[Photo: The Great Misto]
Welcome to 2015 Londoners! Hopefully you’ve fully recovered from NYE and you’re ready to embrace all the fun January has to offer. You can wave farewell to the festive season in style with carol singing, mulled wine and Twelve Night cake at the Geffrye Museum, kick start your new year detox with delicious mocktails and vegan delights at Redemption, or get giddy and laugh your way through the month at the LOCO Comedy Festival. Here all the best things happening in London this January…
FUN THINGS TO DO
Jan 3: The One Where they Go to a Friends Quiz Do normal quizzes make you feel like Joey in the episode where he buys just one encyclopedia off Penn and Teller because he finds $50 in Chandler’s pants? We love that episode. If you know what we’re on about you’ll probably have a great time at this monthly trivia quiz that contains only questions about Manhattan’s most unlikely but also most loveable residents.
Jan 4: Flex in the City Workshops Build core and upper body strength while learning to express yourself against the backdrop of our beautiful city in these 90-minute workshops run by Pilates trainer and street athlete Nicola Cher Geismar.
Jan 6: Farewell to Christmas Wave goodbye to Christmas at this traditional celebration on Twelfth Night which takes place in the Geffrye Museum’s pretty gardens.
Jan 10: Food Poetry The Keats House Poetry Ambassadors present an hour-long session packed with mouth-watering poetry on the subject of food. Tuck into a feast of verse which uses words to explore flavours, textures and traditions.
Jan 9-18: London Boat Show If it floats you’ll find it at The London Boat Show, a ten-day tribute to all forms of waterborne transport. Every size of vessel is represented among the hundreds of show boats; everything from kayaks to superyachts will be brought by specialist independent builders, multinational companies and everything in between.
Jan 16-18 The London Model Engineering Exhibition How do you get more than 1,000 steam trains, planes, boats, tanks and trucks up the biggest hill in north London? Shrink them. This exhibition and fair will see the full spectrum of modelling assemble itself very precisely into Alexandra Palace for a nineteenth year in 2015.
Jan 20: Bright Club: Bang at the Bloomsbury Theatre You’d be forgiven for thinking brain sciences and environmental engineering don’t equal ideal standup material, but researchers from UCL are here to prove you wrong. These funny thinkers have devised the perfect formula for a night of comedy, centred on subjects spanning psychology, advanced spatial analysis, physics and ophthalmology to name a few.
Jan 23: Churchill’s Scientists at Science Museum Marking the fiftieth anniversary of the portly Prime Minister’s death, this exhibition celebrates the inventions and scientific endeavour which came to Britain’s aid during the Second World War.
Jan 24: UK Cold Water Swimming Championships 2015 This festival of cold water swimming sees some very bold swimmers brace themselves for races in the almost literally freezing (as low as 1°C) waters of Tooting Bec Lido.
Jan 29: The School of Life Live This evening of inspiration sees five experts present quick-fire talks designed to encourage the creation of New Year’s Resolutions worth sticking to. With talk titles including ‘Being a Creative Genius’ and ‘Be Happier’, there’s no doubt you’ll leave a better human.
Jan 31-Feb 8: Snowdrop Days at the Chelsea Physic Garden Ahead of its official spring opening, London’s oldest botanic garden unlocks its doors for nine days in winter each year to showcase its collection of snowdrops at their peak.
Jan 2- 31: Redemption Back by popular demand, Redemption is taking up a month-long residency at Fairly Square, serving up mocktails and vegan food for those looking for an alcohol-free start to the new year.
Jan 7: Gone Camping Get a breath of fresh air and a sense of adventure at this pop-up dining experience from The Art of Dining, who have turned a shed in Bethnal Green into a Scout’s dream playground for a series of five-course feasts.
Jan 9: Jinjuu Judy Joo, of Iron Chef fame opens her first London restaurant in Soho this month. The menu at Jinjuu will feature her interpretation on Korean street food.
