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Things to do: January


THEATRE: Benidorm Live
■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Mon 28 Jan – Sun 2 Feb

ITV’s award-winning comedy comes to the stage following in the escapades of the holiday makers and staff at the Solana Hotel. Creator Derren Litten has written an all new set of Alicante escapades for the much-loved cast members, including Jake Canuso, Janine Duvitski, Sherrie Hewson, Shelley Longworth, Tony Maudsley and Asa Elliott.

COMEDY: Jim Davidson: The People Fight Back
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Tues 29 & Wed 30 Jan

If you’re fed up with this politically correct world we find ourselves in, this could be the show for you. In his new show, Jim Davidson says ‘enough is enough’ and he’s is telling it like it is. Expect plenty of laughs. Shows start at 7.30pm.

THEATRE: The Mousetrap
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Tues 29 Jan – Sat 2 Feb

Agatha Christie’s classic mystery is the longest running show of any kind in the history of theatre. The scene is set when a group of people gathered at a country house get cut off by the show do discover – oh horror! – that there is a murderer in their midst.

EXHIBITION: Women in Photography: A History of British Trailblazers
■ The Lightbox, Woking ■ Wed 30 Jan – 2 June

This new exhibition will feature around 70 works including Turner Prize winners and nominees and Venice biennale exhibitors such as Helen Sear, Sam Taylor-Johnson, Hannah Collins, Gillian Wearing and Jane and Louise Wilson. The works featured will date from the mid-19th century through to 2009 and will chart progressions in style, techniques and popular subject matter.

THEATRE: Falling Through the Cracks
■ Mill Theatre at Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford ■ Thurs 31 Jan & Fri 1 Feb

This powerful play directed by Trace Linegar comes direct from a run in London where it gained great reviews. It follows the story of Ben, who having been living on the streets for over a decade, finds himself trapped in a world of no escape. Thoughts of entering the land of the so-called living seem like an impossible task… until he meets Beth.


The Favourite, from Tues 1 Jan

Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone star in this love-triangle / power battle that looks wonderfully bitchy. Olivia Coleman is Queen Anne, dominated by her scheming courtier Rachel Weisz. When Emma Stone appears at court she is determined to win the Queen’s favour. What ensues is a jaw-dropping power struggle, played out against the backdrop of England during the Restoration.

Mary, Queen of Scots, from Fri 18 Jan

More period queeny drama as Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth I battle it out in in 1569. The film stars Saoirse Ronan as Mary and Margot Robbie as her cousin Elizabeth I. Fab costumes, extraordinary make up and good performances are promised but some critics aren’t happy about some historical inaccuracies. What, you mean Elizabeth I doesn’t marry King Eric of Sweden after all? *thud*

Serenity, from Fri 25 Jan

Interstellar co-stars Matthew McConaughey and Anne Hathaway reunite for this thriller about a fishing boat captain pulled into a web of deceit when his ex-wife begs him to save her from her abusive new husband.


THEATRE: When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Ourselves
■ The National Theatre, London ■  Wed 16 Jan – Sat 2 Mar

Cate Blanchett makes her debut at The National alongside Stephen Dilane in this new play by Martin Crimp, based on Samuel Richardson’s novel Pamela. It explores desire, sexual violence and the complicated roles men and women play – blimey!. There’s also a series of talks with members of the production and the playwright throughout the play’s run though Cate isn’t on the menu I’m afraid.


ART: London Art Fair
Islington, London ■ Wed 16 – Sun 20 Jan

Sealed Silence by Lisa Wright

Calling modern art lovers! Get ye over to Islington for this massive art fair offering everything from prints and editions through to major works by internationally renowned artists. There are talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, plus Photo50, the annual exhibition of contemporary photography and Art Projects, featuring large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays.

CULTURE: Tate Late
Tate Modern, London ■ Fri 25 Jan

More art, you cultured lot, in this monthly open evening at Tate Modern that includes music, workshops, talks and more as you wander the galleries after hours. This Friday Bridget Minamore, poet, critic, essayist and journalist, will be reading from her debut pamphlet Titanic, which explores love, loss and the struggles we all face in relationships.

THEATRE: A Christmas Carol
■ The Old Vic, London ■ now until 19 Jan

The smash hit of Dickens’ classic adapted by Jack Thorne (Harry Potter and the Cursed Child) and directed by Matthew Warchus returns to the Old Vic and this time Stephen Tompkinson stars as Ebenezer Scrooge. This big-hearted and warm production’s unique staging immerses the audience in the story and there’s music, mince pies and much merriment for a fab festive night out.

