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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 14-20 Jan 2016

Loads of good films on this week – which is just the thing in my book: snuggling up in the warm and dry to watch something fab with, possibly, a handful or two of popcorn to keep me company.  Other bits, too, to get you through any January blues.  Or greys, more like it.

‘‘Not Now, Bernard’ and Other Monster Stories,’ Hertford Theatre, 23 Jan, 11am & 1pm, and Watford Palace Theatre, 30 Jan, 12pm & 3pm

 Not Now Bernard [72707]

If you’ve got little people to entertain, this would be a great choice.  Not Now, Bernard is a real favourite – little Bernard is being ignored and then he finds a great big purple monster in the back garden.  Add in 2 more monster stories – The Two Monsters and The Monster and the Teddy Bear – and it’s apparently jam-packed with monsters, masks, puppets, music, the lot.  Plenty of chances to catch it, too, in Hertford and Watford.

‘Groovy Greeks and Incredible Invaders,’ Watford Colosseum, 14-16 Jan


I took our eldest to see Horrible Histories on stage a few years ago now, and he absolutely loved it.   Choose your show – Groovy Greeks or Incredible Invaders – or go for broke and book both (it’s a good deal if you do).  Going Greek?  Expect Spartans and Olympians and Minotaurs – and even get zapped by Zeus.  Invaders?  It’s all about Celts, Saxons and Romans battling it out over our little island.  And brace yourself for jokes about King Alfred burning his buns (*snigger*).

Mystery Jets Album Launch & Acoustic Set, David’s Bookshop, Letchworth Garden City, 15 Jan, 12pm


Fab Muddy Herts editorial assistant Georgie assures me that this is one not to be missed.  I’ve enjoyed a quick listen, too, and have to agree with her.  They’ll be launching their newest album, Curve of the Earth – which has already been ‘album of the day’ on BBC Radio 6 Music – and performing a free acoustic set as well.  Perfect excuse to nip out at lunch time if you’re in the area.

The Stars Above, Natural History Museum at Tring, 16 Jan, 6.30-8pm


This one might well be sold out – tickets were going quickly – but it’s worth giving them a call, maybe?  Local astronomers and an expert on meteorites from the Museum will be helping you discover the stars.   It’s suitable for anyone over 7.

Various films, Hertford Theatre, 19-21 Jan


Given that the multiplexes are still chock-full of Star Wars peeps, take the chance to catch up on some other film choices.  Hertford Theatre has some great ones to tempt you this week.  A parent-and-baby screening of Spectre (oh, Daniel…), the glorious Maggie Smith as The Lady in the Van, Cate Blanchett as the elegant but torn Carol, trans-Atlantic romance in Brooklyn – or the stunning historical drama Suffragette.

Handa’s Hen, Radlett Centre, 23 Jan, 11.30am, 1pm & 2.30pm


Enjoyed Eileen Brown’s book with my little one – and very curious to see how it’s been adapted for the stage.  There are apparently a whopping 55 puppets in this production, all the animals that Handa and Akeyo sing and dance their way through their search for Mondi the hen.  It’s just over half an hour long, so your little ones won’t have long to sit still.

Gerald Seymour Book Launch, David’s Bookshop, Letchworth Garden City, 21 Jan, 7.30pm

gerald seymour

Gerald Seymour is probably best known for his 1975 debut novel Harry’s Game, which was the first major thriller to tackle the troubles in Northern Ireland.  He’ll be in Letchworth this week, reading from and talking about his new novel No Mortal Thing – which follows a young man from the East End as he moves to Berlin and gets caught up in the Italian mob.  Sounds like a good ‘un, if that’s your cup of tea.

45 Years and Jane Eyre, Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne, 19 Jan, 1pm, 4pm & 7.30pm, and 20 Jan, 7pm


The fabulous Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay star in 45 Years as a couple approaching their 45th wedding anniversary when a secret from their past catches up with them unexpectedly.  Sounds brilliant,not least because of the cast.  And then there’s the delayed live screening of the National Theatre’s recent production of Jane Eyre, originally performed at Bristol Old Vic and much beloved of critics.

Miss Julie, Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Jan, 7.30pm


Another cracking film this week.  Miss Julie tells the story, based on Strindberg’s play, of the daughter of an Anglo-Irish aristocrat who takes more than a shine to her father’s valet.  It’s directed and adapted by Liv Ullman (hoorah!) and has Jessica Chastain, Samantha Morton and – oh my – Colin Farrell getting hot under the collar on a midsummer night in the 1890s.  Heaving bosoms everywhere, I shouldn’t wonder.

Booking Ahead…

Lots of local goings-on are selling out fast, so here are a couple of suggestions that you might want to book ahead for the rest of January.

Mark Steel:Who Do You Think I Am? Hertford Theatre, 22 Jan, 8pm


Mark Steel – you know him from Radio 4, for various TV panel shows, that sort of thing – is kicking off his new national tour at Hertford Theatre on 22 Jan.  His new show focuses on his own journey to find out about his family – he was adopted and had no idea who his birth parents were or where they were from.  What he discovered was genuinely astonishing, and the previews for this one have already been glowing.  It’s a stunning story, and he’s such a great storyteller.  I’m so hoping to make it to this one.  See you there?

British Asian Festival 2016, Watford Palace Theatre, 21-23 Jan


There are all manner of British Asian goodies going on in Watford next week – films, comedy, music, art, and more – at the British Asian Festival 2016.  There’ll be DJs spinning the best of British Asian, Bhangra and Bollywood tunes every night, and Bombay street food in the café.  Highlights for me (other than the food…) would be the film Convenience, in which best friends Ajay (Ray Panthaki) and Shaan (Adeel Akhtar)try to rob a convenience store to clear a debt owed to some Russian gangsters from a strip club; and the BBC Asian Network: Big Comedy Night, with people like Hardeep Singh Kohli, In Cahoots, Sindhu Vee and Ahir Shah giving it large.

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