Waitrose & Partners Weekend Issue 613

18 AUGUST 202 2 39 BOOK IT NOW Quentin Letts The theatre critic’s guide to what’s on Longstocking and Dirty Bertie, who all challenge unfairness, defy convention or are just plain naughty. These books, and others including Zog and the Flying Doctors ( left), Billy and the Beast and Julián Is aMermaid (above), are celebrated in Marvellous and Mischievous, the summer exhibition at The Hold archives in Ipswich. Through original manuscripts and SEE STRANGER THINGS COME ALIVE It’s been the TV hit of the summer and got Kate Bush’s Running Up That Hill to number one 37 years after it was ärst released. Now London’s hot ticket is Stranger Things: The Experience. The immersive show plunges you into a new Stranger Things storyline, interacting with Eleven, Dustin, Mike, Lucas, Max and Will as you volunteer as a test subject in the Hawkins Lab’s new study, and unlock your power to save the day. Afterwards, hang out in an 80s-themed zone with food and drink, interactive performers and enough photo opps to keep your Insta feed happy for weeks. strangerthings-experience.com illustrations, the interactive exhibits look at what it means to be a rebel, why we love them somuch when we’re young and remember them so fondly as adults. It’s an obvious school holiday hit but it’s not just for children. Emily Shepperson, exhibition and interpretation o cer at Su olk Archives, explains: “We hope that grown-ups and children alike can enjoy the display of characters and stories which hold a special place in their hearts.” Until 25 September. su olkarchives.co.uk PERFECT COMBINATION Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders SISTER ACT THE MUSICAL HAMMERSMITH AND TOURING Mighty diva Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders, who can barely sing a note, pair well in this thumping new production of themusical comedy about a police witness taking sanctuary in a 70s Philadelphia convent. You surely know the story. Nightclub singer Deloris van Cartier (Knight) must hide after seeing her gangster boyfriendmurder a henchman. The police arrange for her to stay at a nunnery, where themother superior (Saunders) needs cash for her church’s leaky roof. Deloris takes the nun’s atrocious choir and turns them into boogie-woogie soul sisters. Their music becomes so popular they are invited to sing for the Pope, but not before the knuckle-headed gangsters spot Deloris in a TV news bulletin. Hammersmith’s EventimApollo (formerly Hammersmith Odeon) is a great barn of a place that lends performances a stadiumquality. This is not a subtle show. Themusic is so loud purists will seek in vain for pianissimo harmonic exactitude. Never mind. It is tremendously good fun. Knight blasts out the songs with amazing energy and Saunders is a hoot. This mother superior keeps an electric shaver in her desk to trimher whiskers. Nor does she hide her vocal shortcomings. Saunders half-barks the lyrics, like Rex Harrison in My Fair Lady, and in her customary Ab Fab way even makes a joke about howmuchmore in key she is than the faultless Knight. Bill Buckhurst’s production also o ers Lesley Joseph (Dorien from Birds of a Feather) as a nun and Clive Rowe as policeman Eddie, who has long held a torch for his ex-schoolmate Deloris. Slick staging successfully creates the convent’s cloisters and belfry (one of the sisters holds on to the bellrope too long and goes for a fly). The result is thoroughly professional and, in places, rather moving. Perfect holiday entertainment for families. At Hammersmith until 28 August before touring to places including Birmingham, Leicester, Cardi and Norwich. sisteractthemusical.com GIFFORDS CIRCUS STROUD This production, which is quintessentially Cotswold-English despite showcasing international artistes, returns to one of its original venues at Minchinhampton Common, high above the Gloucestershire town of Stroud. We took our young children to what was then an unknown circus 20 years ago, featuring bare-horseback thrills, muscle-men, jugglers and other thrills. Two decades on, Gi ords is rightly famed yet it still has charm and humour. AfterMonday, it moves toMarlborough Common, Wiltshire, from25 August, then Cirencester from8 September. gi ordscircus.com TOM, DICK AND HARRY ALEXANDRA PALACE, LONDON I previewed this prisoner-of-war show before its premiere in Stoke-onTrent. Having now seen it, it’s even better than hoped. With clever sleights of hand and spirited acting, it tells the same story as The Great Escape – the film in which SteveMcQueen tries to jump the barbed wire fence. It’s a wry, imaginative production, although the acoustics of north London’s wonderfully atmospheric Alexandra Palace Theatre are a test for older ears. Teenagers will be inspired. Until 28 August. alexandrapalace.com

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