From top comedy hypnotism to an opera favourite, there's lots to enjoy...
Robert Temple, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, April 18
The controversial comedy stage hypnotist is bringing his red hair, blue mouth and outrageous show to Dunstable. “Nobody has ever done a show like this on a scale like this, ” said 30-year-old Robert Temple, who lives in Newcastle and was one of the best young magicians in the country before discovering hypnotism.
Now, as well as leaving magic behind, he has also turned his back on family entertainment – for the time being – preferring to develop an act which has both delighted and shocked.
He said: “It’s the sort of humour I like; a bit Chubby Brown and end-of-the-pier show, but with the added element of hypnotism which means the audience, and, of course the volunteers on stage, don’t quite know where they’re heading.”
Paw Patrol, Whipsnade Zoo, April 14 and 15
Whipsnade Zoo will be welcoming two heroic pups this Easter, as Paw Patrol’s very own Chase and Skye are special guests at the final weekend of the zoo’s superpower-themed holiday activities. Taking a break from Adventure Bay, police pup Chase and his fearless friend Skye will be making appearances at intervals between 10am and 5pm throughout the weekend, and visitors will be able to snap photos of their favourite characters from the much-loved children’s show. Chase and Skye’s visit is part of the zoo’s Superpowers theme, which gives families the chance to discover how their own super-skills compare to the incredible superpowers of the animal world. Featuring the zoo’s new Superpowers Trail, special talks and action-packed family games, children of all ages can test their agility against that of a monkey, see if they have the super-stealth of a tiger and discover whether their sense of smell is as powerful as the super-nose of a brown bear.
Upfront Comedy, Luton Library Theatre, April 14
Curtis Walker brings his distinctive Brixton worldview to the Library Theatre. The Real McCoy star headlines alongside Midlands motormouth Annette Fagon, who promises belly laughs, and the Mancunian rogue Roger D of BBC TV’s Blouse and Skirt. The evening, for ages 18 and over, is hosted by Tellytubby turned comedian, John Simmit.
Madama Butterfly, Grove Theatre, Dunstable, April 15
One of the world’s most popular operas, Puccini’s Madama Butterfly tells the heartbreaking story of a beautiful young Japanese girl who falls in love with an American naval lieutenant – with dramatic results. Highlights include the melodic Humming Chorus, the moving aria One Fine Day and the unforgettable Love Duet. The Ellen Kent production features international soloists, a highly-praised chorus and a full orchestra. Back by public demand, the award-winning opera returns to the Grove with sets including a spectacular Japanese garden and fabulous costumes including antique wedding kimonos from Japan.
River of Tea, Stockwood Discovery Centre, April 14 to July 14
Tea enjoys a special place in British culture – but behind Britain’s cup of choice is a fascinating story that is rarely told. A new photographic exhibition in Luton, River of Tea, will explore the history of Sylhet and Bangladesh, focusing on the region’s links with Britain and the impact these have had on people and places in Bangladesh. More than 500,000 British-Bangladeshis now live in Britain. More than 90 per cent are of Sylheti origin, from a district in northern Bangladesh that was once part of Assam, the first tea growing region in British India. The exhibition reveals the story of how the British love of tea led to Sylhetis first coming to Britain, and explores how the early tea trade led to strong links being built between modern-day Bangladesh and Britain.
Tim Smith, the photographer behind the exhibition, said: “Drinking tea is such an important part of British, Indian and Bangladeshi culture, yet the story of how tea arrived in Britain and the people who arrived with it is rarely told. It was a real privilege to be able to retrace this journey.”