KIDS: Hogwarts in the Snow
■ Harry Potter Studios, Watford ■ now until Sun 27 Jan

Hogwarts in the Snow – as regular as Christmas!  The festive makeover will see Christmas trees line the Great Hall, the Gryffindor common room dressed for the season and a blanket of filmmaking snow covering the majestic Hogwarts castle model. Visitors will even be able to touch samples of the different types of ‘snow’ used during production, each selected for its ability to float like falling snow, crunch under foot or glisten in the light like ice. Trust me, your kids will love it.


CHRISTMAS: Winter Wonderland
■  Hyde Park London ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

hyde park winter wonderland illuminated heater skelter and fairground ride London

Go big or go home when it comes to festive fun, London’s Winter Wonderland is huuuuge. Free to enter but once inside, prepare to sell a kidney. The costs can get out of control – particularly if you hit the glühwein a little too hard. What to expect? Winter markets, fairground rides and ice skating. Major attractions this year include the Magical Ice Kingdom Secret Forest, an immersive showcase of woodland animals and mythical creatures created from ice and snow; a Bavarian village offering an authentic Oktoberfest experience; karaoke cabins, ice sculpting workshops, the Winter Wonderland Comedy Club, immersive screenings of The Snowman and plus Peter Pan on Ice.

FILM: Royal Opera House Cinema Festival
■ Linbury Theatre, Royal Opera House, London ■ now until Mon 7 Jan

It’s the 10th anniversary for the Royal Opera House’s Cinema Festival and it begins on 3 Dec in the Linbury Theatre with a live screening of The Nutcracker for which children aged 5 – 15 go free. Cool, huh? This is followed over the next month by 20 screenings of operas and ballets with memorable casts. Operas include Renée Fleming and Joseph Calleja performing La Traviata and Jonas Kaufmann singing Verdi’s Otello. Ballets include Sarah Lamb and Vadim Muntagirov in Manon as well as Swan Lake and Giselle which brings the festival to a close. Perfect for a festive London day out, I reckon.


TALKS: Ian McKellen on Stage
■ Rose Theatre, Kingston ■ Fri 1 Feb

Sir Ian McKellen is to celebrate his 80th birthday next year by touring with a new solo show to raise funds for theatres. The show starts with Gandalf and will probably end with an invitation to act with me on stage. In-between there will be anecdotes and acting.


OUTDOORS: New Year’s Day Walk
■ Winkworth Arboretum, Hascombe ■ Tues 1 Jan

Blow away the cobwebs with a brisk winter’s walk through the trees at this National Trust site. It’s on from 2-3pm, so plenty of time for a sleep-in and a leisurely breakfast or brunch (head to The White Horse in Hascombe, just down the road). Bring the kids and the dog (on a lead) and dress warmly. There are some slopes, so wear sturdy shoes too. Cost is £3 each.

EVENT: New Year’s Day Classic Gathering
■ Brooklands Museum, Weybridge ■ Tues 1 Jan

An event for lovers of classic cars. This is a chance to show off your four wheeled classic or vintage beauty -and admire plenty of others. More than 1,000 cars are expected at this event. There will also be live music and a winter barbecue. It’s on from 9am-4pm.

EVENT: Christmas Glow at Wisley
■ Royal Horticultural Society ■ now until Wed 2 Jan

Jigantics floral light installations at night. Christmas Glow event at RHS Garden Wisley.

Back for a fourth year, the ‘Christmas Glow’ returns, with fantastical gigantic flowers, dramatic installations and brilliantly illuminated trees. Wander the trail to see floating installations on the water creating rippling reflections, light shows on trees, and spectacular views of the historical Laboratory reflected in the Jellicoe Canal.

EVENT: A Taste of Christmas at the Savill Gardens
■ Englefield Green, Egham ■ now until Wed 2 Jan

There’s plenty of festive fun going on at the Savill Gardens, including the Winter Sprite Trail, an hour-long trail where you go in search of the magical winter sprites; vintage carousels (from 15 Dec); carol singing; and carriage rides. 

