Events and things to do in Buckinghamshire - January 2017
PUBLISHED: 12:52 03 January 2017
© Stephen Randall / Alamy Stock Photo
Start the new year with more than a little sparkle and some first class musical nostalgia in Buckinghamshire's theatres
Let’s dance, one more time
On 10 January it will be exactly a year since the breaking news that David Bowie had died sent shockwaves across the world. Typically, Bowie had managed to hide from those outside his closest circle that he had liver cancer. He left the planet without a funeral but had a musical, Lazarus, playing in New York, and a new album, Blackstar, released on his 69th birthday, just two days before his death.
Lazarus later moved from Manhattan to London’s King Cross Theatre and runs until 22 January. Meanwhile, it’s been a strange year for the best known Bowie tribute act, Laurence Knight, a fan since his teens who as the Bowie Experience will notch up two decades performing the icon’s hits in 2017.
Laurence only ever met Bowie just the once – and by chance it was at Milton Keynes in 1983 when he was backstage during the superstar’s Serious Moonlight tour. He’s never fully revealed what Bowie said to him, but says it stopped him from continuing down a wrong path.
His decision to tour as a Bowie tribute act wasn’t an immediate one. Singing with a band mostly doing other people’s covers, he was struck by how members of various audiences said after shows how much he sounded like their favourite.
By 1997 he was part of ‘Spaceboy’, appearing at Bowiefest and sharing a stage with Steve Harley, and in 2003 performed as Bowie at The Royal Albert. In true Bowie-style Spaceboy was reinvented as The Bowie Experience, playing across the UK and invited to the private viewing of the ‘David Bowie Is’ Exhibition at the V&A Museum in London (the exhibition is currently touring internationally and in Japan from this month).
The year since Bowie’s death has been a one of many emotions – the immediate tears of his partner Amy, the show’s costume designer, followed by his, and then struggling with the fact that requests for show bookings were coming thick and fast. He had to perform with Atomic Blondie, another tribute act, just five days after the death and has been on stage pretty much ever since.
In November he was back at Milton Keynes and this month – on Sunday, 8 January – performs at Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, performing a huge catalogue of Bowie hits alongside an excellent band of experienced musicians against a backdrop showing venues playing by Bowie.
There’s bound to be a big welcome in Aylesbury. After all, this is where Bowie launched Ziggy Stardust (watched by Freddie Mercury and Brian May of Queen) and Hunk Dory in 1972 at Friars and there are plans to put the town on the international music tourism map with a statue by world-renowned sculptor Andrew Sinclair.
Two years ago, when a Friars Exhibition was held at Buckinghamshire County Museum in Aylesbury, Bowie sent a ‘good luck’ text: ‘Memories are everything apparently, and I have only great ones of the fabulous Friars. Have a wonderful night!’
So if you’d like your own wonderful night, get tickets to The Bowie Experience in Aylesbury at www.atgtickets.com. Laurence will also perform at The Spread Eagle, Thame on Saturday, 28 January, see spreadeaglethame.co.uk.
Not yet the end of the line
January is definitely tribute performer month – perhaps as the calendar turns we are comforted by our own versions of the ‘good old days’.
As well as Rumours of Fleetwood Mac at Aylesbury, at Wycombe Swan you can revel in The Johnny Cash Roadshow (also at Milton Keynes), Let’s Hang On (Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons) and Legend – The Music of Bob Marley.
Then there’s The Carpenters’ Story at Milton Keynes and Think Floyd at The Stables, Wavendon. But one that really caught our eye is the Roy Orbison and The Travelling Wilburys tribute show at Wycombe Swan on Friday, 6 January.
The original Wilburys 80s super group included Orbison and George Harrison (both lost too early, like Bowie) alongside Bob Dylan, Jeff Lynne and Tom Petty. They never actually toured and for any tribute act taking on that line-up… well it’s a tough act to follow, in every sense.
But some exceptional musicians, who also capture their individual voices and playing styles very well, have done just that. In a two-part show you’ll get a mix of Wilburys favourites such as End of the Line as well as individual covers of the legends’ individual big hits.
See wycombeswan.co.uk to book and they are also at The Stables, Wavendon on 12 February and Henley’s Kenton Theatre the following night.
• Until 1 January, Jolly Gingers House Trail, Field of Light: Bruce Munro, The Biscuiteers, Dazzle@Waddesdon, Waddesdon Manor, tel: 01296 820414
• Until 3 January, Cliveden’s Pantomime Trail, Cliveden, tel: 01628 605069
• Until 4 January, A Fairy Tale Christmas, Hughenden, tel: 01494 755573
• Until 4 January, Christmas Hunt & Quiz, Buckingham Old, tel: 01280 823020
• 4 January – 28 February, Snowdrop Walk, Cliveden, tel: 01628 605069
• 5-6, 9-13, 16-20 and 23-27 January, Conservation in Focus, Hughenden, High Wycombe, tel: 01494 755573
• 11, 18 and 25 January, Behind the Scenes Garden Tour, Hughenden, tel: 01494 755573
• 20 January, Game Dinner at The Five Arrows Hotel, Waddesdon Manor, tel: 01296 651727
• 26 January, Behind the Scenes Manor Tour, Hughenden, tel: 01494 755573
• 28-29 January, Winter House Tours and Sensational Snowdrops, Claydon, Middle Claydon, tel: 01296 730349
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, tel: 08448 717627
6 January, Superslam Wrestling; 7 January, Rumours of Fleetwood Mac – Hits – to Blues; 8 January, Bowie Experience; 12-14 January, RARE – Amateur Youth Productions presents – High School Musical; 16-21 January, Gaslight; 24-28 January, The Twits; 29 January, Anton & Erin
Queens Park Arts Centre and Limelight Theatre, tel: 01296 424332
20 January, Rebecca Downes Band; 27 January, KARA; 28 January, Gig Night at the Limelight
Wycombe Swan Theatre & Town Hall, tel: 01494 512000
6 January, Roy Orbinson and Travelling Wilburys Tribute Show; 7 January, 80’s Mania; 8 January, Johnny Cash Roadshow; 19 January, Let’s Hang On; 20 January, Twist and Shout; 21 January, Big Fish Little Fish; 21 January, The Adult Panto: Puss and Dick; 22 January, Legend – The Music of Bob Marley; 24-28 January, Pride and Prejudice 2017
Milton Keynes Theatre, tel: 08448 717652
Until 15 January 2017, Dick Whittington; 17 January, Vampires Rock: The Ghost Train; 18 January, The Johnny Cash Roadshow; 19 January, Omid Djalili; 20-21 January, Jimmy Carr; 24-28 January, Thoroughly Modern Millie; 29 January, The Carpenters Story; 30 January – 4 February, Not Dead Enough
The Stables, Wavendon, tel: 01908 280800
13 January, Bootleg Blondie; 14 January, Signed, Sealed, Delivered; 15 January, Stephen K Amos; 15 January, Iain Morrison & Michael Chorney; 17 January, The Pitmen Poets; 18 January, Miles Jupp; 19 January, Tom Paxton; 20 January, Popa Chubby; 21 January, Ronnie Scotts’s All Stars present The Ronnie Scott Story; 21 January, Alex Cornish; 22 January, Back to Bacharach; 24 January, Ruby Wax; 25 January, Jo Brand; 26 January, Think Floyd; 27 January, Syd Lawrence Orchestra
Stantonbury Theatre, Stantonbury, tel: 01908 324466
Until 2 January 2017, Aladdin and The Lost Christmas