15 Things to Do this Weekend in London: 16-19 October 2020

From Dante’s In Furlough – a hellish new immersive theatre experience at The Vaults in Waterloo – to ice skating at Ally Pally and outdoor opera in Deptford, here’s our pick of the best things to do in London this weekend…

Lead image: Dante’s In Furlough (photo courtesy of The Vaults)

1 Dante’s In Furlough at The Vaults, Waterloo
15 Oct-30 Dec
The devil is getting hitched, and given the Covid chaos, there’s no better time to accept an invitation to the underworld… The bottom line of this socially distanced interactive show – inspired by Shel Silverstien’s epic poem, Billy Markham and the Devil, written for PlayBoy in 1977 – is betray or be betrayed. Travel down into the many circles of Hell and navigate your way to the wedding of the millennium. But to prove yourself worthy of a seat at Devil’s table, you’ll need to lie, sin and cheat your way there. Should your morals interfere, your punishment will be to return to the altogether more disappointing plains of Earth and miss out on all the hedonism down below. Covid-secure measures include a limit of six attendees at a time, with ample space to stand two-metres away from those not in your bubble. Face coverings are mandatory. Tickets from £20 (previews), drinks tokens £6. Open Thurs-Sat 5.30pm-8.30pm and Sun 4.30pm-7.30pm.
The Vaults, Leake Street, Waterloo SE1 7NN; thevaults.london

2 Live at Ally Pally, Alexandra Palace
15 Oct-22 Nov
Live, indoor events return to Alexandra Palace this month with Live at Ally Pally, a season of music, comedy and entertainment. Featuring some of the most exciting acts in comedy and music, Live at Ally Pally will mark the re-opening of The West Hall, which has remained closed to the public since March. Al Murray and his alter ego The Pub Landlord will headline the opening show on Thurs 15 Oct, with Off the Kerb comedy on Saturday night, starring Dara O’ Briain, Nathan Caton, Suzi Ruffell and Russell Kane. The series will also feature live sets from influential DJ Sasha (30 Oct), The Comet Is Coming, who will bring their unique fusion of jazz, Afrofuturism, electronica and psychedelia to Alexandra Palace on 18 Nov, Sh!t-faced Shakespeare’s unique take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream (25 Oct), and one of the UK’s best alternative club nights, Rebel Bingo (31 Oct). 
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com

3 Dido and Aeneas at The Master Shipwright’s House, Deptford
16-17 October
The Master Shipwright’s House in Deptford – home and office of the master shipwright since 1513 and the oldest upstanding building of the former Deptford Royal Dockyard – is hosting an open-air performance of Henry Purcell’s Baroque opera Dido and Aeneas. The opera recounts the love of Dido, Queen of Carthage, for the Trojan hero Aeneas, and her despair when he abandons her. One of the earliest known English operas, it owes much to John Blow’s Venus and Adonis, both in structure and in overall effect, and is one of Purcell’s foremost theatrical works. Enjoy the production in the historic private garden by the Thames, with a selection of stews and wines available to keep you toasty. Tickets from £25.
Watergate Street, Deptford SE8 3JF; theshipwright.co.uk

4 The Last Five Years at Southwark Playhouse, Elephant & Castle
Until 14 November 
The Last Five Years returns to Southwark Playhouse after its critically acclaimed run was cut short in March. The award-winning musical, written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, is an emotionally powerful and intimate show about two New Yorkers who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. The The Last Five Years unfolds as Cathy tells her story in reverse, from the end of their turbulent relationship, while Jamie tells his story chronologically from the spark of their initial meeting, with the two characters meeting only once – at their wedding in the middle of the show. The iconic musical – given five stars by both WhatsOnStage and The Stage – returns in a bold new production with the actors on stage at all times. Tickets £27.50.
77-85 Newington Causeway, Elephant & Castle SE1 6BD; southwarkplayhouse.co.uk

