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121 magnificent things to do in London this May

may

There’s no denying April was great, but my lord, May looks even better! This month is fit to burst with fantastic new art shows, pop-up bars, outdoor cinemas and plenty of parties, meaning the count down to summer is well and truly on. Here are all the best things to do over the next 31 glorious days.

THINGS TO DO 

May 1–4: London Wellbeing Festival at London Olympia This four-day feel-good festival gathers motivational speakers, uplifting musicians and inspiring performers from across the globe to entertain those looking to lead a healthy and empowered lifestyle.

May 2: Electric Run at Wembley Park This American import sees a 5km fun-run turned into a glowing, flashing, colourful party of light and movement as around 15,000 participants run, walk or dance their way through an illuminated route of electric-themed landscapes.

May 2: Hackney Drinks Market Around 30 stalls run by brewers, distillers, coffee roasters and soft drink makers will be selling their runny wares, and plenty of snacks and hot food will be on sale, too.

May 2–4: Canalway Cavalade The pretty waterways of Little Venice will be even more colourful than usual for 2015’s May bank holiday weekend as the Inland Waterways Association organises their annual gathering of canal boats.

May 2–Nov 5: The Alice Look at Museum of Childhood Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’ turns 150 in 2015, and to mark the anniversary this exhibition will bring together garments, photographs, rare editions and illustrations which show how Alice has both followed and influenced fashion over the decades.

May 3: StreetFest Let’s face it: everyone could do with improving their street cred occasionally. Thankfully, we can all up our game at Streetfest – which takes in top-level DJs spinning underground beats, furiously fresh rappers and cutting-edge designs from graffiti artists and tattooists.

May 8-10: SPIN This mini-festival celebrates the urban cycling scene with international brands and smaller independent makers in fixed gear, single speed, custom and BMX bikes in attendance as well as emerging cycle fashion brands, cyclic artwork, talks, demonstrations and workshops.

May 6–10: London Craft Week This new week-long festival of activities and exhibitions celebrates craftmanship in all sorts of interesting nooks and crannies across London. Famous galleries and specialist workshops alike will host events to showcase both ancient skills and exciting new talent.

May 7–10: Pink Lady Food Photographer of the Year 2015 Exhibition The international food photography exhibition returns for 2015 with over 100 pictures and films documenting delicious grub from around the world. Categories include: food for celebration, food bloggers, food for the family, politics of food, plus more.

May 7–10: Made in Clerkenwell Summer Craft Central’s two buildings on Clerkenwell Green and St John’s Square, which house talented designers working in a wide range of disciplines, open their doors for this four-day shopping event.

May 7:  ‘Late at The Courtauld Gallery’ – the Wicked Women and Witches The Courtauld Gallery opens late for an evening of live music, performance and workshops which ties in with their current exhibition, ‘Goya: The Witches and Old Women Album’. Visitors will be able to view the Goya drawings as well as masterpieces from the gallery’s permanent collection by artists such as Van Gogh, Manet and Toulouse-Lautrec.

May 8–10 in Holborn and May 15–17 in Deptford: Cockpit Arts Spring Open Studios Award-winning social enterprise Cockpit Arts supports more than 170 of the country’s best designer-makers, and its open studio weekends in Holborn and Deptford are a great opportunity to buy unique and beautifully made pieces direct from the artists.

May 9–10:  Silicon Milkroundabout London The Silicon Milkroundabout free job fair is back for 2015. The event brings together hundreds of UK companies over two days to showcase their career opportunities open to developers, data scientists, product managers, designers and digital marketers.

May 9: Lebara Days of Poland Festival This family-friendly festival will introduce visitors to traditional and contemporary polish music, arts and cuisine. There will also be face painting, giant bubble shows, competitions, Polish national dances and live music from prominent Polish musicians.

May 9: SCT Charity Shop Strut Help to raise money for the Spitalfields Crypt Trust – a charity which has been providing help to addicts and the homeless for 50 years in 2015 – in this sponsored 5km walk. The route begins at SCT café Paper & Cup in Shoreditch and passes all three of their charity shops before finishing up at Paper & Cup’s Bow branch.

