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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 12-18 May 2016

Lots going on, as ever, around the county this week.  Authors, ballet, film, comedy, the lot.  Plenty that’s worth kicking up your heels for!

Jaqueline Wilson, David’s Bookshop, Letchworth, 1pm & St Francis College, 2pm, 15 May


Jacqueline Wilson was inspiring the sort of fanatical devotion in younger readers that J K Rowling could only dream of long before Harry and his mates hit the scene.  Children’s Laureate, OBE, Dame-hood — and she’s been the author most often borrowed from British libraries over the last decade.  She’s at David’s Bookshop in Letchworth this week, officially opening their newly-expanded children’s bookshop — and then heading off to a massive public event at St Francis College where she’ll be talking about her latest book Rent a Bridesmaid.  Grab any Wilson-loving readers you have — and they’re everywhere — and head on over!’s-children’s-bookshop

Open Day, Frithsden Vineyard, Hemel Hempstead, 14 May, 11am-6pm 


Oh, an Open Day at Frithsden Vineyard is always a good sign that spring is here and summer is on its way!  Tastings of the new vintage, a barbeque lunch, teas, coffee and cakes — oh, and a spot of shopping for gifts and, of course, wine.  Free to get in, and you don’t need to book.  Just keep those fingers crossed for the weather.

Fine Gin Tasting, Baldock Art and Heritage Centre, 13 May, 8 – 10.30pm

gin tasting

Love that we already have a gin distillery in Herts (and another one on the way), and Pinkster, based in Royston, are hosting this fine gin tasting (what gin tasting isn’t fine?!) in Baldock.  It’s a first for the Baldock Festival, but let’s hope it’s not the last.  Sample up to 8 unusual gins, and learn about interesting ways to enjoy and garnish them.

Adam Stockman | People Without Places, Places Without People | Solo Exhibition​, Nude Tin Can Gallery, St. Albans, 17 – 29 May

adam stockman nude tin can

Again, Nude Tin Can in St Albans has come up with an interesting exhibition.  This time, it’s a solo show — Adam Stockman’s landscapes and figurative pieces are so minimalist as to be almost abstract.

Emma, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 18 May, 8pm


If you love your Jane Austen, then Emma is usually a popular choice.  After all, meddling in the romantic affairs of others is always going to go well, right?  Right.  She’s probably the most complicated and most infuriating of Austen’s heroines, but luckily sensible Mr Knightley is on hand to sort things out.

Swan Lake, Radlett Centre, 14 May, 2.30pm & 7.30pm


The Radlett Centre will be a neat venue to see the Vienna Festival Ballet perform Tchaikovsky’s classic Swan Lake.  The Vienna Festival Ballet is full of talented young dancers, and the lavish costumes and stunning sets along with the glorious music make this a great chance to see brilliant ballet without heading into London.

A View from the Bridge (Delayed Live Screening), Watford Palace Theatre, 12 May, 7pm

a view from the bridge

This was a huge hit when it was broadcast originally, so much so that it’s back by, as they say, popular demand.  This production won not one, not two, but three Olivier awards, and the play itself is a modern American classic — dark, passionate, challenging.  This one’s been described as ‘magnetic, electrifying, astonishingly bold’ — which all sounds pretty darn good.

Christian O’Connell, Harpenden Public Halls, 14 May, 8pm

christian o connell

Yup. that Christian O’Connell off the radio.  A national breakfast show DJ for 16 years, he’s won loads of awards — as well as various abusive complaints, stacks of hate mail, and the odd death threat here and there.  This is his third stand-up tour — following on from the last one, which sold out all over the country.  Expect A-list weirdo’s, offended clowns and angry cat lovers.

Hall Cruttenden: Straight Outta Cruttenden, Hertford Theatre, 13 May, 8pm


You’ll probably have caught Hal Cruttendon on Radio 4 or as the host of Live at the Apollo on the telly.  This week, however, he’s live at Hertford with his latest stand-up show, ranting about the evils of the modern world — over-sharing on social media (yeah, I do that) and the 5:2 diet (nope, don’t do that one).  Quite grown-up content, so leave even your teens at home…

Museums After Dark – Museums at Night 2016 Festival

st albans verulamium museum mosaic

Movie Night at the Museum, Verulamium Museum, 13 May, 7pm

Appropriately enough, the Verulamium Museum will be screening Spartacus, with Kirk Douglas as the slave who leads an uprising in the Roman republic.  C’mon, after me…  “I am Spartacus!”  “No, I am Spartacus…”

Lowewood Museum, Hoddesdon, May 13, 6-9pm

Go on a Witch Hunt after dark at the Lowewood Museum –lots of spooky fun by candlelight.  Not sure what you’ll do when you actually catch one, mind you…

Hertford Museum, May 14, 6-9pm

Enjoy drinks and live music before having a good old nose around the galleries of the Hertford Museum long after you’d normally have been thrown out.


Tom Stade – You’re Welcome, Court Theatre, Tring, 13 May, 8pm


I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for Canadians generally, having lived there for most of my 20s.  Tom Stade’s a funny one, too, which is cool.  He’s in my home town of Tring this week, too — so it just keeps getting better!  His new show is all about mischief and improv — sounds great.  And the Court Theatre is a fab little venue which continues to attract world-class comedy talent.


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