What’s On: Muddy Guide 7-13 Apr 2016
Lots going on this week for all you culture-vultures. Music, ballet, drama, art, the lot. And a bit of comedy thrown in there to lighten the mood a little… If you’re looking for things to keep the younger folk busy, check out the Easter Hols Survival Guide, which as is stuffed full of ideas as I was of chocolate just a week or so ago. With some new bits added, too.
Photography Exhibition, Nude Tin Can Gallery, St Albans, 5-21 Apr
Nude Tin Can Gallery in St Albans has some great shows, and this one looks properly interesting. It’s all about photography but with the artists chosen for how differently they use the medium, rather than because they share anything in common, including abstract black and white images, ultraviolet eroticism, conceptual figurative images, time-captured flowers, minimalist landscapes, digital illustrations, and Kasia Burke’s stunning still-life images of food that are almost like Old Masters in their composition. Looks brilliant, and I’m definitely going to pop in.
Kate Rusby, Watford Colosseum, 7 pr, 7.30pm
Kate Rusby is one of those crossover musicians who’s making folk music cooler than it’s been in a long time. Critics often talk about how she has the voice of an angel – combined with a very earthy wit – as well as the way she brings together the traditional and the modern to move it all forward. And she’s got a big band of stellar musicians to help her along. Sounds good, actually.
Stig of the Dump, Mumford Theatre, Cambridge, 9 Apr, 5.30pm
I used to love reading Stig of the Dump when I was small, and love introducing my eldest to it as well. This adaptation by London Contemporary Theatre sounds positively charming, and I’m gutted that we won’t be back from hols in time to go and see it. Hope it’s touring…
Don Quixote, Watford Palace, 10 Apr, 4pm
Another delayed live screening – I love ‘em! – and this time it’s the Bolshoi Ballet’s production of Don Quixote. The eccentric and eponymous hero sets out on his quest to find the perfect woman, with the ever-loyal Sancho Panza by his side. Expect windmills…
The Benslow Baroque Opera: Venus and Adonis, Benslow Music, Hitchin, 9 Apr, 12 noon & 7.30pm
If you’re a bit of an early-ish opera buff, this is a proper treat. Venus and Adonis, by little known Baroque composer John Blow, is a stunner. You can just go and watch it – or you could enjoy the ‘Ultimate Baroque Experience’ with Purcell’s gorgeous ‘Welcome to All the Pleasures’ (sounds promising, followed by a pre-opera dinner leading up to the evening’s performance. Not everyone’s cup of tea, maybe, but this is definitely another one I’m gutted to be missing.
Songs of Shakespeare, St. Saviour’s Church, St. Albans, 8 & 9 Apr, 8pm
Shakespeare is everywhere at the moment, given his 400th anniversary this month, and this weekend, it’s a evening inspired by the poetry and songs of the Bard. Julian Godlee, alongside his cellist brother, and pianist Stephen Barlow (who just happens to be married to national treasure and certified hottie Joanna Lumley). And the music itself will range from Purcell to Gershwin. An evening of culture – and all in aid of local charity ‘Elizabeth’s Legacy of Hope’ which supports child amputees around the world.
Hertford Arts Festival, 8 Apr-8 May
Loads going on, as ever, at the Hertford Arts Festival, showcasing and promoting local artists and craftspeople. There’s a free art trail running throughout, and you can download a free map from their website that will guide you round the more than 25 pop-up venues around the town. There’s also the launch event at Hertford Castle on 8 Apr, with 18 artists exhibiting – as well as wine and nibbles. You’ll need a ticket for that one, though.
Spotlight, Watford Palace Theatre, 8 & 11 Apr, 2.30pm & 7.30pm
Loved this film – and I was delighted to see it win Best Picture at this year’s Oscars. It’s a sort of old-fashioned crusading-journalists-against-the-establishment movie, and Mark Ruffalo (*sigh*), Michael Keaton and Rachel McAdams are brilliant. Tough topic, but very sensitively handled in a nuanced way that it could easily not have been.
Hail, Caesar! Hertford Theatre, 8 & 9 Apr, 2pm & 7.45pm respectively
I’ve promised my eldest we can go and see this one at some point, and I can’t wait. It looks absolutely hilarious, very clever, and gorgeously filmed. Oh, and it has George Clooney in it. Can’t be too shabby.
Alex Perry, Watford Pumphouse Theatre and Arts Centre, 9 April, 8pm
Fancy checking out a stand-up comedian that you might not have come across before? And for free? You could head over to the Pumphouse for an evening with Alex Perry – who’s described as sharp, relaxed and insightful. Sounds intriguing.
Coppelia, Harlow Playhouse, 7-10 Apr, 7pm & 2pm
More ballet, this time live – and what a sweet one it is, too. Lots of love triumphing over malice and mischief, as the doll comes to life and dances to the beautiful music of Léo Délibes. Bit of an Easter treat if this is your sort of thing.
Griff Rhys Jones: A Work in Progress, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hemsptead, 13 Apr, 8pm
I’ve said it before and, dammit, I’ll say it again – Hemel’s Old Town Hall gets some stonking comedians performing there, as well as all the rest. This show is a ramble through stories, anecdotes, reminiscences and half-remembered events from a long career with his much-missed comedy partner Mel Smith. It’s also a chance to watch the unseen pilot of a sit-com that never was.
Comedy in the Dark, Southbank, London, 11 Apr-11 Jul
This is being billed as ‘the most fun you have with the lights switched off’ – although I think there might well be a couple of other contenders for that particular crown (*wink-wink*). Not saying it doesn’t sound fun, though – a rolling line-up of top-flight comedians performing in total darkness. I think the idea is that you have a heightened sensory experience. We’ll see. Or not, actually. Not if it’s dark.
Doctor Faustus, Duke of York’s Theatre, London, 9 Apr-4 Jun
The Jamie Lloyd Company are getting a bit of a reputation for unusual, some might say anarchic, interpretations of classic texts – and this Spring, they’re turning their attention to Christopher Marlowe’s brilliant Doctor Faustus. Kit Harington, (yes, from Game of Thrones) will play the good doctor who selling his soul to the Devil in exchange for the ability to do whatever he likes in the pursuit of pleasure. That’s so not going to end well…
Richard Herring: Happy Now? Alban Arena, 15 Apr, 8pm
Me and Mr C saw Richard Herring a few years ago and he was great – witty, insightful, quite dark, and definitely thought-provoking. His latest show, all about life with a wife and baby, is coming to St Albans soon, but there aren’t many tickets left so you might want to get booking if you want to catch him.