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43 excellent things to do in London this weekend

Katherine Young[Photo: Katherine Young]

Get your peepers on the new Star Wars display at Madame Tussauds, pull out your Vincent Vega costume for a ‘Pulp Fiction’-themed bash, or get a closer look at a new collection of photographs documenting Frida Kahlo’s beautiful personal possessions. Here are all the things you need to know about for a wicked weekend.

Things to do 

UCL Museum Murder Mystery, Grant Museum of Zoology, TONIGHT, free. The Museum Murder Mystery returns for an evening of dark noir and intrigue as part of the Museums at Night programme. Help to identify the murderer from a cast of slightly sinister characters by solving clues dotted throughout the Museum.

London Spring Fair, Surrey Docks Farm, Saturday, free. There aren’t many places you can watch sheep shearing in London but Surrey Docks Farm is making sure city folk don’t miss out on a moment of spring. The annual spring fair will feature local craft and food stalls, live music, farm produce, cake stands, bars and a barbeque.

Star Wars at Madame Tussauds, Baker Street, Sat–Sun, prices vary. Star Wars fans rejoice! This major new attraction at Madame Tussauds boasts 16 life-like characters and 11 expertly finished sets from the iconic films. The experience takes 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.

Aldersbrook Jumble Trail, east London, Sunday. Aldersbrook’s first jumble trail promises a real mix – you’ll find everything from vintage clothing, records and furniture to kid’s toys and homemade samosas. Head to Wanstead Park Avenue to find an impressive selection of African prints, stone carvings and original wooden masks from Cameroon.

FestivalAsia, Tobacco Dock, all week, £15, £10 under-10s. Adv £12.50, £8. 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.

LSO in Trafalgar Square, central London, Sunday, free. 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.

BUST Summer Craftacular, York Hall, Sunday, £3. London’s coolest craft fair returns to Bethnal Green’s York Hall for a summertime celebration. You’ll find 80 crafty vendors, including cutesy illustrator Rob Ryan, felted bits and pieces from Folksy and edgy jewellery from Esoteric.

Primrose Hill May Festival, Regent’s Park Road, Sunday, free. Regents Park Road will be filled with stalls and entertainment once more this May for this family-friendly festival. Kids will be treated to fairground rides, face painting and juggling performances and there’ll be a dog show to flaunt your furry friend in.

Abney Park 175th Anniversary Celebrations, Stoke Newington, Sat–Sun, free. Stoke Newington’s non-denominational garden cemetery is celebrating its birthday with a weekend of free talks, tours and musical performances. Victorian Day (May 16) features an event each hour, most of which focus on the cemetery’s illustrious dead.

Alchemy, Southbank Centre, all weekend. 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.

Cockpit Arts Spring Open Studios, Deptford, all weekend, free. Award-winning social enterprise Cockpit Arts supports more than 170 of the country’s best designer-makers, and its open studio weekend in Deptford is a great opportunity to buy unique and beautifully made pieces direct from the artists.

MayFest: Men of Mystery, Dulwich Picture Gallery, all weekend, prices vary. 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 20th century artist Eric Ravilious whose work is often said to have been inspired by Hitchcock’s shadowy interiors and peculiar perspectives.

…or check out more events happening in London this weekend.

RAW – The Artisan Wine FairRAW – The Artisan Wine Fair

Eating and drinking

Hotel Chocolat Chocolate Tasting Experience, London Eye, Sat–Sun, £50. This event will send chocolate lovers spinning into the sky as an expert from Hotel Chocolat guides them through an array of delicious chocolates and truffles onboard the Coca-Cola London Eye.

RAW – The Artisan Wine Fair, Old Truman Brewery, Sunday, £30 adv, £40 door. 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. Talks led by industry experts should help you narrow your choice, while artisan foods will soak up the alcohol.

The House of Peroni, The Boiler House, all weekend. Beer brand Peroni is once again bringing la vita bella to London to create a temporary themed venue offering specialist menus and classes. It’s our chance to peer at passers-by through oversized sunglasses, holding a negroni in one hand and gesticulating wildly with the other.

The Secret Garden, Four O Nine, all weekend. For four months, a space nestled behind the wooden door at 409 Clapham Road will be transformed by the Firecracker Work set designers and will host this dining experience which sees tabletop BBQs, botanical cocktails and edible gardens on the menu.

