15 top things to do this weekend in London, from Royal British Legion’s tattoo exhibition, Tribute Ink, in Chelsea to The Invitation, a new immersive theatrical show in Elephant & Castle
Lead image: Tribute Ink is one now at the National Army Museum, Chelsea (photo: Michael Bell’s tattoos pay tribute to the Nelson era naval crews © Charlie Clift Photography)
1 The Invitation by Secret Theatre Project, east London
31 January-2 February
Fresh from a sell-out run in Hong Kong, Secret Theatre Project returns to London with a new immersive theatrical show, The Invitation. Accompanied by a delicious dining option, The Invitation transports you to a Masquerade Party with a dark secret in a five-star hotel, where participants become a part of a devilish narrative of action, murder and intrigue. Described as ‘Eyes Wide Shut meets SE7EN’, Secret Theatre Project’s highly-anticipated new show takes place at the fictional Masquerade Palace, in a wonderfully historic east London location. Once you’ve bought your ticket, you’ll be given a password, an address and a set of instructions – the role you play will ultimately determine the fate of this arcane world of masked secrets and tragedy… Tickets £39-£109.99.
2 Crafty Fox Market Samples & Seconds Sale, Elephant & Castle
Crafty Fox Market is celebrating its 10th year of shaking up the craft market scene this year, kicking off with a Samples & Seconds Sale at Mercato Metropolitano, Elephant & Castle’s sustainable food market. This one day event offers discount prices on one-off samples, end of line products and slight seconds from more than 35 of the UK’s best makers, from jewellery and ceramics to clever kidsware. There will also be a free Valentine’s themed craft event with folding paper artist Origami 4 Fun (11am-2pm, drop-in, all levels). 11am-5pm.
42 Newington Causeway SE1 6DR; craftyfoxmarket.co.uk
3 The Chapel of Love at Fortnum & Mason, Piccadilly
Fortnum & Mason is launching an immersive The Chapel of Love pop-up on the Lower Ground Floor this February. London’s first-ever in-store wedding installation, where couples can get married, engaged, celebrate an anniversary or renew their vows, is being installed especially for the season of love. Stretching from the Lower Ground to the Second Floor, the design incorporates the iconic Fortnum’s clock, illuminated stained-glass windows and a chiming wedding bell, complete with a neon pink Chapel of Love sign. Not just for Valentine’s Day or couples, the Chapel of Love is open for all to visit for the whole of February. Fortnum’s is also hosting a competition on Instagram where you could win the ultimate Pampering Package. Just follow Fortnum’s on Instagram and tag your loved one with #fortnums for the chance to win (entries close on 3 February, more here).
181 Piccadilly W1A 1ER; fortnumandmason.com
4 Charles Merser & Co. Open Day, Temple
Charles Merser & Co – London’s only rum blending house – welcomes guests at its four-storey townhouse for free rum tasting and tours on Saturday 1 February. Once a bustling trade in 17th century London, rum blending houses disappeared in the capital for over 100 years, until Charles Merser & Co. began operating in Temple three months ago. The fully restored four-storey townhouse is hosting its first open day, where you can enjoy rum tastings and a chance to see how the brand blends, marries and bottles a range of delicious Caribbean rums. Attendees will need to look out for the sign of The Post & Hound on Essex Street – the discreet marker of Charles Merser & Co that harks back to a time when many Londoners were illiterate and would find their way to merchant houses by means of symbols. 2pm-6pm. Free entry. No RSVP required. Over 18s only.
44 Essex Street, Temple WC2R 3JF; charlesmerser.com
5 Watch the Superbowl at Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly and Old Park Lane
Hard Rock Cafe is offering offer game day menus and deals to guests who reserve a table to watch the Superbowl. Hard Rock Cafe will screen every tackle, turnover and touchdown, along with the hit halftime performance straight from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami. Expect entertainment, competitions and games, plus a special visit from Hard Rock’s Big Game Cheerleaders. The hot ticket includes a choice of three menu items from The Big Game Super Selection menu, which is packed with fan-favourites including nachos, wings, sliders, cheese fries and more, as well as two bottle beer specials, all for a set price of £50. The Big Game will be screened at Hard Rock Cafe Piccadilly Circus (click here to book) and Hard Rock Cafe Old Park Lane (click here to book).
