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46 smashing things to do this four-day Easter weekend

Patrizia Ilaria Sechi[Photo: Patrizia Ilaria Sechi]

The first bank holiday of the year is upon us, and London couldn’t be more hyped! As ever, heaps of parties are planned for those looking to cut loose on the dance floor, a zillion egg hunts are kicking off across town, and some delicious-sounding foodie feasts are providing a warm up for Sunday’s leg of lamb lunch. Start enjoying your Easter to the max with the list below.

Things to do 

Mac Conner: A New York Life, House of Illustration, Fri-Sun, £7.70, £5.50 concs. Touted as one of the real-life Mad Men, Mac Conner was an illustrator in the 1950s heyday of New York’s Madison Avenue, home to the USA’s advertising industry. This is the first exhibition of his work in the UK, and it’s great stuff. Even cooler, Conner is still alive, living in Manhattan at the age of 101 – proof that a lifestyle of Wild Turkey, corktipped fags and pale-grey suits need not result in a premature demise, if you know what you’re doing.

Fifty Chefs – The Hands That Feed London, Londonewcastle Project Space, Fri-Mon, free. Photographer Katie Wilson has spent a decade visiting London’s most exciting, lively and productive kitchens to capture the faces and hard-working hands of our city’s chefs. Alongside famous subjects such as Ollie Dabbous, Nuno Mendes and Mark Hix are the staff of London’s less fancy stalwarts – the Pellicci family whose Bethnal Green caff opened in 1900 and Sevket Boyraz, who works at Chalk Farm’s legendary Marathon Kebabs.

Spiceworld: The Exhibition, Ripley’s Believe It or Not!, Fri-Mon, £26.95. It’s been a good 18 years since the Spice Girls bounded into our lives on platform trainers and harnessed the UK’s girl power. If you feel the time is right to spice up your life once more, this exhibition of costumes, merchandise and pop paraphernalia will be just the blast from the past.

Balloons at the ArcelorMittal Orbit, Olympic Park, Fri-Mon, £15, £12 concs. After cake, balloons are definitely the best way to make a birthday more exciting. The Olympic Park’s wiggly red landmark turns one on April 5 and to celebrate they’ll be making their upper viewing platform a veritable playground by filling it with 2,500 balloons.

Chorus Festival 2015, Southbank Centre, Fri-Mon, prices vary. Back for a seventh year in 2015, Chorus Festival celebrates the power of singing alongside others and explores the health benefits of belting out a tune. Over 100 choirs are due to take part with thousands of singers warming up their vocal chords for concerts, workshops and debates taking place across the festival.

Sensational Butterflies, Natural History Museum, Fri-Mon, £5.90. The Natural History Museum’s butterfly house returns for a seventh year in 2015 to a specially constructed tropical enclosure on the Museum’s east lawn.

Easter Country Fair, River Lee Country Park, Sunday, £7.50, £6 concs. Go wild in the country over the Easter weekend at this two-day fair featuring heaps of traditional entertainment and outdoor fun. Visitors will enjoy motorcycle stunts, birds of prey displays, ferret racing and on Monday a companion dog show.

Rabble Easter Egg Hunt, Clapham Common Bandstand, Sunday, £7.50 adv, £10 on the day. Chase chocolate and get your daily quota of exercise during this team game which could be mistaken for a rowdy PE lesson on Clapham Common. No ‘Rabble’ session is the same and games vary from dodgeball and ‘Quid-Pitch’ to ‘British Bulldogs’ and the ‘Hung(ov)er Games’.

Easter at The Roof Gardens, The Roof Gardens, Sunday. Londoners who don’t fancy joining the Easter traffic jams for their spring fix can enjoy 1.5 acres of green in central London, just above Kensington High Street.

Easter Country Fair, River Lee Country Park, Sun-Mon, £7.50, £6 concs. Go wild in the country over the Easter weekend at this two-day fair featuring heaps of traditional entertainment and outdoor fun. Visitors will enjoy motorcycle stunts, birds of prey displays, ferret racing and on Monday a companion dog show.

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

Gumbo Ya Ya

Eating and drinking

Gumbo Ya Ya, Stage 3, TONIGHT, £30. Get some warming Louisiana spirit in your belly and your ears at this monthly supperclub by Slap Ya Papa. Before live blues performances from Errol Linton and Dakota Jim you’ll tuck into truffled mac ‘n’ cheese, gumbo and pecan pie.

Brunch Bingo, The Well, Saturday, £2. Brunch and bingo isn’t your usual weekend combination but as both things are excellent separately there’s no reason they can’t combine into something twice as excellent. Order your late-morning meal of choice and cough up £2 for a traditional game of number-dabbing, making sure not to spill your Bloody Mary as the excitement picks up.

A Month of Sundaes, Pond Dalston, Sunday, £40, £55 with matching wines. If you’re the sort of person who can’t clear a plate without knowing there’s a sugary treat to follow it with, this supperclub is going to have your sweet tooth throbbing with delight. Every one of its five courses is dessert, one of which is guaranteed to be an unusual ice cream sundae.

