Things To Read, Book & Watch This Month
Things To Read, Book & Watch This Month

Things To Read, Book & Watch This Month

There are some exciting things to add to your calendar this month, as well as books and films to have on your radar. We’ve rounded up 11 of the best – including a must-see play, a pub opening and two new dance shows.

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Yellowface by R.F. Kuang

R.F. Kuang’s new novel is a literary thriller that investigates ambition, greed and white privilege. Authors June Hayward and Athena Liu were supposed to be twin rising stars. But Athena’s a literary darling and June Hayward is a nobody. Who wants stories about basic white girls, June thinks. So, when June witnesses Athena’s death in a freak accident, she acts on impulse: she steals Athena’s just-finished masterpiece, an experimental novel about the unsung contributions of Chinese labourers during World War I. So what if June edits Athena’s novel and sends it to her agent as her own work? Doesn’t this piece of history deserve to be told, whoever the teller? That’s what June claims, and the New York Times bestseller list seems to agree. But June can’t get away from Athena’s shadow, and emerging evidence threatens to bring June’s (stolen) success down around her. As June races to protect her secret, she discovers exactly how far she will go to keep what she thinks she deserves.



Ballet Central

Ballet Central has just started its annual tour. Touring around the UK for the next three months, the company – comprised of 32 young dancers dubbed ‘the future stars of ballet’ – will perform a number of classical works by choreographers Sir Frederick Ashton and Michael Pink. Performances include Monotones I, The Two Pigeons, the Snow White fairy tale Mirror Mirror and Dextera

Dunstable, Bury St Edmunds, Newbury, London, Chelmsford, Guildford, Birmingham, Chipping Norton, Hornchurch, Rutland, Tonbridge & Cambridge. 



Book Club: The Next Chapter

Book Club told the story of four childhood friends who changed their lives forever after reading Fifty Shades of Grey, which led them to take a number of outrageous decisions. The star-studded cast – which includes Diane Keaton, Jane Fonda, Candice Bergen and Mary Steenburgen – return for the sequel. The four best friends take their book club to Italy for the fun girls trip they never had. When things go off the rails and secrets are revealed, their relaxing holiday turns into a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country adventure. Also stars Andy Garcia, Don Johnson and Giancarlo Giannini.



Springwatch: Great British Walks

As the weather warms up, now’s the time to venture further afield and discover some of the UK’s best walking routes. Springwatch’s new guide, featuring the most scenic walks and diverse wildlife from around Britain, will help you go further. Covering every region in the UK, it includes a range of easy strolls and more challenging hikes for every level of walker, each featuring wildlife unique to the area: from white-tailed eagles on the Isle of Mull and red squirrels in Northumberland, to grey seals in Devon, bottlenose dolphins along the Welsh coast and sparrowhawks in Northern Ireland. Expect descriptions of routes, specially commissioned maps and easy-to-follow practical info. 



Spring At RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Skye Gyngell is taking her celebrated restaurant Spring to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show next month. Created in partnership with luxury caterer AP&CO, Spring Garden will be comprised of chalets for a special culinary experience with entertainment, foraging experiences and show guides. Guests can enjoy locally grown food surrounded by plants, flowers and herbs. For all-day dining, book a shared table where guests will be encouraged to explore the garden and forage their favourite herbs and flavours to personalise their meal and drinks. You can also book one of the private chalets for special occasions. A day’s access to Spring Garden at Chelsea starts from £440pp which includes access to the Show, food and drink.

Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea, SW3 4SR; 23rd-27th May

Visit SpringGarden.Eventist.Group


Sea Views

Curated by British photographer and film-maker Mary McCartney, this unique online exhibition features 100 photographs of never-before-seen images taken aboard Cunard’s ship Laconia. As well as photographs and stories from Cunard passengers from the 20s to the 70s, the exhibitions also includes snapshots of Hollywood icons and esteemed guests, including Elizabeth Taylor, Rita Hayworth, Bing Crosby and Nelson Mandela. The images depict a series of fascinating moments from the past century, from families emigrating to new continents and milestone anniversaries to unexpected guest encounters. 



Planted x The National Trust

After the success of last year’s inaugural event, Planted returns to Stourhead in partnership with the National Trust for another weekend of environmentally focused workshops, installations and a nine-part talks programme. Guests can hear from leading thinkers in the world of design food production, farming and environmentalism, including Helen Browning of the Soil Association, Andy Cato of Wildfarmed, Mark Barrow from Beneath our Waters and leading figures from within the National Trust. Guests can also shop a range of eco-friendly products from brands like Bramley, Sip & Smile and Folde, and enjoy a selection of vegetarian food. There will also be a ‘Dinner Under the Stars’ featuring sustainable and locally sourced produce. National Trust members and children go free, otherwise tickets start from £7. 

Stourhead, Wiltshire, BA12 6QD; 9th-11th June



Skid By Damien Jalet & SAABA By Sharon Eyal

GöteborgsOperans Danskompani, one of the foremost contemporary dance companies in Europe, will present an evening of dance by French Belgian choreographer Damien Jalet and Sadler’s Wells’ Sharon Eyal. Skid’s set features a dance floor tilted at 34° to challenge the dancers beyond gravity, while electro-acoustic music and lighting further amp up the dramatics. Meanwhile, SAABA is a dance blending muscular and sensual choreography, with costumes designed by Dior’s creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri. Tickets start from £12.

Rosebery Avenue, Angel, EC1R 4TN; 11th-13th May




Martin Sherman’s acclaimed play Rose, starring Olivier-winning Maureen Lipman, transfers to the West End for a month. This powerful one-woman play follows the title character, a Jewish woman who grows up in Ukraine, as she flees Nazi-occupied Warsaw and settles for a life in the United States, and is a moving reminder of some of the harrowing events that shaped the last century. Tickets start from £25.

West Street, Covent Garden, WC2H 9ND; 23rd May-18th June



The Three Horseshoes, Somerset

Chef Margot Henderson OBE has just opened a pub with rooms in the village of Batcombe in Somerset. Having restored the 17th-century building, Margot has created a menu that celebrates seasonal produce from the county, while the bar has a range of local ciders, craft beers and wines. Menu highlights include poached chicken with leeks and green sauce, Tamworth chop with turnip and lentils, bone marrow on toast, and rhubarb crumble cake. Designer Frances Penn is behind the interiors upstairs which has five en-suite bedrooms with chic country décor, antique furniture and Victorian bathrooms. We like the look of Room 3 with its restored oak beams and roll-top bath,

Batcombe, Shepton Mallet, Somerset, BA4 6HE



Queen Charlotte

If you were hooked on Bridgerton, the Netflix show’s prequel hits the small screen this week. Centred on Queen Charlotte's rise to prominence and power, this series tells the story of how the young Queen's marriage to King George sparked both a great love story and a societal shift, creating the world of the Ton inherited by the characters in Bridgerton. There was scandal, gossip and debutante balls long before the elusive Lady Whistledown but, when there’s a kingdom on the line, everything is at stake. The series features Bridgerton’s Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh and Ruth Gemmell alongside a string of new characters. 


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