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This week

Mon 14 - Sun 20 Jan 2019


THEATRE: The Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Oxford Playhouse, Tues 15 – Sat 19 Jan

If you enjoyed The Play that goes Wrong and Mischief Movie Night, then you’ll be tickled by this hit comedy from the same team. A priceless diamond is being stored by a corrupt city bank – what could possibly go wrong? A mad-cap fast paced caper with inventive and complicated staging, great visual gags and physical slapstick – all the ingredients for a fun night out when you need it most, in the middle of January.


MUSIC: Oxford Philharmonic, Oxford Town Hall, Mon 14 Jan 

The incredible pianist Martha Argerich will be with the Oxford Phil on Mon 14 for a concert of Bach, Schumann and Beethoven, whilst on Sat 26 Stravinsky is the focus for a concert of piano and wind instruments accompanied by the Choir of Christ Church Cathedral. Both concerts are conducted by resident conductor Marios Papadopoulos as part of the Oxford Philharmonic’s 20th anniversary season.


KIDS: Dr Dolittle The Musical, Oxford New Theatre, Tues 15 – Sat 26 Jan

This acclaimed musical extravaganza is great fun for all the family with stunning puppetry and memorable songs. Based on the 1967 Rex Harrison film, it tells the story of a wacky but kind doctor who can talk to animals and his quest to find the Giant Pink Sea Snail. The doctor is played by Mark Williams (Arthur Weasley in the Harry Potter films) but the puppets are the stars – the doctor’s trusty sidekick Polynesia the parrot, the bespectacled horse having his eyes tested and an hilarious dance routing from a two-headed camel are real highlights. It looks like the perfect antidote to a cold grey January.


FITNESS: Silent Disco Yoga, Sweat Studios, Milton Keynes, Sat 19 Jan

The modern, accessible Sweat Studios yoga centre gets full marks for creative thinking this month. This coming Sat, 19 Jan, they’re offering a silent disco yoga evening – if you’re doing Dry January, this could be the night out you’ve been waiting for.


ART: Nature of the Beast, Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford, until Sat 9 Feb

Rhino by Rory Carnegie

Looking at nature’s darker side, this exhibition shows work in a variety of media including painting and photography. Rory Carnegie photographs animals in a studio, and by removing them from their natural surroundings, he plays with our perception of a familiar looking beast; Abigail Reed draws huge moths so we can see how truly strange these creatures are; James Fotheringhame’s paintings find fleeting moments in nature; and Helen Ward pins insects to soft white backgrounds creating shadows and elegant compositions.


KIDS: Sunday Storytime, Blackwells (Broad St), Oxford, Sun 20 Jan

For a low key Sunday, head to Blackwells Children’s books dept for storytime at midday when staff will read from a selection of story books. This Sunday the fabulous rhyming Oi Frog written by Kes Gray with illustrations by Jim Field (winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize) about the special places animals sit is being featured, plus Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake, another witty rhyming picture book. A free event but please register your interest on their website. The books read on the day are subject to change.

EXHIBITION: Christmas Toy Box, Bucks County Museum, until Sat 19 Jan

OMG, I had one of these Daleks! This retro toy display from the Seventies, Eighties and Nineties looks like a total blast. It includes Dr Who, Thunderbirds, string puppets, the Sony Walkman (yup, had one of those too), jack in the boxes and teddy bears. There are games to play from Giant Jenga, Brio Trains and Duplo, while your bored kids yawn wide and say rude things about you on snapchat.


MUSIC: Someone Like You – The Adele Songbook, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Sun 20 Jan

Katie Markham was hand-picked by Adele herself on The Graham Norton Show to take her music on tour accompanied by a six-piece band. All the hits are belted out, plus some of those by Adele’s musical heroes, including George Michael and The Cure.


EXHIBITION: Great War Propaganda, Abingdon Museum, Oxon, now until Thurs 31 Jan

Extended by popular demand, this collection of conscription and propaganda posters explores the social attitudes and underlying stories of the Great War period, giving us some insight into life at home and on the front line one hundred years ago.


MUSIC: Oxford Philharmonic, TS Eliott Theatre, Oxford, Sun 20 Jan

Hungarian chamber music of the early twentieth century is the theme for this concert with pianist Martin Roscoe joined by soloists from the orchestra. The programme includes Zoltan Kodaly’s String Quartet No. 2, Ernst von Dohnanyi’s hearty Piano Quintet No. 2 and, to finish, Bela Bartok’s masterpiece String Quartet No. 5.


EXHIBITION: Penny Woolcock, Fantastic Cities, Modern Art Oxford, until Sun 3 March

Photo: Penny Woolcock Utopia

Put this super-cool exhibition celebrating the work of contemporary artist and director, Penny Woolcock, whose work unpicks social inequality on your must-see list. Argentine-born but Oxford-based for many years, Woolcock has won many awards for her diverse range of work from film, opera, documentaries and art projects. This exhibition includes three brand new moving-image commissions exploring how dramatically different peoples’ lives can be within the same city. A real thought-provoker, but don’t take the kids as there’s a bit of what my mother primly calls ‘language’.


