You’ve made it half way through January and we salute you! We’ve compiled the list below to help you get a little further through it while having loads of fun. You can dine at one of London’s best new restaurants, surround yourself with hundreds of beautiful butterflies in the Glasshouse or feast your eyes on top work from leading modern British and contemporary artists at the London Art Fair. Here are our top tips for the week ahead…
Things to do
Bright Club: Bang at the Bloomsbury Theatre, Tuesday, £8 (£2.50 booking fee per transaction). 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.
Moving Pictures, Rich Mix, Tuesday, free. A screening of four short films that explore questions about emotions, moods and talking honestly. Following the screening a making-of documentary and a Q and A with the filmmakers will provide additional insight.
Spin Doctor’s Hip Hop Pub Quiz, Book Club, Tuesday, £2 per player, £1 per player adv. Teams of hip-hop heads will compete for prizes, as well as the coveted Champions’ Belt in this quiz based around MCs, DJs, producers, artists and albums.
5×15 with Mike Figgis and The Gentle Author, Wilton’s Music Hall, Wednesday, £25, concs £15. This series of talks brings together five speakers for each event, each of whom speaks for 15 minutes on their chosen subject.
Mapping the City, Somerset House, Thursday, free. You don’t need to walk the streets of a city to get a feel for it, and this exhibition of cartographic representations will allow you a glimpse of how more than 50 internationally recognised artists from the graffiti and street art scenes view the home towns they use as their canvas.
Not Quite Burns Night, Karamel Restaurant, Thursday, free. An evening of Scottish poetry readings to celebrate Burns’ Night, with plenty of originals by Rabbie himself as well as some modern lyric and some performance poems by Gordon Peters and Andrew Neil.
Butterflies in the Glasshouse, RHS Garden Wisley, all week, free with admission. In January each year hundreds of butterflies are released into the jungle-like environment of the Glasshouse to feed on the nectar plants, flirt with each other and be admired by visitors.
Richmond Rink, Strawberry Hill House, all week, £13.50, £10 concs, £9.50 under-16s, £38 family; off peak £12/£9/£8/£36. Your last chance to whip round the rink at Horace Walpole’s white, turreted gothic house in Strawberry Hill. The Grade I listed building is lit from the inside so that its stained glass windows glow above the ice, and tours are available to skaters.
The Department of Repair, Camberwell Space, all week, free. This exhibition will explore the identity and potential of ‘repair’ through a website, publication and workshops with visiting designers and makers (Jan 12-30) who will demonstrate and teach repair skills.
…or check out more events happening in London this weekend.
Eating and drinking
Babaji, Shaftesbury Avenue. Alan Yau has created some of London’s most influential restaurants of the last quarter-century – Wagamama, Busaba Eathai, Hakkasan, Yauatcha. And now, in a radical departure from noodle bars, dim sum, Thai and Italian (Princi), Yau has opened a Turkish pizza place near Piccadilly Circus.
Smack Deli, Mayfair. An idea so simple, you could smack yourself in the forehead for not thinking of it first: a no-bookings restaurant that serves only burger or lobster, with salad and french fries, for £20 a pop. The Russian-owned Burger & Lobster has opened five branches in London since 2012. So what does Goodman Restaurant Group do for an encore? Ditch the burgers and the ‘restaurant’, and concentrate on what they do best: lobster rolls, sold from a takeaway counter
Dandelyan, Waterloo. Dandelyan has a prime spot off the lobby of the new multimillion-pound Mondrian hotel in the former Sea Containers House and is run by a team of super-slick international-hotel ‘servers’. The menu is groundbreaking – ingredients include ‘chalk bitters’, ‘crystal peach nectar’ and the archaic-sounding ‘dandelion capillaire’.
…or see more recommended restaurants.
Joe Wilkinson and Guests, Bloomsbury Theatre, Thursday, £20. Charmingly shambolic stand-up and ‘8 Out of 10 Cats’s resident weirdo Joe Wilkinson headlines these gigs at the Bloomsbury Theatre.
Lazy Susan – Extreme Humans, Soho Theatre, Thursday, £12.50, £10 concs. This sketch duo – made up of Celeste Dring and Freya Parker – deservedly received a Best Newcomer nod at the 2014 Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Awards. The pair have an undeniable talent for character-driven skits.
Shaun Keaveny – Live and Languorous, Pleasance Theatre, Thursday, £9, £8.50 concs. The wittiest man in breakfast radio, BBC 6 Music’s Shaun Keaveny, presents a live show that blurs the line between comedy and music, with guests galore and snappy banter.
Alex Edelman – Millennial, Soho Theatre, all week, £15, £12.50 concs. ‘Millennial’ is an assured debut – it focuses on how well Edelman represents his Generation Y peers and is full of killer over filler material. He undoubtedly has a bright future ahead of him.
Doctor Brown Trilogy – Because, Becaves, Befrdfgth, Soho Theatre, all week, £10-£15. 2012’s Foster’s Edinburgh Comedy Award winning clowning sensation Doctor Brown is back at his spiritual home, the Soho Theatre, performing his trilogy of shows. This week he performs ‘Becaves’.
…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.
