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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 11-17 Feb 2016

Anything planned?  There’s lots on.  If you’re looking for things for the kids, check out the Muddy Herts Half Term Survival Guide.  If you’re looking for things to do without children – your own or anyone else’s – here are some suggestions….

A Curious Collector, Watford Museum, until 27 Feb

rare radish - jo allen

Jo Allen, the creative force that is ‘Rare Radish,’ has an exhibition at the Watford Museum right now – and it looks intriguing.  Her photographs are jam-packed with objects that reveal her lifetime fascination with treasure hunting and collecting.  And if you’re entertaining small folk next week, there’s an ‘Artist-Led Treasure Hunt’ – with a hunt to find the treasures hidden within the art works (18 Feb, 11am-2pm, you’ll need to book).

Art for Art Lovers, Rhodes Gallery, Bishop’s Stortford, 8-22 Feb, 9am-5pm, Mon-Sat

art for art lovers

And more art…  Two alternative abstract artists are showing in the Rhodes Gallery in Bishop’s Stortford.  Nerea Kennedy and Stefan Romeo present two very different styles of abstraction – and the gallery is free to enter.

Gail Robins exhibition: Works on Paper, Trestle, St Albans, until 3 Mar


And even more art.  Local artist Gail Robins, also an abstract artist, has a display going on in the Gallery Café at Trestle Arts Base.  Lots of repeated interlaced lines, reminiscent of map or labyrinths, and drawn freehand over ink and paint on paper.

Mostly Comedy, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin, 18 Feb, 8pm

harriet kemsley

Sounds fun – grumpy old man and comedy institution Arthur Smith will be performing, alongside Harriet Kemsley, who you might have run across on BBC3’s ‘Comedy Marathon’, London Live’s ‘Funny Rotten Scoundrels’ or in BBC Radio 1’s ‘Comedy Lounge.’  Neat venue, too – small and right there in town.  Good excuse for a Hitchin night out, I say…

Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Hertford Theatre, 16 Feb, 7.45pm

danger liais 1

Not seen it yet?  Oh, it’s good.  And here’s another opportunity to catch it before it’s gone.  It’s all seething passion, wicked seduction, and heaving cleavage, and it’s absolutely grippingRead about it here, if you’ve not already.

Oscar, Court Theatre, Tring, 17-20 Feb, 8pm

oscar wilde

Sounds interesting – a musical based on some of the more exciting bits of the life of Oscar Wilde – think society balls, an American trip, lots of falling in love, stage success and then , sadly, Reading Gaol.  Might pop along to this one…

Ed Byrne, Outside, Looking In, Watford Colosseum, 14 Feb, 8pm

ed byrne

Ed Byrne seems to be on the telly all the time, so it’s hard to believe that he’s got time to be out and touring.  If you missed him in Stevenage last week, with a show that the critics have been chucking 5-star reviews and glowing praise at for a while now, you can catch him in Watford this week instead.

Madam Butterfly, Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, 18 Feb, 7.30pm

madam butterfly

The Russian State Ballet and Opera House are in Stevenage this week, with Puccini’s tragic and romantic Madam Butterfly (*sniff*).  It’s being sung in Italian (as well it should be!) with a 30-piece live orchestra right there, churning out all those gorgeous tunes.   Ah, doomed love and soaring arias.  What more do you need for an evening out?

Poppy + George: After the War, What Now?  Watford Palace, 12-27 Feb


This sounds brilliant.  1919, war is over, and a young woman – Poppy – from up North arrives in London to figure out what to do now.  She meets 3 men – a Russian-Jewish tailor with a Chinese past, a fading music hall artiste just back from the trenches, and a dashing chauffeur (oh my).  It’s described as a ‘romantic drama with music’ – so expect lots of music hall influence, as well as flamboyant dames, principal boys, comic turns, double entendre, and fabulous costumes.  Sounds brilliant.

In Conversation with Standard Issue, Curve, Leicester, 18 Feb, 8pm


Ok, so I totally get that Leicester isn’t in Herts.  But it’s not that far – quick whizz up the M1 – and this brilliant evening features Emma Kennedy who is (usually) in Herts.  And she’s funny and clever and I would love to head up to see this if anyone fancies a road trip.  It’s being billed as a ‘killer line-up of funny women talking about comedy, women, feminism and other topics as yet undecided’ and yup, that’s pretty much sold it for me.  Emma Kennedy will be there with Sara Pascoe, Jo Caulfield, and Roisin Conaty, too.  What a panel.

Betty Woodman: Theatre of the Domestic, Institute of Contemporary Arts, The Mall, 3 Feb 2016 – 10 Apr 2016

betty woodman

This is the first solo show in this country of work by Betty Woodman, one of the most important contemporary ceramic artists working today.  This focuses on her last ten years, including some major new mixed media pieces.  Not all her work is in ceramics, but it’s all influenced by or related to it in some way – even the painting and drawing, on handmade paper or canvas, combining all sorts of materials.  Huge range to artistic influences, too.  Sounds like a great excuse for a day out in London to me.

Magical Lantern Festival, Chiswick House and Gardens, until 6 Mar, Tues-Sun

magical lantern festival

This looks lovely, too.  A Magical Lantern Festival featuring an installation of life-size and giant lanterns in different forms – animals, birds, buildings, and so on, as well as abstract designs.  And, because it’s the Year of the Monkey, a Mount Huaguo lantern with an illuminated waterfall is the backdrop for a recreation of the fable of the Monkey King.  There’ll also be a 66-metre-long dragon, a 10-metre tall recreation of Beijing’s Temple of Heaven, an 8-metre high porcelain Imperial Palace lantern, a larger-than-life Terracotta Army lantern, and a Tree of Life lantern with oversized
mushrooms, plants and flowers.  Sounds properly spectacular.


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