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This week

MON 17 - SUN 23 SEP 2018

FILM: Ocean Film Festival, Amey Theatre, Abingdon, Tues 18 Sep

There are some amazing films being shown as part of this festival that aims to inspire us to take care of our oceans. Surfers riding ridiculously enormous waves, daring adventurers in treacherous oceans, free divers in their silent world and spectacular footage of seascapes and marine creatures. If you loved Blue Planet 2, you’ll love this.

oceanfilmfestival.co.uk

 

THEATRE: Othello, The Oxford Playhouse, Oxford, Tues 18 – Sat 22 Sep

This sparsely staged version of Othello by the English Touring Company and directed by Richard Twyman has had great critical success. Powerful performances, lots of swearing, disconcerting and loud, it’s not for lovers of traditional Shakespearean experiences but it will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre.

oxfordplayhouse.com

 

MUSIC: Robert Mitchell’s Epiphany 3, The Stables, Milton Keynes, Tues 18 Sep

Described by Giles Peterson as one of the world’s finest jazz musicians, Robert Mitchell plays his latest album interspersed with poetry and spoken word. He effortlessly moves from funk, Latin to free form and back again. I enjoy tickling the ivories myself so watching a great talent like Robert running along those keys can be an awe-inspiring experience.

thestables.org

 

THEATRE: War Horse, Milton Keynes Theatre, Bucks, Wed 19 Sep – Sat 6 Oct

national theatre war horse production man riding life size Woden horse puppet

Apparently over 7 million people have seen this extraordinary show and if you’re not one of them, now’s your chance. Set in World War I, this moving and spectacular production is theatre at its best. The puppetry is so clever that after a while you fail to notice the operators and the models seem to transform into real horses. A must-see.

atgtickets.com

 

ART & DRINKS: Gin ‘n’ Jazz evening, The Ashmolean, Wed 19 Sep

The spine-tingling exhibition Spellbound: Magic, Ritual & Witchcraft (see our review here) is on now and is a real must-see. It’s creepy, fascinating and surprisingly moving, especially the exhibits about witchcraft. You might well require a stiff G&T after your visit, and the Ash can oblige with another of their popular Gin ‘n’ Jazz evenings on Wed 19. Parting with 30 quid gets you a glass of Ashmolean gin & tonic, FREE gin tasting from a specialist menu, sharing platters and nibbles, live jazz and outdoor seating (indoors if the weather is no longer obliging).  And don’t forget if you have little ones (under 18 months) you can take them to the Baby Ashmoles session on Friday where you can learn about 18th century art and they can sing and play. Let’s face it, it’s a heck of a lot more civilized than a the soft play centre.

ashmolean.org

 

POP UP CINEMA: Moon, Large Barn Hall, Amersham, Bucks, Thurs 20 Sep

Duncan Jones, previously Zowie Bowie and son of David, directed this sparse, clever, creepy sci-fi movie nearly 10 years ago but it still resonates today with his annoying computer for company (Alexa or Siri?) and his mission to try and reverse the earth’s energy crisis. Grab a beanbag and your complimentary popcorn and drift off into space with this competent thriller.

vintagecinema.co.uk

 

MUSIC & COMEDY: The Nightingales and Stewart Lee, The Jericho Tavern, Oxford, Thurs 20 Sep

A chance to see comedy genius Stewart Lee performing one of his 1980s sets before The Nightingales take the stage. One of John Peel’s favs in the 1980s, this indie band have been around a long time with many changes of line up but their sound and ethos remain the same. Take a trip down memory lane and throw yourself into the mosh pit.

seetickets.com

 

EVENT: Murder Mystery with Science Oxford, Cogges Manor Farm, Fri 21 Sep

cogges farmhouse brick courtyard stone floor white chalk silhouette drawing

I’m loving the sound of this super-quirky event. Very different from your ‘normal’ Murder Mystery party this one. That clever lot at Science Oxford have teamed up with Cogges, taking the fictitious (whew!) shooting of a workman helping with renovations as a spring board for your own hands-on investigation. There’s an hour or so for you to investigate, using modern day forensics to solve the crime. Oh, and the bar’ll be open. Just saying!