May 9: Big Sleep Out This fundraiser for Street Child asks participants to spend a night on the street to help them to provide aid for orphans in Sierra Leone and Liberia. As well as an insight into the difficult conditions the children live in, the event will feature activities and games, and all participants will be fed and watered.

May 9: Run or Dye in Trent Park Even the least energetic of exercisers will enjoy this cheerful 5km run, as long as they’re OK with looking like they’ve been rolling around in a face paint factory. Run or Dye’s route is lined with cannons which will shower brightly coloured powder paint over the participants, who are welcome to walk, jog or even dance their way along.

May 9–10: The London Pet Show at ExCeL This annual fur-filled show is moving to the ExCel centre in 2015 for a weekend of barking, jumping, stroking and shopping. The fair is aimed at both pet owners and anyone looking for advice on taking the plunge.

May 10: Crouch End Open Studios More than 30 local artists, including photographers, sculptors and painters, are taking part in this year’s CEOS weekend (May 9-10, noon-6pm). If you don’t know where to start, head to the group taster exhibition at the Grade II* listed Hornsey Town Hall (May 8-10, 11am-7pm).

May 10: Covent Garden May Fayre and Puppet Festival The annual Covent Garden May Fayre & Puppet Festival (which celebrates its fortieth anniversary in 2015), brings together Punch and Judy professors from around the country for a day of jolly old-fashioned fun.

May 10: Urban Village Fete A contemporary take on the traditional English outdoor party featuring heaps of local design, food and fun.

May 10: London Cycle Sportive Get on your bike for this race from Dulwich Park to the 1948 Olympic Velodrome at Herne Hill. There are three route lengths to choose from, and each of them takes you through Box Park and into the Surrey Hills before getting to the Olympic track for a finishing lap.

May 10: Chestnut Sunday in Bushy Park This annual celebration of blossom features a parade from Teddington Gate, down Chestnut Avenue to the grassy area in front of the children’s playground, where there will be live entertainment, stalls and displays.

May 14–16: Museums at Night weekend This year’s Museums at Night, a series of after-hours events at some of the capital’s biggest museums and quirky attractions, is offering Londoners some seriously special one-off experiences.

May 13–Nov 1: Life on Foot Marking the 40-year anniversary of Camper, the family-run Spanish footwear brand, the Design Museum will take visitors on a journey from the design studios in Mallorca to mass production facilities in the Far East and on to shop floors across the globe.

May 15–Sep 6: The Prize for Illustration: London Places and Spaces The brief for 2015’s edition of this annual competition was to capture something of London’s unique character using the city’s places and spaces as inspiration. There sure are plenty of those to choose from, so visitors to this exhibition of the top 100 entries can expect to see an imaginative range of artworks, each of which will be accompanied by an explanation of the place or space which inspired it.

May 15–17: FestivalAsia For its debut event, FestivalAsia is touching down at Tobacco Dock to give Londoners a taste of the orient. Over the course of three days exhibitors will showcase music, dance, food, fashion and martial arts from more than 25 countries. On the performance stage visitors can expect everything from tea ceremonies to acrobatics, from Peking Opera to Gangnam style.

May 15–25: Alchemy at Southbank Centre This ten-day festival is a celebration of South Asia’s rich culture, with a line-up featuring music, dance, literature, film and fashion. In 2015 topics covered will include the area’s changing cultural landscape and the juxtapositions between classical and folk traditions.

May 15: Midcentury East For this east London sibling of Midcentury Modern – a showcase event for 50 vintage furniture dealers, featuring classics of British, American and Scandinavian 20th-century design – even the building is a sight to see: it is held in Haggerston School, which was designed by Brutalist architect Erno Goldfinger (2 Willow Road, Trellick Tower) in the mid-’60s.

