Mon 10 - Sun 16 Feb
Stilettos on but nowhere to go? Here’s my marvellous Muddy guide to the week with 27 things to to in Bucks, Oxon and beyond.
MUDDY’S PICK OF THE WEEK
THEATRE: Six, Aylesbury Waterside, 11 – 15 Feb
We’re super-excited to hear that West End hit Six is bringing the sass to Aylesbury Waterside Theatre. Nominated for five Olivier Awards, the show is re-telling of Tudor history and the lives of Henry VIII’s six wives through original pop music. A dead cert for a girly evening out (11 – 15 Feb).
EVENT: Fame Lab Oxford 2020 heats, St Aldates Tavern, Oxford, 10 – 11 Feb
Heat one of this competition to find a science, tech, maths or engineering star takes place at St Aldates Tavern with the regional finals at Science Oxford Centre in Headington on 6 Mar. Entrants need to surprise and fascinate the general public with unbelievable facts and compelling performances. They only have three minutes to impress the judges and no notes or boring Power Point slides are allowed. It’s hurting my head even thinking what might be revealed but it all sounds like good egghead fun.
BOOKS: Short Stories Aloud, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Oxford, 10 Feb
Part of Blackwell’s Short Stories Aloud series, local author Clover Stroud (My Wild and Sleepless Nights) and Rosanna Amaka (The Book of Echoes) will be providing short stories that will be read aloud by trained actors, followed by a Q&A.
EXHIBITION: Backstage at the Ballet, The North Wall, 11 Feb – 7 Mar
How amazing is this shot? This week at The North Wall you can catch the opening of this new exhibition of British ballet dancer turned photojournalist Colin Jones’ work. This is the first public exhibition of Jones’ portfolio which includes rarely-seen backstage images of the British ballet scene from the 1950s onwards.
THEATRE: Skylight, Old Fire Station, Oxford, 11 – 15 Feb
Over in central Oxford you can see this modern classic from acclaimed British writer David Hare, about the passionate and fractious relationship between two old flames.
THEATRE: Bleak House, Blackwell’s Bookshop, Broad Street, Oxford, until 7 Mar
Where better to watch a classic Charles Dickens mystery than surrounded by over three miles of bookshelves in Blackwell’s imposing Norrington Room? A typically inventive production by Creation Theatre – the live music and five actors playing multiple roles should be enough to transport you away to a world of intrigue. Muddy review here.
THEATRE: On Your Feet, Milton Keynes Theatre, 11 – 15 Feb
Following the true love story of Emilio and Gloria from Cuba to Miami this musical comes to MK straight from the West End, and features members of the show’s original cast.
The Last Hurrah explores the effects of climate change through theatre. Top marks for the set being made of 100% recycled materials.
MAGIC: Brace of Spades, Stowe, Bucks, 12 Feb
Fancy a family magic show? Abracadabra! Here’s one at Stowe by magician Tom Spades. It should be a goodie as it had a sell-out run at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe.
COMEDY: Tom Stade, Glee Club, Oxford, 13 Feb
The Canadian comic comes to Oxford with his brand new show, Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet, promising hilarious anecdotes about family life (16+).
KIDS: Oi Frog & Friends!, Aylesbury Waterside, 13 – 15 Feb
Gray and Jim Field’s best-selling series of picture books is reimagined on stage in Oi Frog & Friends! – expect humour, a fun time and loads of rhyme (hey, see what I did there?).
THEATRE: Hotter, The North Wall, Oxford, 14 Feb
Performed by two friends and ex-girlfriends, Hotter, is an adult only show about what gets you hot under the collar (yes, in that way!). A great option if you’re rejecting romance and opting for a naughty girls’ night on V Day.
EXHIBITION: Paint Park, MK Gallery, Milton Keynes, until 1 Mar
Who would have thought it was the year of ‘phygital’ painting (a combination of physical and digital, keep up!)? Alison Goodyear’s Paint Park exhibition at MK Gallery’s Project Space involves donning a VR headset, leaving you feeling like you just jumped into a painting à la Mary Poppins. A great one to take your kids to – just make sure you let them have a turn with the headset.
DANCE: Joëlle Pappas: Nocturne, The Abbey, Sutton Courtney, 16 Feb
Set to an original programme of French music and song, this show by professional dancer and founder of Oxford-based Tac-au-Tac Dance Theatre, Joëlle Pappas, takes its inspiration from the haunting life of sculptor Camille Claudel who spent the last 30 years of her life in a psychiatric institution. The show will also be performed at St Michael at the Northgate in Oxford (24 Feb).
