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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 22-28 Sep 2016

Positively heaps of fab stuff going on this week around the county — and just over the border, too.  Food and drink, books, comedy, drama, things for small folk, things for you, you name it.  And, er, showgirls.  Get up, get out, and get on it!

Hertford Children’s Book Festival, Hertford Theatre, 22-25 Sep


This year’s festival has all sorts of exciting goings on for your little ones – there really is something for everyone! The Gala Launch features the legendary Dame Jacqueline Wilson (squeak!), illustrator Nick Sharratt, and poet John Hegley. With over 100 novels to her name, Jacqueline will be talking about her writing and taking questions from the audience. And it wouldn’t be a children’s book festival without a bit of Roald Dahl – with games and performance, find out about the amazing new Roald Dahl Dictionary. There’s also a puppet show of Rapunzel, a screening of Swallows and Amazons, and the award-winning Danyah Miller vividly brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s Why the Whales Came. See the website for the jam-packed schedule!

Christopher Nibble, Topsy Turvy Theatre, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 24 Sep, 11am & 2.30pm


How adorable is this? We’re talking guinea pigs and flower power as Christopher Nibble has to save the day and help halt the disappearance of the coveted dandelion flower. Using puppetry, music, and gorgeous scenery, this little (guinea) piggy’s story is an oh-so-uplifting one.  Awww….

Hatfield House Chamber Music Festival, Hatfield House, 22-25 Sep


Set in the beautiful Hatfield House, this weekend of classical music is bound to impress. If it’s good enough for the Duchess of Kent, (a patron of the festival), it’s good enough for Muddy!  Expect the best of the Baroque era, showcasing Bach’s legacy, as the festival hosts Hertfordshire’s own Alison Balsom, acclaimed soloists Angela Hewitt, James Gilchrist and Rachel Podge. There’ll also be a special solo Bach recital from artistic director Guy Johnston, performed in the intimate setting of the Chapel for the first time. Exclusive, eh?

An Evening with Monica Weller, The Junction, Christchurch, Chorleywood, 26 Sep, 7.30pm


If you’re looking for something a bit different to do this week, look no further – (actually, do because there’s still loads more going on) – this is a true crime thriller about the murder of Amersham GP Dr Helen Davidson, who was battered to death a few miles from her home in November 1966. Amateur sleuth and author Monica Weller set about solving the murder case fifty years later, after the original case was left unsolved. Weller’s novel uncovers a much deeper, murkier past, full of secret passions and jealousies – this was not a random killing after all. Her fascinating book reveals the murderer for the first time, and this evening looks set to be a dramatic one!

Living with Luke, Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne Civic Centre, 26 Sep, 7.30pm


This moving play has received critical acclaim since it first premiered in Colchester. Staged entirely in a wrestling ring, it tells the story of Danson Thunderbolt and his autistic son, Luke. Struggling to communicate with Luke, Danson wrestles with the Autistic Shadow that comes between them, and discovers that Luke is able to teach him a lot about how to live life to the full.

St Albans & Harpenden Food & Drink Festival 2016, 25 Sep-3 Oct


Hands up, any foodies out there?  The St Albans & Harpenden Food & Drink festival returns for its ninth year, with over 100 local producers, a variety of demonstrations and a line-up of top chefs, all to celebrate the wonderful diversity and creation of food across the district. Throughout the festival, which will cater for all tastes and ages, local venues will be hosting a range of activities, including wine tasting, cocktail classes, ‘Ready Steady St Albans,’ an open mic night, and Oktoberfest. There really is too much to list! You can spend the evening with William Sitwell, editor of the award-winning Waitrose Food magazine and critic on MasterChef, as he discusses his new book Eggs or Anarchy, which tells the remarkable story of how Minister of Food Lord Woolton fed Britain during the Second World War.  And there’s a four course tasting menu and a glass of prosecco on arrival – don’t mind if I do. Don’t miss the Street Finale, the highlight of the festival, as St Peter’s street is transformed into a gastronomic wonderland.

Kevin Eldon, Mostly Comedy at The Sun Hotel, 22 Sep, 7.30pm


You may recognise Kevin Eldon from I’m Alan Partridge, Big Train, Saxondale, and Fist of Fun plus his acclaimed BBC2 series It’s Kevin.  In fact, he’s been in most of the critically acclaimed hits of the Nineties and Noughties – think Jam, Brass Eye and Black Books, too.  With all that, his stand-up is bound to be just a little bit different. He’s joined by Nathaniel Metcalfe, as heard on BBC Radio 4, and Matt Green, fresh from Edinburgh’s Fringe.

Royston Arts Festival, 23-25 Sep


Ooo, we love an arts festival here at Muddy Herts. This one’s in Royston, boasting exhibitions, talks, tours, and crafty workshops all based around this year’s ‘Carnival’ theme. And there’s a day of free music at nine venues across the town, with a mix of musical styles including folk, rock and blues, originals and covers. Don’t miss the ‘Carnival Day’ procession on Saturday, with a procession and lots of activities.

Spamalot, Spotlight Theatre, Broxbourne Civic Hall, 22-24 Sep, 7.30pm

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Okay, so there’s a free drink for ticket holders who come in a knight costume – who’s game?   (Pass the chain mail, will you…?)  Spamalot retells the legend of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table — only with show girls, killer rabbits, and French people. Interesting mix….

Mother Courage and her Children, Harlow Playhouse, 26 Sep-1 Oct, 7.30pm


One of the most important anti-war plays ever, there’s also a load of humour and energy in Mother Courage and her Children — and in Mother Courage herself, dragging her cart around a war zone and selling what she can to whoever’s winning.  This is a ‘Pay What You Can’ performance — you get to decide at the end.


Cue Tease Burlesque, Rhodes Theatre, Bishops Stortford, 24 Sep, 7.30pm


Crikey Moses.  Showgirls?  Fire acts?  LED hoops?  And, er, mime?  Headlined by the award-winning Bruise Violet, there’s also international hula hoop start Helen Orford, whip cracking and knife throwing with Ayesha H ‘The Cabaret Cowgirl,’ as well as PiTheMime (guess what she does) and newcomer Brazen Bijoux and her (and I quote) “showgirl sillies.”  Sounds spectacular. cue-tease-burlesque

Omid Djalili, Radlett Centre, Radlett, 27 Sep, 7.30pm


Big soft spot here at Muddy Herts HQ for Omid Djalili.  He’s funny, smart and hugely energetic.  And that twinkle in his eye?  Gets me every time.  (Ooops, sorry — TMI?)

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