cogges.org.uk

 

MUSIC: Jazz at St Giles, Oxford, Sat 22 Sep 

A whole series of concerts (8 in total) are taking place at St Giles Church, helping to raise funds for The St Giles Academy of Music which trains young musicians. It kicks off this Sat night with Pete Oxley (co-founder of The Spin Jazz Club) and Nick Meier – demon guitar duo playing a mix of Bach, Latin, jazz standards and their own stuff – amazing!

 jazzstgiles.com

 

ART: Future Knowledge Artists’ Panel, Modern Art Oxford, Fri 21 Sep and exhibition, Sat 22 Sep – Sat 28 Oct

This exhibition explores climate change through creative presentations and there’s an artists’ panel the night before it opens to discuss the works, followed by a performance by ballet dancer Eve Mutso. It’s a truly international affair with an epic timeline stretching back 750 million years by American artist Rachel Susan, Eline McGeorge’s weaving works from Norway, and Brit Tania Kovats’ vast steel and salt sculptures, to name but a few. I’m liking the sound of Lucy Kimbell’s wallpaper that changes colour over time in response to air pollutants – might save a trip to Homebase.

modernartoxford.org

 

FESTIVAL: Chilterns Heritage Festival, Bucks, Sat 22 Sep – Sat 6 Oct

In case you didn’t know, you either live in or very close to an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. No, not Aylesbury rather the gorgeous Chilterns and for the first time there’s a festival to celebrate the diverse heritage of our region. The Chiltern Society has organised 25 special events which include an Iron Age weekend at Wendover Woods (where families will have the opportunity to meet the Iron Age inhabitants of Boddington Hillfort, and help them with their everyday jobs like grinding grain, making butter and cooking stew), pop-up cinema screenings at the National History Museum in Tring and the Hellfire Caves in West Wycombe, a Roald Dahl guided trail and afternoon tea in Great Missenden, an afternoon at the Wormsley Estate owned by the famous Getty family and history walks around some of the area’s market towns including Berkhamsted and High Wycombe. That little lot should keep you busy. If you’ve always meant to visit some local attractions but never got round to it now’s your chance.

chilternsociety.org.uk

 

SCIENCE FUN: Maker Club, Science Oxford, Sat 22 Sep

If your teens are into tech (whose aren’t?) but you want to get them off their screens, don’t have a fit and throw their tablets away à la Kirsty Allsopp, send them along to one of Science Oxford’s regular Maker Clubs. They can spend the day or just pop in for a session with expert staff on hand and access to 3D printers, laser cutters and other technology that most of us don’t have at home. They can work on their own or join in with team projects such as First Lego League, robot wars or video game challenges, whilst learning new skills and making new friends. Your parenting gold star awaits.

scienceoxford.com

 

KIDS’ THEATRE: How to Hide a Lion, Oxford Playhouse, Sat 22 – Sun 23 Sep

Helen Stephen’s picture book for children about a lion being chased out of town and a little girl’s attempt to hide him has been adapted for stage with superb puppetry, music and singing. The result is an enchanting 30 minutes of theatre that will captivate little ones and impress adults with the multitasking performers. The puppets and staging have an old-fashioned charm and the story ends with the adults admitting they were wrong – kids will love it!

oxfordplayhouse.com

 

OPERA: Great Barn Operas, Fingest, Bucks, Sat 22 and Sun 23 Sep

No need to travel into town for some great opera – Fingest hosts Diva Opera in its great barn. Apparently the soaring rafters make for fab acoustics and a picnic marquee is erected for interval refreshments. This Sat, enjoy Strauss’ Die Fledermaus, followed on the Sunday by Mozart’s The Abduction from the Seraglio.

fingestgreatbarnopera.co.uk

 

ART: Autumn Exhibition, Obsidian Art, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks, now until Sun 28 Oct