Live music and nightlife
The Vaccines, Village Underground, Tuesday, £20. The denim-loving indie superstars slam The Jesus And Mary Chain into The Beach Boys, with some Libertines-style chaos around the edges. They’re back to play new music ahead of their third full-length release, due at some point in the not-too-distant.
Duke Garwood, Slaughtered Lamb, Wednesday, £10. The spooky, finger-picking avant-folk man – increasingly renowned thanks to a great collaboration with Mark Lanegan – makes an appearance to support the release of his fifth LP ‘Heavy Love’.
Thunder, The Waiting Room, Wednesday, free. Following some heaving parties of late, featuring underground house heroes, the Thunder cats bring down disco-based The Legendary Children (aka producers Prince Pac, Elles McFierce’em and Neil Edward) as well as local heroes like Rick Hopkins, Miles Simpson and Joseph Apted.
Hinds, Boston Arms, Thursday, £7.50. Formerly Deers, this all-female quartet from Madrid are beholden to the Phil Spector-produced girl bands of the 1960s and its influence on later C86 indie-pop.
Musical Bingo, Concrete, Thursday, £10. Talented stand-up comic Luisa Omielan is the special guest at Musical Bingo. As in her well-regarded show ‘What Would Beyoncé do?’, expect a super-size dose of sass from the feisty, funny comic.
…or take a look at all 49 live music events in London this week.
Alibi Film Club: ‘City of the Living Dead’ on VHS, Dalston, TONIGHT, free. This is the first and least known instalment in Italian horror master Lucio Fulci’s unofficial Gates of Hell trilogy of zombie flicks (it was followed by the remarkable, impenetrable ‘The Beyond’ and ‘The House By the Cemetery’).
The Celluloid Closet, The Cinema Museum, Wednesday, free. A witty study of Hollywood’s (mostly on-screen) treatment of homosexuality. Directors Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman approach the question chronologically and by type, with astringent comments from an array of unusual suspects, including Gore Vidal, Tom Hanks, Shirley MacLaine, Armistead Maupin, Richard Dyer and Harvey Fierstein.
At the cinema…
Whiplash ★★★★☆ You already know the ferocious jazz teacher played by JK Simmons in the electrifying New York-set drama ‘Whiplash’ if you’ve seen things like ‘Full Metal Jacket’, ‘Battle Royale’ and – just to be clear – the grizzly bear in ‘Grizzly Man’. Clad fully in black, biceps bulging, Simmons’s Fletcher exudes attitude: he rules the top department of an elite New York music school with a clenched first.
Wild ★★★☆☆ Reese Witherspoon seizes on the role of Cheryl Strayed, spiritually broken and hiking the Pacific Crest Trail during the summer of 1995.
…or see all of the latest releases.
Contact.com, Park Theatre, Tue-Thu, £20-£25, £18 concs. One night of uncomplicated sauciness. It’s all the affluent husband and wife in Michael Kingsbury’s new play are looking for when they advertise for the company of a younger couple. Sauciness is certainly what they get, but it’s rather more complicated than they imagined.
The Talented Mr Ripley, New Diorama Theatre, Thursday, £17, £14 concs. The production hinges on the performance of Christopher Hughes as Tom, who barely leaves the stage. He’s superb, at first just a little kooky and unsure of himself, but soon becomes frightening: a large, gurning smile continually crossing his lips. But he never loses a shadowy sense of vulnerability.
Bull, Young Vic, all week, £19.50, £10 concs. Two audience members fainted during the press night performance of ‘Bull’, and I can’t say I blame them: anybody thinking the 55-minute running time of Mike Bartlett’s shocking play means an easy ride is sorely mistaken.
Bat Boy: The Musical, Southwark Playhouse, all week, £12-£22. Bat Boy is a pointy-eared feral child found in a cave and adopted by the family of frustrated local veterinarian Dr Parker. As the fearful townspeople round on the boy for depleting their cattle population, Parker’s wife Meredith and daughter Shelley fall for the Boy’s toothy charms and raise him into a model citizen. A model citizen with a craving for fresh blood, that is.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices.
Roy Voss: All the World’s a Sunny Day
This week’s best new art
Lens on Life, South London Gallery, Tue-Thu, free. In tandem with her Spike Island show in Bristol, the French artist presents an installation from a series she started in 2008 entitled ‘Paysage avec poussin et témoins oculaires (version VI)’ that is based on paintings by Old Master Nicolas Poussin.
Roy Voss: All the World’s a Sunny Day, Matt’s Gallery, Wed-Thu, free. The power of one word to sum up multiple emotions and feelings is put to the test in Voss’s collages. Tampering with found postcards sent between 1960 and 1980, Voss extracts one word from the personal message and places it over leaf on the image, creating a new narrative yet emotively retaining the original intention.
London Art Fair, Business Design Centre, Wed-Thu, £20, £14 adv, £35 six-day ticket, £30 adv six-day ticket, £13 concs. Returning to the Business Design Centre for its twenty-seventh edition, the London Art Fair will feature works by leading Modern British and contemporary artists.
James Capper: Tools of the Trade, Hannah Barry Gallery, Thursday, free. New industrial creations by the British sculptor that take the form of birds, insects and reptiles.
…or see all London art reviews.
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