May 15–17: MayFest: Men of Mystery Dulwich Picture Gallery host this brand new cultural festival boasting a line-up of topnotch cinema, exhibition tours, swing dancing and street food set within the Gallery grounds. The event celebrates the work of Alfred Hitchcock and twentieth century artist Eric Ravilious whose work is often said to have been inspired by Hitchcock’s shadowy interiors and peculiar perspectives.

May 16–17: Art Deco Fair at Eltham Palace Discover Art Deco treasures at English Heritage’s popular fair which returns to the Great Hall (part of Henry VIII’s childhood home) ajoining Eltham Palace, itself an Art Deco masterpiece, created in 1933 for millionaire couple Stephen and Virginia Courtauld.

May 16–17: Dunkirk Little Ships Festival & Museums at Night Celebration This year marks the seventy-fifth anniversary of the day 700 small civilian boats sailed from Ramsgate to Dunkirk to rescue thousands of English and French soldiers. At the end of May 60 of those ships will repeat their journey across the channel, and this waterborne reunion will see 20 of them gather in the Royal Docks ahead of the sailing.

May 16: Star Wars at Madame Tussauds Star Wars fans rejoice! A major new attraction opens at Madame Tussauds in 2015, boasting 16 life-like characters and 11 expertly finished sets from the iconic films. The experience will take over two new floors at the Baker Street site and visitors can immerse themselves within sets that range from Yoda’s swamp, to the red-hot lava spewing Mustafar where Anakin turns to the dark side.

May 16: The Power of Poison at the Old Truman Brewery Intoxicating, secretive and dangerous, tales of poison have fuelled our most sinister stories throughout history. This exhibition, which is adapted from The American Museum of Natural History’s New York original, reveals the strange things that happen when toxic substances claim a victim.

May 16–Jun 7: Chelsea Fringe This three-week festival encompasses a huge selection of horticultural events which are largely volunteer-run and free. Event registration is still open, but among those confirmed so far are pop-up art gardens, a wildflower bee hotel, a bathtub pond, a floral flotilla and plenty of walks, talks and tours.

May 17–18: RAW Artisan Wine Fair Wine buffs can explore more than 1,000 wines from 200 plus growers at this event, including fine, natural, organic and biodynamic tipples made by international artisan producers.

May 17: Beat the Banana at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Update: Unfortunately this event has been cancelled
A third of all cancers could be prevented if everyone was a healthy weight, exercised regularly and ate well. World Cancer Research Fund UK want Londoners to chase this goal – and a bunch of giant bananas – around a 5k course at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.

May 17: Open-air concert in London’s Trafalgar Square  The London Symphony Orchestra will set up shop in Trafalgar Square for the fourth year running to treat vast crowds of classical music fans to a free performance. The schedule for 2015 is all Shostakovich, with Scottish violinist Nicola Benedetti playing his Violin Concerto No 1.

May 19–23: RHS Chelsea Flower Show More than 500 exhibitors will already be making plans and tending to their most prized plants in preparation for the 2015 Chelsea Flower Show, which has taken place annually (apart from a few gaps during the two world wars) for over 100 years now.

May 21–Aug 31: York & Albany’s Beach Hut in Parkway  The courtyard at York & Albany will get a seaside-style makeover this summer, with sand, deckchairs and even a beach hut. Order up beach-themed booze such as seaweed martinis, Pimm’s ice lollies and rum slushies, or tuck into some mini fish and chips, pickled seafood or something more substantial from the barbecue menu.

May 22–Aug 28: Summer Tales A pop-up party from the Night Tales crew, featuring cocktails, street food, DJs and a jungle theme.

May 27–July 1: Kew Summer Lates Spice up your evenings this summer with these late openings which allow you to explore Kew’s beautiful grounds at dusk. You can pay a steamy visit to the tropical climes of the glasshouses or see London anew from the Tree Top Walkway as well as enjoying the special activities which are part of the Spices festival.

May 29–31: Fear of Missing Out Berlin based artist and theorist Hito Steyerl, chairs this three-day event which brings together leading international theorists, academics, social thinkers and artists to discuss postdigital anxieties and the social condition.

