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85 bloomin’ lovely things to do in London this March

Spring blossom in London. (Photo: Teresa Gomez, http://instagram.com/broganinlondon)

March, you’re already looking beautiful! The sun is shining, winter finally seems to have passed and London is jam-packed full of wonderful events, parties and great new shows to get excited about. As ever, we’ve compiled a list of the coolest goings on in the capital so all you have to do is work out how you’re going to fit it all in. Planners at the ready, people… 

THINGS TO DO

March 1-8: WOW: Women of the World Festival, Southbank Centre Celebrate all that is great about women and girls (and all the great things they have achieved) with a week of talks, debates, concerts, film, comedy and workshops.

Mar 5-Aug 31: Fashion on the Ration at IWM An exhibition exploring the impact of wartime austerity on the way people dressed.

Mar 7-15: Kemistry Gallery: 100 Years of Graphic Design Kemistry Gallery had to abandon its permanent home in 2014 due to rent hikes. This exhibition of a century’s worth of striking graphic design work is the first pop-up incarnation of the gallery since its closure.

Mar 7-15: Noel Fielding exhibition at Royal Albert Hall Titled ‘He Wore Dreams Around Unkind Faces’, Fielding’s latest offerings at the Royal Albert Hall include portraits of well-known musicians like The Beatles and Elvis Presley alongside more experimental pieces.

Mar 8: Comic Relief Danceathon at Wembley Arena Claudia Winkleman will host this fundraiser for Comic Relief, which will see 2,000 participants shimmying their way through six hours of non-stop dancing.

Mar 13-Sept 1: Magna Carta: Law, Liberty, Legacy at British Library Discover the eight centuries of political and legal influence the Magna Carta has had on England and see original copies of the manuscript.

March 14: Alexander Mcqueen Savage Beauty More than 100 remarkable designs from fashion’s enfant terrible will be wowing London audiences following great success in New York.

March 15: Mother’s Day! Make sure your mum feels truly special by treating her with one of these ideas.

Mar 15: St Patrick’s Day celebrations in Trafalgar Square London’s Irish community heads to Trafalgar Square to celebrate their patron saint – and everyone’s invited.

March 20-22: The Edible Garden Show at Alexandra Palace Learn to grow (or find) your own dinner at this show for foodies who like to know where their meals come from.

March 19-25: Owl café Annie the Owl is a pop-up café opening in Soho from March 20-25 where, thanks to Locappy, you’ll be able to hang out with some feathered friends.

Mar 22: Where’s Wally Fun Run in Victoria Park Walk, jog or run a 5km or 10km course through Victoria Park dressed as Martin Handford’s cheerfully elusive creation along with hundreds of other Wallys.

Mar 24-July 12: Homes of the Homeless: Seeking Shelter in Victorian London at Geffrye Museum Using paintings, photographs, objects and stories collected from personal accounts and diaries, this exhibition at the Geffrye tells the story of less lucky Victorian London.

Mar 25-Aug 16: Designs of the Year at the Design Museum The 2015 edition of this annual exhibition – run in conjunction with the Design Museum’s awards of the same name – celebrates the most innovative and inventive work in the worlds of architecture, fashion, furniture, graphics and more.

Mar 27-May 8: Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea at NHM Find out whether life really is better down where it’s wetter in this exhibition of images and information collected during the three-year long Catlin Seaview Survey of coral reefs.

Mar 28-Aug: Against Captain’s Orders: A Journey into the Uncharted at National Maritime Museum Kids can make this exciting maritime journey in an immersive tour from Punchdrunk and the National Maritime Museum.

Mar 28-May 25: Shaun in the City Public Art Trail More than 100 giant (and very colourful) statues of Shaun the Sheep will be dotted around the city ready for fans of the fluffy fella to track down.

Great British Pork Pie OffPrincess Victoria’s Great British Pork Pie Off

FOOD

Opening this month

Morada Brindisa Asador, Leicester Square. A spin-off of the acclaimed Spanish mini-chain specialising in slow-roasted meats such as whole suckling pig.