Autumn Lake by Clare Buchta

Art works (including painting, illustration, sculpture, drawing, printmaking, ceramics and jewellery) inspired by the autumn are available to view and buy at this large gallery next to the Bucks Goats Centre (great fun for little ones) near Aylesbury but if you can’t make it in, there’s loads to buy online.

obsidianart.co.uk

 

MUSIC: Daft Punk Orchestra, 02 Academy, Oxford – Sun 23 Sep

A 13 piece orchestra reworking Daft Punk’s greatest hits – what’s not to like? Apparently this show has sold out around the country and now’s your chance to catch it in our ‘hood.

academymusicgroup.com

 

KIDS’ THEATRE: Mischief & Mystery in Moon Valley, Cornerstone, Didcot, Sun 23 Sep

Tove Jansson’s hippo-like Moomins are brought to life in this magical puppet show for 4 to 7 year olds with an ingenious set and original music score. The show is designed to involve the children in the storytelling experience so expect interactive play as the creatures head off on adventures in Moomin Valley.

cornerstonearts.org

 

ART: Sculpture in the Vineyard, Bothy Vineyard, Oxon, now – Sun 23 Sep

Fancy something a little different? Walk amongst the vines of Oxfordshire’s oldest vineyard near Abingdon and enjoy over 200 sculptures by more than 50 artists in this stunning setting. The art is available for purchase as is the wine, plus there’s food and drink with BBQs on the weekends. Kids can be entertained with an art-hunt round the vineyard and there will be sensory workshops and performances.

sculptureinthevineyard.uk

 

FURTHER AFIELD

FESTIVAL: Windsor Fringe Festival, various Windsor locations, Fri 21 – Sat 6 Oct 

Windsor fringe Festival 2018 collage of acts with colour filters

If you like your arts fresh out of the box, head to Windsor Fringe Festival – the second oldest fringe in the UK after Edinburgh. Expect an eclectic programme of comedy, music, drama, DJs, arts, gin tasting and more, plus the world reknowned International Windsor Fringe Award for New Drama Writing, sponsored by the legendary Kenneth Branagh.

windsorfringe.co.uk

 

THEATRE: Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre, London, Tues 18 Sep – Wed 19 Jan 2019

Super thesps Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, star in Shakespeare’s tale of ill-fated lovers in war torn Ancient Rome and Egypt. With celebrated director Simon Goodwin in charge (who even took a trip to Egypt to consider how the country might differ in our imaginations from that of Shakespeare’s day) and award-winning designer Hildegard Bechtler, it’s shaping up to be a special theatrical event.

nationaltheatre.org

 

TOUR: Conquer the Tower, Windsor Castle, until 30 Sep

To the tower! On this occasion you’ll keep your head. The iconic Round Tower dominates the Windsor skyline, and now you can take the 200 steps (wheeze… one too many ice creams this summer) to check out the epic view from the top. While the Queen’s holidaying in Balmoral,  poke around her gaff and see St George’s Chapel, Long Walk, Windsor Great Park and the London skyline.

royalcollection.org.uk

 

DESIGN: London Design Festival, various London locations, Sat 15 – Sun 23 Sep

Arvo Pärt X Arup: Memory and Light, V&A

Celebrating London as a powerhouse of design, loads of events are on offer across the capital including workshops, demonstrations and launches. As always, the V&A will be at the forefront with show-stopping installations and across the city, there are 5 major trade shows, the commercial pillars of the festival, where you can meet designers, buyers, sellers and manufacturers and discover new products and design trends.

londondesignfestival.com

 

FASHION: London Fashion Week and Festival, Fri 14 – Sun 23 Sep

If your invitations to the main catwalk shows got lost in the post (yours too, eh?), mere mortals can buy tickets to the London Fashion Week Festival with designer and trend shows on the catwalk, talks with various industry figures such as ex-fashion ed turned interiors blogger Erica Davies, and pop-up shopping with over 150 top British and international brands. Totter along in your Jimmy Choos (or Zara sales bargain in my case) and return home looking absolutely fabulous, dahling.