INTERACTIVE THEATRE: Polesden Lacey comes to life
■ Polesden Lacey, Great Bookham ■ until Thurs 3 Jan 

The Cat’s Grin theatre Company brings Maggie Greville’s guest and servants to life at Polesden Lace with low key dramatic interludes in the house. There will also be talks – at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 2.30pm – where you can learn a little about socialite Maggie and her fabulous party house Polesden Lacey. Tickets to the house will be timed.

PANTO: Peter Pan and the Loose Boys
■ The Back Room of The Star Inn, Guildford ■ now until Sat 5 Jan

Who says panto is for the kids? This panto is full of rudeness and staged in a pub, so best leave the kids at home. Expect a load of naughtiness and innuendo, crude comedy and plenty of laughs. Not for prudish types.

EVENT: Christmas at Kew
■ Kew Gardens, London ■ now until Sat 5 Jan

Such a brilliant time to visit Kew as they do the Crimbo thing so well with over a million twinkling pea-lights and thousands of laser beam winding  through the world-famous Gardens. New this year are the Moonlit Woods and step into a laser garden where lines of light playfully bounce across the branches. There will also be a festive flotilla of glowing boats on the lake, a Canopy of Light and a sculptural Fire Garden, plus Father Christmas and his elves at the North Pole Village, vintage fairground rides (a fee for that one) and shopping. All in all a magical lit up wonderland – and well worth a visit with the family. Worth going with the fam.

PANTO: Jack and the Beanstalk
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

Fee, Fi, Fo, Fum, we smell lots of panto fun! Expect adventure, mayhem and a terrifying giant.

FESTIVE THEATRE: Hansel and Gretel
■ The Rose Theatre, Kingston ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

A festive version of the Brothers Grimm’s much-loved fairy tale comes to the Rose Theatre this Christmas. Battling magical beasts, enlisting a crew of fairy tale bandits and learning the secrets of their past, Hansel and Gretel must race to save their town from the Witch’s Curse. And all in time for Christmas!

PANTO: Cinderella
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

EastEnder and R&B artist Michelle Gayle comes to Guildford this Christmas as the fairy godmother in this popular panto. She’ll be joined by Yvonne Arnaud panto regulars, Kit Hesketh-Harvey, Peter Gordon and Jamie Brook, plus Georgie Leatherland, Cameron Burt and Nick Barclay.

ICE SKATING: Hampton Court Palace
■ Hampton Court Palace, East Moseley ■  now until Sun 6 Jan

‘Skate back in time’ they say and you’ve a seriously stunning backdrop for your triple salchow at Henry VIII’s old gaff in Surrey, floodlit with colours for the evening. Skating sessions are 45 minutes, and booking is recommended. The cafe serves up pies, rum punches and fizz. Make a day of it, and tour the palace while you’re there.

EXHIBITION: In print: Making Impressions
■ Watts Gallery, Compton ■ until Sun 6 Jan

The In print: Making Impressions exhibition celebrates the art of print making, in all of its variety. It features some of the foremost names in British printmaking today, including Chris Orr Ra whose work has been seen at The British Museum and National Portrait Gallery (to name a few.)

PANTO: Cinderella
■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ now until Sun 6 Jan

Will Cinders make it to the ball in time. Not if the wicked stepmother can help it. And with the ultimate panto dame, Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood, cha-cha-cha-ing his way across the stage as the stepmother anything could happen. Paul Chuckle and Phil Butler joins the cast. It’s a 10 from us for comedy casting, dahling!

FILM: Electric Film Festival
■ Electric Theatre, Guildford ■ Mon 7 – Sat 12 Jan

Reinventing Marvin

Kickstart 2019 with a culture fix at the Electric Film Festival where you’ll have the chance to see recent art-house and foreign-language films on the big screen. Included on the bill this is Spanish film Summer 1993, Italian film The Ciambra and Reinventing Marvin (pictured) from France. You’ll also find Palestinian film Wajib and the UK’s The Happy Prince. All tickets are £5. Click here for film dates and times.

TALK: An Evening with Alice Roberts: Digging into Britain’s Past
■ Richmond Theatre ■ Thurs 10 Jan

Anthropologist, author and broadcaster Professor Alice Roberts has been delving into Britain’s past, and making archaeology programmes, for nearly 20 years. In this show, Alice will share insights, anecdotes and behind-the-scenes stories from her personal journey to explore Britain’s past, with footage from her programmes and excerpts from her books. The show will finish with 20 minutes Q&A.

