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The Muddy Guide: What’s On 23 – 29 Sept

Giant dogs, ghostly feasting, reggae, comedy and woodland games. Plenty of reasons to get out and about this week, in the Muddy Guide.

Snowdogs by the Sea, Brighton and Hove, 24 Sept – 27 Nov


Forty-five pawsome giant dogs will be appearing all over Brighton and Hove from Saturday. Giant Snowdog sculptures inspired by story The Snowman and The Snowdog will form an art trail with a difference. Each giant sculpture has been individually decorated by artists and there are also 20 Snowdog puppies designed by local schoolchildren. It’s an initiative between Martlets Hospice, Wild Art and Penguin and at the end of the trail each Snowdog will be auctioned to raise funds for Marlets. Download the trail map from the website and get exploring. Sounds like a handy bit of free fun for half term next month.

Small Wonder Festival, Charleston House, Firle, near Lewes 28 Sept – 2 Oct


I’m a short story fan so to have a whole festival dedicated to them right here in Sussex is such a treat and what’s more it’s at Charleston House, one time hang out of the Bloomsbury Set. Modern day famous writers like Lionel Shriver and Ali Smith will be there talking about their work, there will also be also writing workshops and the annual BBC National Short Story Award. Even if you’re not a devotee you can dip your toe in with fun nights like Literary Death Match – ‘a read-off and slapstick showdown’ and the Under The Sea themed slam in which audience members can read their own three minute stories. I went to the slam last year at the festival and it was great fun. This  year it’s hosted by lovely Holly Dawson who runs Lewes Short Story Club – a brilliant informal monthly reading group I get to when I can. Read my feature on it here.

Shappi Khorsandi, Oh My Country! Clair Hall, Haywards Heath, 30 Sept


Shappi is back with a brand new comedy show. Having penned her debut novel Nina is not OK and been elected president of the British Humanist Society she’s now talking about patriotism and Britishness, from Morris Dancing to Morrissey. I’ve seen her several times and love to quote her one-liners. Her sharp wit is often directed at men, so take one along with you to make the evening even more enjoyable. It’s for over-16s only, tickets cost £15 and when I looked there weren’t many left so if you fancy a guaranteed laugh get booking quick. 

Bentley Woodfair, Halland, 23- 25 Sept


Kids will love running around this woodland site that’s full of activities and demonstrations. This rural fair, which is now in its 20th year, is at Bentley Wildfowl & Motor Museum and covers the entire weekend. Children’s activities include a Forest School, offering a chance to explore the natural world, plus archery and Branching Out Adventures, with rope courses, zip wire and giant swing. The main field will also have more than 150 exhibitors, food stalls and demonstrations. Adults £14, children 5-15 £10, family price £47. No dogs.

Rye Arts Festival, various locations, 17 Sept – 1 Oct


Another week another local arts festival and Rye’s is already in full swing. The programme covers classical and more contemporary music, walks, (including a chance to explore Winchelsea’s cellars) and a screening of Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence starring David Bowie and Tom Conti. Besides making pasta sauce and voiceovering Through the Keyhole, Lloyd Grossman is also an art historian and he’ll be talking on 26 Sept about artist Benjamin West. Various exhibitions meanwhile include paintings from the two world wars, photos from Rye in the 1920s and a showcase of a favourite of photographer of mine, Martin Parr who is known for his humorous, sometimes satirical pictures of British people.


Pattern Recognition / Captain Flinn… The Old Market, Hove, 23 Sept / 25 Sept


I’m not much of a fan of experimental contemporary dance but this does sound cool. It’s a duet, commissioned by Sadler’s Wells, performed amongst a system of moving lights, which can track and intelligently respond to dancers. The score is by critically acclaimed electronic composer Scanner and Southbank Centre artist-in-residence cellist Oliver Coates. It’s part of the The Old Market’s TomTech season of events, combining the arts with technology which also includes Hacked on Classics on 28 Sept – an interactive talk about how your fave retro gadgets like Casio keyboards actually work. Meanwhile, on Sun 25 Sept there’s kids’ fun for those 3+ with a follow up to last year’s sell out show Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs, with the puppet dinos returning in The Magic Cutlass. Tickets for Pattern Recognition cost £12.5o, for Captain Flinn they’re £10.