JAZZ: The Spin Trio, The Abingdon Arms, Oxon, Sun 20 Jan

End your weekend with some free relaxing jazz care of the Spin Trio from Oxford’s Spin Jazz – Mark Doffman on drums, Raf Mizraki on bass and Pete Oxley on guitar – at this lovely gastropub in Abingdon. Food isn’t served on Sunday nights but the bar is most certainly open so you can enjoy your fav tipple whilst listening to the jazz between 6.30pm and 8.30pm.


EXHIBITION: Sappho to Suffrage, Bodleian Library, until Sun 24 Feb

If you haven’t been to this exhibition showcasing some of the Bodleian’s most remarkable and treasured items, get on down there as it finishes next month. From pirates to poets from suffragettes to explorers it celebrates women who dared to be different and not do what was expected of them. Treasures on display include 2nd century BCE fragments of Sappho’s poetry written on papyrus; the manuscript of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; Ada Lovelace’s 19th century notes on mathematics; a musical score by Fanny Mendelssohn; a manuscript of Jane Austen’s juvenilia, Volume the First; and photographs by the Victorian photography pioneer Julia Margaret Cameron. Go, sisters!


MUSIC: City of Oxford Orchestra’s Annual Viennese New Year’s Concert, Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, Sat 19 Jan

This much loved annual concert is conducted by the renowned Stephen Bell (famous for his Viennese concerts) and stars tenor extraordinaire Joshua Elliot in a programme of Mozart (The Marriage of Figaro), Suppe (Morning, Noon and Night in Vienna), Lehar (You are my Heart’s Delight) and Strauss (waltzes, polkas and marches) in the stunning setting of the Sheldonian. I’m told it’s so uplifting that people end up dancing out the door when it ends.



EXHIBITION: Stanley Spencer: Friends and Family, Stanley Spencer Gallery Cookham, Berks, until Mar  2019

Youth and Experience self portraits by Stanley Spencer

Not a loyalty scheme, but the latest exhibition at the brilliant Stanley Spencer Gallery on Cookham High Street. Although more famous for his local landscapes, his portraits are world class – in fact one on his first self portraits hangs in the Tate Britain. This new exhibition is an intimate snapshot of the artist’s private life, demonstrating his immense talent at capturing the mood and character of those closest to him.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves, the National Theatre, London, Wed 16 Jan – Sat 2 Mar

Cate Blanchett makes her debut at The National alongside Stephen Dilane in this new play by Martin Crimp, based on Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. It explores desire, sexual violence and the complicated roles men and women play – blimey!. There’s also a series of talks with members of the production and the playwright throughout the play’s run though Cate isn’t on the menu I’m afraid.


ART: London Art Fair, Islington, London, Wed 16 – Sun 20 Jan

Sealed Silence by Lisa Wright

Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.


FAMILY: Crowns and Coronations, Windsor Castle, Sat 19 Jan

Queen Elizabeth II Coronation crown and sceptre

Too much for January? This was just like my New Year’s Eve outfit. And no it wasn’t fancy dress. You can get the look too, as Windsor Castle is running an art workshop celebrating The Queen’s Coronation where you can make a crown inspired by the Crown Jewels. Need more pomp and pageantry? On Sat 26 Jan, listen to the story of The Queen’s Coronation, read by Olivia Armstrong, and see a role play of the ceremony.



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

Oooh, I’m liking the quirky mayhem of this production. The team behind The Twits and George’s Marvellous Medicine return to the Aylesbury Waterside with Dr Seuss’s The Cat In The Hat. The classic picture book is retold with original songs, circus skills and some seriously groovy staging. For children 3+.


POP UP: Sneaky Supper Club, Isis Farmhouse, Oxford, Fri 1 Feb

We love a supper club at Muddy and the Sneaky Supper Club’s Doombuster event at the charming and rustic Isis Farmhouse looks rather spesh. The menu includes Jerusalem artichoke soup, pork and ricotta ravioli, seared mackerel, duck with a port sauce and a pear meringue tart to finish. They’re happy to accommodate any dietary foibles if you let them know in advance. Tickets are on sale now.


MUSICAL: Dirty Dancing, Wycombe Swan, Mon 4 – Sat 9 Feb

Back by popular demand, the new tour is bound to be a huge hit like all the many productions before it. People can’t seem to get enough of the coming of age story of Baby and her holiday romance with resort dance instructor, Johnny. With all the hits, such as Hungry Eyes and Time of my Life, you’ll be up dancing in the aisles before you can say ‘No-one leaves Baby in the corner’.


ART: Jeff Koons, Ashmolean Museum, Oxford, Thurs 7 Feb – 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.


MUSICAL: Blood Brothers, Wycombe Swan, Tues 19 – Sat 23 Feb

Written by Willy Russell and produced by Bill Kenwright, Blood Brothers tells the moving story of twins separated at birth and brought up on different sides of the tracks. When they eventually meet, the consequences are far-reaching. With a hit score and great cast, this rousing show has won multiple awards so if musicals are your thing, it’s definitely worth checking out.



THEATRE: All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre, London, Sat 2 Feb – Sat 11 May

Not the recent fabulous tv series but a play based on the award-winning 1950s film starring Bette Davis as Margo Channing, a Broadway star, and her young fan, Eve Harrington, who inveigles her way into her life. With Gillian Anderson and Lilly James in the starring roles, director Ivo van Hove at the helm, and with the themes of celebrity and youth at its core, this looks like a dead cert for success.


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