowdrops and a big hello to daffodils that are springing up everywhere. New for 2019 Cliveden present their new programme The Gilded Gardens, inspired by the 24 carat gilded golden gates on the Sounding chamber and thousands of daffodils that grow across the estate- this year the gardening team have added a further 57 varieties to the existing 20 so there grounds really will be carpeted in canary, until Tues 30 April. Head to the Water Garden and Blenheim Pavilion for the best of ‘em. Stowe will also be brimming with the yellow bloomer, along with other pretty spring foliage. Or head to Waddesdon who’ve named a whole patch of the grounds after the flower, Daffodil Valley.
EXHIBITION: An Earthly Paradise: William Morris & the Thames, River & Rowing Museum, until Sun 14 July
I have great memories of taking my family to William Morris’s house in Gloucestershire and having them all sit outside glumly for an hour proclaiming it the most boring thing ever while I drooled over the textiles and furniture. Ah, happy days! Anyway, this exhibition focuses on how the Thames influenced Morris’ work. He had a rural retreat in Oxfordshire, where he loved to boat and fish, ergo the influence of the river in his textiles and designs. Pieces have been collated from the V&A, The William Morris Gallery and the British Library to make this exhibition possible and it also delves into Morris personal life and his politics.
ART: Jeff Koons at The Ashmolean, Oxford, until Sun 9 Jun
Behemoth of the contemporary art world, Jeff Koons is curating his own exhibition in collaboration with Norman Rosenthal. Spanning Koons’ entire career and showcasing seventeen works, most of which have never been shown in the UK before, the show will include his popular series Equilibrium, Statuary, Banality, Antiquity and his recent Gazing Ball sculptures and paintings. To celebrate the Ashmolean’s exhibit, Koons has created a brand new limited edition print (oooh exclusive!), experimenting with different arty techniques, which you can buy, signed and dated, from the museum.
EXHIBITION: Turner, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock, until Mon 22 Apr
The Young Turner: Ambitions in Architecture and the Art of Perspective takes place in Blenheim’s Gallery with works from The Ashmolean, The Tate and private collections. The exhibition celebrates some of his earliest commissions and shows his progress in depicting architecture and perspective in drawings, paintings and engravings from the 1780s – 1810s. You can also see one of Turner’s sketchbooks and some diagrams from a lecture he gave to the Royal Academy on perspective, which have rarely been exhibited before.
EXHIBITION: Van Gogh and Britain, Tate Britain, London, Wed 27 Mar – Tues 27 Aug
This new major exhibition will be the first to explore the artist’s relationship with Britain and the literature, art and culture that inspired his work. Over 45 works by the artist from public and private collections including Starry Night on the Rhône 1888 from the Musée d’Orsay, Paris, and the rarely loaned Sunflowers 1888 from the National Gallery, London. There’ll also be work by British artist who were influenced by Van Gogh’s work including Francis Bacon ad David Bomberg.
EXHIBITION: Don McCullin Photography, until Mon 6 May & Dorothea Tanning ,until Sun 9 Jun, Tate Britain
Over 250 photographs spanning Don McCullin’s 6o year career are on display at Tate Britain and include his iconic war images, including Vietnam, Northern Island and Syria, as well as some of his work focussing on poverty in England. You can also see over 100 works by Dorothea Tanning, from her 7 decade career as a surrealist artist, at Tate Modern until Sun 9 Jun.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
This exhibit, the largest House of Dior collection ever staged in the UK, has been HUGE- it is sold out but there are a few first-come, first served tickets available from 10am (from the Grand Entrance) and it’s well worth trying your luck. Or you can see the exhibit by purchasing a membership for the V&A (plus you get loads of added extras like sneak previews, a magazine subscription and access to the members room). The exhibit traces the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him and is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, plus there’s a new section exploring Dior’s fascination with British culture. A highlight is the Christian Dior dress worn by Princess Margaret for her 21st birthday celebrations, on loan from the Museum of London.
INTERIORS: Ideal Home Show, Olympia London, until Sun 7 Apr
The whopper Ideal Home Show rocks up at Olympia London with hundreds of free talks, 600 companies and the latest tech for the home. This year the theme is Best of British so expect loads of UK companies. Does anyone else feel a splurge coming on?
SUPPER CLUB: Native Feasts, Peterley Manor Farm, Great Missenden, Fri 26, Sat 27 Apr, Fri 3, Sat 4, Fri 10, Sat 11 May
Book that babysitter ASAP- supper club aficionados Native Feasts pop up in the vintage greenhouse at Peterley Manor Farm with five course menus all made with local spring produce. On the menu for April is wild garlic cracked spelt risotto (yum), pressed shoulder of Oxfordshire lamb (double yum), rhubarb and ginger fool and more. There’ll also be a pop-up bar serving artisanal tipple in the form of a curated English wine list, seasonal cocktails and soft drinks.
Chilterns Live, Pendley Meadow, Tring, Sat 29 June
Oooh, new and shiny! There’s a brand new festival near our ‘hood! Chilterns Live will be popping up in Tring with a stellar pop line-up of Busted (this got a few squeals in Muddy HQ), Sophie Ellis Bextor, The Feeling and Top Loader.
Gin & Fizz Festival, Henley Rugby Club, Sat 6 Apr
This is right up our street- music, bubbles, wine, gin on tap and big muscly men running around in tiny rugby shorts (it’s Henley Hawks vs Guernsey Raiders, but the rugby bit isn’t compulsory). This free event will have 19 stalls and 10 local tipple suppliers serving up the goods including Henley based Mr Hobbs Gin and Fairmile Vineyard, plus Oxford Artisan Distillery and Puddingstone Distillery from just over the border in Tring. There’ll also be food and live jazz for a G&T fuelled boogie.
More info here.