Going Out Guide (April 13 – April 19)

The team from Corker Outdoor, Award sponsor Jason Varney (Thomson, Snell & Passmore) & Eamonn Holmes

Hot on the heels of the success of the Elton John biopic Rocketman, starring Taron Egerton, Tunbridge Wells is to host its own tribute to the British singer and songwriter.

‘Rocketman: A Tribute to Sir Elton John’ is set to bring all the hits from the musicians near 50 year career next Friday night [April 15].

Combining two music sessions with drinks and dinner at Salomon’s Estate, the show features singer-pianist Iain ‘Crocodile Mock’ Court and his band of talented professional touring players, who bring a high degree of technical brilliance to a back catalogue that already gleams with gold and platinum numbers like ‘Philadelphia Freedom’, ‘Your Song’ and, of course, ‘Rocket Man’.

Having polished his style over decades of audience interaction, Iain sprinkles the musical programme with conversation infused with the same ‘snappy’ wit of the ol’ crocodile rocker himself.

Go back in time to the strains of ‘Are You Ready for Love’, ‘Tiny Dancer’, ‘I’m Still Standing’, ‘Your Song’ and more.

Set on the south-facing slope overlooking Tunbridge Wells, this is the place to Let the Sun Go Down on your Friday night. Starts at 7pm with prosecco aperitif, followed at 8pm by two-course dinner and coffee. The first music session is 9:15-10pm, and the second session at 10:30pm. Carriages at midnight.

Also appearing this weekend is Eagles tribute act ‘The Illegal Eagles’, making its return to The Assembly Hall on Sunday [April 17] night.

In a celebration of five decades of music-making by the legendary West Coast country rock band, the Illegal Eagles will be picking from the best of the Eagles’ classic catalogue, including ’Hotel California’, ‘Desperado’, ‘Take It Easy’, ‘New Kid in Town’, ‘Life in The Fast Lane’ and more.

‘Rocketman’ tickets from salomons-estate.com/whats-on


On Stage & Screen

Looking at screens and stages big and small, the Times of Tunbridge Wells presents a selected guide to the week ahead.

The battle between animal-animation film franchises boosts the selection at the Odeon for ‘U’ aged viewers, with ‘The Bad Guys’ (from the makers of ‘Madagascar’), which features criminal animals trying to turn good – can they stick to it? Meanwhile, ‘Sing 2’ (by the makers of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’) continues the story of the characters from ‘Sing’, now trying to recruit a reclusive rock star, voiced by U2’s Bono. Meanwhile, ‘Sonic the Hedghog 2’ (PG) is on the hunt for a civilization-destroying emerald…

At the other end of life, ‘The Duke’ (12A) is the heart-warming story of 60-year old activist Kempton Bunton, who stole Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London, holding the painting hostage to demand government investment in care for the elderly. At Trinity Theatre on Tuesday at 8pm.

Smash musical ‘Blood Brothers’, the story of fraternal twins Mickey and Eddie, separated at birth, continues its run at The Assembly Hall until Saturday, April 16. Evening showings at 7:30pm. Matinées today [April 13], Thursday and Sunday, at 2:30pm.

The biennial exhibition show for local young dancers (aged 3 to 18), ‘Back In Biz’ness’, is on at The EM Forster Theatre (Tonbridge) this week. Performances at 7pm from Wednesday [April 13] to Friday [April 15], with an extra matinée at 2pm on Friday. [see Arts for interview?]

Trinity Theatre presents one-act plays from the National Theatre’s young person led ‘Connections’ festival. The double bill tonight [April 13] features lost-in-the-woods piece ‘Remote’, followed by climate-apocalypse nightmare ‘Like There’s No Tomorrow’. Tomorrow night [April 14] features ‘Find A Partner!’, a chilling mashup of ‘Love Island’ with ‘Black Mirror’. Performances at 7pm.

On Friday, April 15, adventurer Stephen Venables narrates his ongoing explorations in ‘Life After Everest’, illustrated by stunning slides from the Himalayan peaks, arctic dog-sledging, film-making, desert journeys and fifteen sailing voyages to the snow mountains of Antarctica. Trinity Theatre, 8pm.


Going Live

With one of the best live music scenes in the South East, here is a round-up of some of the best bands and acts performing this week, especially with the four-day bank holiday.

Neville Staple of The Specials finally makes his long-awaited appearance at The Forum this Saturday night, playing a gig delayed from December 2021. A keystone player of the 2-Tone movement, Neville’s musical evolution has never stopped. Thursday, April 14 at 7:30pm. Age 16 and older unless accompanied by an adult.

On Friday, DJ Luck & MC Neat’s Easter Party takes over The Forum, kicking off at 8pm. Age 18 and older.

Supergrass frontman Gaz Coombes brings his solo show to The Forum on Saturday night [April 16]. Age 16 and older, unless accompanied by an adult.

Sunday night sees Tunbridge Wells rock band Deadlines take to the stage at The Forum, supported by returnees to the venue Shoplifter and Hastings alt rock band Paris Blue.

The Assembly Hall features ‘The Illegal Eagles’ this Sunday [see review section, above]. April 17 at 7:30pm.

More hit songs on Easter Monday [April 18], from ‘The Carpenters Story’ combo this time, including the sibling duo’s ‘Close To You’, ‘Top of the World’, ‘We’ve Only Just Begun’, ‘Rainy Days & Mondays’, ‘Goodbye to Love’ and more. The Assembly Hall at 7:30pm.

Appearing at The Grey Lady this Sunday, David Migden & The Twisted Roots bring their ‘twisted American roots’ of original rock and blues music, followed by Hampshire group The Lucky 13s, for more original music in a soulful crossover of rhythm and blues. Doors open at 7:15pm, music at 8pm.

Family Fun

Whether your family is young or old, big or small, there’s plenty to do both indoors and outdoors over the coming week, along with some active ideas.

Set your feet on the Yellow Brick Road and you’re off to see the Wizard of Oz, in a stage adaptation of the children’s classic fantasy tale. Meet the characters at the end. Trinity Theatre at 2pm and 6pm, Saturday, April 16.

Bedgbury Pinetum’s ‘Crack the Code’ events continue until April 14, at 10am-noon, challenging 4-17 year-olds to learn about conifer trees and use the information to unlock their Easter chocolate prize. Activity sheets £1 from the Visitor Centre. Parking is payable.

Penshurst Place’s treasure trail features Victorian Easter eggs. Meanwhile, on Easter Monday, [April 18] Aardvark Productions presents ‘The Hunt for Easter Island’, featuring the voyage of a valiant ship’s crew into the Pacific Ocean, to solve a riddle and collect the eggs. Four performances on Monday [April 18]: 11:15am, 12:15pm, 2:15pm and 3:15pm.

Let the two giant rabbits of Groombridge Place guide you to the sweet treats. Birds of prey demonstrations at noon and 3:30pm. Punch and Judy are playing at 11am and 2pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Bateman’s trail is a list of 10 challenges, leading to a chocolate egg (or allergen-free alternative) at the end. Trail £3 per child, in addition to any entrance fee.

At Hever Castle, the goal is the ‘Golden Carrot’. Meanwhile, Easter Egg Hunters must write down all the answers hidden around the eggs, to collect a chocolate treat (or dairy-free alternative) at the end.

Follow the Easter trail at the Hop Farm, but be careful of the roaming ‘dinosaurs’ in the Family Park today [Wednesday, April 13]!

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