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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 15-22 Oct 2015

Lots going in the theatres of Hertfordshire this week – perfect for this chilly evenings – and a couple of lovely bits to tempt you if you’re heading into London (or want an excuse to).  And did you know it’s National Chocolate Week?  Pass the Dairy Milk….

Parkway Dreams, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 20 Oct, 8pm


Head back on a retro trip to the 70s, with its dodgy fashion, even dodgier telly, and … er … distinctive music.  Oh, and its Clangers.  Apparently.  Stranger things have appeared on stage, but a musical set in the heady world of new town planning and the hot new PR industry could be fun?  See what you think of the trailer for Parkway Dreams.

Meet the Author: Ben Johncock, Berko Writers, HERE Cafe, Berkhamsted, 20 Oct, 7pm


Ben Johncock’s debut novel, The Last Pilot — his very first one — has been getting cracking reviews on both sides of the Atlantic.  He’ll be in Berkhamsted this week, sharing his experiences of putting pen to paper both as a novelist and a journalist, as well as the path to publication.  If you’re just interested — or if you’re on that path yourself — it promises to be an interesting evening.  And your first drink is on the house (way to lure writers in…) so that’s that sorted.

Jay Rayner: My Dining Hell, Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford, 22 Oct, 8pm

 Jay Rayner MDH LR

Restaurant critic Jay Rayner his particular plateful of culinary delights to Herts this week.  This is a man who’s reviewed more than 700 restaurants – and he’s convinced that people prefer to read reviews of the bad ones, rather than the good.  And he knows of where he speaks: he was recently voted best food and drink journalist in Britain.  In his show, he talks about some of the most excruciating nights out he’s had – and looks at some of the worst reviews he’s ever received.  It’s supposed to be a very entertaining evening.  Only question is, do you eat before or after….?

Dickens Abridged, Weston Auditorium, Hatfield, 19 Oct, 1.30 & 7.30pm

 Dickens Abridged

Reduced Shakespeare founding member Adam Long has turned his condensing eye to that other grand old man of Brit Lit – good old Charles Dickens himself.  Now, I’ve ploughed through a fair few of Dickens’ doorstop-sized novels (oh yeah, I’m such a literary heavyweight) and the thought of fitting them all into just 70 minutes leaves me breathless.  Add in the bizarre-and-barely-believable facts of Charlie D’s own life – as well as some song and dance numbers – and well, it’s going to be fast and furious if nothing else.

Coco Comedy Club, Coco Cafe, Croxley Green, 15 Oct, 8pm


Like your comedy with a slice of cake?  I do.  And this month’s Coco Comedy Club even has a free poet thrown in for good measure.  Tonight – go on, be spontaneous! – there are 5 comedians, as well as that buy-5-get-1-free poet, bent on cheering up your Thursday and getting your weekend off to a cracking start.  All in the lovely CoCo Cafe and all for only a fiver.  See you there!

Coco Cafe Watford Road, Croxley Green, WD 3 3BZ,

Pygmalion, Radlett Centre, 16 Oct, 8pm


If you’re a My Fair Lady fan (I mean, really, who hasn’t crooned ‘all I want is a room somewhere…’ in the shower?  oh, just me…?), then Pygmalion – the play on which the film was based – could be a real treat.  This version by London Contemporary Theatre has the music, too, which means you get to hum along (until the person sitting behind you goes shhhh, that is).

Salaam, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 21 Oct, 8pm


The Sonia Sabri Company, one of the country’s leading South Asian dance companies, is bringing its latest production – Salaam – to Herts.  There’s live music and stunning Kathak dance, all weaving together to celebrate harmony and the joy of being alive – which is a jolly good thing to be celebrating, I reckon.  It’s something a bit different from the usual theatre fare locally, and I’m really curious to see what it’s like.  Makes a change from Strictly, anyhoo…  And the theatre has a 2-for-1 offer on tickets for this show, which makes it even more tempting.

Monster Pots workshops, Roald Dahl Museum, Great Missenden, 18 Oct, 12, 1.30 & 3pm


As part of their Vermicious Villains week, the Roald Dahl museum is holding workshops where your little villains (5+ — that’s age, not quantity) get to listen to some stories from Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator for inspiration – then design and make their own monster pot, with the lid being the head.  Sounds great – and messy – and perfect for a rainy afternoon.  Best to book in advance, though, by calling the museum, as it’ll be first come first served on the day and it’s bound to be popular.

81-83 High Street, Great Missenden, HP16 0AL,

Freaky Fortnight, Mead Open Farm, nr Leighton Buzzard, 17 Oct-1 Nov


Get Halloween off to a head start at Mead Farm as they kick off their Freaky Fortnight.  There’ll be plenty of friendlier fun for the very small – with some spookier bits for any older ones.  Mead Farm always puts on a great Halloween show, and there’ll be loads of interactive bits and bobs to scare and delight in equal measure.  And it’s all included in the regular entrance price.  I think they usually have some good after-school deals, too, so that’s worth checking if you fancy a quick midweek visit.

Mead Open Farm, Stanbridge Road, Billington, LU7 9JH,

Liberty in Fashion, Fashion and Textile Museum, London


Liberty has to be one of the most well-known – and instantly recognisable – fabric retailers in the world, and the Fashion and Textile Museum is celebrating Liberty’s 140th anniversary with an exhibition chronicling its influence on British fashion and design.  If fabric or fashion are your thing, this has to be a brilliant day out.

The Chocolate Show, Olympia, 16-18 Oct


Seriously?  Do I even need to come up with one single reason why this would be amazing?  Chocolate you can eat (obvs) and chocolate you can wear (although why would you?) in the ‘edible fashion show.’  Celebrity chefs doing their chocolatey thing.  Desserts bars, brownies, tasting sessions, demos, you name it.  More chocolate than you can shake a stick at.

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