Campari Red Night District, Hoxton Gallery, E2 8AA Sat-Sun, free. Expect Campari-inspired artwork, art deco interiors and non-stop negronis at this Campari-inspired pop-up.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Channel 4's Comedy Gala

Comedy

Channel 4’s Comedy Gala, The O2, TONIGHT, £40–£150. For a sixth consecutive year, some of British comedy’s biggest-name stand-ups share the stage to help raise money for Great Ormond Street Hospital at this massive arena fundraiser.

Max and Ivan – The Reunion, Udderbelly, Saturday,£12.50, £11 concs. ‘The Reunion’ is a warm, very funny, engrossing hour and it’s a feelgood triumph. The story centres around Brian Bollingsworth – 28-years-old, hyper-allergic and ‘struggles with cheese’ – who sees his school reunion as a chance to finally admit his true feelings to childhood sweetheart Jessica.

A Well Known Comedian and Some Colleagues, Leicester Square Theatre, Sunday, £20-£25. This benefit gig in aid of the Neuro Foundation has a jam-packed line-up of talented comics. It’s one spectacular bill, headlined by Dr Buckles himself Adam Buxton, ‘Uncle’ star Nick Helm, British comedy legend Kevin Eldon, crazed Canadian Tony Law, Michael Legge, Pete Johansson, Benny Boot, Sofie Hagen, Adam Hess, Marcel Lucont, Darren Walsh, Bec Hill, Christian Talbot and Mat Ewins.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.

The Beat

Live music

The Beat, Under the Bridge, TONIGHT, £22.50. The most musically innovative band of the ’80s ska-pop revival continue their reformation. Original members Everett Moreton, Saxa and Ranking Roger, plus some new recruits, will be reproducing the jittery funk rhythms, West African jit-jive guitars and killer singles like ‘Mirror in the Bathroom’ of the band’s heyday.

Electric Wizard, Roundhouse, TONIGHT, £19.50. Hard, heavy, extremely impressive and surprisingly accessible doom metal by the Dorset quartet, who follow in the deep footsteps of Black Sabbath and Sleep. Bang… your… head!

The Prodigy, Alexandra Palace, Fri–Sat, £39.50–£45. The pointy-haired rave-punks drop in for two nights at Ally Pally with their unique blend of tractor-crash beats, pounding synths and deliberately abrasive guitar abuse. This big weekender follows the release of their ‘violent’ (their words) new album ‘The Day Is My Enemy’, but you can bet on mass bounce-alongs to ‘Out of Space’ and ‘Breathe’ too.

Mr Scruff, Koko, Saturday, £16. Stockport’s finest bedroom turntablist – Andrew Carthy to his mum – returns yet again to Koko to show off his quirky, crate-digging mix of hip hop, ska, funk, jazz, kitsch-pop and exotica.

…or take a look at all the live music events in London this weekend.

How Does It Feel To Be Loved?How Does It Feel To Be Loved

Nightlife

Toddla T + Novelist, XOYO, TONIGHT, £13.50. Sheffield bashment hero Tom Bell swoops in for another XOYO show. As well as his carnival dub, mashed-up breaks, grime and hip hop, you can also hear the sublime grime of Novelist.

How Does It Feel To Be Loved?, Shacklewell Arms, TONIGHT, £6 (£4 with free membership by emailing membership@howdoesitfeel.co.uk). This much-loved club night was re-homed after the closure of indie haven the Buffalo Bar, where it spent a good few years. Now in Dalston’s Shacklewell Arms, the dancefloor is still packed with dapper crowds who dig grooving to the wonderfully nostalgic soundtracks on offer.

The Pulp Fiction Experience, Courtyard Theatre, Saturday, free (charity donations welcome). Practice your twist for this one: a screening of ‘Pulp Fiction’ at a themed party, with a nine-piece band playing selections from the film’s heavyweight soundtrack. It’s all for the Help Musicians UK and CTBF charities, so be generous with your wallet – you know, the one that says ‘Bad Mother Fucker’.