May 30: Major General’s Review in St James’s and Green Parks On June 13 – the Queen’s official birthday bash– a military parade will be Trooping the Colour (carrying a military flag) down Horse Guards Parade. This rehearsal for the event is free to attend and can be viewed from The Mall or Horse Guards Parade.

May 30: Women v Cancer Ride the Night This second all-female fundraiser from Ride the Night will see 2,000 cyclists (and counting) get in the saddle to raise funds for a trio of cancer charities. The 100km route starts and finishes at the Royal Windsor Racecourse, winding through London and past Westminster Abbey, Trafalgar Square and Buckingham Palace overnight.

May 30: Hope in Heels in Battersea Park Don your heels and get moving for charity at this run through Battersea Park. Women and men will be racing around the 2.4km route in their highest platforms to raise money for HOPEHIV which supports children and young people orphaned or affected by HIV or AIDS.

May 30: Adrenaline Rush at Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park If you think exercise is nothing without a side of suffering, this physically challenging fundraiser will be right up your muddy, hilly street. Participants will take on an urban assault course involving jumping onto a stuntsman’s airbag, dodging flour and water bombs, trudging through mud pits and even taking the ice bucket challenge.

Street Feast

FOOD

May 1: Street Feast Street Feast returns to Kingsland Road in 2015 for a summer-long stretch of night markets for those who like to be seen eating. The tempting line-up of street food favourites includes flavour-packed Korean burritos from Kimchinary, delicate Taiwanese buns from Bao London, crisp fried chicken from Spit and Roast and juicy burgers from Mother Flipper, among many others.

May 2: Beer Hive London Launch Party The company’s first co-operative brewery open with this celebration of great booze, music and food from 12-8pm. Exclusive beers on the day will include Coldharbour Hell Yeah! Lager and Clarkshaws Brewery wheat beer, as well as the launch of London Beer Lab’s Tip Top Citra APA.

Until May 3: Pump Street Bakery Pop-up The team behind Suffolk shop Pump Street Bakery have turned their creative hands to making bean-to-bar chocolate, and this pop-up shop celebrates the launch of their second variety: rye crumb, milk and sea salt. As well as the new bar and celebrated single origin chocolate varieties, they’ll be selling their famous Eccles cakes, Vermont sourdough and rye bread.

May 13–15: Le Tour de Teisseire ‘French sirop Teisseire’ launch their drink sirups in the UK with this three-day pop-up at Searcy’s Champagne Bar at St Pancras International. Guests will be treated to three drinks within the space of 30 minutes including a ‘Famboise Cooler’, ‘Fraise de Champagne’ and a ‘Hazelnut and White Mocha’.

May 13–15: Pincer Punch: Crabbieshack Pops-Up Find crunchy, soft-shell crab burgers and margaritas to wash them down with as Crabbieshack sets up shop for three nights only at The Hat and Tun.

Restaurant openings

May 1: The Melt Room A 12-seater joint specialising in souped-up grilled-cheese sandwiches.

May 7: The Hope A new venture in Peckham from Antic London which takes its name from a fellow watering hole that once stood proudly on Rye Lane. Expect a café/bar that resembles a traditional pub with locally and regionally sourced real ale and craft beer, as well as Antic’s very own brews.

May 14: Fu Manchu Late-night dim sum and cocktail bar under the Clapham railway arches, themed on fictional Chinese master criminal Fu Manchu.

May 15: Sesame A new all-day Mediterranean restaurant from one of the co-founders of Ottolenghi, scheduled to open in May 2015.

May 22: Kansas Smitty’s Find this new jazz and julep bar in an intimate Broadway Market basement, complete with resident house band.

May TBC: Dalston Allpress Shoreditch-based coffee company Allpress, open their second outlet on Dalston Lane. Complete with its own roastery, the coffee nuts will be creating a new Hackney-inspired coffee blend called the Three Bells.

May TBC: Voodoo Ray’s Shoreditch The Dalston pizza joint heads slightly south for a pop-up in Boxpark from May, where they’ll be taking over three ground floor units to serve up their delicious slices.

