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The Muddy Guide: What’s On 13 May – 19 May

Isben, rockpools and a brilliant act mixing storytelling and song with burlesque in this week’s Muddy Guide.

Enemy of the People, Chichester Festival Theatre, with hotel package, until 21 May


Hugh Bonneville – you’ve gotta love him, and he’s here in Sussex in Isben classic Enemy of the People at the Chichester Festival Theatre. The star of Downton Abbey, and my personal faves the satirical TwentyTwelve and W1A, is playing Dr Stockmann who uncovers shocking news about a popular local spa. Make a night of it with deals from The Spread Eagle Hotel & Spa or its sister Baliffscourt Hotel & Spa. Both are offering top tickets and an overnight stay from £179.50 per person including high tea, full English breakfast and use of the spa facilities. There’s even the possibility of meeting the cast backstage. Similar theatre packages run until October, so that’s all good. (One for TwentyTwelve fans there…)

Rockpool Adventure, Birling Gap, 15 May

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Low tide at this East Sussex beauty spot opens up a miniature world that’s fascinating for children and adults alike. Join the Rangers in seeking the weird and wonderful creatures that inhabit the shoreline and expect to see tiny crabs, starfish, limpets and even some jellyfish. Equipment is provided, but bring nets and buckets if you have them. Access is via 50 steps down the beach, so wear suitable clothing and footwear. Children must be accompanied by an adult. No dogs allowed. It runs 11.00am-1.00pm and £3. Booking is essential.

Cuckoo Fair, The Bell, Ticehurst, 15 May 


Browse flowers, plants, gifts, crafts and cakes from the best local artisans and traders and tuck into refreshments or make an afternoon of it and book Sunday Lunch in the historic restaurant. Entry to the fair is free and it runs 11.00am to 3.00pm. Read my review of a stay at the Bell Inn here.

Cyclefest, Brighton, 15 May


If you’re too embarrassed to admit you can’t repair a puncture, this is the event for you. As well as practical help with mechanics (right down to the very basics), there are also films, a quiz and your kids can test ride some of the latest bikes. London Bike Kitchen, which teaches people to maintain their cycles, is one of the participants; plus there’s pay-what-you-feel food from the Real Junk Food Project and even free cake. Yes, really – free. I guess it’s motivation to get you pedalling the calories off. Cyclefest takes place at the Synergy Centre, West Street, 12.00pm-5.00pm. Entry by donation.

One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, Redoubt Fortress, Eastbourne, 15 May


I clearly remember laughing my socks off at this film as a child. It’s set in London’s Natural History Museum and the famous diplodocus (the one that to everyone’s dismay was recently mothballed) is stolen by a mysterious Chinese gang – but why? OK there are some wince-inducing Chinese stereotypes (one is played by Peter Ustinov!) but plenty of fun with slapstick comedy and grannies hiding out inside the blue whale’s belly. It’s being shown indoors at the fort as part of Museums at Night and kids can make fossils and transform themselves into dinosaurs before the film. Activities start at 1.30pm and the screening at 2.30pm. Children’s tickets are £6, adults £4.

The Shepherd & Dog garden party, Devils Dyke, 14 May


This glorious pub at the foot of Devils Dyke is famed for its mini-festivals and this month sees the opening of its beer garden, which is a favourite wedding venue and is where the pub’s events, like the Gin and Jazz Festival, take place. The re-opening sees the pub team up with Ridgeview, Blackdown, Downlands Brewery and Wobblegate so expect plenty of wine, sparkling wine, spirits, beer and cider to taste.

Artists Open Houses urban ramble, Brighton and Hove 15 May 


Brighton and Hove Urban Ramblers invite you to join them for free to tour of some of the city’s Artists Open Houses, where you can browse and buy their work. The circular walk will include a stop for tea and cake. En route you can expect to see a wide range of art including jewellery, ceramics, textiles and sculpture plus printmaking and photography and you can speak to the artists in their working environment. Meet at the War Memorial at The Old Steine, across the road from the Steine fountain at noon. The walk will end around 3.00pm. For more about Artists Open Houses, which is happening in several locations, see my post here.

National Mills Weekend, various locations, 14-15 May


Here’s your chance to peek into some of the lovely mills we have dotted around Sussex. Jill windmill on the downs above Clayton, Polegate, West Blatchington, Nutley and Rottingdean mills and several at National Turst properties are among those open for the weekend. Some have extra family-friendly events on like vintage car displays and face painting. Most ask for donations only. There’s a full list on the Jill windmill website.


Elsie Diamond: The Sensible Dresser, 13-14 and 27 May

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This one-woman show was one of my highlights from last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Burlesque performer Elsie mixes stories of love, loss and prima donnas from her day job as a theatre and opera dresser, with fine Bluesy songs and humorous strip-tease. Expect Les Mis like you’ve never seen it before and a hilarious bit of audience participation involving one poor male member of the audience and Elsie wielding needle and thread.

Wi-Fi Wars,  The Old Market, Hove, 15 May


This interactive comedy game show gets you using you smartphone or tablet to play along with quizzes and challenges. TV presenter Steve McNeil, who if you’re into your geekery you may know as part of the duo behind gaming sentsation Go 8-Bit , hosts the show, which first appared as part of the Royal Institution’s 2015 Summer Programme.  Tickets costs £10 make sure gadget’s full charged so it can handle an hour and 40 mins of action.

The Complete Deaths, Theatre Royal, Brighton 


This is the last weekend for this show, which promises all 74 stage deaths from the works of Shakespeare from Cleopatra and her asp to the carnage at the end of Hamlet.  Spymonkey performs them ‘sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, always hystercially’. I’m looking forward to catching it myself on Sunday.

Confessions of a Redheaded Coffeshop Girl, until 22 May (excluding 17 May)


This musical play has been on my radar for a while, in fact since it was on my shortlist for Edinburgh Festival last year. Anthropology graduate Joanie finds herself working as a Barista and starts to study her customers. It’s picked up some good reviews so I’m hoping to finally catch it locally. Tickets are £9.



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