225-229 Piccadilly W1J 9HR & 150 Old Park Lane W1K 1QZ; hardrockcafe.com
6 Battersea Power Station Light Festival
Until 16 February
Battersea Power Station is brightening up the dark winter evenings with four spectacular light installations never seen before in the UK. making their UK debut. Commissioned by the Light Art Collection, the experts behind the Amsterdam Light Festival, the four light installations include Action Reaction 2.0 by Sjimme Veenhuis (a large screen with 1,000 buttons that light up in different colours when pressed); Talking Heads by Viktor Vicsek (two heads that show countless emotions and facial expressions through colour); Eternal Sundown by Mads Vegas (where 140 filtered fluorescent tubes maintain an abstract sunset colour spectrum from sunset to dawn); and This It Is, Be Here Now by Tropism Art & Science Collective (an interactive neon sign that lures you in with its provoking message and loud rustling noises). Free.
Circus West Village, Battersea SW11 8AH; batterseapowerstation.co.uk
7 TASCHEN’s Biannual Warehouse Sale, Cheslea
30 January-2 February
TASCHEN’s biannual warehouse sale kicks off in the Chelsea store from Thursday 30 January. The legendary purveyor of beautiful coffee table books will be offering 25-75% off select, super-coveted monographs that could include Rem Koolhaas: Elements of Architecture, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Caravaggio: The Complete Works. The sale is a great opportunity to acquire some of these big, sumptuous tomes for a lower price, as well as ex-display copies and slightly damaged books. 10am-8pm (Sunday 12pm-6pm).
12 Duke of York Square, Chelsea SW3 4LY; taschen.com
8 Tutankhamun – Culture Trip: Night Quiz at Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
For one night only, Culture Trip is hosting an Egyptian-themed quiz night where you can win some incredible prizes, listen to music by Soho Radio DJs Simone Marie (Primal Scream) and Jon More, and access the world famous Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh exhibition. And the best bit? It’s all for the same price as a standard museum entry ticket. The exhibition commemorates the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, and is the final chance to see these glittering world heritage artefacts before they return to Egypt forever. After exploring the exhibition, make your way down to the Saatchi Gallery café, where you’ll solve riddles, answer questions about historic and modern Egypt, and decipher Egyptian hieroglyphics, and enjoy a drink or several. 6pm. Tickets £26.95 (click here to book).
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 4RY; ticketmaster.co.uk
9 Four Hands dinner at Bōkan, Canary Wharf
31 January & 1 February
This weekend, enjoy one of the most unforgettable collaborations of the year at fine-dining restaurant Bōkan 37. Executive Chef Guillaume Gillan has partnered with award-winning chef Gregoire Berger from the world-famous Ossiano restaurant at Altlantis, The Palm in Dubai, to create a menu of avant-garde cuisine for just two days. The first UK dinner in the Four Hands chef series – where you can enjoy fine dining flare from two exceptional chefs – Guillaume and Grégoire will use their shared experience in Michelin-starred kitchens to present beautifully crafted dishes at the culinary forefront. The 10-course tasting menu, served alongside a paired drinks menu, is priced £120pp.
40 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs E14 9TP; bokanlondon.co.uk
10 The Glass Will Shatter at Clapham Omnibus
Until 8 February
The world premiere of Althea Theatre’s The Glass Will Shatter interrogates faith, belonging and polarisation within the school system – and the consequences of Prevent Policy on the quality of education in the UK today. The thrilling and powerful new work, written by Joe Marsh and directed by Lilac Yosiphon, tells the story of Rebecca, who still has nightmares about Amina and the unnerving events that unfolded in her classroom. Or is it Amina that still has nightmares? Through a series of gripping flashbacks, an irreversible sequence of choices lead to an unexpected end, changing the course of both of their lives. On 1 & 8 February, Althea Theatre will host short post-show Q&As where members of the cast and creative team will discuss the themes behind the performance. Tickets £16.
