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This weekend

FRI 30 NOV - SUN 2 DEC 2018


MUSIC: All Saints, O2 Academy, Oxford, Fri 30 Nov

Don’t they look like they mean business in their grey suits? Back with a vengeance, All Saints’ fifth album Testament has had fans and critics in raptures. The girls are embarking on a winter tour to feature the album plus all their hits and you can catch them in Oxford for one night only.


CULTURE: Queer Encounters in the Museum, Ashmolean After Hours, Oxford, Fri 30 Nov

It’s been 50 years since the Sexual Offences Act decriminalised homosexual relationships. Professor Jennifer Ingleheart (Professor of Classics at the University of Durham and author of Masculine Plural: Queer Classics, Sex, and Education) explores our reactions to the human form and sexual representations we come across in museums. How do we feel looking at Sappho from Lesbos surrounded by women, sexy statues or even to hermaphrodites represented in art? You can also explore the galleries until 8pm, hear live music, grab a drink or book dinner in their rooftop restaurant.


COMEDY: Paul Foot, The Old Fire Station, Fri 30 Nov

Paul Foot’s show Image Conscious was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Fringe and he’s won a ton of awards, including a BBC New Comedy Award. He’s now started cropping up on shows like Never Mind The Buzzcocks, Would I Lie To You and 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown. The critics love him too with one describing him as ‘a deranged genius’ so I reckon he’s worth checking out whilst he’s in our ‘hood.


MUSIC: OSJ 50th Anniversary Concert, Dorchester Abbey, Wallingford, Fri 30 Nov

The Orchestra of St John’s will be celebrating their 50th anniversary concert with a concert in Dorchester Abbey, Wallingford which includes the eponymous flutist James Galway playing Mozart’s Flute Concerto No. 2 in D major K.314. Sublime.


FOOD & DRINK: Native Feasts Toad Ski, The Oxford Artisan Distillery, Fri 30 Nov

Dress for apres-ski in your finest salopettes as the Native Feast guys bring you a ski party in the threshing barn at The Oxford Artisan Distillery. You’ll be treated to bowls of classic ski dishes, a vodka/gin luge (a great way to warm up), alpine cocktails, glüwhein and some great live music as well as a disco.


MUSIC: David Gordon Trio: Alexander’s Rag Time Band, St Giles Church, Oxford, Sat 1 Dec

A real treat for jazz fans, pianist and composer (and incidentally baroque harpsichord player!), David Gordon is joined by Rosario Bonaccoroso on bass and Paul Cavacuiti on drums for an evening of mind-liberating music.


CHRISTMAS MARKET: Independent Oxford Xmas Market, Turl Street Kitchen, Sat 1 and Sun 2 Dec

Photo: Ermana Natural Skincare by Potters Instinct Photography

For the 4th year running, Turl Street Kitchen hosts its Christmas market showcasing local independent producers as part of Independent Oxford‘s mission to promote Oxford’s wonderful small businesses. Sellers include Ermana natural skincare, Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Shop at the Old Fire Station and Annie Sloan Interiors. You can pick up a unique Christmas gift and scoff a lovely lunch at the same time.

Sat Dec 1 is Small Business Saturday UK, a national campaign to encourage us to shop locally and support small businesses in our community, something close to Muddy’s heart and celebrated in our Awards. If you can’t make it to the Turl Street Kitchen Christmas market, how about popping along to one of these?


MUSIC: Villiers Quartet, Holywell Music Room, Oxford Sat 1 Dec

The Villiers Quartet were formerly the Quartet-in-Residence at the Faculty of Music, don’t you know, and their programme tonight features Mozart’s Prussian quartets and Shostakovich’s op.73 which he wrote following the censure of his 9th Symphony by the Soviet authorities.


THEATRE: Cilla, Wycombe Swan, Bucks, now until Sat 1 Dec

Cilla musical woman singing on stage

The writer of the acclaimed 2014  Cilla Black TV biopic, starring Sheridan Smith, has penned this new musical production, which is garnering a lorra, lorra good reviews. It arrives in Wycombe this week with Kara Lily Hayworth, who beat thousands of others at open auditions to win the part, playing the Scouse songbird. The action all takes part in the ’60s so, fear not, there will be no dodgy recreation of the Blind Date TV set. The perfect choice for a night out with your mum or girlfriends.