Jan 15: Crumbs and Dollies The cupcake company launch their first shop in Carnaby’s Kingley Court.
Jan: Portland A forthcoming restaurant co-founded by Will Lander, of the Quality Chop House, and Merlin Labron-Johnson, formerly of 10 Greek Street.
Jan: Jacob’s Ladder A new restaurant from the people behind the successful Hawksmoor group. The menu is expected to be meat-centred and with a British orientation.
Jan 9: London Short Film Festival Now in it’s 12th year, The London Short Film Festival showcases independent films from across the UK. January’s festival will also be open to international filmmakers.
Jan 22-25: LOCO Comedy Festival This not-for-profit foundation celebrates international original comedy cinema and supports film makers through training, screenings, outreach and funding. The festival returns to the BFI Southbank to keep Londoners laughing throughout Janaury.
Jan 2: Birdman Michael Keaton plays Riggan Thomson, an actor who raked in the cash in the early 1990s as a lame pre-‘Avengers’ superhero in a blockbuster franchise (a clear nod to Keaton’s own days as Batman). He hasn’t made a Birdman film in years – but Birdman is still part of him and he’s trying to reinvent himself for a second act as a serious artist.
Jan 2: The Theory of Everything Hawking has often seen the dark humour in the disease that began robbing him of his muscular functions as early as his student years. ‘The Theory of Everything’ runs with that irony: this is a Hawking profile in which you’ll see the wheelchair-using, speech-impaired scientist happily rolling around his living room dressed up like a Dalek.
Jan 9: Into the Woods Stephen Sondheim’s musical ‘Into the Woods’ gets the big-screen Disney treatment starring Meryl Streep as the Witch and Johnny Depp as the Big Bad Wolf.
Jan 16: Whiplash This can’t-miss indie about the battle of wills between a teenage drumming star and his mentor, directed by 29-year-old director Damien Chazelle, is being talked up for Oscars.
Jan 16: Wild Reese Witherspoon is incredible playing a woman who hikes her way to redemption. The film is based on a memoir by Cheryl Strayed, who trekked 1,100 miles of the Pacific Coast Trail in 1995 after the death of her mother spun her into a cycle of one-night stands and heroin use.
Jan 30: Inherent Vice Paul Thomas Anderson’s sexy, swirling latest (based on Thomas Pynchon’s exquisite stoner mystery set at the dawn of the ’70s), is a wondrously fragrant movie, emanating sweat, the stink of pot clouds and the press of hairy bodies.
Opens Jan 9: Flim Flam Flum The wonderful Nous Vous fill Hoxton’s KK Outlet with work they’ve created over the last six months including new drawings, objects, visual research, sounds and prints.
Opens Jan 9: Orbital Projects I: London The Unturned, an online platform and archive for contemporary artists present this exhibition of work from Nina De Angelis and Ion Macareno, in collaboration with collective Common Objects and galería JosédelaFuente.
Opens Jan 15: Adventures of the Black Square: Abstract Art and Society 1915-2015 Picking up where Tate Modern’s tremendous 2014 Malevich exhibition left off, this international survey looks at the legacy of the Russian artist’s suprematist black square paintings and how abstraction has been used to channel political ideas over the past 100 years.
Opens Jan 24: Rubens and His Legacy: Van Dyck to Cézanne The Royal Academy usually scores the first blockbuster of the year, so expectations are high for this exhibition of Flemish baroque painter Peter Paul Rubens – an artist who painted everything from family portraits to ceilings (like the one at Banqueting House in Whitehall) but is best-known for his sensuously fleshy female nudes and the term they spawned: ‘Rubenesque’.
Until Jan 8: Skate at Somerset House On Wednesday, Ministry of Sound bring the big-room sounds and trance tracks of The Gallery to the ice with resident Gavyn Mytchel and guests spinning the tunes. On Thursday, gloriously cheesy pop party-throwers Club De Fromage host the final Skate at Somerset House session, which means classic anthems from the ’80s and ’90s all night long and a lot of new year fun and frolics.
