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What’s on: January 2022

New Year, new calendar! Start filling it up with this month's awesome array of Muddy curated events, from comedy and theatre to stuff for the kids.

KIDS: The Smeds and The Smoos, The Radlett Centre, 11-13 Jan

Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s answer to Romeo and Juliet (with aliens!) comes to Radlett this month. Created by Tall Stories (known for their productions of other Donaldson classics) it should be heartwarming and funny show for ages 3+.

COMEDY: Ed Byrne, If I’m Honest, The Radlett Centre, 13 Jan

Mock the Week regular, Irish-born, Essex-based funnyman, Ed Byrne brings his observational comedy to Herts with his latest show, If I’m Honest. But after taking a good hard look at himself, does he have anything worth passing on to his children? Read the Muddy interview with Ed here…

EXHIBITION: Chaos Dancing Cosmos, Rosana Antolí, St Albans Museum and Gallery, 15 Jan – 6 March

Rosana Antolí, Chaos Dancing Cosmos, 2018; Photography by Joseph Devitt Tremblay.

This intriguing installation created from rubber and copper piping explores the concept of the infinite loop and with the help of motors, mimics the patterns made by human dance and movement.

OPERA: Tosca, South Mill Arts, 19 Jan

If opera floats your boat, the ROH season of live screenings is coming to South Mill Arts, kicking off with Tosca, a delightful blend of romance, tension and tragedy, all set off with Puccini’s iconic score.

COMEDY: Russell Brand: 33, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, 20 Jan

New Year, new calendar! Start filling it up with this month's awesome array of Muddy curated events, from comedy and theatre to stuff for the kids.

Love him or hate him, Russell Brand certainly has a lot to say. His latest stand-up Show, 33, is a comedic commentary on what we have (or haven’t learnt) over the past 18 months, and asks whether it’s possible to get back to normal if you’ve never been normal… hmm, well that’s food for thought!

KIDS: The Hug, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 22 Jan

The Hug sounds like something we could all do with right now! Based on the sweet children’s book by Eoin McLaughlin and Polly Dunbar, it follows a hedgehog and a tortoise in need of some affection. It deals with rejection but ultimately hope and acceptance, paired with some funny moments and original music.

KIDS: Captain Calamity – Nutty New Year Adventure, The Radlett Centre, 22 Jan

The popular entertainer is back with some New Year’s Resolutions including going on a diet and tidying up the Lollipop Lighthouse, in this bubble, custard-pie and song-packed show.

MUSICAL: Dreamgirls, MK Theatre, 25 Jan – 5 Feb

Dreamgirls is a belter of a show direct from the West End based on the life of The Supremes in 1960s America. Glitz, glamour and heaps of glitter are headed to MK Theatre this month for the first ever UK tour of this multi award-winning musical, starring MK local Natalie Kassanga.

EXHIBITION: Unpacked, Courtyard Arts, 25 Jan – 5 Feb

They say you can have far more fun with a box than what’s inside it… well this exhibition of works by Fine Art Students from the University of Hertfordshire, demonstrates the actually quite extraordinary things that can be done with the humble cardboard box.

COMEDY: Jimmy Carr – Terribly Funny, The Alban Arena, 25 Jan

Anyone who’s ever seen Jimmy Carr will know he’s not exactly one for political correctness, and this show promises some really terrible sharp-intake-of-breath jokes about some really terrible things… but they are only jokes! Those with a sensitive disposition need not apply. You have been warned!

THEATRE: The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll & Mr Hyde, South Mill Arts, 26-27 Jan

Credit: Alex Harvey-Brown

There’s nothing like a bit of gothic drama during a dreary January! Embrace the gloom with this adaptation of Robert Louis Stevenson’s psychological drama as it trasnsports you to the foggy streets of Victorian London.

EXHIBITION: Perry Curties, Broadway Gallery, Letchworth, until 31 Jan

CREDIT: Perry Curties

It’s your last chance to catch this exhibition by Letchworth-based photographer, Perry Curties who shoots images for the movie industry, including the latest Bond, No Time to Die. There are digital displays of motion posters of the cast, alongside his collection of portraits of Hollywood stars from Tom Hardy to Wonder Woman, Gal Gadot, plus some fashion and dance imagery inspired by the Bond classics.

EXHIBITION: Wildlife Photographer of the Year, Natural History Museum, Tring, until June 2022

© Stefano Unterthiner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year
© Stefano Unterthiner, Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Oops… too late for these

KIDS: Christmas Adventure Quest, Wrest Park, until 2 Jan

Kids at a loose end before school starts back? They’ll enjoy following the clues on this festive family adventure trail and learning all about Wrest Parks fabulous themed parties. They can even have a go at designing their own party.

PARTY: New Year’s Celebration, Saffron Hall, 2 Jan

Whip those gladrags back out of the wardrobe and ring in the New Year with this classical celebration of the music of Debussy, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Strauss, with performances by pianist Louis Schwizgebel and and soprano Soraya Mafi, accompanied by the BBC Concert Orchestra, conducted by Michael Seal.