Feast of the Dead, Stade Hall, Hastings, 21-25 Sept


A meal inspired by 11th century food and created by London chefs using local produce will be eaten while performance artists Dens & Signals conjure the ghosts of the Battle of Hastings. This event is part of the Root 1066 International Festival and you’re encouraged to come dressed as your own battlefield ghost to join the spirit (and the spirits) of the evening. It’s suitable for ages 15+, vegetarian or vegan menus are available and tickets cost £25/£18 concessions. There’s also a pay bar.

The Rocky Horror Show, Congress Theatre, Eastbourne, until  24 Sept 


There are still a few tickets left for the latest production of The Rocky Horror Show, which is on in Eastbourne daily until Sat 24 Sept so Damn It, Janet, get booking! Still need convincing? Check out what Muddy Surrey thought of the show here. Tickets cost from £19.

African Night Fever presents: Reggae Party, 30 Sept, Ropetackle Arts Centre, Shoreham


The sounds and tastes of the Caribbean come to Ropetackle with skanking roots, reggae and dance hall. The evening will feature reggae singer Earl Sixteen and his band, known as one of the pioneers of modern reggae beats. Influenced by his mentor, Dennis Brown, Earl was lead vocalist for The Flaming Phonics, has also had a successful solo career and more recently been frontman of British electro-reggae band Dreadzone. All that skanking will work up a hunger, so Cummin Up chefs will have Afro-Caribbean food for sale. Advance tickets cost £12.50.

This House, Chichester Festival Theatre, 23 September to 29 October


This National Theatre production by James Graham, just starting this week, is set in 1974, when the UK faces economic crisis and a hung parliament. Set in the engine rooms of Westminster, the play follows the whips who coerce MPs into the voting lobbies in  a period when debates are won or lost by one vote and even sick MPs get carried through to cast theirs. Mr Muddy saw this play in London and says it’s a must for anyone fascinated by what goes on in Parliament behind closed doors. Tickets cost from £20.


Gangsta Granny, The Hawth, Crawley 10-13 Nov

Birmingham Stage Company presents Gangsta Granny by David Walliams. CAST Gilly Tompkins - Granny Ashley Cousins - Ben Laura Girling - Mum Ben Martin - Dad Umar Malik - Raj Alison Fitzjohn - Matron Richard James - Doctor Louise Bailey - Queen & Female Undestudy Aaron Thiara - Male Understudy CREATIVE TEAM Adapter and Director - Neal Foster Designer - Jackie Trousdale Lighting Designer - Jason Taylor Composer - Jak Poore Sound Designer - Nick Sagar Choreographers - Paul Chantry & Rae Piper of Chantry Dance Company Production Manager - Adrian Littlejohns

Everyone’s favourite farting Granny is back in Sussex. This well-loved David Walliams tale of a seemingly boring old lady with a secret jewel thieving past is coming to Crawley’s the Hawth and tickets are selling fast. My nephews were transfixed when we saw it together in Brighton earlier the year. See what we thought here.

Why The Whales Came, Connaught Theatre, Worthing, 1 Oct


Multi-award-winning performer and storyteller Danyah Miller brings to life Michael Morpurgo’s  enchanting tale Why The Whales Came. Children Gracie and Daniel have been forbidden to go near the mysterious and seemingly dangerous Birdman. But messages and clues intrigue them and, after being lost at sea in the fog and stranded on his tiny island, they begin to unravel the Birdman’s secrets, the villagers’ fears and superstitions and learn why the whales came to the island. Aimed at ages 7+, it’s £12 a ticket or £38 for a family of four. Performances are at 2.00pm and 4.00pm so well before bedtime.

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