Muddy met Shappi Khorsandi recently and we can confirm, she is hilariously funny (read the full interview if you don’t believe me), so it’s definitely worth snaffling a couple of tickets for her new show Skittish Warrior which she’ll be performing at Cambridge Junction (Sun 26 May). Other comedy highlights this month include comedy band (yep, that’s a thing) The Horne Selection, performing at Cambridge Corn Exchange (Wed 8 May). The group are regulars on the brilliant 8 out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, are the first band ever to host BBC Two’s Never Mind The Buzzcocks, have had their own TV special at the London Palladium and also have an iTunes chart-topping podcast- phew!
Fresh from sell out performances at last year’s Edinburgh and Brighton Fringe festivals, George Egg performs his show DIY Chef, a unique mix of stand-up, comedy and, er, live cooking demonstrations (*crosses fingers for free food*) at The Key Theatre, Peterborough (Sat 18 May). US comic Rich Hall also performs at The Key Theatre on the second leg of his tour Rich Hall’s Hoedown which explores the UK’s relationship to America (Sun 19 May). Rich also stars in several BBC Four documentaries, most recently Rich Hall’s Countrier Than You and Rich Hall’s Presidential Grudge Match, BBC Radio Four’s Rich Hall’s (US) Election Breakdown as well as appearing on all the usual suspects such as Have I Got News For You and QI.
Finally, award-winning comedy writer stalwart Paul Mayhew Archer (his creds include The Vicar of Dibley, Old Harry’s Game, Mrs Brown’s Boys and the brilliant TV adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot, to name a few) performs his debut stand up at Cambridge Junction (Tues 21 May). Incurable Optimist explores the therapeutic power of comedy in relation to his own battle with Parkinson’s.
FOOD & DRINK FESTIVALS
The annual Ely Food & Drink Festival kicks off at the start of the month- over 75 artisan food and drink traders, street food stalls, demonstrations and a sprinkling of celeb-type chefs pop up on Palace Green, just outside Ely Cathedral (Sun 5 – Mon 6 May). Headlining this year is Italian chef Aldo Zilli who’ll be showing off his skills in the Cookery Theatre, plus nutritionist Hala El-Shafie and local chefs. The festival runs 10.30am – 4pm. Another food fest to check off the list is just over the border in Northants; Althorp Food & Drink Festival (Sat 11 – Sun 12 May) is a biggie and showcases over 100 local producers with a hard-hitting lineup including renowned chef Ken Hom OBE, foodie entrepreneur Mich Turner MBE, MasterChef winner Natalie Coleman, multi Michelin star holder Jean-Christophe Novelli and more. There’ll also be drinks masterclasses, a 40ft circus top for kids and live music, 10am – 5pm.
And if that wasn’t enough to threaten your summer bikini body, Eat Cambridge returns for its seventh year (Sat 11) at The Guildhall, off Cambridge Market Square, with local foodie traders and a lineup of food and drink experts sharing their wisdom (and free samples!). This main event runs 10.30am – 4pm and, new for this year, talks will be included in the £2 entry fee. Eat Cambridge is followed by a two week fringe event programme featuring the best, newest and most exciting indie food and drink in our ‘hood- think cooking demos, tastings, networking and more. Now onto the booze! Even I’m partial to the odd pint on a sunny day (although I’m soon back to G&Ts) and you can get your fix of the golden nectar at the 46th annual Cambridge Beer Festival, held on Jesus Green (Mon 20 – Sat 25 May)- loads of local beers and those further afield, as well as wine, cider and food- it’s the oldest and one of the largest in the UK.
Get your fuschia pink spandex out and ready- FAME The Musical is coming to Cambridge Arts Theatre. Celebrating its 30th birthday (my god, it really is gonna live forever) this show has a West End cast from Chicago’s Mica Paris to Any Dream Will Do’s Keith Jack (Mon 29 Apr – Sat 4 May). Other star-studded shows at Cambridge Arts Theatre this month include 2017 Nobel Prize winner Kazuo Ishiguro’s The Remains of the Day (Tues 14 – Sat 18 May), starring Olivier Award winner Stephen Boxer and Niamh Cusack- don’t forget your tissues for that one. And the world premier of horror/thriller The House on Cold Hill, written by best-selling author Peter James (Not Dead Enough, The Perfect Murder and Dead Simple). It’s an all-star soap cast at this one including BAFTA nominated actor Joe McFadden (The Crow Road, Heartbeat, Holby City, and 2017 Strictly winner), Rita Simmons (Eastenders), Charlie Clements (Eastenders) and Persephone Swales-Dawson (Hollyoaks), Mon 20 – Sat 25 May.
Ballet Black pirouettes onto the stage at Cambs Arts Theatre (Tue 7 – Wed 8 May), led by Artistic Director Cassa Pancho, recent recipient of the Freedom of the City of London for her contribution to diversity in ballet- the company is touring for its 18th year and celebrates dancers of black and Asian descent. And for families, Northern Ballet performs Puss in Boots at Cambridge Corn Exchange (Fri 17 May), it’s only a 40 minute show so puuuurrfect (sorry) for little ones with short attention spans.
