Things you won't want to miss
1 Theatre. Jodie Prenger leads the cast as Beverly in Mike Leigh’s ground-breaking comedy classic Abigail’s Party which begins a major UK tour at Theatre Royal Brighton (January 10-19). Coronation Street and Emmerdale favourite Vicky Binns and Daniel Casey, best known as DS Gavin Troy in Midsomer Murders, also appear. Beverly and husband Laurence are throwing a party for their newlywed neighbours, Tony and Angela. Joining them is highly-strung Susan who has been banished from the party of her teenage daughter Abigail. Welcome to 1970s suburbia and its heady mix of free-flowing cocktails, classic disco and cheese and pineapple sticks. As tensions rise and tempers flare the sheen of respectability is torn away by the warring couples with hilarious and potentially-disastrous consequences.
2 Theatre. The Full Monty is on its last-ever tour (January 21-26, Theatre Royal Brighton), the tale of six out-of-work, impoverished steelworkers from Sheffield with nothing to lose. The story took the world by storm and has become one of Britain’s most successful shows.
3 Theatre. Arundel Players’ first production for 2019 is The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, directed by Kate Bennett, which opens on January 21 and runs until January 26 at The Priory Playhouse, London Road, Arundel, BN18 9FA. The show centres on a fictional spelling bee set in a geographically-ambiguous Putnam Valley Middle School. An eclectic group of six mid-pubescents vie for the spelling championship of a lifetime, run by three equally-quirky grown-ups, which also includes audience participation. Tickets on 07523 417926. To book on line visit www.arundelplayers.org.ukand follow the link or go to www.ticketsource.co.uk/arundelplayers.
4 Music. The Edwin James Festival Orchestra will be getting 2019 off to a great start with romantic New Year Concert on the theme Love Story. The concert will be held at St James Church Community Hub in East Ham Road, Littlehampton on Saturday, January 19 with doors opening at 2.15pm for a 3pm start. Spokesman James Rushman, musical director for both the Edwin James Festival Choir and Orchestra, said: “Last year we celebrated our 20th anniversary with a very busy concert and event schedule, all of which were extremely well attended enabling us to add to the donations we give to local charities as well as swell funds for purchase of new music.”
5 Comedy. 2019 could be a big year for stand-up comic Darren Harriott as he embarks on his first-ever tour, Visceral, including a date at Brighton Komedia which has just been moved from January 24 to March 11. After being nominated for Best Newcomer at 2017’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards, Darren will be telling us about gangs, grief and guts, tackling his childhood, his time in a gang during his school days and how life has changed for him with the expectations he puts on himself.
6 Art. Pallant House Gallery’s community programme fundraising exhibition is up and running in Chichester (until March 4). Taking place in the studio, it is free entry. As spokeswoman Sarah Jackson explains: “It’s a key opportunity for us to raise vital funds for our community programme which does great work supporting local people, and a great place to find unique works of art at affordable prices. The community programme fundraising exhibition at Pallant House Gallery showcases the wonderfully-rich and diverse array of artworks produced and donated by artists involved in the gallery’s community programme. “
7 Music. Rick Estrin & the Nightcats play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Tuesday, January 22 at 8pm. Wildly fun, musically fearless and bursting with bravado, 2018’s Blues Music Award winning Band Of The Year Rick Estrin & the Nightcats have created one of the blues’ most instantly recognisable sounds,
8 Theatre. A remarkable group of seasoned radio pros are converging on Chichester Festival Theatre for Wireless Wise, an evening of comedy and music nostalgia on January 19. BBC Today programme sports presenter Garry Richardson will be joined on stage by Sir Richard Stilgoe, Alistair McGowan, the Rev Richard Coles and Charlotte Green. Together they are promising an evening of comedy and music, a mix of hilarious anecdotes, songs and sketches. “Basically I have known Richard Stilgoe for a lot of years, and last October we both worked on the 60th anniversary of Radio 4 Today prog-ramme.!” Richard and Garry got talking: “We have seen each other from time and time and we said to each other ‘Wouldn’t it be nice to do a show about our radio experiences.’” And so it came together: “I came up with the idea, but they are definitely the stars of the show. We had lunch and we talked about it, and Richard said ‘What about doing it at Chichester’ because he had done lots of things there in the past. I went to Chichester and had a chat and amazingly most of the tickets, about 80 per cent, sold within 24 hours and so we are now doing the matinee as well, which is fantastic.
9 Anniversary. Keats in Chichester offers a bicentennial celebration at St Pancras Church on Saturday, January 19 from 5.15-8pm. Free event. Register at Eventbrite: https://tinyurl.com/keatschi The celebration of the bicentennial of Keats’s visit to Chichester will form the first event in the South Downs Poetry Festival for 2019. 5.15pm. Introduction: Professor Fiona Price, Keats and History; 5.25pm. Guest Speaker: Professor Nicholas Roe, John Keats and The Eve of St Agnes; Comfort Break; 6.15pm. Outdoor performance – Keats’s statue in Eastgate; 6.30-8pm. Keats in Chichester and the Eve of St Agnes: A Dramatic Reading.
10 Music. Basco play Shoreham’s Ropetackle on Monday, January 21 at 8pm. Basco are a fiddle-scraping, box-belting, cittern-smacking folk/roots band with members from Denmark, Sweden and Australia.