Horse Meat Disco, The Eagle, Sunday. This long-standing residency from obscenely funky and highly acclaimed DJ crew Horse Meat Disco has become a Sunday night staple for many. Though often to be found spinning rare disco gems in a New York loft party or Berlin basement session, one or more of the crew always makes it back to this Vauxhall party boozer to lay down a storming set.

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

mad max fury roadMad Max: Fury Road

Film

MayFest: ‘Rear Window’, Dulwich Picture Gallery, TONIGHT, £15, £13 concs. Catch Hitchcock’s flawless thriller, in which James Stewart, immobilised in his apartment by a broken leg, takes to watching the inhabitants across the courtyard, first with binoculars, later with his camera. He thinks he witnesses a murder.

Pop-Up Screens: Science Flicktion: ‘Apollo 13’, Chelsea Old Town Hall, Saturday, £18. All weekend, Pop-Up Screens will present classic sci-fi movies including ‘Alien’, ‘Terminator 2’ and, um ‘Good Will Hunting’ (which has a kind of science-y edge), all with commentaries from scientists explaining the physics behind the SFX. ‘Apollo 13’ is, of course, the true-life tale of three astronauts on a trip to the moon who find that a leaking fuel tank has made their mission impossible.

Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown + Tamsin Greig Q&A, Lexi Cinema, Sunday, £20. The stars of the current West End adaptation of Pedro Almodovar’s magnificent melodrama, Tamsin Greig and Haydn Gwynne, will answer audience questions following a screening of the original film.

Or at the cinema…

Mad Max: Fury Road ★★★★★ The fourth instalment of George Miller’s punky post-apocalyptic ‘Mad Max’ saga feels like a tornado tearing through a tea party. In an age of weightless movie spectacles, here’s a movie that feels like it was made by kidnapping $150 million of studio money, fleeing with it to the Namibian desert, and sending footage back to Hollywood like the amputated body parts of a ransomed hostage.

Pitch Perfect 2 ★★★★☆ Aca-about time! Three years after ‘Pitch Perfect’, the first ladies of a cappella are back – and they’re hitting the high notes. This sequel opens as all-girl group the Bellas are branded a national disgrace after a vagina-flashing incident involving Barack Obama.

…or see all of the latest releases.

As Good a Time As Any

Theatre

As Good a Time As Any, Print Room, Fri–Sat, £25, £17 concs. Veteran writer/director Peter Gill’s new play is a gentle and moving reminder that, although we can’t escape our own self-importance, we actually all think about the same stuff: friends who annoy us; wishing we could bring back the past; wondering what’s in the fridge for dinner; whether to get a dog.

The Pirates of Penzance, London Coliseum, Saturday, £12–£99. In keeping with English National Opera tradition, film director Mike Leigh is a big name draw to this production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s best-loved operetta.

Peter Pan, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre, all weekend, £25–£48.50. 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.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

David Hockney: Painting and Photography

This week’s best new art

David Hockney: Painting and Photography, Annely Juda, Fri–Sat, free. A series of group portraits by the British artist that explore the phenomenon of perspective. Hockney brings together paintings of card playing friends with photographs informed by the canvases to explore a life-long fascination with the illusory effects of optics.

Ishiuchi Miyako: Frida, Michael Hoppen Gallery, Fri–Sat, free. The extraordinary artist, Frida Khalo is best known for her unbridled, often haunting self-portraits and her unmistakable style, oh and unibrow. This photographic exhibition by the celebrated Japanese photographer forms a uniquely intimate portrayal of a woman tormented by disability through the documentation of rare personal effects.

Big is Beautiful, Getty Images Gallery, Fri–Sat, free. Including the works of Herbert Ponting, Slim Aarons and Thurston Hopkins, this show celebrates large-scale photographic prints. With the ability to seize the most microscopic as well as the most enormous aspects of life, photography continues to be awe-inspiring and what better way than magnifying the magnificence of this medium with truly monumental images.

20/21 International Art Fair, Royal College of Art, all weekend, £8. Sixty galleries selling modern and contemporary art in a range of media including ceramics, prints and watercolours return to the RCA for the ninth edition of this intimate fair.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… two tickets to an outdoor cinema screening and a cocktail masterclass or a weekend in Paris for Weather Festival

Grab… tickets to ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ at The Jetty – June dates

Book… these gigs while you still can

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