What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 28 Oct-5 Nov 2015

Halfway through half term, Halloween is on the horizon, and it’s definitely feeling positively Autumnal.  There’s lots of great stuff this week, as always, and plenty to keep the little ones entertained as well in the Muddy Herts Half Term Survival Guide.  See you out there!

St Albans Fashion Week, 26-31 Oct


There is so much going on during St Albans Fashion Week that I don’t even know where to start.  Seriously, the best thing you can do is check out the brochure online. The Cathedral Catwalk Shows (29 & 30 Oct) are bound to be amazing, but there’s lots else to catch your eye.


Ministry of Science, Rhodes Theatre, 4 Nov, 1.15 & 7pm

ministry of science

Way to keep your own little mad scientists enthralled for an hour or two.  Think, human cannon, frozen flowers, bottle rockets, that sort of thing.  Ministry of Science sounds loud and anarchic and – don’t tell the kids – educational.  And expect lots of bangs and whooshes, just in time for fireworks night.  Fingers in ears, people….


The Fixer, Hatfield, 3-4 Nov, 1pm, 2.15pm, 6pm & 7.15pm

the fixer

The Fixer promises a theatrical experience where you are literally right in the middle of the action.   None of this ‘ooo, I feel like I’m on the stage’ business – you are actually taken in a moving car (a blue Renault Clio, if you’re interested) through the town as the story unfolds with you in it.  When you book, you’ll be given instructions about where and when to start your journey, and then it all goes from there.  It’s immersive, unique and will be nothing at all like sitting quietly in a nice dark theatre.  And given that a Clio isn’t the biggest of cars, tickets are even more limited than usual so you clearly have to book in advance.


Hamlet and Henry V, Watford Palace Theatre, 1 Nov


Fancy a Sunday full of Shakespeare?  Look no further than the Watford Palace Theatre this weekend.  Start off at 2pm with Benedict Cumberbatch (oh, if I must…) in this title role in this latest National Theatre production of Hamlet — which, given his fairly gloomy-looking face, is probably a role he was born to play.  Hang around afterwards and you can catch Alex Hassell as Henry V in … you’ve guessed it … Henry V, the Royal Shakepeare Company’s production in Stratford-upon-Avon.  Quite appropriate, too, given that it was the 600th anniversary of the Battle of Agincourt this month.  Now, this would pretty much be a perfect Sunday for me, but I can’t help thinking that Mr C might need a tiny bit more persuading…


No Livewire – the AC/DC Halloween Show, Harpenden Public Halls, 31 Oct, 7.30pm


Now, correct me if I’m wrong but Harpenden and AC/DC just don’t really seem to go together in my head…  Perhaps I’m not being fair on either given that Harpenden Public Halls is the venue this Halloween for No Livewire, a six-man tribute band – complete with cannons and a wall of Marshalls, and the promise of (and I quote) “two hours of High Voltage Rock and Roll.”  (In Harpenden?)   They’ll be doing all the hits (umm….), and – if this is your thing – sounds like a hell of a way to celebrate Halloween.  And it’ll just keep getting louder until the evening ends in a crescendo of cannon fire.  For those about to rock, we … er … salute you.


Steve Backshall’s Wild World, Alban Arena, 31 Oct, 11am & 2.30pm


Last year’s Strictly was made very watchable by the presence of Steve Backshall – not perhaps for his dancing, perhaps, but for his… er… engaging personality.  He’s in St Albans this weekend back in his comfort zone with Wild World, a show that traces some of his most exciting expeditions – from the jungle to the tundra – and includes a Q & A session at the end.  I expect he’ll keep his shirt on, though…


Day of the Dead Party, The Lodge, Ware, 31 Oct, 5pm-1am


It’s all going a bit Mexican in Ware this week.  Never mind Halloween – think, Day of the Dead in instead.  Gorgeous new Mexican shop Casita Bonita has been replacing pumpkins with skulls, and witches with catrines  — and The Lodge is joining in on Saturday night with its very own Day of the Dead party.  There will be tequila involved – obviously – with some specially-themed cocktails to enjoy.  All treats, no tricks.



He Had Hairy Hands, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 30 Oct, 8pm


Ok, this sounds like Scooby Doo meets Hammer Horror meets Twin Peaks meets The League of Gentleman – with a dash of werewolf for good measure – and all set in the ‘70s.  In He Had Hairy Hands it’s 1974 in the sleepy town of Hemlock-Under-Lye and there’s a werewolf threatening – gasp – teatime.  Sounds properly mad but has had some cracking reviews.


Lee Nelson Suited and Booted, Watford Palace Theatre, 5 Nov, 8pm & Alban Arena, 6 Nov, 7.30pm


Lee Nelson gets about.  Not only did he make an appearance with Kanye West (some might say ‘stormed the stage’) at Glastonbury this year, he popped over to the FIFA headquarters to offer old Sepp Blatter a few quid in front of the world’s press.    And now, he’s here in Herts: Watford one night, St Albans the next.



An Evening with Simon & Oscar from Ocean Colour Scene, Alban Arena, 1 Nov, 7.30pm


Hard to believe but Ocean Colour Scene are celebrating 25 years together this year, and their recent sell-out tour was one of their most successful.  Simon and Oscar from the band are now touring some smaller, seated venues with an smaller show – and they’ve included the Alban Arena in that tour.  Sounds brilliant, actually.  All the big hits and massive-venue-anthems, but acoustic and intimate.


The Snow Queen, Rhodes Theatre, 1 Nov, 2pm & 6pm


Ballet UK are performing their version of the Hans Christian Anderson classic (and inspiration for Frozen) in Bishop’s Stortford this weekend.  Gerda travels the frozen north in search of her lost friend Kay – and only her love can break the spell and the Snow Queen’s curse of eternal winter (sound familiar?).  This production made the Independent’s top 5 list of touring productions, and the reviews all praise the glittering costumes and expressive dance.  If we weren’t away that weekend, I’d definitely be taking along my youngest to be dazzled by it all.


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