Ottolenghi A new restaurant and deli at 11 Artillery Passage, E1 opens this month. No details available yet, but we can assume that this brilliant group will just do what it’s done so well elsewhere in London.

Ceviche The Peruvian boom continues apace with a new branch of Martin Morales’ Ceviche near the Old Street roundabout.

Duck & Rice This new restaurant from Alan Yau (Yauatcha, Babaji etc) was originally announced as a plan for summer 2014. Oops! But we’ve been following their progress, and the building work at 90 Berwick Street W1 seems to be in its final stages. We’ll go quack-quack when the Duck finally surfaces.

Culpeper This pub in Commercial Street, which we liked very much when we reviewed it, is opening a slightly more formal restaurant on its first floor. The food will have the same emphasis on local and seasonal ingredients that rules the ground floor.

Top Dog An all-American offering of hot dogs, fries and shakes, with the USP that these dawgs are organic. Say woof woof to the green dog.

Wahleeah A trio of first-time restaurateurs are channelling their enthusiasm for beer into every dish on the menu of this Fulham newcomer.

Pop-ups

TONIGHT: Princess Victoria’s Great British Pork Pie Off At the Princess Victoria’s Great British Pork Pie off chefs from the likes of The Dairy, Newman Street Tavern and Social Eating House will do just that in their attempt to be crowned champion of pork pies. Their efforts will be judged by Selfridges’ restaurants director Hannah Bass, ‘Pie Man’ Andy Bates and chefs Rowley Leigh and Henry Harris, while food writer Joe Warwick will compere.

March 5: One Table Supper Club Argentinian culinary master, Martin Milesi hosts a special evening, dining in St Pancras’ Clock Tower. Guests will gather around one table to feast on a Latin American culinary experience.

March 11-April 4: ‘Abigail’s Party’ pop-up The Art of Dining are back with another brilliant supper club concept. This time, step back into the seventies and have a dinner party like no other. 

March 13 and 20:  Hogarth Gin Eve Head to the Hogarth Room at Tate Britain for an evening of gin and food, as well as an exclusive viewing of the room and introduction to the artist and his work.

From March 12: Snaps + Rye: Kultur/Mad A series of cultural and culinary events throughout March from the contemporary Danish eatery.

Still AliceStill Alice

FILM

Mar 6: Chappie Following the middling ‘Elysium’, sci-fi master Neill Blomkamp returns to his native South Africa for this comic tale of a robot adopted by a gang of crooks. The signs point to a return to the darkly comic tone of ‘District 9’.

March 6: Still Alice Alzheimer’s disease is a Greek tragedy: preordained by genetics, the neurodegenerative disorder is an unfathomably cruel death march down a tunnel that disappears behind you and gets darker with every step. ‘Still Alice’, adapted by married couple Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland from Lisa Genova’s 2007 novel, is the rare film possessed with the courage required to shine a light into that abyss knowing full well that down is the only way out.

March 6: Appropriate Behaviour Shirin struggles to become an ideal Persian daughter, a politically correct bisexual, and a hip young woman from Brooklyn.

Mar 20: Mommy Cinema doesn’t come much more exuberant, musical and raw than French-Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s ‘Mommy’. It’s the tale of a wild, gurning, loveable teen, Steve (Antoine-Olivier Pilon), with severe, heavily medicated ADHD, and his love-hate relationship with his mother, Die (Anne Dorval), and their new neighbour, the meek, stuttering Kyla (Suzanne Clément), who moves in across the road with her husband and young daughter.

Mar 27: Cinderella Enough with the feminism. Disney has clearly had enough of these uppity princesses getting all empowered and messing with their fairytales. After ‘Frozen’, and ‘Into the Woods’, it’s back to the basics of being a princess in director Kenneth Branagh’s lavish, sappily sweet version of ‘Cinderella’.

