What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 7-13 May 2015

Don’t let all this wind and rain put you off heading out and about this weekend.  There’s lots to do, and lots of it is safely indoors.

A Strange Wild Song, Hertford Theatre, 7 May, 7.45pm

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The Rhum and Clay Theatre Company are at Hertford Theatre tonight on their Spring tour of ‘A Strange Wild Song’ – what sounds like a moving, strangely comic, absurdist piece of musical drama.  In northern France in WW2, three children find a lost American soldier – then, decades later, the soldier’s grandson finds his camera and starts to piece together what might have happened.  It’s a new version, apparently, of a show that critics loved – one of them called it ‘irresistibly daft … [with] oddball comedy and genuine pathos.’  Sounds intriguing.

Hertford Theatre, The Wash, Hertford, SG14 1PS, hertfordtheatre.com

Living Crafts, Hatfield House, 7-10 May

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Are you a crafty type?  I’m not, and I’m sort of in awe of the clever people who are.  (I’ve still not finished the sewing project I started when I was younger than my son is now….)  Living Crafts at Hatfield House this weekend will be full of them – artists, jewellers, ceramicists, carvers, weavers, you name it, you’ll find one eventually.  Lots to look at, lots to buy, and – if you’re so inclined – masterclasses and workshops.  There’s even chocolate making and cider pressing (more my sort of crafts, I feel).

Hatfield House, AL9 5NQ, hatfield-house.co.uk

‘Mermaid,’ Watford Palace Theatre, 12-16 May

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Forget Disney’s Little Mermaid – singing crabs and all that.  ‘Mermaid,’ a new re-working of Hans Christian Anderson’s actually quite dark story, looks like something completely different.  Watch the trailer and see what I mean: it’s quite hard to describe, and I’m not usually at a loss for words, believe you me.  Critics have described it as thrilling, poetic, “profoundly deep” – that sort of thing.  Looks intriguing.

Watford Palace Theatre, 20 Clarendon Road, WD17 1JZ, watfordpalacetheatre.co.uk

Yamato Drummers of Japan, Watford Colosseum, 9 May

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Also in Watford this week – but completely different – you could check out the Yamato Drummers.  They’ve toured all over the world, and their new show has had some great reviews.  Sounds loud – think, chest-thumping loud – and energetic and exciting, and apparently it’s visually something really special.

Watford Colosseum, Rickmansworth Road, WD17 3JN, watfordcolosseum.co.uk

Myths and Monsters, NHM at Tring, opens 8 May

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If you’ve not been to The Natural History Museum at Tring, you’re missing a trick.  It’s strange, it’s wonderful, and it’s free.  Their latest temporary exhibition, ‘Myths and Monsters’ opens tomorrow: instead of the usual real (although occasionally extinct) creatures on display, they’re turning their attention to unicorns, mermaids and other mythical beasts.  Looks brilliant, and I’ll definitely be popping in for a peek.  As always there, though, if you’re going mid-week, aim for the afternoons to avoid school groups.

NHM at Tring, Akeman Street, Tring, HP23 6AP, nhm.ac.uk/tring

‘It Started with Jason Donovan,’ Letchworth Arts Centre, 8 May

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I suspect you have to be just the right age for this one (and I think I probably am, although I definitely preferred the dark-haired one with the motorbike in Neighbours).  In her solo show ‘It Started with Jason Donovan,’ Sarah Blanc mixes comedy and dance – along with a life-size cardboard cut-out of JD himself – to bring together the realities of her dating history with the promises of those late 80s pop songs.  She’s performed earlier versions of this show elsewhere, including the Edinburgh Fringe, and now she’s touring with it.  Check out the trailer.

Letchworth Arts Centre, 2 The Arcade, Letchworth Garden City, SG6 3EW, letchwortharts.org

‘Mary Stuart,’ Court Theatre, Tring, 13-16 May

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Like a bit of history?  Loved Wolf Hall on the telly?  Here’s some more of the past dramatised for your viewing pleasure.  In a new adaptation that’s half the length of Friedrich Schiller’s staggeringly long original, ‘Mary Stuart’ imagines a meeting between Mary Queen of Scots and Elizabeth I – two of the most powerful women of the time.  In the background, you have the usual wicked courtiers scheming away – wouldn’t be the same without them, after all.  Looks fab, and the Court Theatre is a neat little venue that will have you feeling like you’re right there in the room with them.

Court Theatre, Station Road, Tring, HP23 5QY, courttheatre.co.uk

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