May TBC: Burger Bear Burgers, beats, booze’ is the mission statement of the bonkers Burger Bear crew, who boldly claim that if you don’t leave with a smile on you face, they’ll eat their disco ball. From mid-May, these guys will be setting up a summer-long residency at Old Street roundabout.

Far From the Madding Crowd

FILM

May 1: Far From the Madding Crowd Don’t be fooled by the fancy source material: ‘Far from the Madding Crowd’ may be adapted from Thomas Hardy’s nineteenth-century novel, but it’s still a movie that opens with Carey Mulligan on a pony as it gallops toward a rainbow.

May 15: Pitch Perfect 2 We love it when an actor we admire takes up the directing reins. For this sequel to the 2012 musical comedy about a group of young women taking part in an a capella singing competition it’s the turn of comedian Elizabeth Banks, who produced and co-starred in the first movie.

May 15: Mad Max Fury Road Twenty years on from the last instalment, ‘Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome’, we catch up with Australia’s roughest, toughest apocalyptic outlaw as he roams the wasteland in his souped-up roadster looking for trouble.

May 22: Tomorrowland This family adventure inspired by an old Disneyland theme park ride based around ideas of what the future might be like has been shrouded in mystery since it was first announced. Even the trailer doesn’t give much away – a young woman comes into possession of a metal badge which transports her from the humdrum normality of middle America into some kind of fantasy world.

May 29: San Andreas Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is a helicopter pilot on a mission to save his estranged daughter after an earthquake hits LA. Nothing new there, then.

Outdoor cinema

May 1–30: Rooftop Film Club: Peckham Rye Like all the Rooftop Film Club venues, you get state of the art outdoor cinema at the Bussey Building, with comfy director chairs, blankets and wireless headphones. There is also a stunning 360 degree view out across London from the roof of the warehouse-style arts venue.

May 4–31: Rooftop Film Club: Queen of Hoxton The Rooftop Film Club have perfected the art of outdoor cinema on the roof of the Queen of Hoxton pub, with comfy director chairs, blankets and wireless headphones (say goodbye to cinema rustle). Movies on offer are a mix of ’80s faves, recent Oscar contenders and all-time great Hollywood classics. There’s a bar on the roof and a BBQ.

May 6–17: Hot Tub Cinema Kick back in a hot tub, quaff a few drinks and watch cult and classic films, with a party and music afterwards.

Catlin Art Prize

ART

May 8–30: Catlin Art Prize This annual exhibition showcases the most exciting and dynamic graduate and postgraduate artists working today.

May 8–11: Collect Annual contemporary craft fair with 35 international galleries showcasing the most exciting, experimental and world-class examples of applied arts craftsmanship.

May 14–30: Peter Kennard at the Imperial War Museum A look at the work of one of Britain’s most important political artists, this exhibition is the first major retrospective of Peter Kennard’s 50-year career.

 May 20–Jul 19: Max Mara Art Prize for Women: Corin Sworn The fifth winner of the only art prize for women in the UK presents new work following her residency in Italy.

May 21–24: Photo London At last London gets its own photography-dedicated fair that will hopefully turn into an annual photo-fest week. Presenting a diverse range of photographic practices throughout Somerset House, the 60-plus leading international and London-based exhibitors will showcase both familiar and celebrated names alongside rising stars.

May 21–23: Art15 With a new fair director Kate Bryan, former director of Contemporary Art at The Fine Art Society, Art15 returns for its third year with a new slot in London’s art calendar. With over 130 cutting-edge galleries selected from 41 countries, the fair continues its commitment to showcase emerging talent and young galleries alongside established artists and representatives of Asia’s burgeoning art market.

May 21–Aug 24: Beneath the Surface Reflecting on London’s rich history, this exhibition commissioned by Photo London draws on the the V&A’s preeminent collection of photographs.

nick cave

MUSIC

May 2–3: Nick Cave The dark and dapper singer-songwriter takes to the piano for a set of superbly mournful ballads.