THEATRE: Rapunzel, South Mill Arts, Bishop’s Stortford, until 2 Jan

Love a good fairytale at Christmas? Get the family over to South Mill Arts for this lively re-telling, with a feisty heroine, talking horse and a wicked witch, with plenty of adventure, dance and song to get those toes tapping. Read our review here.

PANTO: Dick Whittington and his Cat, Watford Palace Theatre, until 2 Jan

Credit: The Other Richard

If you’re after a right rollicking adventure – this one from award-winning writer, Andrew Pollard, looks like the one for you. An explosion of colourful sets, flamboyant costumes and exuberant performance, Dick and his Cat are joined on their travels by Dame Sherrie Trifle (Royal Court and Shakespeare’s Globe actor Terence Frisch) and friends. Plus you can take your pick from socially distanced, relaxed, captioned and audiodescribed performances.

FAMILY THEATRE: Under the Frozen Moon, Southern Maltings, Ware, with Hertford Theatre, until 3 Jan

This gorgeous production by Half a String Theatre with Hertford Theatre tells the heartwarming story of little girl Amka and her family, who live in an icy wonderland where a dragon has stolen all the fire and light. Told with beautiful puppets and original music it sounds like it will mesmerise both young and old audiences alike. Read our interview with the Artistic Director, Peter Morton to find out more about the inspiration behind it.

PANTO: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, The Alban Arena, until 3 Jan

You might recognise some of the faces in this one… Chizzy Akudolu (Holby City, Strictly, EastEnders) stars as the Wicked Queen, while stand-up and actor, Jonny Weldon, plays Muddles and Jimmy Vee, who played R2D2 in the Star Wars films is one of the dwarfs. It’s likely to be a sell-out going by the venue’s past smash hits, so book your tickets now!

PANTO: Aladdin, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, until 3 Jan

All aboard the flying carpet for this Arabian adventure, starring Richard David-Caine of CBBC’s Horrible Histories. Grove is known for it’s annual panto, so having skipped a year, this one promises to be bigger and better than evet.

KIDS: Percy the Park Keeper’s Winter Wander, Ashridge Estate, until 3 Jan

Nick Butterworth’s beloved character, Percy the Park Keeper is popping up at Ashridge this month, with a new trail for kids. They’re invited to help Percy complete his winter tasks with all sorts of activities, games and clues to follow.

DANCE: The Snow Queen, South Mill Arts, 8 Jan

Be enchanted by Ballet Theatre UK’s magical production of the the Hans Christian Andersen classic, which brings Gerda, Kay and the icy queen of the frozen north to Bishop’s Stortford this month. Expect more glitter and sparkle than a Strictly ballroom!

RETREAT: ‘Celebrate You’ yoga retreat, Tofte Manor, 8 Jan

Here’s a novel idea – dedicate a day to YOU, at this mindfulness and yoga retreat with Beds based, Julia K in the gorgeous grounds of Tofte Manor. It will focus on new beginnings, setting positive intentions and habits for the year ahead through channeling energy, taking mindful walks and restorative yoga. £95 pp or £180 for 2ppl with a vegan lunch included.

FAMILY: Enchanted woodland walk, Ashridge House, until 9 Jan

The gorgeous grounds of this former royal residence will be transformed into a super sparkly winter wonderland this month. Twinkling light installations and a magical musical score will lead visitors through the gardens, via glittering arches and uplit tree-lined avenues to a hidden Christmas scene in the woods. You had me at twinkling lights… READ THE MUDDY REVIEW HERE!

BOOKS: Breakfast Book Club, Books on the Hill, St Albans, 9 Jan

No time to read a whole novel for your regular book club meetings? Head on over to this fun and informal event where you can join other bibiophiles to discuss whatever you are reading right now and pick up some inspo for your reading list. It costs £5.98 to attend but you’ll receive a £5 voucher to spend in store so it’s practically free!

KIDS: Robin Robin trail, RSPB The Lodge, Sandy, until 10 Jan

Seen Aardman’s latest animated adventure, Robin Robin, on Netflix yet?? If not, pop it on your watchlist for the festive period – it’s suuuper cute! This family friendly (ages 3-11) adventure trail invites little ones to ‘sneak’ like a robin (you’ll geddit when you’ve seen the film!), sing like a robin and find your own robin superpowers. Pick up an activity pack for £3, plus there’ll be an audio trail too.

MAGIC: The Greatest Magician, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, 10 Jan

Prepare to be boggled, baffled and downright bamboozled by the extraordinary skills of mind-bending illusionist, James Phelan, aka The Greatest Magician and host of BBC’s Trickster Live. He has been known to correctly predict Lottery numbers, make audience members forget their own names and transport iphones from the auditorium into blocks of ice!

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