1 Clapham Common Northside SW4 0QW; omnibus-clapham.org
11 Journeys at Dulwich Picture Gallery
Until 24 June
Journeys shines a new light on works from the Gallery’s Collection and seeks to question the nature of migration from the 17th century to today. Journeys has been co-curated by a group of Community Curators, with personal experiences of migration hailing from all over the world. This exhibition is included in the price of gallery admission, so why not head over there to enjoy the last weekend of Rembrandt’s Light, too? Closing on 2 February, this cinematic retelling of the Dutch Master’s pivotal years in this landmark exhibition celebrates 350 years since Rembrandt’s death, with major international loans from The Louvre and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum (tickets £16.50).
Gallery Road, Dulwich SE21 7AD; dulwichpicturegallery.org.uk
12 Ingmar Bergman’s Persona at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
Until 23 February
The world premiere of Ingmar Bergman’s PERSONA launches as the inaugural production of returning season at Hammersmith’s newly reopened multi-arts venue, Riverside Studios. The new theatrical adaptation, created for the stage by visionary director Paul Schoolman, tells the story of Elizabet, a renowned stage actress who suffers a psychological breakdown and relapses into silence. She is sent to a remote summer beach house with Sister Alma, the nurse assigned to her recovery. Can Alma coax Elizabet out of her silence? Starring Olivier Award winner Alice Krige and South African powerhouse of talent Nobunhle Ketelo – with William Close And The Earth Harp Collective – PERSONA explores the meaning of ‘reality’, via truth, lies, manipulation and identity. Tickets £12.50-£40.
101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9BN; riversidestudios.co.uk
13 The Morning After at Above The Stag, Vauxhall
Until 1 March
In The Morning After, Thomas wakes up surprised and naked in a young man’s bed, and memories of last night’s one-night-stand come flooding back… When the boy’s mother joins them for breakfast – in bed – it becomes clear that this is a family that doesn’t do privacy. Or, it turns out, goodbyes… Sweet, sexy and silly, The Morning After is a sunny comedy for winter, written by Peter Quilter, whose play End of the Rainbow was adapted into the recent hit film Judy. Directed by Andrew Beckett, whose previous shows include Above The Stag’s pantomimes and the Offie Award-winning production of Grindr: The Opera. Tickets £15-£25.
72 Albert Embankment, Vauxhall SE1 7TP; abovethestag.org.uk
14 Tribute Ink at the National Army Museum, Chelsea
Until 17 April
The Royal British Legion’s unique exhibition, Tribute Ink, brings to life the powerful and poignant stories behind the tattoos of people in the Armed Forces. Tribute Ink showcases how the military community use tattoos to commemorate comrades and loved ones who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their country. The exhibition explores how serving personnel also use the art of tattooing to mark their service, achievements and sense of belonging to the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force. Renowned photographer, Charlie Clift was given unprecedented access to military-inspired locations, from RAF Aircraft Hangars to the decks of Royal Navy vessels, to capture service personnel and veterans for Tribute Ink. The images in the exhibition are designed to immerse visitors in the powerful personal stories behind the tattoos. Alongside Clift’s photographs are life-sized replicas of some of the tattoos, which have been meticulously transferred onto 3D sculptures.
National Army Museum, Royal Hospital Road, Chelsea SW3 4HT; rbl.org.uk
15 Filthy Lucre: Whistler’s Peacock Room Reimagined at the V&A
Until 3 May
Filthy Lucre, an installation by American artist Darren Waterston, opens in the Porter Room at the V&A on 25 January. The installation is an immersive interpretation of James Abbott McNeill Whistler’s famed Peacock Room, a sumptuous 19th-century dining room once housed just a stone’s throw away from the V&A. In Waterston’s re-imagining, the Peacock Room is transformed into a magnificent ruin, crumbling under the weight of material decadence to highlight the tension between art and money, ego and patronage. Initially invited by his friend and patron Frederick Leyland to consult on the room’s colour scheme, Whistler proceeded to redesign the room while Leyland was away from London, causing a huge row that ended up splashed across the tabloids. Entrance to the installation is free.
Cromwell Road, South Kensington SW7 2RL; vam.ac.uk