THEATRE: FAME The Musical, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, now until Sat 1 Dec

Get your fuchsia pink spandex out and ready – FAME The Musical is coming to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Celebrating its 30th anniversary (my god, it really is gonna live forever) this show’s got an all star cast from Chicago’s Mica Paris to Any Dream Will Do’s Keith Jack.


FILM: Russian Film Week, Curzon Oxford, now until Sun 2 Dec

The Curzon is celebrating some of the newest talent coming from Russia with the screening of eight films, some of which are followed by Q&As. Films include The Story of an Appointment, a tragic true story involving Count Leo Tolstoy, Salyut-7 about cosmonauts Vladimir Dzhanibekov and Viktor Savinykh losing contact with the space station and I am Losing Weight, about a girl called Anya who is left by her athlete boyfriend for putting on weight. Let’s hope it’s a revenge tale.


CHRISTMAS: Christmas Carnival, Waddesdon Manor, now until Wed 2 Jan

Using the amazing artworks in the Waddesdon collection for inspiration, the house and grounds are a feast for the senses this Christmas. The house is decorated beautifully, inspired by the Venetian carnival and 18th century fancy dress, and the manor is hosting its biggest Christmas fair ever with food and gifts on offer from charming wooden chalets (Sat 10 Nov – Sun 16 Dec). There’s also a light show by the Guildhall School, this year projected onto the stables, and featuring Waddesdon’s objects, gardens and architecture until Wed 2 Jan. Muddy went to the opening night – read our review here.

Other National Trust Christmas events open now:

Hughenden Manor, High Wycombe, Bucks

A Very Royal Christmas: a visit from the Faery is the theme for Christmas at Hughenden. From Fri 23 Nov, the manor will be decorated in traditional Victorian splendour to celebrate the visit of Queen Victoria and her daughter Princess Beatrice who came to lunch with Benjamin Disraeli in 1877. There’s a treasure hunt round the house for little ones – they have to find 10 gold crowns – plus miniature scenes to discover in the gardens.

Chastleton House, Moreton-in-Marsh, Oxon

Built by a prosperous wool merchant in the 17th Century, Chastleton House remained in the same family for 400 years until the National Trust renovated it in the 1990s. The beautiful house will be decorated for a Victorian Christmas and open to enjoy on the weekends of 24- 25 Nov, 1-2 Dec and 8-9 Dec.

Stowe, Nr Buckingham, Bucks

You can head to the Parlour Rooms for Christmas stalls (Mon 12 Nov – Sun 16 Dec) and find stocking fillers and traditional Xmas products, listen to carols in the New Inn courtyard (weekends until Sun 16 Dec) and have Christmas lunch with all the trimmings in the cafe (weekdays 3 – 21 Dec). Their landscape advent calendar in the stunning Stowe gardens – find all 24 doors hidden in the grounds starts Sat 1 Dec until Fri 4 Jan.

Ashridge Estate, nr Berkhamsted, Herts

There’s a festive trail for kids round the estate with specially decorated dens as they explore the homes of forest animals with a Christmas gift for every child. It runs every Saturday and Sunday in December, as well as Wed 26, Thurs 27 and Fri 28 Dec, from 10am to 3pm. There’s also a 1.5 mile long self-led seasonal walk – just follow the Christmas puds. And on Sun 9 Dec, you can bring your dog (Christmas decos and costumes encouraged) and follow Santa on a festive ramble. They round off the season with their annual post-Christmas stroll on 27 Dec where you’ll follow a scenic route and try to burn off the bulge.

Cliveden, Taplow, Berks

A charming Christmas trail round the grounds where kids need to help Mother Christmas with all sorts of tasks and challenges to make sure Father Christmas sets off on time on Christmas Eve. Open Sat and Sun 1, 2, 8, 9, and 16 Dec plus 20-24 Dec.


CHRISTMAS: Illuminated Christmas Lights Trail, Blenheim Palace, Oxon, until Sat 6 Jan

Blenheim’s Christmas light shows are pretty spectacular and this year’s trail has even more lasers, projections and thousands of pea-lights. There’s a new Field of Light, the scented Fire Garden, a Canopy of Light and Singing Trees. Santa and his elves will also be popping up along the way too. The house opens up this Sat decorated with the theme of Cinderella and the Christmas Market begins in the Great Court with rustic wooden chalets selling all sorts of festive gifts.


PANTO: Dick Whittington, Oxford Playhouse, until 6 Jan 

Can’t stand Z-list pantos? The Oxford Playhouse continues its policy of not bothering with the soap star brigade, with its in-house panto. Clearly they’re expecting a good turn out as it’s one of the longest running pantos in town! Check out our guide to the best local pantos here.