Woza Pop-Up, Howl at the Moon, Sunday. Tuck into some traditional South African cooking just like Ouma used to make at this monthly one-day kitchen residency. Woza will be serving the likes of bobotie (spiced mince pie), melktart (custard tart) and Cape Malay fish curry with sambal and pearl couscous.

Fryhard, Boxpark, Fri-Sun. Forget chocolate this Easter, it’s all about everything fried at this Boxpark pop-up. And we mean everything.

Craft100, Craft Beer Company, Fri-Sun, free entry. Clapham’s branch of Craft Beer Co – which is already very well endowed when it comes to beer options – will be really upping its game this Easter weekend. This free-entry beer festival will see them offering a selection of 80 cask ales and 20 kegs from a huge variety of independent and speciality breweries.

House of Peroni, Harvey Nichols, Fri-Mon. Can’t afford a trip to Italy? Just head to the fifth floor of the Knightsbridge department store and check out their Italian-inspired al fresco veranda.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.

Laugh Out London presents A Harry Potter Comedy Night


Laugh Out London presents A Harry Potter Comedy Night, Camden Comedy Club, TONIGHT, £5, £3 adv. More experimental comedy from the consistently superb LOL team, this time celebrating the scar-faced boy who lived, Harry Potter [insert wand joke here].

The Beta Males – Happenstance, Soho Theatre, Fri-Sat, £12.50, £10 concs. Slick sketch quartet The Beta Males bring their latest skittish offering, ‘Happenstance’, to Soho off the back of a very successful Edinburgh Fringe run.

The Proud Archivist Fringe, Proud Archivist, Fri-Mon, £5. This four-day mini-fest across Easter weekend features a mix of comedians performing Edinburgh Fringe previews, reviving their previous solo shows or simply performing 30-minute sets of funnies.

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


Live music

Rustie, Village Underground, TONIGHT, £12.50. Future-funk, aqua-crunk – give it whatever bizarre label you want, but let’s all agree that Glasgow producer Rustie is ace at what he does. Imagine shoving R&B, funk, hip hop, dubstep and much more into an industrial blender, churning it to high heaven, then chugging the results in the middle of a warehouse rave.

Lapalux, Rich Mix, TONIGHT, £14.50-£16.50. Forward-thinking electronica producer Lapalux showcases his mind-warping take on ambient and hip hop.

Polyphony: St John Passion, St John’s Smith Square, TONIGHT, £19-£50. It’s Good Friday, so there is plenty of Easter music to choose from. This afternoon Stephen Layton conducts directs his choir Polyphony and the Orchestra of Polyphony in JS Bach’s second most popular oratorio.

The Lock Tavern Festival, Lock Tavern, Fri-Sun, free. Egg hunts? Sunday lunch with the family? Church? No way – easily the best way to spend your Easter weekend is in one of Camden’s finest nightspots, watching some really great bands.

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

Coffin Dodgers Disco


Coffin Dodgers Disco, The Phoenix, TONIGHT, £7 adv. Let’s get reeeeeady to… er, grumble? Old timers Don and Reg have had enough of those fresh-faced youngsters clogging up dancefloors all over the capital, they’re making some space for the golden oldies in the heart of city. How? With a strict no under-28s door policy, of course, governed by no-nonsense mistress Vera at the gate, so bring ID, folks.

Brixton Boogaloo, Prince of Wales, Saturday, £5-£10. Acclaimed Chicago songwriter, vocalist, DJ and producer Robert Owens, now a London native, plays an always-welcome set, with further classic house groove supplied by Ilija Rudman, Cornershop Disco and Grooveschool.

The Hydra Presents Catz Eats Dogz, Studio Spaces E1, Saturday, £12.50. Ever-awesome Bristolian talent Eats Everything goes back-to-back with beat-slinging duo Catz ‘N Dogz.

Star Shaped, The Garage, Saturday, £7. Proving that there’s still life left in London’s indie scene, this new monthly party is an explosion of pure, vintage Britpop. Think along the lines of Pulp, Elastica, Blur, Oasis, Menswe@r and Kenickie.

Hip Hop Karaoke Easter Special, Jazz Cafe, Sunday, £5-£7 adv. Celebrate Easter Sunday by rhyming along to Wu-Tang, A Tribe Called Quest, Drake, Eminem, Coolio and loads more.

Balls to Dating: An Easter Ping Pong Party, Bounce, Sunday, from £10. Ping pong and cocktail bar Bounce is teaming up with dating website DoingSomething.co.uk to host an alternative dating event on Easter Sunday. As you can guess, there’ll be a lot of smashing balls about the venue, meaning you can beat your potential soulmate at ping pong before you decide to settle down and buy a Doberman together.

