The Muddy Guide: What’s On 17 – 23 March

Theatre for kids, teens and adults, music, vintage shopping, an Irish slanted race day and a giant dog walk – all on this week and all in the Muddy Guide. Plus things of a fishy and fairytale theme to book ahead.

Abigail’s Party, Devonshire Park Theatre, Eastbourne, Mon 20 – Sat 25 March 

If there were a Desert Islands Discs for TV, Abigail’s Party – the Mike Leigh play about the 70s drinks party from hell – would be in mine. It’s forty years since passive aggressive host Beverly first put Donna Summer on the turntable, stacked a plate with little cheesey-pineapple ones, plied her guests with alcohol, cigarettes and Demis Roussos and slow-danced her way across the shag-pile into theatrical history. You’re bound to have caught the TV play on one of its many reruns but here’s a chance to see it live on  stage as a Theatre Royal Bath production starring Amanda Abbington – best-known for playing Mary Morstan in Sherlock. Tickets are form £19. Alright Tone?

Great British Dog Walk, Sheffield Park and Garden, East Sussex, Sat 18 March

Great British Dog Walk, 20 fun-filled countryside walks are being held across the country to raise money to train hearing dogs for deaf children and adults. Sussex’s giant walkies will be at Sheffield Park. There are different routes to choose, refreshments and entertainment will be on offer – you can also  bring a picnic of your own. There is a free limited-edition Great British Dog Walk bandana for your dog and an opportunity to be entered into a prize draw to win a luxury Forest Holidays getaway with every event booking. You must register in advance and booking ends before the day. It’s £10 for adutls, under 16s go free.

Babe – The Sheep Pig, Connaught Theatre, Worthing Fri 24 – Sun 26 March

The book was called The Sheep-Pig, the film was called Babe and now the stage show is Babe – The Sheep Pig. When Babe arrives at Hogget’s Farm he is taken in by the trusty sheep-dog Fly and discovers a talent for herding. With the help of his adopted Mum, our polite piglet soon wins over the most suspicious of sheep. But when his farmyard friends are in trouble can Babe save the day? The show combines people, puppetry and original music. Tickets cost from £17, or £60 for a family of four. It’s also coming to  Crawley in Aug.

Vintage Fair, Warwick Park, Tunbridge Wells, Sat 18 Mar

Like a bit of vintage fashion? With 25 stalls of the finest local and affordable vintage fashion, home-ware, costume jewellery, french brocante and original records you could unearth some real treasures at this fair and get a serious hit of nostalgia. It runs 10:30 – 16:00 at Warwick Park.

NT Connections, Minerva Theatre, Chichester, Tues 21 – Sun 26 March  

Got any young adults in the house? Here’s an opportunity to see new plays written for young people by some of theatre’s most exciting playwrights. National Theatre Connections is holding its 2017 regional festival at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre. Each evening the first play will start at 7pm followed by a 15 minute interval before a second play. The running order will be decided on the night just before the house opens. Intriuging titles include The Snow Dragons and Zero For The Young Dudes. Tickets are just £5, age guidance is generally 15+

Open morning and future school exhibition, Dorset House School, Bury, Pulborough, Sat 18 March

Dorset House is a non-selective co-ed prep and pre-prep near Arundel with day pupils and flexi-boarding. It’s actually is one of the oldest schools in the country, having been founded back in the 18th century. If you are looking for an independent school in the area then get along to its open morning and future schools exhibition – to explain where within a two hour radius your child could continue their education after they leave.  The event is on Sat March 18, 9.30 to noon. Want a sneak preview? I had a look around before Christmas and found the school has a nice family feel – see here. Can’t make Saturday? The school is happy to arrange visits at other times. Call 01798 831456.


The Girl and the Giraffe, The Hawth, Crawley, Sat 18 March

Another children’s show mixing puppetry and live action. One day whilst Girl is playing in her garden, she spots something peculiar on the other side of the fence – a giraffe.  As their friendship grows, Girl discovers that Giraffe isn’t very well. She tries everything she can to make him feel a bit better… but sometimes we need a different kind of plaster for the things you can’t always see. Puppetry and an uplifting tale aimed at 3-6-year-olds. Tickets are £7 or £25 for a family of four.

Nyetimber Wine Dinner, Chichester Festival Theatre restaurant, Fri 17 March

Ditch the Guinness and raise a glass of Nyetimber sparkling Sussex wine this St Patrick’s Day. Caper & Berry are hosting a Wine Dinner with a Sussex inspired four-course menu crafted by their chefs, and Nyetimber’s brand ambassador talking you through your tipple. Tickets are £49. Check out too the Mothers’ Day lunch and the gin tasting evening coming up.