THEATRE: Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Chipping Norton Theatre, 5 – 15 Feb
Adapted from P.G.Wodehouse’s The Code of the Woosters this farcical play had a hugely successful run on the West End in 2014 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. The show features three actors who switch roles throughout, an unwanted marriage and, erm, the theft of a novelty cow creamer. Muddy review on the way, so keep your eyes peeled.
EXHIBITION: Tools for Life, Modern Art Oxford, 8 Feb – 10 May
We’re excited for Modern Art Oxford’s Tools for Life, the first solo show from Chilean artist Johanna Unzueta. The space combines art, clothing, a large-scale felt installation and a short film for a multi-faceted look at function and form.
Human Think Festival, various Oxford locations, 1 – 14 Feb
Hosted by Oxford Brookes University, this annual event does exactly what it says on the tin – encourages us to think about what it means to be human in 2020, tackling topics and questions such as the refugee crisis, masculinity and global warming. There are 30 free events hosted in various locations around Oxford with highlights including a seminar given by acclaimed actor Toby Jones on poet John Clare’s life and work (2 Feb), Stand Up for Human Suffering (7 Feb) and a performative piece entitled The Melting Arctic: a ghost sonata (13 Feb).
EXHIBITION: Art of the Wild: Gertrude Hermes and the Natural World, River & Rowing Museum, 7 Feb – 4 May
This exhibition features innovative prints on loan from the Ashmolean museum, from Jazz Age wood engravings of birds, fish and flowers to her monumental coloured linocuts of the 1950s.
KIDS: Chloe and the Colour Catcher, Then North Wall, Oxford, 15 Feb
At The North Wall there’s Chloe and the Colour Catcher, a charming story about bravery as a young girl goes on a mission to defeat the Grey Queen by unleashing all seven colours of the rainbow.
COMEDY: Matt Richardson, Cornerstone, Didcot, 15 Feb
Young-gun Matt Richardson is stopping off in Didcot on his nationwide Imposter tour.
Oxford Maths Festival, 15 – 16 Feb
Organised by the University of Oxford’s maths department this annual fest started in 2018 to encourage younger children to get into the subject with a variety of free talks, workshops and craft sessions across the numeric weekender.
Cornerstone Youth Festival, Cornerstone Arts, Didcot, 16 – 23 Feb
Half term saviour incoming! Cornerstone has a stellar line up of arts and cultural events for kids coming up including children’s yoga, beginners latin and ballroom lessons, physical theatre workshops and award-winning comedy musicians Bowjangles. Bonus points for a 25% sibling discount on workshops.
COMEDY: Josh Widdicombe, Milton Keynes Theatre, 16 Feb
Josh Widdicombe makes a return to our ‘hood with his show Bit Much… which promises to tackle hot comedy topics of, erm, the closing time of his local park and pesto (I’m sure it’s funnier than it sounds) along with his trademark impressions.
Oxford Yoga and Vegan Festival, O2 Academy Oxford, 16 Feb
This wellbeing festival returns to Oxford for its third year with all-day yoga and meditation sessions along with 50 stalls selling vegan food and ethical products. There’ll also be yoga sessions for kids, with under 14s getting free access to the festival.
NEW EXHIBITION: Steve McQueen, Tate Modern, London, 13 Feb – 11 May
I love this shot! This solo exhibition of London-born artist and director of Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave, Steve McQueen’s portfolio features 14 major works spanning his extensive career in film, photography and sculpture and is the first major UK exhibition since he received the Turner Prize in 1999. So, yeah, it’s a pretty big deal! The display will cover the last 25 years of McQueen’s career including personal and intimate works such as his early film on a Super 8 camera and this awesome aerial depiction of the Statue of Liberty above. The show also coincides with McQueen’s latest artwork Year 3, on show at Tate Britain until 3 May. tate.org.uk
THEATRE: Pretty Woman The Musical, Piccadilly Theatre, London, 13 Feb – 2 Jan 2021
This month I’m excited for the start of Pretty Woman’s West End stint after it’s successful Broadway premier in 2018. The production has some major creds with choreography from two-time Tony Award winner Jerry Mitchell (Kinky Boots, Legally Blonde, Hairspray), and an original score from Grammy winner Bryan Adams (yes, really!).
CONCERT: Madonna, London Palladium, until 16 Feb
Looking sultry Madge! This month you have 15 chances to see the Queen of Pop herself at the London Palladium. Dig out your 80s garb and snaffle tickets quick as it’s bound to be a sell out.