From darkly beautiful music to a singalong version of a musical favourite, there's plenty to enjoy...
The Nightingale of South Bank, The Place, Bedford, January 19
The Nightingale of South Bank brings to life English soprano Florence Easton, who surged to fame a century ago as the first soprano to sing O Mio Babbino Caro. Helena Leonard sings many of Florence’s famous arias and tells the fascinating story of her varied career.
Philharmonia Orchestra: Sibelius & Ravel, Corn Exchange, Bedford, January 22
Alice Sara Ott returns to perform Ravel’s Piano Concerto in G, composed after a concert tour of the USA in 1928 and woven through with the sounds of the jazz he encountered there. Sibelius’ Valse triste, a darkly beautiful subversion of the dance, paves the way for his First Symphony. Principal guest conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali brings his irresistible energy to this work, full of sweeping melodies evocative of vast Nordic landscapes.
The Girl on the Train, Milton Keynes Theatre, January 23 to 26
Adapted from Paula Hawkins’ novel of the same name - an international phenomenon selling more than 20 million copies worldwide - and starring Samantha Womack and Oliver Farnworth, this gripping new play will keep audiences guessing until the final moment.
The Best of Wham!, Bedford Corn Exchange, January 18
This fun-loving, vibrant, megamix tribute to the pop sensation of the ‘80s includes all those hits, a few B-side favourites and a couple of early George Michael songs.
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake, Milton Keynes Theatre, January 29 to February 2
Matthew Bourne’s Swan Lake returns with a fresh look for the 21st century. Thrilling, audacious, witty and emotive, this Swan Lake is perhaps still best known for replacing the female corps-de-ballet with a menacing male ensemble, which shattered convention and took the dance world by storm.
6 MUSIC AND FILM
Sing-A-Long-A The Greatest Showman, Milton Keynes Theatre, January 20
Singalonga Productions presents its newest show, with the smash hit film musical that gets everyone singing.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage, until January 27
The panto fun continues with Matt Lapinskas of EastEnders and Hannah-Jane Fox from CBBC among the cast.
Bully Wee Band, Hitchin Folk Club, The Sun Hotel, Sun Street, Hitchin, January 27
Traditional music and songs from all parts of the British Isles with unique arrangements that make full use of their highly regarded instrumental and vocal skills. Now in its 14th year of reunion tours, Bully Wee were one of the most influential folk bands of the 1970s and ‘80s, and are all still working musicians in a variety of combinations.
Danni Nicholls and Caleb Caudle, Bedford Esquires, January 19
Award-nominated singer songwriters from opposite sides of the pond join together to showcase their moving, infectious, critically acclaimed work. It’s chance to catch one of Bedford’s brightest talents in her home town.
Tim Burgess, Bedford Esquires, January 31
Author, DJ, champion tweeter, record label owner and cereal and coffee magnate, Tim Burgess is a music obsessive who has spent the past three decades as the frontman of one of the UK’s most popular and enduring bands, The Charlatans. Yet despite all that, the number one albums and arena tours, Tim has also found the time to release three solo records, most recently 2018’s critically acclaimed As I Was Now.
Tim will be playing with his band The Anytime Minutes with support from Average Sex. Expect solo material, a few surprises and perhaps a song or two from his ‘other’ band.