Mar 27: The Face of an Angel A film inspired by the endlessly ongoing Amanda Knox affair was perhaps inevitable, but it’s still surprising that the film has come around so soon, and that the man making it happen is none other than ’24 Hour Party People’ director and restless genre experimenter Michael Winterbottom.

Mar 27: Spongebob: Sponge Out of Water Don’t call this tale of the misadventures of a high-pitched sponge and his random pals living in the undersea village of Bikini Bottom ‘kids’ stuff’. Nickelodeon’s animated TV sensation has always been a home for surreal stoner humour, utterly inappropriate sexual innuendos and a constant stream of one-liners.

Festivals

Mar 4: Psycho with Live Soundtrack It’s one of the most memorable scores in movie history, from the driving opening theme to those slicing strings in the shower scene. This unique evening will see a full 40-piece orchestra playing the soundtrack to Alfred Hitchcock’s blackly comic masterpiece.

Mar 5-9: Cinema Made in Italy Back for a fifth year, the festival is organised by the Promotion Office (Filmitalia) of Istituto Luce Cinecittà to celebrate the best recent Italian productions. Most screenings will be followed by Q&A sessions with directors and actors.

Mar 10-27: Drive-In Film Club An American-style cinema experience at Ally Pally. Street food, popcorn, and delicious hot dogs can be delivered on skates straight to your car!

Mar 12-15: Focus Film Festival for 12-18s Curated in collaboration with the Barbican Young Programmers, this new film festival is geared towards 12-18 year olds and aims to give young people a better understanding of the film industry. The international movies on offer have been picked for their authenticity in depicting teenage experiences and a number of special previews and premieres will take place across the event.

Mar 19-29: BFI Flare A LGBT film festival packed with screenings, events, debates, dance,  galas and parties. Programme strands include ‘hearts’, ‘minds’ and ‘bodies’ exploring films about love, romance and friendship, and reflections on art, politics and community.

Mar 19-29: Camberwell Free Film Festival The SE based festival returns with eleven days of free film events at various venues in the area.

Mark Watson's Comedywealth Games

COMEDY

Mar 9-11 and 13: Mark Watson’s Comedywealth Games The jittery TV regular’s chaotic sport-comedy crossover pits comics (including Mark Steel, Romesh Ranganathan and Rick Edwards) against each other in strange challenges.

Mar 9-22: The 2000 Year Old Man For the first time ever Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner has given permission for their classic comedy skit to be recreated, this time with Chris Neill interviewing the 2000 Year Old Man, played by Kerry Shale.

Mar 17-21: Margaret Thatcher Queen of Soho A big hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe. Matt Tedford’s version of the Iron Lady accidentally becomes a cabaret sensation in this glitzy, camp, very silly show.

Mar 26 and 27: Simon Amstell – To Be Free As a stand-up, Amstell is far more sensitive and introspective than his sarcastic ‘Buzzcocks’ persona would have you believe. ‘To Be Free’ is his best show yet.

Mar 27-29: Susie Essman The US comic – best known as the foul-mouthed Susie Green in Larry David’s ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ – heads to Soho with her semi-improvised stand-up show. Hey, if you’re lucky, she might just call you a ‘fat fuck’.

Mar 31 and Apr 1: John-Luke Roberts – Stnad-Up Roberts’s chaotic show is a disjointed mishmash of strange one-liners, musical moments and self-raising flour. And it’s a real treat.

Inventing Impressionism

ART

Mar 4-May 31: Inventing Impressionism This touring show chronicles the rise of impressionism due to the support of Parisian art dealer Paul Durand-Ruel and includes the work of Monet and Renoir.

Mar 4-May 17: Leon Golub: Bite Your Tongue The late figurative painter, who was shunned for many years by the American establishment, is celebrated in this survey of his rugged, politically charged work.

Mar 4-May 31: Roman Signer: Slow Movement The Swiss artists will transform the Barbican’s Curve with his site-specific sculptural installation of a moving kayak.

