Fri 15 - Sun 17 March 2019
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEKEND
NEW OPENING: MK Gallery, Sat 16 Mar
This place is amazing. This massive stainless steel gallery, designed by cool and contemporary architecture firm 6a, is set to open this week, 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’ll 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.
SHOP: Creation Theatre Thrift Shop, OYAP Bicester, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Mar
I’ve seen quite a few plays by Oxford based Creation Theatre and they always have fantastically weird and wacky outfits- last year’s Brave New World had the cast in nude spandex and perspex! You can get your hands on the props and pieces worn in the shows at their pop-up thrift shop this weekend at OYAP Trust in Bicester. There’ll also be face painting, food and music.
Load of deliciously nerdy events going on this month to get the kids out of the house and secretly learning (mwahaha!) On Sat 16 Mar, kids can have a crack at Lovelace’s Labyrinth with a day of problem solving, puzzles and code breaking. Over in Bucks, Wycombe Museum celebrate British Science Week with mad scientist workshops, crazy experiments, potions and gooey slime, Sun Mar 17, booking essential.
MUSIC: Chipping Norton Music Festival, various locations, Fri 8 – Sat 23 Mar
Held in the lovely market town on the Warks/Glos borders, the festival is one of the oldest of its kind (this is its 107th year!) and offers professional concerts as well as music and drama classes for all ages. The very cool Dominic Aldiss Trio play on Sun 17, a jazz repertoire based on classical themes, and a final show with highlights and awards happens at the end of the fest.
THEATRE: The Bodyguard, MK Theatre, Sat 23 Mar
Following her West End debut (it was raving reviews all the way for the X Factor winner) and sell-out UK tour in 2016 where I first saw her perform this role, Alexandra Burke reprises her role as Rachel Marron in The Bodyguard. Burke won’t be performing in every touring show this time round but MK has made the cut- yippee!
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.
BALLET: The Russian State Ballet of Siberia, New Theatre Oxford, Fri 15- Sat 16 Mar
The classical ballet company pirouette on to the New Theatre’s stage with Swan Lake. As well as an evening show there’s also a matinee on the Sat, 2.30pm.
THEATRE: Comedy About a Bank Robbery, Aylesbury Waterside, Sat 16 Mar
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.
CIRCUS: Circus Zyair, Campbell Park, Milton Keynes, until Tues 19 Mar
If you loved The Greatest Showman, you’re in luck! Circus Zyair perform at Campbell Park in their heated big top. Expect music, funky costumes and some killer acrobatics. No Hugh Jackman though, sorry.
FESTIVAL: Audiograft Festival Oxford, various locations, until Sun 17 March
This is quite possibly bonkers, but could also be magical! Curated by the Sonic Arts Research Unit (SARU) at Oxford Brookes University, the four day festival showcases sound art and experimental music created by international sound mavericks using oscillators, vibraphones and optosonic synthesisers. There’s also exhibitions, mapping workshops and a guided soundwalk in East Oxford on Sat 16. Highlights include performances by media artists and composers Olivia Block, Sarah Hennies and techy duo Sonic Luz at Old Fire Station, Sat 16 Mar. Oxford is the first stop for the festival that will then move on to Bristol, London and Birmingham.
OUT OF HIBERNATION: Cogges Farm, Sat 16 – Sun 17 Mar
Charming Cogges Farm, in Witney, hold their annual opening weekend where there’ll be cooking demos in the manor house and loads of baby animals to feed. New for 2019 there’s mini ride-on tractors, an improved sandpit and picnic area along with a small pop-up exhibition in the manor house from the film Colette. It’s pretty lo-fi but in an age of overactive thumbs and smart phones I’m all for it.
EXHIBITION: British Comics Frame by Frame, Blackwell Hall, Weston Library, Oxford, until Sun 28 April
This exhibit explores the evolution of the British comic from medieval block books to the anarchy of V for Vendetta and modern indie comics.
KIDS: Tweedy’s Illusion Confusion, The Mill Arts Centre, Banbury, Sat 16 Mar
Missed Tweedy’s sell out turn at Pegasus Theatre in Oxford? Gifford’s Circus’ talisman rocks up to The Mill Arts Centre with his hilarious show. Having been a magician’s assistant in the past, Tweedy decides he wants to be the main man but his attempts at magic go horribly wrong.
COMEDY: Nish Kumar, Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, Sun 17 Mar
Double Edinburgh Comedy Award Nominee Nish Kumar stops off in Aylesbury on his UK tour that touches on politics and humankind’s self-destructive nature- don’t worry, I’m sure it’s funnier than it sounds! A regular on the comedy scene Nish has appeared on Live at the Apollo, Have I Got News For You and even has his own show on Netflix with fellow comedian Joel Dommet.
WORKSHOP: Pasta making, Jericho Kitchen Cookery School, Sun 17 Mar
Jericho Kitchen Cookery School run all sorts of cool classes and spots usually get nabbed pretty quickly so getting booking if you fancy having a go. This month Italian author and chef Ursula Ferrigno is teaching a Perfect Pasta course where you’ll learn how to make traditional egg pasta, tagliatelle, ravioli (my favourite!) and more.
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.
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: 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.
EXHIBITION: Abstract Allies, Zuleika Gallery, London, until Fri 29 Mar
Curated by former BBC Radio News journo and hardcore art collector, Tim Sayer MBE, and the gallery’s director Lizzie Collins, this colourful exhibits showcases art, sculptures and ceramics from abstract artists including Liz West (you can also check out her installation over the border in Herts at St Albans Museum & Gallery until Tues 19 Mar), Lucie Rie and Howard Hodgkin.
LONDON DESIGN WEEK
There’s a couple of interior shows popping up in London this month if you’re thinking of sprucing up your gaff. First up is London Design Week at Chelsea Harbour Design Centre, until Fri 15 Mar, with 120 showrooms and over of 600 luxury brands- the biggest of its kind in Europe. Later in the month the whopper Ideal Home Show rocks up at Olympia London, Fri 22 Mar – Sun 7 April, with hundreds of free talks, 600 companies and the latest tech. This year the theme is Best of British so expect loads of UK companies. Does anyone else feel a splurge coming on?
KIDS: Legoland reopens, Fri 15 Mar
Kids rejoice! Legoland reopens for the summer season this month and is hosting events at weekends to celebrate the new The Lego Movie 2, including building activities, character experiences, interactive photo opportunities and more. The park will also be unveiling its newest ride next month, The Haunted House Monster Party, Sat 13 April.
EXHIBITION: Christian Dior: Designer of Dreams, Victoria & Albert Museum, London, until Sun 14 July
Tickets are selling like hotcakes for this! The V&A is showing the largest House of Dior exhibition ever staged in the UK, tracing the history of Christian Dior and the six artistic directors who succeeded him. The exhibition is based on the major exhibition Christian Dior: Couturier du Rêve, organised by the Musée des Arts Décoratifs, Paris, and 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.
THEATRE: Rain Man, Wycombe Swan, Tue 19 – Sat 23 Mar
I really want to see this one. Based on the Oscar winning blockbuster, the brilliant Paul Nicholls (Eastenders, The C-Word, Death in Paradise, Bridget Jones 2) and Chris Fountain (Hollyoaks) star as the road-tripping brothers in this touring show.
FESTIVAL: 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.