From Jan 10: Skream’s XOYO residency To kick off his XOYO residency, eclectic party-starter Skream breaks out his selector skills in full force with an all-night-long set. Expect pretty much any damn thing to be rinsed out, including house, disco, garage, techno and perhaps even a bit of – whisper it – dub step.
Jan 16: Gloria’s Expect a prime party fuelled by the energy, eccentricity and ethos of Sink The Pink, and soundtracked by some outstanding DJs. The music policy has a disco, French house, electro and funk tint to it, but also covers a lot of other ground, all of it dancefloor-fuelled.
Jan 17: Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide Awards Mr P shows off his superb, genre-straddling taste once again at his annual awards show. Previous years have included performances by SBTRKT, Julio Bashmore and Michael Kiwanuka.
Fri 9: Ms Dynamite Fiery rapper Ms Dy-na-mi-tee – a Mercury Prize winner from back in the day – shows off her sharp-tongued skills with a mix of hip hop and a dash of grime attitude. Shorebitch DJs give support.
Jan 6-18: Kraken Officially our favourite comedy show of 2014. Fact. New Zealand mime artist Trygve Wakenshaw’s largely wordless show is an hour of joyous, physical stream-of-conciousness. Check him out and you’ll see what we mean.
Jan 12-17: Nish Kumar – Ruminations on the Nature of Subjectivity It might have a mouthful of a title, but this erudite youngster’s fluid, gag-packed show is hugely impressive.
Jan 12-31: Doctor Brown Trilogy – Because, Becaves, Befrdgth 2012’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner – slightly sinister mime/clown Doctor Brown – brings his three solo shows (including the gong-bagging ‘Befrdgth’) back to London, with each playing a week-long run.
Jan 13-31: Alex Edelman – Millenial 2014’s Best Newcomer winner at the Edinburgh Fringe finally brings his slick hour of pedantic stand-up to London. You’ll be seeing a lot more of this US youngster in 2015.
Jan 16, 17, 23 and 24: Jerry Sadowitz – Card Tricks and Bile The famously enraged, wildly offensive stand-up is also one of the best close-up magicians in the world. He’s showing off his sleight-of-hand skills here. But expect some bile-filled jokes too.
Jan 19-31: Josie Long – Cara Josephine Long was once the queen of quirk, then she went political, and now she’s changed gear again. ‘Cara Josephine’ is a heartfelt, introspective show about family and romantic ideals. Her most personal offering to date.
Jan 22-24: Joe Wilkinson and Guests ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’s resident weirdo headlines some of his biggest gigs yet. Wilkinson’s a charmingly shambolic, downbeat stand-up, and he’s joined by pals Paul McCaffrey and Jarlath Regan.
Jan 6-9: Fortuna Pop’s Winter Sprinter Long-running London indie label Fortuna Pop presents four days of indie fun, with slight leaning towards spiky twee but a fine range of artists involved.
Jan 12-16: LoBF Five Day Forecast Online music mag TLOBF are tipping some ones-to-watch for 2015 with this snazzy-looking five-day series at Islington indie pub The Lexington.
Jan 16: Kindness ‘World, You Need a Change of Mind’ – the exquisite debut album by Adam Bainbridge under his Kindness alias – was our favourite LP of 2012. Now he’s back with his warm, luscious and eclectic mixture of disco, soul, funk, R&B and more besides.
Jan 17-18: Queen/Adam Lambert Freddie Mercury’s continued absence from this world hasn’t stopped Brian May and Roger Taylor from reuniting Wayne Campbell’s favourite car karaoke band. Paul Rodgers has played the part of Mercury in the past; and now, for the second major tour, ‘American Idol’ runner-up Adam Lambert steps in to belt out ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’.