Arts festival Platform 8 comes to various locations across Peterborough (Tues 7 – Fri 17), with highlights including dance/theatre company Lost Dog’s new production of Romeo and Juliet, with Shakespeare’s classic adopting a modern twist- the star-crossed lovers survive, hit 40 and one of them has a mid-life crisis (my bet’s on Romeo), Thurs 9 – Fri 10; Now Is The Time To Say Nothing, an interactive sound and video installation exploring the role of screens in observing global conflict (Fri 10 – Sat 11); Confessions of a Teenager, about a young Nigerian boy moving to London (Fri 10) and What Words Are Ours, a poetry cabaret (Fri 17)- there are a couple of workshops to get stuck into too. Full line up here.
Host of the fabulous comedy podcast The Guilty Feminist and author of a book of the same name, Deborah Frances-White, tackles the state of 21st century feminism in the face of the patriarchy in a hilarious and intelligent fashion in her touring version of the show. It’s coming to Cambridge Corn Exchange on Thurs 16 May, but if you can’t wait that long, Muddy got the inside scoop from Deborah recently- check out our interview here. Also coming to our ‘hood this month is mega star Ian Mckellen in a super rare solo stage appearance (Cambridge Arts Theatre, Fri 10 – Sat 11 May), he’s celebrating his 80th birthday with two charity performances which are sold out, but try to beg, borrow or steal to snaffle a ticket as it’ll definitely be worth it.
To keep the ankle biters entertained, the month kicks off with a brand new play Kaleidoscope, for kids aged 6-18 months at The Key Theatre, in Peterborough (Thurs 9 – Sat 11 May)- part of Platform 8 festival. The show is Filskit Theatre’s first performance for babies and is inspired by actual scientific research into how little ones begin to understand colour (which is pretty cool!) Later in the month, the Horrible Histories squad perform a new show, also at The Key Theatre, Brand New Barmy Britain (Thurs 30 – Fri 31 May), pretty apt in the midst of all this Brexit malarkey! The show premiered at Apollo Theatre on the West End last summer and features your usual mutiny and mayhem as well as Georgian detectives, Queen Elizabeth I’s terrible teeth and more.
ART & EXHIBITIONS
This new exhibition, Beggarstaffs, at the Fitzwilliam Museum, displays the work of two young 19th century painters William Nicholson and James Pryde, innovators in collage techniques and graphics in Modern British art. The exhibition also displays the artists’ individual works, which will be shown alongside their joint graphics, for the first time (Tues 7 May – Sun 4 Aug). Muddy favourite, Art Hound Gallery, found in Burwash Manor, also has a brand new exhibit, Neat, Neat, Neat– an immersive collection of work chronicling the art, music and attitude of the Punk movement through printmaking. Artists featured include Sex Pistols artist Jamie Reid, who originated the iconic cut up text and ripped up flags associated with UK punk; Shepard Fairley, America’s biggest street artist; Jimmy Cauty, the brains behind Art Punk Band KLF and work from the gallery’s top contemporary artists (Fri 24 – Sun 16 Jun)- it looks like a goodie.
Ongoing exhibitions this May include Columbian born multimedia artist Oscar Murillo’s first UK solo exhibit since his acclaimed exhibition at South London Gallery at the uber cool contemporary gallery Kettle’s Yard (until Sun 23 Jun). And, it’s your last chance to catch, Kip Gresham: The Art of Collaboration at the new(ish) Heong Gallery, in Downing College Cambridge- over 40 years of work from the master printmaker and founder of The Print Studio, including collaborative works with prevalent British and international artists Elisabeth Frink and Paula Rego (until Sun 19 May).
Camcycle’s 13th annual Reach Ride, on Bank Holiday Mon 6, is a leisurely ride (it’s still exercise though, right?) from Guildhall on Market Square, Cambridge, through beautiful countryside to the historic village of Reach, which has an 800 year old working fair, food and drink tents and, er, Morris dancers. If you prefer watching sport rather than doing it (*slowly raises hand*) Cambridge County Polo Club, nr Lode, is hosting several Polo & Picnic days for families this spring/summer (the first on Sat 11 May)- five pristine polo grounds, food trucks and, new for this year, a pitch side bar.
It’s boyband crazy over at music hub Cambridge Corn Exchange this May (no matter what generation you are!) For screaming teens, young Brit band The Vamps rock up on Thurs 23 May, and for screaming adults (if you didn’t have a bit of a crush back in the day, you’re lying), Wet Wet Wet perform Fri 3 and The Specials perform on Sun 12, check out our interview with frontman Terry Hall, here.
There’s also an extensive line up for classical buffs including Welsh beauty Katherine Jenkins OBE (seriously, how good does she look?!) at Cambridge Corn Exchange, who’s celebrating the release of her recent album Guiding Light; City of Cambridge Symphony Orchestra at West Road Concert Hall (Sat 11); Wigmore Hall International String Quartet Competition winners The Piatti Quartet at the cool contemporary galley Kettle’s Yard (Thurs 23) and the Russian Philharmonic of Novosibirsk at Cambs Corn Exchange who’ll be performing Rachmaninov’s trio of Symphonic Dances as part of the Corn Exchange’s Orchestral Season (Tues 21). Finally, Kingdom Choir (who performed at Meghan and Harry’s wedding, no less!) embark on their new Stand by Me tour which kicks off at the Royal Albert Hall and comes to the Corn Exchange on Mon 13 May. The gospel choir’s other creds include appearances on BBC’s The One Show and ITV’s Good Morning Britain.