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What’s On: Muddy Herts Guide 5-11 Nov 2015

Can’t believe how much there is going on this week – and barely a mention of (groan…) Christmas.  If you’re ready to get your dancing shoes on, there’s loads to tempt you.  Great comedy.  Theatre for young and old.  And more.  See you out there!

The Great Outdoors, Berko Speakeasy, Kings Arms, Berkhamsted, 11 Nov, 7 for 7.45pm

 speakeasy berko

If you’ve not been to a Berko Speakeasy yet, you’re missing a treat.  Fabulous Speakeasy actors bring brilliant short stories to life – and all in a cabaret-style setting, so you get to sit there with a glass of wine in hand and absorb it all.  This time, the theme is ‘The Great Outdoors’ with writing from Annie Proulx, Lionel Shriver and A. A. Milne.

Bollywood Dance Class, Birchfield Leisure Centre, Hatfield, 6 Nov, 6.45pm


Always fancied having a bit of a go at Bollywood dancing?  Here’s the perfect opportunity!  Local teacher Radhika Vora is running a taster session for teens and adults, and – even better – she’s not charging but instead asking for donations on the night that will all go to the charity ECPAT UK.  Get your dancing shoes on, lovelies – and shake whatever you want to shake!

Birchwood Leisure Centre, Longmead, Hatfield, Hertfordshire AL10 0AN

The Magic of Motown, Watford Colosseum, 6 Nov 6, 8pm


Get your soul thing going with the national tour of ‘The Magic of Motown’ – now in its 12th year, so it must be doing something right.  Expect lots of the Four Tops, Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, as well as Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Lionel Richie.  Not actually them, obvs, but loads of their hits — Stop in the Name of Love, Signed Sealed Delivered I’m Yours, My Guy, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Endless Love, All Night Long, Heatwave, I’m Coming Out, Why Do Fools Fall in Love, Get Ready, My Girl, I Want You Back, Blame it on the Boogie, and more – you’ve bopped to them all in your time, I bet?

Uncle Funk and the Boogie Wonderband, Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford, 7 Nov, 7.30pm

 Uncle Funk

And if that’s not enough boogying for you – and heaven knows it might not be – you can join Uncle Funk and the Boogie Wonderband in Bishop’s Storford the next night for a night of 70s fun to celebrate the theatre’s 10th birthday.  Win big (well, biggish) in the mini-casino with a glass of fizz, and then head into the main auditorium to get your groove on for a night with Uncle Funk (which is probably much more fun than a night with Uncle Frank).

Harry Manx, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead , 11 Nov, 8pm

harry manx

Not heard of Harry Manx?  No, me neither.  But I had a quick listen on You Tube and he’s a fairly spectacular blues musician.  I’m now loving his voice and starting to think I need to listen to more of him.  Lucky for me, he’s at the Old Town Hall  in Hemel next week.  He’s performed all over the world – theatres, concert halls, blues clubs, festivals, you name it.  Now, excuse me, I’m going back to listen to some more…

Disco Pigs, Hertford Theatre, 10 Nov, 7.45pm


Quite apart from the brilliant name, ‘Disco Pigs‘ looks great – funny and furious, with a healthy dose of swearing (don’t take the children…), cheap booze and trashy telly.  It started life at the Young Vic, where it sold out a few years ago, and it’s now touring.  With their friendship falling dramatically apart, the central characters Pig and Runt are played, according to the critics, with energy and vigour.  Sounds like anything but a nice gentle evening at the theatre…

The Falcon’s Malteser, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 7 Nov, 2pm & 7pm


For one you can take the children to, there’s ‘The Falcon’s Malteser‘ – an adaptation of Anthony Horowitz’s novel that still has children absorbed.  If you’ve not come across if, it’s a film noir pastiche about an utterly useless private detective and his brainier brother.  Loads of comedy, slapstick and songs – and characters like The Fat Man (who has lost a lot of weight), Gott and Himmell, Lauren Barcardi, Beatrice von Falkenberg and Betty Cleaner.  Sounds fun.

Tots Tales, Verulamium Museum, St Albans, 11 Nov, 1.30-2.30pm


Tinier tots to entertain?  Head over to Verulamium Museum for ‘Tots Tales‘: a story, some crafts and a museum hunt.  A couple of hours of, if not peace, then something to do that will keep those pre-schoolers busy and happy.  And then, of course, you can nip to The Inn on the Park for a hot chocolate….

The Tring 700 Photo Exhibition, Natural History Museum, Tring, until 21 Nov


Tring celebrated its 700th birthday this year – hoorah! – and there’s a neat little photography exhibition at [email protected] right now.  It features photos from the town’s archives, matched against contemporary images of the same spots, as well as the winners of a 700th birthday photography competition.  It’s free – as is the museum – and a great way to spend a rainy afternoon.  (Try to avoid going in the mornings as that’s when the school groups go – I was there a fortnight ago with 60 Year 1 children….  believe me…. go in the afternoon…)

Snow Play, Rhodes Theatre, Bishop’s Stortford, 7 Nov, 1pm

 Snow Play

Snow?  Really?  I’m only just over the fact that I have to wear a coat for the school run already.  But this children’s show ‘Snow Play‘ does sound quite lovely.  Winter moves in and decides to stay – but Spring is on hand to battle it out and warm things up.  It’s properly interactive, too – get ready to build a snowman, throw snowballs and cover the whole house in snow.  Sounds perfect for small folk.