May 7: Public Service Broadcasting Sample-heavy soundscapes are this excellent London duo’s stock-in-trade. Using live guitar, drums and synths – and sometimes piano, brass or even banjo – they create eerie, white-knuckle instrumentals with vocal tracks from old radio broadcasts, public information films and crackly archive speeches.

May 7, 27: Rodriguez Headlining singer-songwriter Sixto Diaz Rodriguez – to whom the overused word ‘legendary’ truly applies – makes a rare visit to London.

May 8–9: Super Furry Animals Though they never officially split up, we’ve heard very little from psychedelic Welshmen SFA since their last round of gigs in 2009. But lately there have been whispers about the eccentric indie crew getting back to business, and now here’s a big London show – super indeed.

May 11: Belle And Sebastian For the devoted hordes, Stuart Murdoch’s veteran gaggle of Glaswegian popsters are consummate practitioners of liltingly melancholic and lyrically wry, indie-pop songcraft.

May 12: Ibeyi Twin daughters of the late Buena Vista Social Club percussionist Anga Díaz, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi Diaz have picked up plenty of props for their cajón-laced, stripped-back soul in English and Yoruba.

May 18: J Cole The first artist to be signed to Jay Z’s Roc Nation label back in 2009, Cole has proven himself adept at applying his zippy flows to a range of stylish beats – from soul to punchy, rock-sampling fist-pumpers. He’s over here to give London what for with tracks from his latest album, the intimately autobiographical ‘2014 Forest Hills Drive’.

May 19: Django Django The groovy Edinburghers are back for more melancholy electropop, playing a London show to follow the release of their long-awaited second album ‘Born Under Saturn’.

May 19: Lianne La Havas Still just 25 but tipped by Prince and with a Top Five debut album under her belt, south London singer-songwriter La Havas recalls Feist and Erykah Badu with her velvety vocals and mellifluous, synth-shimmering folk-soul sound.

May 21: Swans As long as the PA is up to the challenge, this’ll be one of the most awe-inspiringly, beautifully extreme gigs in London this year.

May 23: ESG Funky, bass-heavy, polyrhythmic sounds that haven’t changed much at all since the group started out more than 30 years ago.

May 24: Ride The classic shoegaze band ride again, bringing their searing guitar lines to Camden as a warm-up before they headline Field Day.

May 27: Fleetwood Mac The pop-rock titans return to London, with their most famous line-up back together again, to reel off their (many, many) classic hits.

May 30–31: We Are FSTVL The Essex behemoth of a dance music festival returns for year three, boasting a huge cast world-class house and techno talent.

flamingo pier

NIGHTLIFE

May 1: Flamingo Pier One of the finest and most fun pop-up parties of last summer, Flamingo Pier is back for summer 2015, which is great news for anyone who likes their pop-ups with a big dose of tropical indulgence.

May 1: Nightspot Cinema: Tron Legacy The pop-up cinema that combines immersive film screenings and parties is back, and this time there’s laser tag. After a successful screening of ‘Northern Soul’ earlier in the year, the crew are going sci-fi, screening ‘Tron: Legacy’ and then throwing a huge bash afterwards.

May 1–4: Netil360 Bank Holiday Opening Weekend The ace rooftop space atop London Fields arts space Netil House is opening for the summer with a four-day extravaganza. Across the weekend there’ll be all kinds of fun to explore, including live music, DJs, bars, pop-up street food vendors, the launch of a Skyline Cinema club, giant Jenga, espresso martinis as a hat-tip to London Coffee Festival, massage, yoga, workshops and hot tubs.

May 6: We Need Some More Girls In Here Hosted by Ar’fa Butt, Carnaby and Deal Real legacy have joined up to create a pop up, in-store weekly music events and youth engagement programme. At ‘We Need Some More Girls In Here!’ successful women in music explore the challenges of being a woman in a male dominated industry.

