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Events and things to do in Berkshire - December 2016

PUBLISHED: 16:35 29 November 2016 | UPDATED: 16:38 29 November 2016

Barb Jungr provides a Christmas treat of superb music

Photo: Steve Ullathorne

Barb Jungr provides a Christmas treat of superb music Photo: Steve Ullathorne

(C)2013 steve ullathorne, all rights reserved

As we head to the holidays the fun and entertainment on stage in Berkshire simply sparkles

Barb heads to Newbury

Many fans will have been delighted by the award of the Nobel Prize for Literature to Bob Dylan (even he was once he acknowledged it) but, we suspect, none more so than acclaimed singer Barb Jungr, who is known in particular for her interpretations of Dylan songs.

Over the years she’s released albums paying tribute to the American singer-songwriter, fusing jazz, blues and soul to produce versions of classic Dylan songs as well as those less frequently heard. In a career spanning four decades she’s also paid tribute to the likes of Nina Simone, Peggy Lee, Leonard Cohen and Elvis Presley, but Dylan has clearly been the abiding love to whom she returns again and again.

Along the way Barb’s built up a fanbase both side of the Atlantic, but it’s not all been about the singing. With The Little Angel, Britain’s leading puppet theatre for children, she composed and wrote The Fabulous Flutterbys, which after a London run toured the country four times. A collection of Beatles songs, arranged and performed with the acclaimed Emmy and Grammy winning musical director and composer John McDaniel, was released recently and is available on CD via Amazon.

But back to Dylan we go with her current tour, which celebrates previous releases including Hard Rain and the latest one, Shelter From The Storm – Songs of Hope for Troubled Times. The latter, featuring Laurence Hobgood, includes interpretations of Bowie’s Life on Mars and Joni Mitchell’s Woodstock.

So it’s going to be a great night on Friday, 18 December at New Greenham Arts when she performs a Christmas concert with pianist Jenny Carr. Expect traditional songs and some surprises… with a nod to Dylan’s Christmas album, of course! Tickets £17, book at cornexchangenew.com.


Don’t think twice… it’s Otway

Still billing himself as ‘Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure’, Aylesbury’s John Otway – another big Dylan fan – comes to Reading’s Sub 89 on Tuesday, 20 December with his own brand of singer-songwriter chaos.

It was a Dylan album bought by his sister that lit the spark for his musical ambitions as a child and led to Otway learning to play the guitar. But it wasn’t until the punk era and a typically manic performance on The Old Grey Whistle Test that his career took off, leading to him being introduced on Top of the Pops by none other than Elton John.

Over 40 years his cult following simply seems to grow and grow. November saw a ‘gathering of the clans’ at an Otway Convention in Southend, complete with Jilted John and The Members. From the 70s performances with Wild Willy Barrett through to Glastonbury Festival, two autobiographies, his first album in a decade out this year courtesy of a Kickstarter campaign, and even a documentary film on his life, naturally titled Rock and Roll’s Greatest Failure: Otway the Movie, which made it to the Cannes Film Festival, he just rolls on and on.

Tickets £12, see sub89.com.


Killer thriller

If you’re looking for a lively pre-Christmas get-together with friends, then how about the lure of an alpine lodge, crisp white snow and tinsel tingling entertainment complete with a murder to solve?

There’s a splendid murder mystery complete with dinner at Bracknell’s Coppid Beech Hotel on Saturday, 10 December when Moneypenny Productions invite you to play detective, with lots of laughs along the way. During ‘Murder at the Snow Ball’ you get the chance to interrogate the suspects and follow the clues in this après ski killer thriller.

With welcome drinks at 7pm, the crime will happen at 8pm as dinner is served and afterwards there’s a disco until midnight. For £47.50 per person you get a welcome drink, three course festive menu, half bottle house wine per person, very good value when you cost up any evening out, and overnight accommodation rates start at £65, including breakfast.

