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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 24-30 Mar 2016

It’s not just a long weekend – it’s a loooong weekend.  Make the most of it, if you can drag yourself away from those chocolate bunnies, and get out and about around the county.  There’s plenty to do!

Got Rhythm: Busking in the Brewery, Haresfoot Brewery, Berkhamsted, 24 Mar, 7-10pm

busking at the brewery

Grab a beer – and settle in for an evening of swing, blues and jazz at the Haresfoot Brewery.  It’s free to get in, but if you register in advance there’s a BOGOF drinks voucher with your name on it.

Voodoo Room, Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford, 26 Mar, 7.30pm


If you’re a fan of classic blues rock, you’ll love this.  Voodoo Room are a trio with a passion for that era – bringing the best Hendrix and Cream  to the stage with energy and virtuosity.  Think celebration, more than tribute.  They  love ‘em and – so I’m told – it shows.

A Whale of a Task, Natural History Museum at Tring, 24 Mar, 7-8pm

blue-whale-natural history museum

Curious about bones?  Join museum scientist Richard Sabin as he explains why a blue whale skeleton was chosen to replace Dippy, the diplodocus cast – oh, we did love Dippy – at the Natural History Museum in London.  You’ll find out all about the whole process – what it takes to take a blue whale apart and put it back together again (in case you should ever find yourself needing to do that, I imagine).

Lulu Live in Concert, Watford Colosseum, 25 Mar, 8pm

lulu - most hi res image i could find!

I can’t believe she’s still touring – surely the poor love deserves a bit of a rest by how.  She’s been performing for 50 years, after all.  Lots of songs, obvs, as well as some stories about her experiences along the way.  All the hits, as well as some songs from her musical heroes – people like Ray Charles and Otis Redding.  She was at Glasto last year, and now she’s in Watford.

Mostly Comedy, The Sun Hotel, Hitchin, 31 Mar, 8.30pm

james acaster - mostly comedy

This one’s sold out, but there’ll be a returns list available on the door from 7.45pm on the night if you fancy taking your chances.  Have a good old chortle, if you can get in, with James Acaster – who you’ll likely have seen on the telly or heard on the radio –and enjoy live music from Mark Morriss, lead singer of the Bluetones.

Backstage in Biscuit Land, Hertford Theatre, 30 Mar, 7.45pm

biscuit 4

Can’t wait for this one – Mr C and I have our tickets ready!  Backstage in Biscuit Land stars and Jess Thom, aka ‘Touretteshero,’ who has incredible verbal and physical tics – and uses a combination of comedy, puppetry and singing to explore spontaneity, creativity, disability, and things you never knew would make you laugh.  No two shows are ever the same, given that her Tourettes means she’s not always in control of what she’s saying.  It’s definitely going to be like nothing else we’ve seen in the theatre before.  See you there?

Duende Pop-Up Restaurant, Hastoe Memorial Hall, Tring, 25 & 26 Mar, 7.30-11pm


I’ve been to a Duende pop-up before, and they’re great.  Relaxed, informal – but with absolutely fabulous food.   They usually sell out, so if this one hasn’t already,  book your good selves [email protected] in!  It’s 3 courses, as well as an amuse bouche, with choices for all the courses – and BYOB, with no corkage.

All Things Gin Cocktail Masterclass, Auberge du Lac, Brocket Hall, 30-31 Mar, 6.30-7.30pm

gin cocktail

Oh, I want to go to this one so bad…  A masterclass in gin-based cocktails is something I actually need in my life.  And with a team of Auberge chefs on hand to whip up delicious canapés at the same time?  *sigh*

Hold off the Earth, Maltings Arts Theatre, 29 Mar – 2 Apr, 8pm

hamlet skull

This sounds interesting.  It’s a ‘reimagining’ of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, as part of the St Albans Shakespeare Festival, and it draws on the earliest editions of the play to tell the story in a radical new – except old – way.  Curious.