CHRISTMAS: Christmas at Stonor, until Sun 9 Dec, Stonor Park, Henley

From Wed 28, the historic house will be decorated with the theme Star of Wonder for the festive season. Each room will be individually designed and transformed with lights and decorations in keeping with the family antiques and portraits, and holly, larch and mistletoe will be used from the park. New for this year, you can book a candlelit tour of the house (for one night only on 28 Nov) where you can see many of the rooms by twinkling lights and candlelight. They’ve also got a new augmented reality app this year so you can see Santa flying over the house and fairies flying round the Christmas tree.



OPEN HOUSE: Mortimer House, Fitzrovia, London, until Sun 2 Dec

This cool and diverse 6 floored Art Deco venue is opening its doors to members and non-members to celebrate its first anniversary with a whole host of activities. A new type of members club, Mortimer House offers a place for people to create, work or relax and find that all elusive life/work balance. There are meeting rooms, event spaces, a living room, terrace, studio and gym so you can be in a meeting one minute, joining a yoga class the next and then moving onto a screening, workshop or cookery lesson. Activities this weekend include a Jingle Bell Rock workout, a flower crown workshop, ravioli cooking class, Vinyasa yoga class, film screening and games to entertain the kids. Check it out whilst you can.


ART: Tate Late, Tate Modern, London, Fri 30 Nov

Tate Modern stays open late tonight so you can enjoy the galleries for longer with music, workshops, screenings and talks laid on. You can join Sabrina Mahfouz at 7pm for her reading of How You Might Know Me, telling the stories of four women’s lives working in the UK sex industry. A Q&A and book signing follows.


CHRISTMAS: Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park London, until Sun 6 Jan

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice.


CHRISTMAS: Kew Gardens, London, until 5 Jan

Photo: RBG Kew

A spectacular winter trail with over a million twinkling lights and thousands of laser beams, Kew’s light show is awe-inspiring. You can be mesmerised by the Fire Garden, walk through the moonlit woods and check out the laser garden. Mulled wine, hot choc and spiced cider will help keep you warm and the kids can whizz round on vintage fairground rides whilst looking out for Santa and his elves.



THEATRE: Alice & Bob’s Whopping Christmas Cracker Show/Party, Pegasus Theatre, Oxford, Tues 4 dec – Thurs 27 Dec

A show that’s really a party with a heartwarming story at its centre, music and Christmas craziness, including the world’s biggest game of charades, present-opening, and a massive flash mob wrapping-paper war. You’ll feel like you’re at a family Christmas, arguments and all, but much more fun.


PANTO: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Wycombe Swan, Fri 7 – Sun 30 Dec 

Brendan Cole as the comely Huntsman? Yes indeedy, Strictly’s nemesis to Craig Revel Horwood makes his panto debut alongside Britain’s Got Talent’s comedian Mandy Muden as the evil Queen and panto dame veteran Jason Sutton. It’s a 10 from us for inspired casting, darling!


FOOD & DRINK: The Thythe Barn, Launton, Fri 14 Dec

The 14th century Thythe Barn in Launton, an award-winning wedding venue, is hosting its first ever supper club. The chefs from Absolute Taste have conjured up a tasting menu that won’t be revealed until the night. Having cooked for events such as the Ryder Cup, BBC Proms in the Park, the British Masters and also the Prince of Monaco, the food is bound to be exceptional. The barn will be decorated in full Christmas-y style and lends itself perfectly to a festive party. Book your table by calling 01869 226672 or email


KIDS: The Cat In The Hat, Aylesbury Waterside, Thurs 31 Jan – Sun 3 Feb 2019

Calling all Dr Suess fans! This Curve (of The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine fame) production of The Cat In The Hat will have kids wetting themselves in excitement. The classic picture book will be retold with original songs, circus skills and lots of mischief so don’t forget to pack spare undies.


THEATRE: The Girl on the Train, Milton Keynes Theatre, Wed 23- Sat 26 Jan 2019

I loved this book by Paula Hawkins and enjoyed the film (although shame it was set in the US instead of London) and now there’s a stage play. Starring Samantha Womack (Eastenders, Game On and Kingsman) critics are raving about it. Even if you already know the story of Rachel Watson and her obsession with her past life, apparently there are plenty of surprises in this gripping new play.



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