Jan 25: Matt Goss The Bros boss brings his Vegas show ‘The Gossy Room’ to London, singing ’80s hits, cover versions and Rat Pack-inspired swing standards with a full band and horn section.
Jan 28:Neneh Cherry Late-’80s superstar Neneh Cherry is back in the game, creatively revitalised by a recent collaboration with Scandinavian avant-jazz band The Thing.
Jan 29-30: Jessie Ware A silky-voiced London singer who’s tapped straight into the UK bass scene, Ware has collaborated with some of the smartest cats out there including Sampha, Joker, SBTRKT and Julio Bashmore.
Jan 28-29: Jessie J Motormouth, songwriter, ex-talent show judge and vocal acrobat Jessica Cornish arrives in London with a bang to perform her high-energy dance-pop and soulful, electronic R&B.
Jan 5-31: Tree If ever you wanted proof that the Old Vic was getting pretty hip in the dying days of Kevin Spacey’s reign, here it is: cult comic Daniel Kitson has jumped ship from his usual base of the NT to restage his ‘Waiting for Godot’ indebted 2013 play, which co-stars another brilliant comic, Tim Key.
Opens Jan 8:Bull Any play by Mike Bartlett – writer of the towering ‘King Charles III’ – is worth a look, though not many people are going to see ‘Bull’, which plays at the Young Vic’s tiny Maria studio. They should be in for a treat, though, with this Pinter-esque study of office bullying that’s already played to great acclaim in Sheffield.
Opens Jan 15: The Changeling Fresh from taking her hit interpretation of Nora in ‘A Doll’s House’ to Broadway, actor Hattie Morahan tackles another weighty role from the canon: Beatrice, the fallen noblewoman protagonist of this great Jacobean tragedy. Staged at the Globe indoor theatre, expect a rather more old school production than the Young Vic’s recent pudding-drenched odyssey.
Opens Jan 21: The Hard Problem For his latest – and perhaps final – play, 77-year-old Tom Stoppard ponders the great conundrum: if the universe is nothing but matter, what is consciousness? Rising star Olivia Vinall leads the cast as a grieving young psychology researcher, and the show is directed by Nicholas Hytner, his final play as NT artistic director.
Opens Jan 16: The Ruling Class Peter Barnes is a late, great idiosyncratic British playwright whose works are perhaps too sprawlingly weird to receive much in the way of revivals. Kudos, then, to star director Jamie Lloyd for not only reviving this cracked 1968 comedy about a mad aristocrat, but more or less guaranteeing it’ll reach a big audience via the casting of James McAvoy, last on the stage in 2013 in Lloyd’s ‘Macbeth’.
Opens Jan 15: Islands Caroline Horton’s 2012 play ‘Mess’ was a brilliant, emotional, inventive work about anorexia that alerted us to the scale of her talent. So we’re excited to see this equally idiosyncratic show about offshore tax havens – a really on-the-button topic.
Until May 9: Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown What a rare treat it is to have a big West End musical opening in the middle of traditionally dreary January. This adaptation of the cult Pedro Almodavar film had a mixed reception on Broadway, but we’re assured it’s been completely retooled, and boasts a lead performance from the ever delightful Tamsin Greig.
Opens Jan 7: Liberian Girl A fresh voice from new writing haven the Royal Court is always worth a look: ‘Liberian Girl’ is an intimate drama about one girl’s survival through the Liberian civil war (1989-2003) and is written by Diana Nneka Atuona, who came to the Court via its Peckham writers’ group.
Opens Jan 7: The Fever An off-site adventure for the Almeida, as a swish central London hotel plays host to this 2004 monologue by the American polymath Wallace Shawn. The fine actor Tobias Menzies play a man trying to reconcile the reality of the world with his desire to lead a moral life.
Opens Jan 13: Othello After a redevelopment project that’s yawned on for what seems like forever, the Lyric Hammersmith is finally back to something like normal service, as old friends of the theatre Frantic Assembly return with their kinetic take on Shakespeare’s tragedy.