EXHIBITION: Inspired by Nature: Celia Lewis
■ Watts Gallery – Artists’ Village, Compton ■ Sat 12 Jan – Sun 24 Feb

Watts Contemporary Gallery supports local artists and this year’s annual exhibition features original prints and paintings by Surrey artist, Celia Lewis. Celia has lived in Surrey all her life and takes her inspiration from the countryside around her. She is a member of several local art societies and has exhibited with The Royal Watercolour Society, The Society of Woman Artists and Wildlife Artist of the Year.

FAIR: Quilters Fair
■ Farnham Maltings ■ Sun 13 Jan

This annual quilting fabric sale and exhibition is now in its 22nd year. Expect to find plenty of bargains at more than 40 fabric stalls. There will be an exhibition of quilting creations on display from local quilting groups, who will also be on hand to share their expertise. It starts at 10am.

EXHIBITION: Impressionism: The Art of Life
■ The Lightbox, Woking ■ now until Sun 13 Jan

Detail from Alfred Sisley (1839–1899) 14 July at Marly, France, 1875 Oil on canvas © The Higgins Art Gallery & Museum, Bedford

Works by world-renowned artists such as Paul Cézanne, Edgar Degas and Pierre-Auguste Renoir, all of whom exhibited artwork in the very first Impressionist group exhibition in France. It showcases a rare combination of French Impressionist paintings and sculpture, spanning from the early 1860s to the beginning of the First World War.

MUSIC: Ramin Karimloo: From Now On
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford ■ Sun 13 Jan

One of the world’s most accomplished stars of the West End and Broadway Stage, Ramin Karimloo brings  new show From Now On to Guildford. Performing with his acclaimed Broadgrass Band, Karmiloo’s unique style of revisiting celebrated songs from musical theatre in a sublime folk style has won him an army of fans around the world.

MUSIC: Cable Street Rag Band
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Mon 14 Jan

The Cable Street Rag Band, based in Limehouse London, are old-time, hot jazz, ragtime, swing and blues specialists. The band, a five piece, features Ewan Bleach, Dakota Jim and Louisa Jones (Whiskey Moonface). They play the music of The Washboard Rhythm Kings, Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, Bessie Smith and more.

EVENT CINEMA: NT Live: The Tragedy of King Richard The Second
■ various cinemas ■ Tues 15 Jan

Simon Russell Beale plays Richard II in this new production directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins broadcast live from the stage of the Almeida Theatre in London. Click here to find a venue.

DANCE: The Spirit of the Dance
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Wed 16 Jan

Irish in origin and bursting with raw energy, this explosive and powerful show combines heart-pounding Irish dance with the sensual Latino rhythms of flamenco and salsa in a thrilling production of strength and passion. It’s been seen by more than 30 million people in more than 20 countries around the world.

COMEDY: Sandi Toksvig Live: National Trevor
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Wed 16 and Wed 23 Jan

Comedian Sandi Toksvig tours her brand new one-woman comedy show. Expect tall stories, fascinatingly funny facts, really silly jokes, a quick fire Q&A and a quiz. Don’t expect tap-dancing, leotards or a forward roll.

THEATRE: …And This is my Friend Mr Laurel
■ Farnham Maltings ■ Thurs 17 Jan

Jeffrey Holland stars in this one-man show about friendship, memories and a couple of remarkable lives -paying tribute to his hero Stan Laurel, one of Hollywood’s greatest film comedians. Set in Oliver Hardy’s bedroom it provides an in depth, humorous and touching account of the comedian’s life.

MUSIC: Wilson and Wakeman
■ Cranleigh Arts Centre ■ Fri 18 Jan

Damian Wilson and vocals and acoustic guitar and Adam Wakeman on piano, vocals and acoustic guitar come together to play songs from their back catalogue intertwined with stories and memories from their extensive touring careers. Wakeman is best known as the keyboard and guitar player with Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath, and Wilson is widely known for bands such as Headspace and Threshold.

KIDS: Over the Moon: A First Opera for Little People
■ Farnham Maltings ■ Fri 18 Jan

Introduce your kids to opera at this interactive musical event for babies and toddlers which offers a calm, playful and creative first experience of opera. Put on by the Hurley Burley Company, Over the Moon weaves together gentle classical music with familiar nursery rhymes and games in an interactive musical, operatic adventure. Shows are at 10am, 11.30am and 2pm.

