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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 21-27 Apr 2016

Spring is springing — although there’s apparently some shocking weather on the way, according to my sources.  There’s loads to do out and about, as ever, across the county.  If you fancy a spot of Shakespeare, check out our guide to the best of what’s happening to mark the 400th anniversary of his death.  If not, read on…

Chroma Ensemble presents Spring Celebration, Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, 24 Apr, 7pm

chroma ensemble

The Chroma Ensemble are regulars at the Kings Arms – performing, not propping up the bar… – and this weekend it’s their Spring Celebration.  They’re joined by tenor Simon Davies for a programme including songs from Schubert, string trios by Sibelius and  Strauss and a retelling of Tove Jansson’s ‘Spring Tune’ (y’know, Tove Jansson?  Moomins?).  Sounds perfectly lovely.  I’ll be there, for sure.

St George’s Festival, Wrest Park, Sisloe, 23 & 24 Apr, 10am


This one sounds like fun.  Jousting, Norman warriors (Norman?!  Aren’t they French?!), falconry, jesters, knights a-plenty, gladiators, the lot.  I’m betting there’ll be a dragon or two as well.  Surely there’ll be a dragon?

Haresfoot Comedy Night, Haresfoot Brewery, Berkhamsted, 23 April, doors 6.45pm, bar/BBQ 7pm, comedy 8pm

microphone for comedy

I love the idea of a… er… comedy night in a brewery.  Add in a barbeque and it’s just getting better and better.  James Alderson will be MC’ing.  Ex-Hollyoaks star turned comedian James Redmond  will be there, as well Mark Cram, and the night is being headlined by comedian and musician Johnny Awsum.

Mostly Comedy, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin, 21 Apr, 8pm

phil kay

Or, if you want more comedy, there’s always the Sun Hotel in Hitchin – with stand up from Phil Kay, James Redmond (again…), Sam Fletcher, and Fiona Ridgewell.  Crikey, we get some good comedy round the county, don’t we?  Lucky us.

Lucia di Lammermoor, Royal Opera House Live Screening, Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre, 25 Apr, 7.15pm

lucia di lammermoor

Love a bit of opera, as you probably know.  And I’m a fan of this theatre, perched on top of the town’s library.  So Lucia di Lammermoor in Leighton Buzzard – via the Royal Opera House, of course – sounds like a good night out to me.  It’s a proper tragedy, though, so prepare to have a bit of a cry.  This new production, set in the 1840s, focuses in on an intelligent woman, failed by the men in her life, who experiences a horrifying mental breakdown. Cheerful stuff.  Love it.

Herts Town and Country Show, River Lee Country Park, Waltham Cross, 23 & 24 Apr, 10am-5pm

herts fair

If the weather’s nice – it will be, right? – then this sounds like a neat way to while away a day.  Shopping, crafts, food, the Festival of Dogs (ok, perhaps not…), Medieval Archery, cookery demos, musicians, food producers (more like it!) and more.  You can always shelter in the tea tent if the weather turns…

Hangmen, National Theatre Delayed Live Screening, Watford Palace Theatre, 24 Apr, 7pm


This new play sold out at the Royal Court, and is now in the West End – with live screenings by National Theatre Live.  In his small pub in the northern English town of Oldham, Harry (played by David Morrissey) is something of a local celebrity. But what’s the second-best hangman in England to do on the day they’ve abolished hanging?   Well, what indeed…

Brimstone & Treacle, Pumphouse Theatre, Watford, 25-30 Apr, 7.45pm


You remember the film of this?  You know, with Sting?    Well, it was originally written for TV but was then rewritten for the stage and premiered at The Crucible – and provoked all sorts of comment and controversy.  A couple is struggling to cope after their daughter is left entirely dependent on them after an accident – and then a mysterious stranger, albeit a polite and friendly one, arrives.  But who is he and what does he want?

Encore Dance Company, Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, 26 Apr, 7.45pm

encore dance compny

A chance to see some of the talent that’s emerging from Tring Park School for the Performing Arts – with a programme that showcases the work of their Graduate Dance Company.  A properly varied programme, including a rare chance to see the not-very-often-performed ‘Carousel’ pas de deux by Sir Kenneth MacMillan.

Becoming Hattie, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 22 April, 8pm

becoming hattie

It’s 1974 and eight year old Jo is snuggled up on the settee in her flammable polyester nightie, watching the family’s first colour TV. ‘Sykes’ is on and there, on the screen, is a woman unlike anyone Jo has ever seen – the inimitable Hattie Jacques!  This play has Jo trying to follow in Hattie’s footsteps – despite only getting bit parts on Casualty and never the lead in Shakespeare.

Omid Djalili: Live 2016, Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne, 28 Apr, 8pm


Did you see Omid Djalili in Dickensian on the BBC a while back?  He was brilliant as Mr Venus, the gloriously odd taxidermist/chiropractor, and it was a great change from his very funny stand-up.  He’s in Broxbourne this weekend, and definitely worth checking out.  He’s been sold out when he’s performed elsewhere in Herts, so don’t let this one slip by!

Swan Lake, Alban Arena, St Albans, 23 Apr, 2.30pm

swan lake 2

Not many tickets left for this one, so get a wiggle on if you fancy seeing this absolute classic from Tchaikovsky performed by the Vienna Festival Ballet.

Parlour Song, Abbey Theatre, St Albans, 22-30 Apr

parlour house

Local playwright (Jez Butterworth), local theatre (the Abbey) and local setting (a housing estate not far from St Albans) – sounds right up Muddy Herts’ street.  The Telegraph called Parlour Song ‘creepy yet often blissfully funny’, and The Guardian loved the depiction of ‘mundane madness beneath the bland routine.’ Sounds intriguing.

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