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

Lots of great theatre going on this week — we’re so lucky having such great venues nearby — with some comedy and dance thrown in for good measure.  Feeling spoiled for choice!

I Know All the Secrets in My World, West Herts College, 27-30 Jan, 7.30pm & 2.30 Sat

 i know all the secrets in my world

This is a Watford Palace Theatre production that’s being performed at West Herts College, and it looks properly interesting.  It’s a story of a father and son after the loss of their wife and mother – all about love and loss and everything that goes with them both.  Sounds heart-breaking but stunning.

Design Your Own Roman Coin, Verulamium Museum, St Albans, 23 Jan

 roman coin

There are always family things going on at the Verulamium Museum – it’s a bit of gem, to be honest, if you’re after indoor family fun locally.  This weekend, you can check out their display of gold coins – then have a go at designing your own.  I’m guessing not with real gold, given that it’s free, but hey ho.

Burns Night

Record Woman - Robert Burns

There are all sorts of choices if you’re craving Cullen Skink – or wanting a wee dram – or looking for an excuse to wear tartan.  Dylans Kings Arms in St Albans has a Burns Supper and whiskey tasting with Tomoka Spirits on Sun 24 Jan.  There’s a black-tie (or kilt) dinner at West Lodge Park, Hadley Wood, on Fri 29 Jan – reception, four-course dinner, and the Haggis properly piped in. Or you could head to The Cricketers in Sarratt on Mon 25 Jan for a  Burns Night Whiskey Tasting with whiskey expert (is that a job? where do I apply?) Allen Scott.  And there’ll be haggis, neeps and tatties, too.  And if you’re hankering after a deep-fried Mars Bar, book in at The Kings Arms in Berkhamsted for their Burns Night menu.  Choose from various delights including cullen skink, Arbroath smokies, rumblthumbs (er…?), and a clootie dumpling to round it all off.

The Taming of the Shrew, Watford Palace, 24 Jan, 3pm

taming of the shrew

Not my favourite Shakespeare, to he honest, but this production – French choreographer Jean-Christophe Maillot working with the Bolshoi dancers – sounds intriguing.  It’s a delayed live screening (don’t you love those?) and a great chance to catch some brilliant ballet without heading into London.

Messy Welly Club! Rye Meads Nature Reserve, Stanstead Abbotts, Wed 20 Jan


If you’ve got under-5s to entertain, wrap up warm and head over to Rye Meads for some messy outdoor play.  Plenty of splashing in puddles – even if you have to break the ice to do it!  And there’ll be lots of talk about recognising different birds on the reserve in preparation for the RSPB’s National Bird Count coming up – and a chance to make something messy to feed them!

Urban Experience, Nude Tin Can Gallery, 26 Jan-20 Feb

urban exhibition

Following on from their very successful Erotica exhibition, Nude Tin Can Gallery is turning its attention to urban life with a serious collection of modern art influenced by city living.  Neat little gallery that always has a load of interesting art to get you thinking.  Worth a look, for sure.

He Named Me Malala, Watford Palace Theatre, 27 Jan, 7.30pm & 31 Jan, 11am


My eldest is desperate to see this, so I’m delighted that it’s showing at Watford Palace this week and next.  Directed by Davis Guggenheim, this documentary tells the story – so far – of Pakistani teenager and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, who has become a symbol of the struggle for girls’ education worldwide.  So pleased my son wants to see it – not just because it gives me an excuse to go too.

Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Watford Palace Theatre, 28 Jan, 7pm


The Donmar Warehouse’s production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses has been sold out for ages (we tried to get tickets), so I’m super-excited that the delayed live screening is popping up all over the area now.  Its cast is fab — Michelle Dockery (Downton Abbey), Janet McTeer (The White Queen) and Dominic West (The Wire).  And it’s such a fabulous story – I fell in love with the 1988 film, watching Glenn Close and the deliciously wicked John Malkovich ruin the virtuous Michelle Pfeiffer.  (There’s was something about the deeply callous way in which he murmurs, ‘It’s beyond my control’ that set my young heart racing and ruined nice men for me forever. *sigh*)  Anyway, I can’t WAIT to see this production.  I’ve got tickets for the screening at the Leighton Buzzard Library Theatre (7 more sleeps!) but there’s one at the Watford Palace this week is you can’t wait that long.

Dave Gorman Gets Straight To The Point* (*The PowerPoint), Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne, 27 Jan, 8pm


Mr C is a big Gorman fan, and we’ve seen him live – and recording for the telly – a few times now.  He is very clever, with his tight observations about modern living and the silly things people do and say online, and I have actually laughed almost until I cried listening to him.  Definitely worth seeing.  And much saucier in real life than he is on the telly.

Champagne Life, Saatchi Gallery, 13 Jan-6 Mar


Given that the Saatchi Gallery can always be relied on to offer challenging and forward-thinking modern work, I’m surprised (should I be?) that their new exhibition is the first in their 20-year history to feature all women artists – 14 in all, from nearly as many countries.  I’m very curious to go and have a look, even though the critics haven’t been overly enthusiastic so far.  The range just sounds astonishing – altered photos of Kanye’n’Kim, a taxidermied donkey, huge canvases of wrinkles and fingernails, an enormous ball of copper wire, and… and… and…  Sounds worth the trip.

Drawing on Childhood, Foundling Museum, Bloomsbury, 22 Jan-1 May


And while you’re in London – oh, I’m so having a day out soon – how about this one?  This exhibition at the Foundling Museum brings together illustrations of fictional children who have been orphaned, adopted, fostered or found.  And given that children in fiction rarely seem to have even one parent, there are loads to choose from — James (with his Giant Peach), Rapunzel, Cinderella, the list goes on and on.  Sounds brilliant, and the images span a huge time frame.

London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, Islington, 20-24 Jan

london art fair

It’s the 28th year of the London Art Fair, and this year they’re partnering with the Jerwood Gallery in Hastings (which is a cracking little museum if you’re down on that bit of the coast) for a specially curated show, ‘Coast.’  There’s also a show, ‘Dialogues,’ bringing together invited galleries and their emerging artists – and a collection  of photographic work based on Jean-Luc Godard’s film MasculinFéminin.  And more, of course.

Stephen K Amos, Hertford Theatre, 30 Jan, 8pm


January’s got off to a good start comedy-wise at Hertford Theatre – Mark Steel this week, Stephen K Amos coming up.  Let’s hope that pace keeps up all year.  Worth booking ahead for, as tickets are going fast already.



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