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Six of the best

Celebrate the Year of the Rooster, take the best seat in the house at the ballet, discover the truth about dinosaurs – and more, this week and beyond in Somerset…

Chinese New Year, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Sat 4 & Sun 5 Feb

Photo: John Seaman

The spectacular lion dance, martial arts, traditional Chinese dancing, singing, calligraphy, Chinese massage and mask-making are some of the things on offer at this free, two-day extravaganza to celebrate Chinese New Year. 2017 is the Year of the Rooster (I’m a Rat, what are you?).

Exon Domesday, Museum of Somerset, Taunton. Sat 4 Feb to Sat 1 AprilOops, someone left their rusty spear on this incredibly rare draft of the Domesday Book, the vast survey of England ordered by William the Conqueror in 1086. Its 532 pages of parchment, preserved for centuries in Exeter Cathedral library (its name comes from the Latin name for Exeter, Exonia), are on display in Taunton so we can all have a closer look.  Experts will be giving talks in March.

So you think you know about dinosaurs, various venues across Somerset, Fri 3-Weds 8 Feb

Science expert and TV presenter Ben Garrod (you might have seen him on ‘Attenborough and the Giant Dinosaur’) uncovers the truth about the prehistoric beasts in this family show. It promises to be highly interactive so expect to come away hoarse. It’s on at The Playhouse in Weston-s-Mare Fri 3, the Cheese and Grain in Frome Sun 5 and in Yeovil at The Octagon Weds 8.

The Miser, Theatre Royal, Bath, Weds 8-Sat 18 Feb

Passion, purse strings and some household names meet head on in this adaptation of Moliere’s famous comedy. First performed in 1688, the production is playing in Bath before transferring to the Garrick Theatre, so see it here first, folks. Griff Rhys Jones is the paranoid Harpagon the eponymous miser who wants to marry his kids to rich spouses to prevent them getting their hands on his cash, Trouble is, his daughter’s in love with penniless valet Valere (Matthew Horne), he’s fallen for a woman with no dowry – and his son feels the same way. You can see the problem. Lee Mack as Maitre Jacques is on hand to ‘help’. Help.

Woolf Works, the Royal Ballet live in cinemas across Somerset, Weds 8 Feb

Photo; Tristam Kenton

The next best thing to a seat in the stalls at the ROH (and a darn sight better than perched up in the gods), a live screening of Wayne McGregor’s award-winning ballet inspired by the life and works of Virginia Woolf. Lasers and amazing costumes accompany the sparkling steps. Find a cinema near you.

Lace in Fashion, Fashion Museum, Bath, Sat 4 Feb- Mon 1 Jan 2018

The 50 exquisite pieces from the 1500s to the present day, include dresses worn by Queen Charlotte (wife of George III, I expect you knew that), Princess Margaret, Linda Evangelista and Lea Seydoux in the Bond film Spectre. I’m going next week and can’t wait to see rare Silver Tissue Dress, dating to the 1600s, trimmed with parchment wrapped in silk. Tickets include admission to the museum’s fabulous ‘A History of Fashion in 100 Objects’ exhibition.


Paul Lewis, St George’s, Bristol, Tues 14 March

I came across this amazing pianist when I was YouTubing a piece I was banging out badly on my own joanna.  His playing – Bach, Weber and Beethoven sonatas and Chopin waltzes – will be virtuoso. He is internationally renowned, with a clutch of prizes and honorary degrees and her Maj gave him a CBE for his services to music last year.

Rosalind, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Weds 22 March

The story of Shakespeare’s feisty Rosalind from As You Like It in the modern world told through the medium of contemporary dance. This should be awesome; it’s choreographed by James Cousins, one of the rising stars of the contemporary dance scene (he won the first Matthew Bourne New Adventures choreography Award in 2012). He created it in collaboration with Korean dancers and artists and it’s being premiered in the Far East in Seoul before coming down to the south west.

Wicked, Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 6 Feb-Sat 3 March 2018

Photo Matt Crockett

This one is way ahead but I’m guessing if booking opened yesterday, they’re expecting tickets to fly out on a broomstick. The West End blockbuster on tour tells the story of two sorcery students who become friends and have all sorts of – musical – adventures on their way to becoming the Wicked Witch of the West and Glinda the Good.


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset