Looking for something to shake up your week and make it go a little faster? Why not suss out the stars at the Astronomy Photographer of the Year exhibition, perfect your putting in a Shoreditch warehouse or start your Wednesday morning on the dancefloor with a raucous rave before you’ve even had breakfast. Here are this week’s London highlights…
Fun things to do
Intoxication Season: Mind Altering Plants and Fungi, Kew Gardens, all week, prices vary. This new season at Kew will explore everything from the opium poppy to coffee, alcohol and tobacco and how the same substance can be seen as medicine and also as poison. Food experimentalists Bompas & Parr will host a Plant Connoisseurs’ Club in the Secluded Glasshouse, where you can chow down on unusual plants.
Ming: 50 Years that Changed China, British Museum, all week, £16.50, £13 concs. The exhibition will draw together some of the world’s most beautiful objects, with loans from more than 20 collections across the world, to explain how China became the country it is.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year, Royal Observatory, all week, free. Among the awe-inspiring shortlisted entries for this year’s competition are images of psychedelic auroras, spine-tingling meteor showers and the centre of the Heart Nebula.
20th Century Knitwear – Chanel to Westwood, Fashion & Textile Museum, Tue-Thu, £8.80, £6.60 concs. A showcase including 1930s woollen swimwear should provide some inspiration for bridging the summer/winter gap.
Fashion’s Night Out, Oxford Circus, Tuesday, free. Your favourite retailers across Oxford Street, Regent Street, South Moulton Street and Brook Street will be keeping their doors open late for festivities and giving you lots of tasty discounts.
Shhh Dating, The Jam Tree, Wednesday, £20. A silent speed dating event with warm ups to make everyone feel relaxed before the silent flirting games begin.
Swingers, Shoreditch, Thursday, £3 entry, £8 golf, £10 for both when booked in advance. Swingers is a 7,000-square-foot warehouse filled with nine holes of putting pleasure. Their 1920s clubhouse bar will provide cocktails for before and after hitting the green, and those whose ball skills are not up to scratch may forget their below-par troubles on the dancefloor.
CoolTan CoolWalks: Film Locations in the Borough, Thursday, free. This free guided walk takes in three miles of Borough and Bankside, offering an up close and personal look at the streets and buildings used as a backdrop in many familiar films.
…or check out more events happening in London this week.
Eating and drinking
King & Co, Clapham. The staff are enthusiastic and the interior is suitably quirky, with salvaged chairs and light fittings. Street food van Donostia Social Club have a residency in the pub’s kitchen until November 30.
Dog & Fox, Wimbledon Being only a short stroll to either the affluent, picture-postcard ‘village’, or the green spaces of Wimbledon Common, this is a taste of country life without leaving London.
Urban Food Fortnight 2014, all week. There’s plenty of producing, potting and pickling going on in the capital these days, and for two weeks it’s time to celebrate the best of London’s home-grown goods.
…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.
Are You Taking The Peace?, Comedy Store, Monday, £15, £10 concs. A top line-up comes together tonight to perform in aid of the charity International Alert. Alistair Barrie MCs, with sets from Canadian punmeister and ace gagsmith Stewart Francis, the grizzled and hilarious Rich Hall, plus Matt Rees, Daniel Simonsen and Nick Revell.
Andy Zaltzman – Satirist for Hire, Soho Theatre, Mon-Thu, £12.50-£17.50. Fans of hugely popular podcast ‘The Bugle’ rejoice! Co-host Andy Zaltzman is back at Soho Theatre with his ‘Satirist for Hire’ show. Email Zaltzman with what you’d like him to satirise, and he’ll do just that.
Greenwich Comedy Festival, National Maritime Museum, Wed-Thu, £18.50-£24. Following a few ups and downs last year, the superb Greenwich Comedy Festival (possibly our favourite London comedy fest) is back with a bang for 2014, setting up camp in the grounds of the beautiful National Maritime Museum.
Lee Evans – Monsters, Wembley Arena, Thursday, £30. Frantic, rubber-faced comic Lee Evans brings his biggest tour to date to the O2 and Wembley arenas. His last show, Roadrunner, was the fastest-selling comedy tour at the time, with 227,424 tickets sold in just one day.
…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.
Ani Difranco, Union Chapel, Mon-Tue, £25. The righteously individual and avowedly independent songwriter performs the songs that made her a cult star in the ’90s, plus a wealth of great material written since then.
Rinse FM Pop-Up Radio & Store, Shop 7, Old Truman Brewery, all week, free. Get a piece of the Rinse FM action as part of the seminal electronic music station’s twentieth birthday festivities. This pop-up store will host the Rinse studio for nine days, broadcasting live with special guests and events.
First Aid Kit, Royal Albert Hall, Wednesday, £25-£27.50. Recently tipped by none other than David Cameron, the Söderberg sisters return to London to ply their charming, lushly harmonised, narrative alt folk, with a set that’ll likely lean on their new album ‘Stay Gold’. Keep an eye out in the audience for Dave and Sam.
…or check all the live music events in London this week.
Morning Gloryville, Oval Space, Wednesday, £10-£12.50. Starting at 6.30am (a time most clubbers associate with getting home) on Wednesday morning, MG asks Londoners to ‘rave your way into the day’ and get physical on the dancefloor before heading to work.
T-Pain, Indigo2, Tuesday, £22.50-£25. Expect lots of big, rolling tracks, including hits like ‘Up Down (Do This All Day)’ and ‘I’m Sprung’, but also, no doubt, plenty of material from upcoming album ‘Stoicville: The Phoenix’.
The Deep Hum At The Heart Of It All, The Social, Wednesday, £5, £3 adv or NUS. As well as up-and-coming live bands playing loud-and-close live sets (previous guests include The Wytches and Charlie Boyer And The Voyeurs), The Deep Hum hosts resident and guest DJs spinning alternative sounds from Grace Jones to Can.
…or take a look at all 34 parties planned this week.
20,000 Days on Earth
King of New York + Bad Lieutenant, Roxy Bar & Screen, TONIGHT, £4. A flawless double bill of confrontational NYC crime stories from master filmmaker Abel Ferrara.
Comedy Film Club: ‘Moonstruck’, Finchley Road, TONIGHT, £10. Comic screenwriter Tess Morris introduces this screening of leftie director Norman Jewison’s sweet-natured Italian-American romantic comedy.
Or at the cinema…
20,000 Days on Earth ★★★★★ The idea is that we spend one day on Earth with Nick Cave, from dawn till dusk, via family, friends, a recording session and a gig.
Maps to the Stars ★★★☆☆ Director David Cronenberg creates a deeply sick spirit in his tale and explores it through far-fetched fiction told with deadly seriousness, also adding a dose of baroque to proceedings and a streak of wicked humour.
Magic in the Moonlight ★★★★☆ The director’s latest – a lighthearted romance set in 1920s Germany and France – won’t do much to sway fans or detractors, though taken at face value, it’s one of Allen’s most charmingly conceived and performed efforts.
The Riot Club ★★★☆☆ Laura Wade, adapting her own hit play ‘Posh’, has written a darkly funny, colossally unflattering send-up of The Bullingdon Club, the all-male undergraduate dining society the Prime Minister must now wish he’d never joined at Oxford.
… or see all of the latest releases.
At the theatre
An Enemy of the People, Barbican Centre, Wed- Thu, £16-£38. Hotshot German director Thomas Ostermeier’s spunky Ibsen adaptation has been wowing audiences at Berlin’s Schaubühne Theatre for a few years now, its popularity assured by a notorious piece of audience interaction.
King Charles III, Wyndham’s Theatre, all week, £10-£57.50. The royal family is a soap opera that the whole nation loves to tune into – even the Scots. And Mike Bartlett’s audacious new comedy imagines their next episode as if it were Will Shakespeare scripting ‘The Thick of It’.
The Dreaming, Union Theatre, Tue- Thu, £20, £17 concs. Howard Goodall’s reworking of ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, set in rural Somerset in 1913, dispenses with the original text entirely. It also has a massive cast (20 or so actors, several of whom double up), which means it must be quite an undertaking to stage.
The James Plays, National Theatre, Mon, Thu, £15-£35. An intriguing series of three history plays about the Stewart kings who ruled Scotland in the fifteenth century. Written by Scottish playwright Rona Munro and playing in rep with an ensemble cast, the pieces stand alone, or should work as an overarching narrative about the tumultuous period in history.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices here.
This week’s best new art
Marina Abramovic: White Space, Lisson Gallery, all week, free. Taking its title from an immersive audio work, presented here for the first time since 1972, ‘White Space’ brings together a number of important historic works that align with Abramovic’s recent Serpentine Gallery show.
Nathalie Djurberg & Hans Berg: The Gates Of The Festival, Lisson Gallery, all week, free. The Scandinavian duo present new work that incorporates animation, neon lighting, sculptural interventions and music.
Constable: The Making of a Master, V&A, all week, £14-£15.50. Over 250 drawings and watercolours will be on display, as well as mezzotints and oil sketches.
Cerith Wyn Evans, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Tue- Thu, free. The decade wait is over, as Wyn Evans takes over the Serpentine Sackler gallery with a new light installation and a selection of old works.
Yayoi Kusama: Pumpkins, Victoria Miro, Tue-Thu, free. After her successful international collaboration with fashion house Louis Vuitton, the Japanese empress of polka dots returns to London with some new gourd themed bronze sculptures and paintings.
…or see all London art reviews.
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