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The Muddy Guide


Exhibition On Screen: Girl with a Pearl Earring, Cranleigh Arts Centre, 14 April

One of the most famous paintings in the word, is also one of the most mysterious. But perhaps that’s part of the allure. Our fascination with Johannes Vermeer’s works was sparked by Tracy Chevalier’s 1999 novel Girl With A Pearl Earring. A Hollywood film in 2003, starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth, grabbed our attention even further. But little is known about both the 17th century Dutch painter and his subject. This documentary seeks to answer some of the unsolved riddles that this extraordinary painting evokes.

Cranleigh Arts Centre, 1 High Street, Cranleigh, Surrey, GU6 8AS. Tickets: £13.20. Tel: 01483 278000.

The Jungle Book at Everyman Cinemas in Oxted, Reigate & Esher, selected times from 15 April


The revival of our favourite Disney musical is in cinemas from Friday – and I can’t wait. The animation has been swapped with hyperreal CGI, and the songs are gone too, but according to early reviews this film retains the old-fashioned storytelling and is nothing short of spectacular. Mowgli, the little boy raised by wolves, is played by newcomer Neel Sethi. But they bought out the big guns to voice the animals: Ben Kingsley as Bagheera the pantha; Idris Elba *sigh* is as the tiger Shere Khan; Scarlett Johansson as Kaa the snake; Christopher Walken as the ape and Bill Murray is said to be outstanding as Baloo the bear.

Hattie Briggs in the Cellar Bar at Farnham Maltings, Fri 15 April


A little bit of Norah Jones with a touch of James Taylor and a dash of Eva Cassidy – that’s Hattie Briggs. And while she’s not huge yet, it’s only a matter of time. This girl from Gloucestershire is on her way up, so catch her now cos it won’t be long before she’ll be filling stadiums. Her influences are folk country and pop, which manifest in her catchy songs and clever lyrics. This gig is part of her Young Runaway Tour, to coincide with the release of her second album, Young Runaway. Her debut album Red & Gold came out early last year. Get your tickets peeps, she’s one to watch.

Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Tel: 01252 745444.
Tickets: £10.

A Night of Food and Agony with Jay Rayner at the Camberley Theatre, Sat 16 April


The MasterChef judge, restaurant critic and sometime pianist takes a close-up look at our fascination with lousy reviews, has a rant about the restaurant fads that wind him up, and spills the beans on some of his most excruciating nights out. And the – who knew? – Jay reveals his talents as a musician, performing tunes with a quartet of top musicians, including hits by Johnny Mercer, Harold Arley, Blossom Deartie and Dave Frishberg, taken from the Great American food and drink songbook.

Camberley Theatre, Knoll Road, Camberley, GU15 3SY. Tel: 01276 707600. Tickets: £22.

Love Oxted Day, Sat 16 April


It’s carnival time in Oxted. Okay… this may not reach quite the grand scale of  the carnivals in Rio, but the first ever Love Oxted Day promises to be a lot of fun. It’s a family event celebrating all things Oxted and Surrey with street musicians and street food vendors, plus an art gallery at Tandridge Leisure Centre. There will be a Local Produce Market from 10am-4pm offering Surrey-made gin, wine, beer and cider, organic fruit and veg, smoked fish, artisan bread, chocolate, chutneys, jams and oils. To be honest, they had me at gin. The event is free, and there will be free parking.

Station Road East and Station Road West, Oxted, Surrey, RH8 0BT.

Book fair at Farnham Maltings on Sun 17 April


One for bookish sorts – a book fair where you’ll find second-hand books for sale from about 40 individual exhibitors covering most subject areas, from travel, to transport, history, first edition collectibles and much more, including some printed ephemera. It’s the ideal day out for collectors. The fair goes from 10am-4pm.

Farnham Maltings, Bridge Square, Farnham, GU9 7QR. Tel: 01252 745444. Entry is £1.


An Audience with Ian Waite and Natalie Lowe at Epsom Playhouse, Sun 17 April


The Strictly stars are still doing the rounds. And these two have long been among my favourites. Maybe it’s the Aussie in me that identifies Natalie. Or *cough* perhaps it’s that legs-that-go-on-forever Lowe and I are just so physically similar. Whatever it is, Nat and Ian will again be pushing the boundaries of dance to showcase their mix of ballroom and Latin. And because they’re just so lovely, there’s also a chance to meet the couple before the show for selfies and signatures (although that’ll set you back a tenner extra).

Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tickets: £24-£36. Tel: 01372 724555.


Travels With My Aunt at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford, 19-23 April


Four actors take on more than 20 roles in his mad-cap dash around the world with retired suburban bank manager Henry Pulling. He meets his eccentric aunt Augusta, at what he thinks is his mother’s funeral, and she convinces him to travel with her to Brighton, Paris, Istanbul and Paraguay. Henry puts his dull and predictable life behind him – to Augusta’s delight – when he joins her shifty world of pot-smoking hippies, war criminals and hard-core art smugglers. I don’t think you can go wrong with this one.

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, GU1 3UX. Tel: 01483 44 00 00.
Tickets: £19-£30.50.



Tiff Stevenson: Madman at Epsom Playhouse, 21 April

Whats14Tiff Stevenson

There are hundreds of stand-up comics in the world, but most of them are men. Tiff is a refreshing break from the masculinity that runs strong in the world of funny people. Her show, Madman, was among the best reviewed shows at Edinburgh Festival last year, so there’s no doubting this will be good.


Epsom Playhouse, Ashley Avenue, Epsom, Surrey, KT18 5AL. Tel: 01372 724555.
Tickets from £10.


Food by Aneke: Pop-up restaurant at The Lightbox, Woking, 22 April


I recently met the fab Aneke Spacie when I had brunch at her new restaurant The Water’s Edge at Heather Farm, Horsell. The food was amazing, though it’s hardly surprising, as Aneke has some serous food credentials having worked with some of the biggest names in the the foodie world. Her last pop-up at The Lightbox sold out pretty quickly, so I suggest you get your shakes on and book smartish if you want to sample Aneke’s six-course tasting menu. It’s £75 for the six courses which includes

The Lightbox, Chobham Road, Woking GU21 4AA.
Booking on 01483 737803, or via email.


Bad Jews at Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, 26-30 April


I’m all booked to see this one, and I can’t wait. It’s come from St James’ Theatre in the West End, where it became the best-selling play in the theatre’s history. If that’s doesn’t scream ‘book your tickets now’, I’m not sure what does. It’s about a family scrabbling over a treasured family heirloom that belonged to their grandfather, who’s now dead. Sound familiar? You know, it vaguely does!

Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Millbrook, Guildford, GU1 3UX. Tel: 01483 44 00 00. Tickets: £26-£34.50.


Yolanda Brown: Reggae Love Songs, ft Mica Paris at G Live, Guildford, 27 April


Double Mobo award winning saxophonist YolanDa Brown brings some sass to Guildford, and a special guest in the form of soul legend Mica Paris. The pair will take you on a journey of reggae rhythms from the Caribbean, peppered with jazz-flavoured inflections. It’s gonna be a goodie… but you’ll need to book soon.

G Live, London Road, Guildford, GU1 2AA. Tel: 01483 369350. Tickets: £25.50.

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