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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 14-20 Apr 2016

I tell ya.  April is shaping up to be a cracking month for things to do.  So much choice — whether it’s big comedy names you’re after, food and drink, dance, drama, music, the lot.  Get on out there, my lovelies!

Dane Baptiste, Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 16 Apr, 8pm

dane baptiste

If you missed Dane Baptiste a week or so back at the Court Theatre in Tring, never mind.,  You can catch him this week at the Old Town Hall in Hemel Hempstead.  Last year, the Independent (now no more…) named Dane Baptiste as their ‘Face to Watch in 2015.’  Since then, it’s been hard to keep up with him in order to watch his face.  He’s been sold out all over the place, written and starred in his own BBC sitcom, and been sharing the love down under too (he’s been to Australia – what were you thinking?).  Stonking observational comedy, or so I’m assured.

The Owl Who Was Afraid Of The Dark, Radlett Centre, 15 Apr, 11.30am & 1.30pm

owl who was afraid

How sweet does this sound?  The story of Plop, the baby barn owl, who has to learn to love the dark because, well, being afraid of the dark is a bit pants if you’re an owl.  Aimed at 3-7yo littlies, it sounds positively perfect for a rainy afternoon.

Shalamar, Alban Arena, 16 Apr, 7.30pm


Ok, I’m clearly showing my age here – but get this, Shalamar are playing in St Albans this weekend.  C’mon everyone, quick chorus of ‘I can make you feeeeeel good’ and we’re away.  Not many tickets left, mind you, so snap ‘em up if this is your sort of nostalgia.  (Mr C is hunting for his sparkly shirt as I write…)

Avenue Q, Hertford Theatre, 14-16 Apr, 7.30pm (& 3pm Sat)

avenue q 2

Ok, you know this one comes with a parental advisory, right?  Not all puppets are suitable for children…  It’s hilarious, though, and properly outrageous.  And they sort of look like the Muppets.  What more could you want?

Andrew Doyle, Live @ the Playhouse, Harlow Playhouse, 16 Apr, 8pm

andrew doyle

Some more comedy for you.  This time, it’s Andrew Doyle doing his thing at the Harlow Playhouse.  He’s a bit of an all-rounder – playwright, stand-up comedian, musician, biographer, all sorts.  Sounds good.

The Wizard of Oz, Watford Colosseum, 15 Apr, 3 & 7pm

wizard of oz

There’s no place like home…. There’s no place like home…  Get your ruby slippers on and take the Yellow Brick Road to vist The Wizard of Oz at the Watford Colosseum.  Starring Bobby Davro (remember him?) and Dani Harmer (aka Tracey Beaker), it’s chock-full of pop songs, dance routines and lots of audience participation.  Bit like an Easter panto.

Nigel Kennedy, Watford Colosseum, 19 Apr, 7.30pm

nigel kennedy

I’m not sure I really ‘get’ Nigel Kennedy, but I do love The Four Seasons (had ‘Autumn’ at our wedding… aww…) and he is flippin’ amazing at what he does.  Apparently, this concert promises a ‘stunning transformation’ of Vivaldi’s music.  Interesting?  I hope so.

East of England Food Festival, Knebworth House, 16-17 Apr, 10am – 5pm

9 knebworth

Love a good food festival, and this one’s a biggie.  Everything that’s good to eat and drink from across the East of England – pretty  much everything you can think of that’s delicious, all in one place.  Matt Tebbutt will be with there, along with *ahem* local lad Jean-Christophe Novelli.  And getting in also gets you into the gardens, the park, the dinosaur trail and the adventure playground.

Hertford Theatre Week, Hertford Theatre, 18-23 Apr, doors 7.15pm, curtain 7.45pm

theatre week

Fancy gorging on drama for a whole week?  Then I’ve got just the thing.  Hertford Theatre Week is a six night drama festival with a different production every night competing for the chance to compete in the NDFA All Winners Festival – so they’ll all be properly on their game. Choose from Hedda Gabler, The Birthday Party, The Lady In The Van, ‘Night Mother, The God Of Carnage, and Betrayal — or just go for it and watch the whole bally lot.

The Best Thing, Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford, 14 Apr, 8pm

the best thing

Vamos Theatre is coming back to the Rhodes in a production co-commissioned with the London International Mime Festival.  It’s a swinging sixties story of unconditional love and sexual revolution – but it’s also a bitter-story of broken hearts and beehives.  With no words.  And if you miss it in Bishop’s Stortford, it’s also on at Hertford Theatre later in the month.

Mostly Comedy, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin, 21 Apr, 8pm

phil kay

Four comedians for the price of one at Hitchin’s Sun Hotel this week.  Phil Kay, James Redmond, Sam Fletcher and Fiona Ridgewell will be getting their funnies on for your viewing pleasure.  And a properly hilarious evening it should be, too.

Beer and Salami Pairing Evening, Berkhamsted Brewery Shop, 14 Apr, 7.30pm

beer and salami - not from their site

Beer and salami?  Yeah, I could manage that.  Particularly when the salami comes from the local and delicious Curious Foods.  (Not tried it?  You should.)  Spending an evening pairing craft beers with artisan salami doesn’t sound like hard work at all.

Matthew Bourne’s The Car Man (delayed live screening), Watford Palace, 19 Apr, 7.30pm

the car man - matthew bourne

Based – albeit loosely – on Bizet’s Carmen (go on, I bet you can hum it…), The Car Man moves the action from 19th century Spain to 1960s America – but keeps the lust, betrayal and revenge intact (jolly good thing too) along with the original score.  Sounds stunning.  But then, pretty much everything Matthew Bourne does is stunning.

A Bigger Splash, Watford Palace Theatre, 18 Apr, 7.30pm

a bigger splash

I’ve not seen this film – and I don’t, to be honest, know anything about it at all.  But, dammit, anything starring Tilda Swinton and Ralph Fiennes, as well as (*sigh*) Matthias Schoenaerts and Dakota Johnson, has to be worth the price of the ticket.)   Apparently, it’s all jealousy, passion and danger.  My pulse is racing already…

Talking Heads by Alan Bennett, Welwyn Barn Theatre, 20-23 Apr, 8pm

alan bennett talking heads

Ah, Alan Bennett.  Bonafide national treasure.  And the Talking Heads monologues are some of his best-loved bits of writing.  Poignant, clever, observant – I remember watching them on the telly when I was considerably younger than I am now, and they’ve totally stood the test of time.  Makes me want to have a nice cup of tea just thinking about them.  I’ll save my shockingly rubbish Alan Bennett impersonation for another time, though…

YolanDa Brown + Mica Paris, Cambridge Corn Exchange, 15 Apr, 8pm

yolanda brown

Heat things up a bit with a double MOBO-winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown and her ‘Reggae Love Songs’ – featuring none other than Mica Paris.  Sounds totally brilliant.

Undressed, V&A, London, 16 Apr 2016-12 Mar 2017


Get down to your smalls (figuratively speaking) at the V & A as you explore their newest exhibition – Undressed: A Brief History of Underwear.  Browse through more than 200 examples – that’s quite the knicker drawer – ranging from 1750 (did they even bother then?) to the present day.  Pants-tastic.

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