May 7–July 31: Turntables This deliciously fun – and just plain delicious – pop-up seriously impressed us last year, so we’re chuffed to hear that it’s back in town. As before, it’s set on and around the considerable terrace space of Hackney Wick canalside venue Shapes and once again, there’ll be all kinds of delicious street food on offer, plus summertime cocktails from Butlers Gin and Quiquiriqu Mezcal, and specially brewed Turntables lager.

May 8: Goblin King’s Masquerade Ball ‘Game of Thrones’ fans and those who love a fantasy theme or just a bit of dressing up – your recurring wet dream has come to life, and it looks like a giant, masked goblin. Hot, eh? It’s a wild, costume-heavy affair that takes its audience into ‘a grim faerie tale world of the creatures only whispered about after dark, that do really lurk under your bed and not only in your imagination.’

May 8–10: Disco Picnic Summer Warm-Up Disco Picnic is a rather ingenious foodie-party pop-up project that combines street food, DJs, live music, fashion markets, workshops and more all under one roof – a sort of mini-festival.

May 19–Jun 6: The Secret Island The creators of the hugely popular immersive dining experience Gingerline are back for more arty, experiential culinary antics. Billed as a mix of food, theatre, art, design and, erm, time travel, experimental new concept The Secret Island will explore what organisers are calling ‘multidimensional dining’ – essentially a night of creative cuisine and mysterious adventures.

May 23: Hot Meat Boat Cruise Anyone expecting a civilised barbecue on a boat at this party might be disappointed. This funky nautical bash is actually a boat cruise geared towards bears – a scene within the gay male community which celebrates looking big, hairy and rugged.

Alex Horne

COMEDY

May 4–16: Alex Horne – Monsieur Butterfly The ever-inventive comic literally builds his latest show each night, constructing a Rube Goldberg-style contraption on stage out of bits and bobs bought at B&Q. It’s totally daft.

May 9–16: Max & Ivan – The Reunion Warm, feelgood sketch comedy from this slick duo in their Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award-nominated ’80s teen movie-style show about a school reunion.

May 11–16: Angel Comedy – Improv Week London’s hugely popular free comedy club is bringing over three members of world renowned North American improv institution Second City, to both teach intensive workshops and perform at Angel Comedy’s Improv Week.

May 11–12: Beth Vyse – Get Up with Hands Vyse plays failing daytime talk show host Olive Hands in her totally batshit crazy character comedy hour.

May 23: Bill Maher Acerbic, brutally honest stand-up from this acclaimed US satirist and star of his own HBO show, ‘Real Time with Bill Maher’.

May 26: Pajama Men – Pterodactyl Nights More nonsensical physical comedy from the PJ-donning American pair who, between them, play dozens of characters in their adventure-story shows.

May 27–30: Dylan Moran – Off the Hook Sloshed, lyrical grumbles and intelligent quips from the misanthropic Irishman and ‘Black Books’ star, ending his tour with four nights in London.

Rumble in the JumbleRumble in the Jumble

SHOPPING AND STYLE

May 5–26: BOB by Dawn O’Porter Pop-Up Shop Dawn O’Porter’s fashion line BOB (that’s the hairdo, rather than the diminutive of Robert) heads to Covent Garden for its first pop-up. As well as one-off vintage originals, you’ll find contemporary versions of retro styles and a well-stocked bar. Dawn herself will be on hand to offer styling tips, too.

May 9: Rumble in the Jumble Fancy rifling through your favourite celeb’s cast-offs? At Rumble in the Jumble, you can do just that – and it’s all in aid of a good cause. The Music Circle (a charitable organisation made up of women in the music industry) have asked famous faces to donate an impressive array of bits and pieces – look out for Graham Coxon’s specs, Daisy Lowe’s designer bag and Mark Ronson’s suit.

May 22–Aug 29: Riviera Style: Resort and Swimwear since 1900 From the English Riviera (that’s Torquay to you and me) to the rather more glamorous Cote d’Azur, Riviera Style brings together over 100 years of beachwear. At the Fashion and Textiles Museum’s summer exhibition, you’ll find everything from conservative Edwardian cover-ups to swimsuits and sarongs, with the odd burkini thrown in for good measure.