Mar 5-29: Beard  Here, all manner of facial tufts come under the spotlight from John Hurt’s wiry fisherman’s whiskers to Harnaam Kaur’s unexpected beard, which she’s been growing since she was 16 when she was diagnosed with polycystic ovaries.

From Mar 5: Fourth Plinth: Hans Haacke As we say goodbye to Katharina Fritsch’s blue cockerel, Trafalgar Square will be getting another animal resident atop the fourth plinth with German artist, Hans Haacke’s ‘Gift Horse’.

Mar 10-17: Nick Waplington/Alexander McQueen: Working Process Coinciding with Alexander McQueen fever at the V&A, this photographic exhibition reveals the working process of a fashion genius.

Mar 10-Sep 13: Revelations: Experiments in Photography The invention of photography helped Victorian scientists to capture things too small and too fast for the human eye to see. So it’s apt this Science Museum show should focus on the mutually inspiring terrain of scientific study and artistic endeavour.

Mar 11: The Best Scene is Offscreen The first in a series of events from Flat Time House hosted at Peckhamplex cinema. The new monthly programme of film, discussion and performance responds to research conducted for The Movie Movie Show (The Pneuwritten) by John Latham and by the Eventstructure Research Group led by Jeff Shaw.

Mar 11-Apr 10: The Syngenta Photography Award Exhibition Aiming to stimulate global discussion through thought provoking photographic responses to worldwide issues, the second edition of this annual photography prize focuses on ‘Scarcity-Waste’.

Mar 12-Jun 7: Joshua Reynolds: Experiments in Paint This spring the Wallace Collection will reveal a more radical side to the British eighteenth century portraitist who founded the Royal Academy.

Check out the full list of shows opening this month

Tune Yards

MUSIC

Mar 5: Tune-Yards Past live shows have allowed for a peek behind the magician’s curtain, with Garbus recording and looping live on stage, and this show at the Royal Festival Hall suggests an even more innovative and elaborate performance is under wraps.

Mar 6: Underworld The Romford dance duo bring their debut album ‘Dubnobasswithmyheadman’ to a London stage.

Mar 6-7: London Electronic Arts Festival Nile Rodgers, DJ Harvey and more influential figures roll up in London for a two-day celebration of electronic music.

Mar 14: Caribou It’s fair to say that musicians aren’t always reliable. Dan Snaith, however, has well and truly bucked that trend with his Caribou project, consistently producing lush, psychedelic rock and electronic alt pop that always sounds inviting and fresh.

Mar 23: Sleater-Kinney Everyone reunites nowadays, so it’s no surprise to have Sleater-Kinney back – but few comebacks are so welcome and needed. The trio trash and swing with a two-guitar attack, and offer a sound that is growing more uncommon: not just unfiltered garage rock, but a headline act consisting entirely of women.

Mar 25: Shura With a host of trendy and ear-pleasing reference points – ’90s R&B, ’80s Fleetwood Mac and Cyndi Lauper, soft funk and contemporary electronica – Mancunian singer-producer Shura Denton is a good bet for blog-storming success. 

Mar 25-27: Sam Smith Despite making his name with two dance-pop hits, his debut album ‘In the Lonely Hour’ is full of melancholy balladry, but that hasn’t done him any harm: Sad Sam has become a massive star on both sides of the Atlantic, and currently sells out pretty much any gig he deigns to announce.

Mar 26: Warpaint After a meteoric rise in 2011, the LA quartet return to the UK for some more eerily sweet psychedelia and experimental melodrama.

Mar 28-29: Bad Vibes A two-day psychedelic music festival, with a great mixture of heady veterans and younger acts.

Mar 30-31: Future Islands Catch them live at their biggest UK dates yet, where charismatic frontman Samuel Herring will be belting out songs from their heart-tugging new album ‘Singles’, and hopefully busting out some sweet moves too.

See more March gigs.