Eglo Records Bank Holiday Special, Corsica Studios, Sunday, £10-£12. Rootsy musician, producer and DJ Andrew Ashong heads the Bank Holiday fun, DJing back-to-back with fellow expert selector Alexander Nut.

Take a look at all the best Easter parties here

…or see all the parties planned this weekend.

While We’re YoungWhile We’re Young


Sherlock in London: ‘The Hound of the Baskervilles’ (1959), Rio, Saturday, £8.50. This week sees classic Sherlock Holmes movies screening across London. The best of them is undoubtedly Hammer’s 1959 take on Holmes’s creepiest adventure.

Hitchcock at Easter: ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Notorious’, Rio, Sunday, £10, £8 concs. A double bill of two of Hitch’s darkest, most enticing movies. In ‘Spellbound’, Ingrid Bergman plays a psychoanalyst who falls in love with her amnesiac boss. This twisty thriller is famous for its dream sequence created by Salvador Dalí. ‘Notorious’, meanwhile, is Hitchcock’s most sensuous film – though, as ever, the passion is tangled up with cruelty, exploitation and self-loathing.

Alibi Film Club: ‘Akira’, The Alibi, Monday, free. The limitless nature of animation remains purpose-fit for Katsuhiro Otomo’s city-razing futuro-fantasy about a floppy-fringed retinue of cyberpunk bikers and their dealings with a group of telekinetic sages.

Or at the cinema…

While We’re Young ★★★★☆ Maturity is a slippery staircase in the comedies of American indie filmmaker Noah Baumbach (‘The Squid and the Whale’, ‘Greenberg’, ‘Frances Ha’). Baumbach delights in puffing up and then deflating characters who aren’t quite ready to grow up. ‘While We’re Young’ is the writer-director’s confident and charming latest, and it plays more like a Woody Allen-ish parody than any of his other movies – a shift that hasn’t required any sacrifice in insight, heart or bite.

Fast & Furious 7 ★★★☆☆ Completed in the wake of leading man Paul Walker’s tragic death, this seventh episode in the pedal-to-metal franchise may be a more sober, reflective affair than usual. Or hey, it might just be more smashing, grabbing and blowing shit up.

…or see all of the latest releases.

The Three Lions


The Three Lions, St James Theatre, Fri-Sat, £15-£39.50. This satirical farce follows David Cameron, Prince William and David Beckham as they try to win the world cup bid.

The Generation of Z: Apocalypse, Dept W, Sat-Sun, £25-£42.50. Thrill-seekers, apocalypse-dreamers and horror movie fanatics take note: this immersive zombie theatre-cum-experience may be the closest thing to actual end-of-the-world action you’re going to get. Possibly.

Spend, Spend, Spend, Union Theatre, Fri-Sun, £20, £17 concs. Steve Brown and Justin Greene’s British musical about football pools winner Viv Nicholson and her rags to riches story is revived for the tiny Union Theatre.

Princess Ida, Finborough Theatre, Fri-Sun, £16-£18. Gilbert and Sullivan’s opera ‘Princess Ida’ opened in 1847 and was based on a Tennyson poem, ‘The Princess: A Medley’. It’s a satire on feminism and Darwinism to boot, and hasn’t been performed in over 20 years. Director Phil Willmott has evened out the tricky libretto and restructured the work but it still feels like an old-fashioned, flat-footed work.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices.

Matt Stokes: Madman in a Lifeboat

This week’s best new art

Matt Stokes: Madman in a Lifeboat, Matt’s Gallery, Fri-Sun, free. Through an installation of archival material, appropriated objects and a film, Matt Stokes brings to life the alternative belief system of a man he met when he was casting people for his 2010 Art on the Underground project, ‘The Stratford Gaff: A Serio-Comick-Bombastick-Operatick Interlude’.

Ravilious, Dulwich Picture Gallery, Fri-Sun, £12.50, £7.50-£11.50 concs. Appointed the official war artist in 1939, the British artist and designer’s work covered both themes of war and peace. Known for saying very little about his practice, this survey seeks to expose the motivations of Eric Ravilious through his watercolours, lithographs and woodcuts.

Vote Art, Peckham Platform, Fri-Sun, free. Billboard designs by four artists including Jeremy Deller and Bob & Roberta Smith go on show ahead of a UK-wide campaign to get people voting. In addition highlights from an open-submission national competition for a fifth design by an 18 – 23 year old first time voter will be showcased.

Frames in Focus: Sansovino Frames, National Gallery, Fri-Mon, free. Apart from two paintings by Titan, this show concentrates solely on the type of frames popular in the sixteenth-century. Taking their name from the Italian architect and sculptor, Jacopo Sansovino, this showcase of thirty frames demonstrates the highly ornate Venetian style that became popular.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win… a six-night break for two to Barcelona and Seville or a five-star trip for two to Cuba 

Grab… £14 tickets to Rooftop Film Club at one of four locations

Book… these gigs while you still can

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