COMEDY: Guildford Gag House Comedy
■ The Back Room, The Star Inn, Guildford ■ Sat 19 Jan

Get your laughs at this monthly professional comedy club. The January line up includes funny people John Robertson (pictured), James Alderson, Nick Dixon and Ruth Cockburn.

COMEDY: Andrew Doyle: Friendly Fire
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Sat 19 Jan

One of the UK’s foremost political satirists, Andrew Doyle brings his seventh solo standup show Friendly Fire to Guildford. It follows on from the critically acclaimed Thought Crimes, which ran at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe last year and then transferred to the Soho Theatre in London. Expect plenty of laughs.

COMEDY: Brooklands Gag House Comedy
■ Brooklands Museum, Weybridge ■ Sat 19 Jan

Mark Dolan, Susan Murray (pictured), Chris Stokes and Joe Hobbs bring their comedy acts to Brooklands Museum – the first time Gag House has performed at this venue. It promises to be a lot of fun.

■ New Victoria Theatre, Woking ■ Mon 21 – Sun 26 Jan

Paul Nicholls and Chris Fountain star in the newly extended run of the comedy drama Rain Man. Based on the Oscar-winning film that starred Tom Cruise and Dustan Hoffman, it’s about a self-centred salesman Charlie Babbitt who discovers that his long-lost brother an autistic savant with a genius for numbers – inherited the family fortune. Charlie sets out to get his half.

EVENT CINEMA: ROH Live: The Queen of Spades
■ various cinemas ■ Tues 22 Jan

Tchaikovsky’s intense opera about a obsession and the supernatural. It’s based on a short story by Pushkin, about a man who is caught between the woman he loves and a destructive fixation.

COMEDY: Stephen K Amos: Bouquets and Brickbats
■ Epsom Playhouse ■ Wed 23 Jan

As Brexit looms on, Trump reigns rampant and everyone seems pushed to extremes, stand up comedian Stephen K Amos brings us his new show, Bouquets and Brickbats, with one main objective: to cheer us up.

MUSIC: Band of Burns
■ Harlequin Theatre, Redhill ■ Wed 23 Jan

A collaboration of 12 folk artist and featuring the vocals of Rioghnach Connolly,  the Band of Burns have come together to perform new versions of classic Burns songs, original compositions and instrumental sets, all celebrating the life, works and philosophies of Robert Burns.

THEATRE: Sex Is Another Language
■ Yvonne Arnaud Theatre ■ Fri 25 Jan

Love, loyalty, betrayal, tragedy, hatred and adulation. Elizabeth Taylor knew them all. From child star to sex symbol and from conspicuous consumption to dedicated AIDS campaigner, this compelling play by Tony Earnshaw explores the contradictions and consistencies that run through Liz’s life.

COMEDY: Gag House Comedy Superstars
■ G Live, Guildford ■ Fri 25 Jan

To help you start the New Year with a great big smile on your face, award-winning comedian Sara Pascoe (pictured) comes to Guildford to headline this event. Also included in the line up are Tom Deacon and Simon Evans.

EXHIBITION: Duke and Duchess of Sussex Exhibition
■ Windsor Castle, Windsor ■ now until Sat 26 Jan

Prince Harry and Meghan – Duke and Duchess of Sussex Royal Wedding 2018 Windsor Castle steps

Last chance to see Meghan’s Givenchy bridal gown designed by Clare Waight Keller, her 5m veil embroidered with flora symbolising the 53 Commonwealth countries and the 1932 Queen Mary diamond and platinum tiara loaned to the Duchess by the Queen. It’s not all about the bride (even though we known it is really), Harry’s Blues and Royals frock designed by Dege & Skinner on Savile Row will also be standing to attention.

KIDS: Ensonglopedia of Animals
■ Tindle Studio, Farnham Maltings ■ Sun 27 Jan

This new show from John Hinton offers up 26 animal songs – one for each letter of the alphabet. It’s aimed at kids from age 5 up. Expect loads of energy, creativity, rhyming and fun. Shows are at 11am and 2pm.

FAIR: Vintage and Collectables Fair
■ Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking ■ Sun 27 Jan

If you’re a fan of antique goodies, head along to this fair at Denbies Wine Estate which features vintage and collectables from the 1920s to the 1980s. It’s from 10am until 4pm.



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