May 24: South London Vintage Kilo Sale Turn up and fill a bag with vintage jumble. Once you’ve got a kilo’s worth, take it home for a mere £15. There’ll be five tonnes of vintage stock to choose from, dating from the ‘70s onwards.

Catherine Tate Mark Gatiss and Nina Sosanya in THE VOTE

THEATRE

Until May 7: The Vote James Graham and Josie Rourke team up on this intriguing play, set in a polling station in the final 90 minutes of polling day in the general election 2015.

May 9–Jun 27: The Pirates of Penzance Film and theatre director Mike Leigh takes on his operatic debut this 2015 with this production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s classic, popular comic opera. ‘The Pirates of Penzance’ is about a young man who finishes his 21-year pirate apprenticeship and falls in love, only to realise that he may have to stick with the loveable rogues for a little longer.

May 9–Jul 18: Death of a Salesman The RSC’s celebrated run of Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning family tragedy ‘Death of a Salesman’ transfers to the West End with the entire cast in tow. Antony Sher plays Willy, a deteriorating businessman while Harriet Walter is his wife Linda, who both contend with their two unsuccessful sons.

May 15–Jun 14: Peter Pan JM Barrie’s original play is revived by Regent’s Park artistic director Timothy Sheader to open the theatre’s 2015 season. ‘Peter Pan’ is Barrie’s well-known tribute to youth which tells of the Lost Boys, their leader Peter Pan and their lives in Never Land. This version sounds as though it’s going to be a particularly dark interpretation of the original.

May 15–Sep 5: As You Like It Rising star director Blanche McIntyre returns to Shakespeare’s Globe in 2015 to direct the Bard’s pastoral comedy ‘As You Like It’. McIntyre directed a chaotic and joyfully funny ‘Comedy of Errors’ last year at the Globe, and ‘As You Like It’ covers similarly inane goings-on.

May 19–Aug 7: The Elephant Man Bradley Cooper stars as ‘Elephant Man’ John Merrick in this big-hitting Broadway transfer. Reviews suggest that while the play itself may have aged a little, it’s a great performance from Cooper, who will be accompanied by the entire US cast, including Patricia Clarkson and Alessandro Nivola.

May 21–24: Hamlet Great Japanese director Yukio Ninagawa, who turns 80 next year, arrives in London with his production of ‘Hamlet’, starring Tatsuya Fujiwara in his UK premiere.

May 28–29: Kafka on the Shore Best-selling Japanese novelist and one-time Jazz club owner Haruki Murakami’s book ‘Kafka on the Shore’ is a firm favourite among the legions of Murakami fans over here (and everywhere else). Now, Yukio Ninagawa stages the epic, multi-layered work, which tells two stories – one of 15-year-old runaway Kafka and the other of elderly Nakata who finds lost cats.

Until Jun 6: Matchbox Theatre This is an evening of short plays from playwright and novelist extraordinaire Michael Frayn directed by Hamish McColl. It’s a series of funny sketches, conversations and meditations on how we live today drawn from a book Frayn published in 2014.

Until Jun 13: The Angry Brigade The Theatre Royal Plymouth and Paines Plough production of James Graham’s ‘The Angry Brigade’ arrives in London as part of a UK tour. Graham’s work is an erudite blend of humour and politics and this play is set against a backdrop of Tory cuts in the ’70s where a young urban guerrilla group forms.

Until Jul 25: The Audience It’s not that long since Helen Mirren’s poised turn as Her Maj graced London’s West End in Peter Morgan’s hit play ‘The Audience’ in 2013. Nevertheless, the play returns to London’s theatreland, this time with a different actress in the role of our beloved monarch. Kristin Scott Thomas will take on the mantel and step up to those sensible shoes and hairsprayed ‘do.

Until Aug 22: High Society Maria Friedman wowed us with her winning production of Stephen Sondheim’s ‘Merrily We Roll Along’ in 2012 and now she’s back with another musical classic – Cole Porter’s Long Island feel-good love comedy.

PHEW! Have fun out there!

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