Nightspot Cinema: Northern Soul

NIGHTLIFE

Mar 6: Nightspot Cinema: Northern Soul Get your groove on at a screening of the 2014 film, followed by a high-energy soul party.

Mar 7: Feeling Gloomy A soundtrack of melancholy pop and bedroom anthems where misanthropes gather to cut loose and have fun.

Mar 7: The Rhythm Parlour A monthly pop-up barber shop with a disco soundtrack, spun by DJs, plus cocktails and street food.

Mar 8: Mister Sunday An eclectic all-day Sunday party bursting with disco, house, pop, blues and everything in-between, hosted by New York DJ duo Justin Carter and Eamon Harkin.

Mar 12: B.Traits XOYO Residency After its stormingly successful three-month Saturday night residency slots steered and curated by top DJs – including Eats Everything, Jackmaster and most recently Skream – Shoreditch club XOYO spreads its residency wings a little wider, asking Canadian bass-fiend B.Traits to helm a Thursday night slot.

Mar 14: Disco Dodgeball: Creatures of the Forest Vs Beasts of the Jungle Expect an Olympic pool-sized dose of superb silliness at this party organised by masters of madness Regression Sessions.

Mar 21: Pantha Du Prince + Darkstar + Zomby The final event of the Convergence series sees melodic techno maverick Pantha Du Prince, who produced one of 2013’s stand-out albums in ‘Elements of Light’, play a headline show at the beautiful, atmospheric St John-at-Hackney Church, which should suit his haunting, psychedelic take on dance music perfectly.

Mar 27-28: Mary Poppins Pop-Up Restaurant Experience Cor blimey, guvnor, it’s only a Mary Poppins pop-up dining experience gracing the streets of ol’ London town. And if you’re thinking it seems a weird choice for a pop-up restaurant – we hear you. But hey, we’ve had an Alice in Wonderland experience, so why not Julie Andrews’ liberty-taking, tooth decay-inviting, word-inventing nanny, too?

Sweeney Todd

THEATRE

Mar 12-May 16: Sweeney Todd  Cameron Mackintosh creates a pop up pie and mash shop to home Tooting Arts Club’s excellent production of Sondheim’s musical.

Until Apr 4: Game A new play by excellent ‘King Charles III’ playwright Mike Bartlett about a young couple given an unnerving opportunity in the midst of a housing crisis.

Mar 3-Apr 11: Clarence Darrow Gracing the stage of his own theatre again, Kevin Spacey could scarcely have made a more crowdpleasing comeback if he’d bought everyone in the audience a ‘House of Cards’ box set and a BMW.

Mar 3-May 2: Harvey Maureen Lipman and James Dreyfus star in Lindsay Posner’s new production of this Pulitzer Prize-winning comedy, which arrives in the West End after a brief tour of the regions.

Mar 4-28: Antigone Juliette Binoche stars in a new version of Sophocles’s tragedy directed by visionary Belgian Ivo van Hove.

Mar 6-Apr 18: Stevie Hugh Whitmore’s ‘Stevie’ follows the intriguing life of brilliant writer Stevie Smith. Living most of her life as a bachelor with her aunt, Smith worked as a secretary for a publishing house, all the while writing poetry and novels that have endured since she first published in 1936.

Mar 12-May 2: Buyer and Cellar Off-Broadway 2013 hit ‘Buyer & Cellar’ is brought over to the UK by the Menier Chocolate Factory for its UK premiere. The comedy is about a LA actor who decides to go to work in Barbara Streisand’s Malibu basement.

Mar 13-Apr 18: The Royale The real-life story of boxer Jack Johnson has inspired this new play by Marco Ramirez. Making its UK debut at the Bush this March, ‘The Royale’ tells of Jay Jackson, the first African-American heavyweight champion of the world.

Mar 31-Jul 8: Rules for Living A playful dark comedy in which the audience is made privy to the exact rules – rigidly adhered to –which a dysfunctional family uses to cope with each other over the Christmas holidays.

ENJOY!

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