These Books Are Made For Walking, Luton Central Library, 26 Mar, 6-7pm

these books are made for walking

A theatre performance in the library – about two booklovers meeting in a deserted library and immersing themselves in fiction, turning books into headdresses, slippers, paper planes, all sorts of things.  And there’ll be circus skills thrown into the mix, too, to create a piece of physical theatre in space where you’d perhaps least expect it.  Shhh….

A Syrian Love Story, The Hat Factory, Luton, 29 Mar, 6-9pm

syrian love story

A chance to see this BAFTA-nominated documentary with director Sean McAllister right there to talk about making it and lead an audience discussion afterwards. The film follows 5 years in the lives of husband and wife, Amer and Raghda, political activists who were imprisoned for standing against Assad’s regime and then escaped the country with their young son to an uncertain and very difficult future.

The Beat, Harpenden Public Halls, 25 Mar, 7.30pm

the beat

Not many tickets left for this one – so if you’re into your 2-Tone and ska, you’d better get a wiggle on. Love a bit of it, m’self – who can resist singing along to ‘Mirror In The Bathroom’, ‘Can’t Get Used To Losing You’ or ‘Hands Off She’s Mine’?

Jenny Eclair, Harpenden Public Halls, 27 Mar, 7.30pm

jenny eclair

Not many tickets left for this one, either.  Jenny Eclair pops middle age under the microscope in her own grumpy and inimitable fashion.  She’s spot on in so many of her observations – and you’ve got to love a comedian who lists ‘crisps and wine’ under her interests.  Girl after my own heart.

Les Blancs, National Theatre, South Bank, from 22 Mar

les blancs

Lorraine Hansbury is probably best known for A Raisin in the Sun, and this – written 11 years after that – explores some of the same questions about race but in a totally different context.  In an African country on the edge of civil war, Tshembe returns from England for his father’s funeral and finds himself embroiled in the seething racial tensions of his home country.

The Importance of Being Earnest, Barbican Centre, 29 Mar-3 Apr, 7.30pm (2.30pm Sun)

the importance of being earnest

I love this play.  Mostly because my dad used to quote from it all the time (so much so that I thought he was just really witty until I saw it for the first time).  This up-to-date version, full of cucumber sandwiches and smashed plates, and with a hyperactive and vaguely surreal musical accompaniment, sounds much wilder and more anarchic than the polite history of the play might suggest.  Sounds brilliant.

All That Fall, Wilton’s Music Hall, London, 22 Mar – 9 Apr, 6pm & 8pm

all that falls

Samuel Beckett wrote for radio, as well as the stage, and described his radio plays as “coming out of the dark”. This production blindfolds the audience – taking them into the dark – and stages a live performance of All That Fall.  It’s about an elderly woman’s slow walk to a country station to meet her husband on his birthday, and the people who help and hinder her, as well as her blind husband’s train ride home – and the strange event that delays it, keeping them apart. Sit in the stalls, blindfold, and the actors will be moving among you.  Sounds odd but very cool.

Chocolate Market, Duke of York Square, London, 26 Mar, 10am-4pm

chocolate market duke of york square

Oh yes!  A chocolate market in a square overlooked by a statue to the inventor of chocolate?  (Sir Hans Sloane, in case you didn’t know – save it up for the next pub quiz.)  I am SO there.  Oh my flippin’ giddy aunt.  We’re talking Sea Salt Caramel Truffles, a Hans Sloane handmade Easter Egg which forms the basis of a delicious, rich, chocolate drink, confections that include roasted almond roses and cranberry and orange slabsm and exquisite handcrafted artisan chocolates and macaroons. *sigh*

Henry V, Middle Temple Hall, London, 26 Mar–6 Apr, 7.30pm & 3pm (Sat)

Henry V

More Shakespeare for ya.  Performed by a cast of English and French actors, this production takes place in the spectacular Elizabethan Middle Temple Hall for that extra kick of authenticity — except in sort of WWI garb…  After this, it’s going on the road around the country – performing in cathedrals and castles and the like.  And it’ll end up in Holy Trinity church in Stratford-upon-Avon, where Shakespeare was baptised and is buried.

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