Ten of the best things to do in and around Milton Keynes in the next seven days

From a black comedy hit to a celebration of all things '60s, there's plenty to enjoy...

Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 2:36 pm
Updated Wednesday, 27th March 2019, 2:41 pm
Mark Benton (Shelley Levene) and Nigel Harman (Ricky Roma) in Glengarry Glen Ross. Picture: Marc Brenner

1 FAMILYExciting Science, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, Saturday March 30, 11amThis new, exciting and educational show aims to amaze and astound all ages from four and up, putting the ‘exciting’ back into ‘science’ with fun and fact-filled experiments. Watch in amazement as the performers recreate a volcanic eruption, turn a vacuum cleaner into a missile launcher or take aim at you with a smoke blaster.This show is also at The Core at Corby Cube on Sunday, March 31, at 2.30pm.www.grovetheatre.co.uk

2 THEATREGlengarry Glen Ross, Milton Keynes Theatre, April 1 to 6Following a critically acclaimed West End run, David Mamet’s Olivier and Pulitzer Prize-winning black comedy comes to Milton Keynes Theatre. In the dog-eat-dog world of purveying real estate, four increasingly desperate employees will do anything, legal or otherwise, to sell the most property. If you’re looking to buy some land, then avoid Glengarry Highlands and Glen Ross Farms. It may sound too good to be true – and it is. These shady salesmen would sell their own grannies to seal the deal. As time and luck start to run out, the mantra is simple – clinch the contract and you’ve won a Cadillac; blow the lead and, arriverderci, you’re out. Mark Benton takes on the role of salesman Shelley ‘The Machine’ Levene, who is desperately hanging on to the coat-tails of his career. Olivier Award-winning Nigel Harman plays the ruthless Ricky Roma, whose fortunes and sly manoeuvrings are on the rise. atgtickets.com/MiltonKeynes

3 NATIONAL TRUSTAscott House and Gardens, Wing, near Leighton BuzzardRecently re-opened for the season, there is a sea of yellow at Ascott, with thousands of daffodil bulbs carpeting the gardens. Further into the gardens, there’s a magnificent view over Aylesbury Vale framed with the early spring growth of unique topiary box. April brings the wildflower meadow into bloom, Magnolia Dell into flower and the Dutch Garden begins to show its colours. There’s also Ascott House to view, a half-timbered house originating from 1606, transformed by the Rothschilds in the late 19th century, containing superb collections of paintings, fine furniture and oriental porcelain.Afternoons only, Tuesday to Sunday.www.nationaltrust.org.uk/ascott

4 MUSICThe Solid Silver 60s Show, Milton Keynes Theatre, Sunday April 14, 7.30pmThe successful touring show back for 2019 featuring popstars and hitmakers of the era – Peter Noone of Herman’s Hermits, Brian Poole of The Tremeloes, Dave Berry and Vanity Fare.Frontman of Herman’s Hermits, Peter Noone’s canon of hits includes I’m Into Something Good, No Milk Today, Kind of Hush, and My Sentimental Friend. Noone had his first solo hit with the David Bowie-penned Oh You Pretty Things.As lead singer of beat group The Tremeloes, Brian Poole had a number of hits that went on to become staples of the era, including their first chart entry Twist and Shout, Do You Love Me, Candy Man and Someone Someone.One of the original teen idols, Dave Berry gained attention for his live performances, appearing always hidden behind a prop, as well as his songs, including Memphis, Tennessee, This Strange Effect and The Crying Game. Vanity Fare dominated the charts in 1970 with their track Hitchin’ A Ride, which sold over a million copies, as well as the Top 10 hit Early In The Morning.www.flyingmusic.com/solid-silver-60s-show

5 MUSICDanesborough Chorus and the Nikki Iles Trio, St Mary’s Church, Woburn, Saturday April 6, 7.30pm.Here’s something completely different to get your feet tapping. Choral merges with jazz for an evening of memorable melodies, sacred and secular, by modern composers Bob Chilcott, Will Todd, jazz legend George Shearing and Henryk Gorecki.The singing is accompanied by accomplished pianist Nikki Iles, Dave Whitford (bass strings) and Luke Tomlinson (drums).Tickets: 01525 373512 or www.danesborough.org.uk