So no cooking or cleaning up afterwards… you just have to solve a murder! Book at sales@coppidbeech.com, 01344 303333.


READING

The Hexagon, Queens Walk, 01189 606060

1 December, Russell Brand: Exposed; 3 December, Christmas Carols with the Salvation Army; 10 December 2016 – 8 January 2017, Snow White

Concert Hall, Town Hall, Blagrave Street, 01189 606060

22 December, The Three Kings, The Sixteen and Harry Christophers

Progress Theatre, The Mount, Christchurch, 0118 384 2195

6-10 December, Wolves by Steve Yockey; 16 December, Jazz at Progress: Empirical

The Mill at Sonning, Sonning Eye, 01189 698000

Until 14 January 2017, High Society; 4-5 December, The Rat Pack at Christmas

Sub 89, Friar Street, tel: 01189 895395

20 December, John Otway; 21 December, Bad Manners – The Annual Christmas Party

Douai Abbey, Upper Woolhampton, 08455 218218

3 December, Mozart at Douai

Tilehurst Village Hall, Victoria Road, 01189 433016

9-10 December, TADS Pantomime – ‘The Doctor Saves Christmas’

The Barn, Goosecroft, Off Beech Road, Purley on Thames, 01189 424167

9 December, The Hound of the Baskervilles


NEWBURY

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, 01635 46044

17 November – 1 January, Sleeping Beauty – Christmas 2016

Corn Exchange Newbury & New Greenham Arts, Market Place, 0845 5218218

Until 31 December, Cinderella; 1 December, Police Cops; 3 December, 3 December, Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit; 5 December, An Ace Winter Sharing; 10 December, Nish Kumar: Action Speak Louder Than Words, Unless you Shout the Words Real Loud; 16 December, Barb Jungr Gets Festive Again; 14-18 December, The Night Before Christmas

New Era Theatre, St George’s Centre, Andover Road, Wash Common, 07919 916009

3, 6-10 December, Collaborators

Shaw House, Church Road, 01635 279279

15 December, Three Rivers Community Choir

Regency Park Hotel, Thatcham, 01635 871555

11 December, Pete Allen Jazz Band

St Mary’s Church, Church Gate, Thatcham, 01189 893860

14 December, Vivace Voices Christmas Concert


WINDSOR

Theatre Royal Windsor, Thames Street, 01753 853888

Until 8 January, Jack and The Beanstalk; 11 December, Carols by Candlelight

Christ Church URC, William Street, 07717 510216

17 December, Royal Free Singers Christmas Concert


MAIDENHEAD

Norden Farm Centre for the Arts, Altwood Road, 01183 788660

Until 30 December, The Elves and the Shoemaker; 1 December, Sofie Hagen – Shimmer Shatter; 2 December, Frozen Floral Roadshow; 2 December, Hundred Watt Club; 8 December, An Evening with Brydon, Mack and Mitchell; 9 December, Christmas Ceilidh; 10 December, The Sherry Babys; 14 December, Charity Concert in aid of Thames Valley Hospice; 15 December, Alec Dankworth’s World Spirit; 16 December, The Alter Eagles; 17 December, It’s Christmas!; 22 December, The Albion Christmas Band; 31 December, New Year’s Eve Hoedown


BRACKNELL

South Hill Park, Ringmead, 01344 484123

Until 3 January, Cinderella; 2 December, Roger Beaujolais – Bracknell Jazz; 6 December, A Tribute to Michael Buble; 7 December, Platinum – The Live ABBA Tribute Show; 8 December, West End Jerseys; 8 December, The Sixtees; 9 December, Veronika Shoot & Alisa Lubarskaya – Conservatoire Concert Series; 10 December, Topette!!; 13 December, Take This; 14-17 December, The Girl with the Reindeer Knitting Pattern; 16-17 December, The Comedy Cellar; 18 December, Mission Improvable; 20 December, Funk & Soul Christmas Party

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