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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 26 Mar-1 Apr 2015

The sun’s starting to come out and stay out for a bit longer, the daffs are up and going, there are chocolate eggs everywhere you turn, and there’s more than the usual number of chicks in the shop windows.  Must be Spring, I reckon.  Get out there and have some fun — quick, before the schools break up for Easter.

Old American Songs, Greene Room, Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, 29 Mar, 7pm


The Greene Room, upstairs at the Kings Arms in Berkhamsted, is rapidly becoming a busy venue for all sorts of goings-on – comedy, short story cabarets, music.  This weekend, the CHROMA chamber ensemble will be there again – this time with a celebration of American music.  Think Gershwin, Copeland, Barber, as well as folk and bluegrass, but all set against a backdrop of cello and bass and all with lovely low bass-baritone register from singer Joseph Padfield.  You can email for tickets, call Clare O’Connell on 07958 973491, or pop into Luminous & Vogue.

Greene Room, Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, HP4 3HL,

Willows Farm Easter Eggstravaganza, Willows Activity Farm, London Colney, 28 Mar-19 Apr

iwllowsIf you’ve got little ones to entertain – and the weather’s playing ball – then Willows Activity Farm is kicking off its Easter Eggstravaganza (see what they did there?) this weekend.  There’s all the usual stuff you’d expect at Willows, along with an Easter egg hunt, bunny-themed story time, the ‘chicken and egg show,’ an Easter panto, and a chance to meet the Easter Bunny , among lots more.  You can milk a goat, race a pig, and chat with a chicken.  Sounds like it’s a brilliant way to leave your little ones knackered and covered in chocolate.

Willows Activity Farm, Coursers Road, London Colney, Al4 0PF,

Open Garden, Hatfield House, 28 Mar, 11am-5pm

hatfield house
Hatfield House isn’t open for the season until 4 Apr this year, but there’s a chance to get a sneak peek at the beautiful grounds this weekend.  The West Garden will be open in support of the National Gardens Scheme, and you can wander through the Lime Walk, the Woodland Garden and the Sundial Garden.  The spring bulbs should be lovely by then – and I bet there are a wholly lot of fingers crossed for a sunny day.

Hatfield House, AL9 5NQ,

The Snail and the Whale, Radlett Centre, 1-2 Apr

‘The Snail and the Whale’ is one of my favourite Donaldson and Scheffler books – my kids had it read to them over and over again (whether they wanted to or not).  Shame at least one of them is too old to come with me to see it on stage.  From the look of the reviews of this adaptation by Tall Stories theatre company, the critics love the show almost as much as I’ve loved the books – which is a good sign.

The Radlett Centre, 1 Aldenham Avenue, Radlett, WD7 8HL,

Maxine Peake as Hamlet, Hertford Theatre, 01 Apr, 7pm


Ok, I completely admit it: I have a bit of a crush on Maxine Peake (and I have my suspicions that Mr C does too).  I was gutted that her ‘Hamlet’ was only on stage in Manchester (bit of a trek for an evening) so I’m delighted that theatres in Herts are screening her performance again.  It’s been on once already at Hertford Theatre and it’s on again next week.  She’s apparently stunning – the Guardian critic described her performance as “delicately ferocious” — and it is, of course, one of Shakespeare’s biggies.  Right, off to watch the trailer again…

Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS,

And if you can’t make it then, it’s also showing at the Watford Palace Theatre on 29 Mar.  I’m dragging Mr C to that one as it’s a bit closer to home.  Can’t wait.

Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, Watford, WD17 1JZ,

‘The End of the Affair,’ Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, 31 Mar-01 Apr


Fancy a spot of tumultuous passion?  Thought you might.  The Talking Scarlet stage adaptation of Graham Greene’s novel ‘The End of the Affair’ – the wartime affair being illicit, passionate, and destined for tragedy – is on stage next week at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.

Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage Arts & Leisure Centre, Lytton Way, Stevenage, SG1 1LZ,

Tom Stoppard’s ‘Arcadia’, Cambridge Arts Theatre, 30 Mar-4 Apr

'Arcadia' play at the Theatre Royal, Brighton, Britain - 30 Jan 2015

I remember seeing ‘Arcadia’ when it premiered in London (and I was a lot younger than I am now) and loving it.  It’s dense and complex, with characters from 1809 and the present day – but, being Stoppard, there’s plenty of humour, albeit lots of it quite brainy and dark.  This touring production looks good and the play, which been described as a “dazzling masterpiece” and “one of the most exquisite plays of the 20th century,” should definitely be worth an evening out.  Lots of tempting places to eat and drink in Cambridge before and/or after, too.

Cambridge Arts Theatre, 6 St Edward’s Passage Cambridge CB2 3PJ,

Cutter & Squidge’s Pop-up Shop & Cafe, Soho, until 5 Jun


This just looks utterly delicious.  Join Cutter and Squidge in their pop-up shop in Soho to sample their trademark ‘biskies’ – a delicious coming-together of biscuit, cake and cookie.  You used to be able to purchase their biskies at Harrods, but no longer – so the pop-up looks like the way to go.  If you’re feeling particularly extravagant, there’s always the Billionaire Biskie, with Belgian chocolate and 24ct gold.  Just bring me back one, ok?

4 Brewery Street, Soho, W1F 0SB, 10.30am-10pm Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm Sun,

Vivienne Westwood: Cut from the Past, Danson House, Bekleyheath, opens 1 Apr

Danson House is a funny little place – a beautifully (and recently) restored Georgian house set in a massive park (with a great playground and an ok pub-restaurant), but you’d never really know it was there unless you did already.  That said, they’ve started hosting some amazing exhibitions, bringing some very modern art and design into their immaculate period rooms.  Last year, I saw a stunning exhibition of quilts there (bear with me… ) curated by Tracey Chevalier (yes, her of the ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’) and including a couple of absolute stunners by Grayson Perry.  This summer, they’re showcasing Vivienne Westwood – with some pieces of hers that take their inspiration from the time the house was at its height, and which usually you can only see at the V&A or in private collections.  Danson House a lovely intimate little space where you can get right up close to what you’re looking at – and it never seems to get busy.  There’s a cafe downstairs, too, but I’ve not tried that out yet.  Next time, though.

Danson House, Danson Park, Bexleyheath, Kent, DA6 8HL,

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