6 STORYTELLINGShonaleigh: The Emerald Sea, Delapre Abbey, Northampton, Wednesday April 3, 7.30pmIn this fourth story in storyteller Shonaleigh’s acclaimed Gem cycle, the Cycle of Menasseh, Prince Rahab’s kingdom is threatened. The power which, from the beginning of time, has held destructive waters in check depends on the inscription of an unutterable name, and the name is being erased.Rahab and his queen must make a sacrifice to save the kingdom, but the prince has been imprisoned by a woman who has been done a terrible wrong, and the queen is on a quest to find him. Catch this last UK telling of The Emerald Sea for 12 years.Shonaleigh is one of Europe’s leading storytellers. Having learned the Drut’syla tradition from the age of four, she carries thousands of oral stories from the Jewish tradition and shares their magic, mystery and wisdom with audiences around the world.Tickets from www.storyfeast.uk/diary.html and on the door.

7 MUSICBrahms: Requiem, The Cornerstone Chamber Choir and Orchestra, Milton Keynes City Church, Sunday March 31, 7.30pmThe Cornerstone Chamber Choir and Orchestra’s main offering for the Lenten season is one of the great works of the Romantic era. The German Requiem is the central work of Brahms’ career. It is unique in that it does not use the words of the traditional Requiem Mass but a Biblical text chosen by Brahms himself, centring round faith in the Resurrection rather than fear of the Day of Judgement. It inspired Brahms to produce some of his greatest music. Each section has its own character, emphasised by Brahms’ subtle instrumentation. www.ticketsource.co.uk/cornerstone-music or email boynton [email protected]et.com or on the door

8 EXHIBITION AND TALKSHeath Robinson Day, The National Museum of Computing, Bletchley Park, Saturday April 6To celebrate the completion of the reconstruction of the Heath Robinson machine, the inspiration for Colossus, The National Museum of Computing will have a special display of Heath Robinson wartime illustrations, with two special talks.The Heath Robinson code-breaking machine was named after W. Heath Robinson, the illustrator. Because of wartime secrecy, he never would have known.Peter Higginson, great nephew of W. Heath Robinson, will give a talk about Heath Robinson’s interest in science and how it influenced his work and legacy. Chief engineer Phil Hayes will talk about the Heath Robinson machine, how it inspired Colossus and what it did.There will also be a temporary exhibition of eight original Heath Robinson illustrations in partnership with the Heath Robinson Museum in Pinner.www.tnmoc.org

9 MUSICWendy Kirkland, The Stables, Tuesday April 2, 8.45pmUK born and bred, Wendy Kirkland is a world-class jazz pianist and vocalist whose debut album Piano Divas in 2017 was snapped up for distribution by Discovery Records and made the Album of the Week slot twice in one year on The Jazz UK radio. Described as “the unsung heroine of British jazz” by jazz critic Ian Mann and “mellow and stylish” by Clive Davis of the Sunday Times, Wendy will be performing songs from her album, which contains fresh arrange-ments of songs made famous by jazzwomen who started out as pianists then learned to serenade the audience too, including Diana Krall, Eliane Elias, Shirley Horn, Nina Simone and Blossom Dearie. Wendy tells the story of these women and how they inspired her to strive to become the UK’s leading exponent of jazz piano and voice. Band includes Pat Sprakes (guitar), Paul Jefferies (double bass) and Steve Wyndham (drums).stables.org

10 STORYTELLING AND SONGTales of Fools & Foolishness, Rectory Cottages, 49 Church Green Road, Bletchley MK3 6BJ, Saturday March 30A light-hearted evening of tall tales, foolish fables and silly songs in honour of April Fools Day and all the other strange things that are going on in the world right now.Find out what happens when Hugh the Hedgehog sets out to explore the wider world, and why anyone would encourage a cow to climb a ladder onto their own roof.Hear storytellers Terrie Howey, Stephen Hobbs and Lynette Hill, with Sandy Clarke and singer songwriter Jasmine Burns. Appropriate for ages 16 and older.Doors open at 7pm for a 7.30 start. Entry £5 and refreshments will be for sale.Tickets from www.wegottickets.com/event/465346 or on the door10 MUSICBloxx, The Craufurd Arms, Wednesday April 3, 7.30pmFresh off the back of their sold-out headline show at London Borderline, Uxbridge four-piece indie band BLOXX have a new track, Sea Blue. It will sit alongside Radio 1-championed Lay Down and Monday on the talented and energetic young band’s debut EP, due for release on Chess Club next year.www.thecraufurdarms.com