Hitchin Chamber Orchestra Concert, St Mary’s Church, Hitchin, 7 Nov, 7.30pm

htichin church

Fancy a spot of culture?  Hitchin’s newest orchestra, the HCO, is performing a nicely varied concert of chamber music this week.  Some bits everyone will know – Autumn from Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, for instance – and some are a bit less widely known – Warlock’s Capriol Suite (or is that just me?).

Music at the Palace, Hatfield House, 10 Nov, 7-10pm


And more?  The Haileybury Chamber Choir and the Borealis Chamber Orchestra are hooking up for a one-off performance of ‘The Majesty of Monteverdi and Mozart.’  Great setting – the Old Palace at Hatfield House, and all lit by candlelight.  Your ticket (do book in advance!) includes your supper and the bar will be open – and there’s even a dress code (smart casual).  Proceeds are going to support Welwyn Garden City’s Isabel Hospice, too.

Phoenix Rising, The Old Town Hall, Hemel Hempstead, 6 Nov, 8pm


I’m not a big D. H. Lawrence fan, it must be said, but there’s no doubt that his influence and appeal have endured.  ‘Phoenix Rising,’ a one-man show, reflects on Lawrence’s early life – his parents, his schooldays, his early teaching career, and his beginnings as a writer.  It’s had great reviews, and  actor Paul Slack has a serious acting pedigree – RSC, National Theatre, Donmar Warehouse and … er … Love Actually.  The Old Town Hall really does have some interesting theatre going on – little gem, for sure.

Vienna Festival Ballet: Coppélia, Hertford Theatre, 7 Nov, 2.30pm & 7.45pm


The last time the Vienna Festival Ballet brought their production of Coppélia to Hertford, it was so popular that they’ve been persuaded to make a return visit.  It’s a proper classic – and sounds like a beautiful version of a ballet that so many people love.  Would be a great first ballet for children, too.  I know my 5 year old girlie would be enthralled. 

Adult Day of Dance at Tring Park, 8 Nov, 10am-4pm

 tring park

And if simply watching other people dance isn’t enough for you – or if you’re inspired by the delights of Coppélia the day before, why not head over to Tring Park School for their Adult Day of Dance?  There’ll be a range of different classes – ballet, jazz, and so on – in their gorgeous dance studios, and you don’t even have to have danced ever before.   Although it’s ok if you have, obviously.  Tutu, anyone…?

Rob Beckett – Mouth of the South, Radlett Centre, 8 Nov, 8pm

 rob beckett

Rob Beckett is taking his new show on tour – tackling the big issues of modern life like Kit Kats and flatbreads – and he’s in Radlett this weekend.  He’s such a smiley chap, and does a great line in observational humour.  The Radlett Centre is a neat little venue, too, and I can imagine it being a great venue for stand up.

Stephen K Amos: The Laughter Master, Court Theatre, Tring, 12 Nov, 8pm


Tring’s utterly brilliant Get Stuffed Comedy Club has Stephen K Amos coming to visit next week – but don’t leave it until the last minute to book as shows there sell out all the time and fast.   Apparently, he’s much, much funnier in real life than he is on the telly or the radio – although he’s pretty funny on there, too.  And it’s a great theatre for comedy – small enough that you feel like you’re right up there.

Dickens Abridged, Hertford Theatre, 6 Nov,

 dickens abridged

Remember The Reduced Shakespeare Company?  Well, the same brains behind that – Adam Long – has now turned his attention to a pile of great thick doorstop Victorian novels  and produced ‘Dickens Abridged.’  They manage to cram hundreds of the characters you know and love (or read once and have since forgotten about) from Dickens’ novels into just 70 minutes of music and madness.  Sounds bonkers.

Mistletoe Market, Herts Country Showground, Redbourn, 7-8 Nov, 10am-5pm


If you’re feeling… dare I say it… ready to start thinking about… oh lordie… Christmas (agh), then you could do a lot worse than head over to the very first Mistletoe Market at the Herts County Showground.  The focus is firmly on local produce and crafts – like the County Show, only bedecked with holly and, well, mistletoe.  Might want to ditch the stilettos for wellies, though, if the weather carries on like this…

The Showground, Dunstable Road, Redbourn, AL3 7PT

Christmas Market, Hatfield House, 7 Nov, 10.30am-4pm

 hatfield house

Or if you’d rather be indoors, there’s a Christmas market in the Riding School at Hatfield House, with proceeds going to support Welwyn Garden City’s Isabel Hospice. It’s just £2 to get in and children are free (to get in – they’re not being given away).

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