londonfashionweek.co.uk

 

THEATRE: Pinter at The Pinter, London, now – 23 Feb 2019

Never before have all twenty of Pinter’s short plays been performed together in one season.  To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Pinter’s death, this gathering of stellar actors (many of whom worked with Pinter) looks like a humdinger. Famous names include Martin Freeman, Jane Horrocks, Tamsin Greig, David Suchet, Sir Anthony Sher, Mark Rylance, John Simm, Penelope Wilton and – alright, love – Danny Dyer! And if that’s not enough, they’ll even be some surprise guest stars. This is gonna be big, people, so get booking. Bonus: one act plays mean you’ll still have some evening left for dinner and drinkies in the Big Smoke

atgtickets.com

 

THEATRE: The Merry Wives of Windsor, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon, now until 22 Sep

Fiona Laird, who has worked with some of the biggest names in British theatre from Benedict Cumberbatch to Dame Judi Dench, not only directs but has composed the music for this new fun-filled RSC production, which has something of a TOWIE feel to it (yes, really). It’s a glam suburban comedy about wealthy wives and over-inflated egos, with a strong female cast including Katy Brittain, Beth Cordingly, Karen Fishwick (Juliet in the RSC’s current Romeo & Juliet), Rebecca Lacey, Sakuntala Ramanee, Ishia Bennison and Charlotte Josephine. The performance on Sep 12 will be broadcast live in cinemas nationwide.

rsc.orgo.uk

 

BOOK NOW

EVENT: An Evening with Grayson Perry, Jay Rayner, Gareth Malone and Rachel Tucker, New Theatre Oxford, Mon 24 Sep

grayson perry artist contemporary art ceramics cross-dressing man make-up

Never say Muddy doesn’t find you the unusual… Start your evening with restaurant critic Jay Rayner telling tales of dining hell and bad reviews, followed by West End leading lady Rachel Tucker singing songs with choir man Gareth Malone. Quick G&T in the interval before listening to artist and author Grayson Perry discussing cultural division in the world of Brexit and Trump. All proceeds go to charity.

agttickets.com

 

MUSIC: Joan Armatrading, New Theatre Oxford, Fri 28 Sep

Catch Joan on her solo tour for 1 night in Oxford. With over 40 years in the biz, she has loads of hits with which to entertain you but has also written some new songs for the tour. If you’re a fan, it’ll be a real treat to see our award-winning singer / songwriter locally and in a relatively small venue.

atgtickets.com

 

THEATRE: Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art, Oxford Playhouse, Mon 24 – Sat 29 Sep

As one of our finest playwrights, Alan Bennett is renowned for his wit and sharp character observations of  us Britons, done with warmth and compassion. Here he explores friendship, rivalry and heartache through a meeting between the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten, and how their creativity impacted on them. This is the first revival of this brilliantly clever play since it was first staged at The National Theatre and with Matthew Kelly, David Yelland and Veronica Roberts in its strong cast and Phillip Franks directing, it should be a winner.

oxfordplayhouse.com

 

COMEDY: Tom Allen, Absolutely, Oxford Playhouse, Sun 30 Sep

Tickets are selling fast for the acerbic wit of Tom Allen, regular on Mock the Week, 8 Out of 10 Cats, Radio 4’s Just a Minute and more. He tells great stories, playing up his camp credentials, and his show has been a sell out around the country so grab a ticket whilst you still can.

oxfordplayhouse.com

 

THEATRE: Evita, Wycombe Swan, Tues 23 – Sat 27 Oct

After a smash hit run in London, Bill Kenwright’s production of Rice and Webber’s classic Evita promises to captivate the provinces with its story of Eva’s rise to power at a time of political unrest, leading her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people. With top West End stars including Lucy O’Bryne and Mike Sterling, it’s been doing the rounds to critical acclaim so get booking tickets now.

wycombeswan.co.uk

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