Free entry, Jerwood Gallery, Hastings, Friday 17 March

Get down to the Jerwood in Hastings this Friday 17 March when the gallery is celebrating its 5th birthday. It’s offering free admission to all visitors on the day,  plus I hear there’s birthday cake to be had.

Half Man Half Biscuit, Worthing Assembly Hall, Fri 17 March

Half Man Half Biscuit, four blokes from The Wirral that never took the music business very seriously, have outlived many others that did; and you can see why at a rare gig this month. Jangling indie guitar mixes with satirical and surreal lyrics from a career that spans 30 years. The most recent and 14th album, Urge for Offal, continues a theme that began with 1985’s Indie chart-topping Back in the DHSS. And you just have to love a band with other discs entitled Achtung Bono and Voyage to the Bottom of the Road.

Fontwell Park, St Patrick’s Raceday, Sat 18 March

Enjoy the craic at Fontwell Park this Saturday it celebrates (albeit a day late) the St Patrick’s Raceday. Grab a Guinness and enjoy  seven races then continue the atmosphere into the evening with either the live Irish music in the Premier Concourse or the action from the RBS 6 Nations in a dedicated beer and rugby tent. Gates open at 11:30. A free shuttle bus will be running from Barnham station. Advance tickets include a discount.

Gangsta Granny, The Capitol, Horsham, Thurs 16 – Sun 19 March 

Just a few tickets left now for this one – Thurs night and Sat morning are looking your best bets. It’s is a colourful production of the well-loved David Walliams tale of a seemingly boring, cabbage farting granny with a secret jewel thieving past. My nephews were transfixed when we saw it together last year. See what we thought here.

A evening with Catherine Mayer, Waterstones, Brighton, 23 March

‘Not a single country anywhere in the world has achieved gender equality. If gender equality promises benefits not just to women, but to everyone, why aren’t we embracing it? And how can we speed the pace of change?’ That’s the premise of  Catherine Mayer’s book Attack of the 50ft Women. The journalist, author and co-founder of the Women’s Equality Party will be discussing it at Brighton’s Waterstones on 23 March. Tickets are £5 (£3 if you’ve a loyalty card). It starts at 7.30. See here for other author events coming up at the store.


LGBT history cafe and tours, Soho/Covent Garden, London, Thurs 2 March to Sun 26 March

2017 marks 50 years since the partial decriminalisation of homosexuality and to hail the milestone The National Archives and   National Trust have joined forces to re-create an historic underground cafe and ‘queer-friendly members club’ on almost the exact spot it once stood. The Caravan once known as ‘London’s most bohemian rendezvous’ was closed following a police raid in 1934. It’s striking interior has been recreated at Freud Café-Bar on Shaftesbury Avenue using photographs, court reports, police papers and witness statements. It will be the focal point of a month of tours celebrating LGBTQ+ heritage around Soho and Covent Garden (tickets £12). There will also be themed talks and performances and a chance to enjoy cocktails in the retro club in the evening.


Billingsgate Fish Cookery School workshop, Classroom on the Coast, Hastings,  Sat March 25

I went to a great session at Classroom on the Coast at the Stade last year when I made the above. Sadly funding issues mean they are no longer a regular fixture at the moment but there are pop-ups like this workshop from Billingsgate experts. You’ll be working from a surprise box of fish landed by the local fleet which could contain gurnard, whiting, dab or plaice. You’ll be taught how to prepare a fish stock and then make a smoked paprika, tomato and chilli sauce to toss into spaghetti with your seafood. Sounds like a great upgrade from my lunchtime fishfinger butty. The two hour workshop is £32 (including your home cooked lunch of course) and there are two sessions – 9.30 – 11.30am and 12.15 – 2.15pm. Call 0207 517 3548 to book. Other classes are planned for May and July.

Beauty And The Beast, Moonlight Drive In Cinema, The Hop Farm, Paddock Wood, Kent, Fri 31 Mar

If you have an Emma Watson-mad mudlet then you are probably planning on taking them to watch the new re-make of this Disney classic. If you live up Kent way, why not try something a bit different and enjoy the action from the comfort of your own car at this Paddock Wood drive through? Come fully prepared with popcorn and a hip-flask of Prosecco (just the one – you’re driving of course, unless you can get someone else to do the honours). Use discount code: INDX20MAR to get 20% of any purchase in March. Meanwhile if you’ve budding actors in the family note the Hawth in Crawley is running youth auditions in May for its own stage version of the classic tale.

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