Five of the best things to do in and around Luton and Dunstable in the next seven days

Alabama blues musician Debbie Bond plays at the Bear Club in Luton this week
Alabama blues musician Debbie Bond plays at the Bear Club in Luton this week

From a comic romp through Shakespeare to the best of Alabama blues, there's much to enjoy...

1 THEATRE
The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged), Grove Theatre, Dunstable, July 20 and 21
This critically-acclaimed play is an irreverent, fast-paced romp through the Bard’s 37 plays. Join these madcap performers in tights as they weave their way through all of Shakespeare’s comedies, histories and tragedies in one wild ride. It’s presented by The National Production Company, founded in 2017 by Andrew Alton and James Tanton and dedicated to producing high quality stage and screen work.
Details: grovetheatre.co.uk


2 MUSIC
Debbie Bond, Bear Club,
Luton, July 20
Singer, guitar player and songwriter Debbie Bond has been paying her dues in the Alabama backwoods for more than 30 years. Influenced by the famed sounds of Muscle Shoals, her impressive musical story includes years of performing with older traditional Alabama blues musicians, including Johnny Shines, Sam Lay, Eddie Kirkland and Willie King.
Her immersion in Alabama blues has deeply flavoured her guitar playing, yet her sound is contemporary and original, incorporating many soul, blues and jazz influences.
Details: the-bear.club


3 ART
Paul Hogarth – Sketches Laporte, Wardown House, Museum and Gallery, July 25 to September 2
A display of sketches by Paul Hogarth (1917–2001), a highly regarded English artist and illustrator. Paul Hogarth’s artwork has appeared on book covers by authors such as Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, George Orwell and Virginia Woolf. He was a member of the Royal Academy and was made an OBE in 1989. Hogarth was known for his talent for illustration and reportage, which was allied to his love of travel. This led him to produce drawings and watercolours recording events and places all over the world. As an illustrator he studied under James Boswell, going on to illustrate the New Penguin Shakespeare series of paperbacks in the 1970s. His colourful life included driving lorries in the Spanish Civil War for the International Brigade. Other writers with whom he worled include Robert Graves, Brendan Behan, Lawrence Durrell and William Golding.
Wardown House Museum will be displaying half a dozen of Hogarths framed pencil sketches in the beautiful setting of The Murry Barford Drawing Room.
Details: lutonculture.com


4 MUSICAL
Top Hat, Connolly Hall, Redborne Upper School, Ampthill, July 21 and 22
Maurice Kachuk, of the Maurice Kachuk School of Dancing presents the ever-popular musical in Bedfordshire this weekend. Top Hat brings the glamour of Hollywood’s golden age and the glorious tap-dancing magic of Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers to the stage in one of the greatest dance musicals of all time. Packed full of Irving Berlin’s greatest hits including Cheek to Cheek, Top Hat, White Tie & Tails, Let’s Face the Music & Dance and Puttin’ on the Ritz, Top Hat tells the story of Broadway sensation Jerry Travers (Maurice Kachuk) who dances his way across Europe to win the heart of society girl Dale Tremont (Viv Horwood). Audiences are promised an uplifting and hilarious romantic comedy celebrating 1930s song, style and romance. The Maurice Kachuk School of Dancing inspires its students to pursue their passion for dancing and performing, with some taking part in the show to share their passion for theatre.
Details: .ticketsource.co.uk/mauricekachuk


5 MUSIC
JV Band, Bear Club, Luton, July 21
Over many years from the early Argent days, John Verity has produced great blues-based albums, travelled thousands of miles up and down the land packing venues and has a vast base of fans who see him again and again. Recently he brought out a Live in 2017 DVD, as well as one of the most acclaimed blues albums of 2017,Blue to my Soul. For this performance John is joined by Roger Inniss, a virtuoso six string bass player. His musical CV includes Erja Lyytinen, Ruby Turner, Jools Holland, Elkie Brooks, Mick Taylor and Joanne Shaw Taylor. The young drummer Liam James Gray completes the trio.
Details: the-bear.club