5 Boulangerie, north London
16 October
Following May’s online festival showcasing 40 drag and queer artists from across the world, Boulangerie returns to with a live show in a secret outdoor venue in north London. Boulangerie showcases queer artists of all performance styles and forms of expression, making it an unpredictable evening of revelry – expect lip-syncs, original music, dance, spoken word and more. The star-studded line-up includes London’s queen of a thousand faces, Charity Kase, sword-swallowing poet and singer Missa Blue, international burlesque and cabaret star Smashlyn Monroe, and powerhouse creative ‘drag thing’ Cyro. A number of open mic slots will also be made available. In accordance with current guidelines and safety measures, tickets are available for purchase on OutSavvy in groupings of two, four, and six by table from £10pp. You can also stream the show from home for £5. The venue address, near Tottenham Hale station on the Victoria line, will be released to ticketholders on the day of the show.

6 Secret 7″ at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula
14 Oct-1 Nov
Secret 7” – the anonymous charity record-sleeve sale that marries leading artists with legendary musicians – returns for its seventh and final show at Greenwich Peninsula’s NOW Gallery. Sculptor Sir Anish Kapoor, British painter Lubaina Himid and Jake & Dinos Chapman are among the 700 designers – including artists chosen via an open submission – who have created one-of-a-kind vinyl pressings for their choice of this year’s iconic seven tracks. The tracks include Aretha Franklin’s One Step Ahead, Bob Dylan’s Blind Willie McTell, and Miles Davis’ Miles Runs The Voodoo Down. On Sunday 1 November, all the records will be sold to the public via an eBay auction, but the identity of the sleeve designer remains under wraps until the record is purchased. Secret 7” will support the work of Help Refugees. Free entry.
The Gateway Pavilions, Peninsula Square, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 0SQ; secret-7.com

7 Drive In Film Club at Alexandra Palace
12-31 October
Drive In Film Club returns to Ally Pally with a new October featuring bold new blockbusters, Halloween classics and a sprinkling of special events. The socially distanced drive-in event, delivered by the team behind Rooftop Film Club, has everything you need for a great movie night out, including a giant 40-foot LED screen, in-car audio via local FM stereo, concessions like hot dogs, popcorn, chocolate and drinks (ordered online and dropped off outside your car door), and, of course, loos that are cleaned regularly. Screenings kick off on 12 October with A Rainy Day in New York and Grease, with showings of Psycho on 26 Oct, The Shining on 27 Oct, Gremlins on 28 Oct, Ghostbusters on 29 Oct, The Addams Family on 30 Oct and, on Halloween itself, Casper, Hocus Pocus and Relic. Plus, on Thurs 15 Oct you can catch a 5.30pm showing of the National Theatre’s award-winning hit Fleabag, followed by a screening of Escape from Pretoria. Tickets from £27.50 per car plus booking fee.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; driveinfilmclub.com

8 London Never Dies at London Cabaret Club, Bloomsbury
From 17 October
London Never Dies is a new, re-vamped show from The London Cabaret Club. The James Bond-themed show – the name of which also seems profoundly apt during this time of crisis for the hospitality industry – returns with a host of brand new surprises, from beautifully choreographed dance routines to gravity defying acrobats, iconic tracks from the Bond movies and pioneering 4-D special effects. The show will be accompanied by a fine dining menu created by new head chef Burim Asllanaj, a talented culinary expert with over 20 years of experience working for exclusive private clients, along with LCC’s signature cocktails and martini’s galore. Channel your inner Bond girl or super-spy as some of the capital’s most talented West-End performers immerse you in a glamorous world of romance and espionage. Tickets from £45.
The Bloomsbury Ballroom, Victoria House, Bloomsbury Square, Holborn WC1B 4DA; thelondoncabaretclub.com

9 Glenmorangie’s ‘CakeTails’ at The Fount Bar, Selfridges
Until 18 October
To celebrate the launch of its new limited-edition whisky, A Tale of Cake, Glenmorangie is serving up innovative Cake-Tails (cocktails inspired by cake, oh my!) at the Fount Bar at Selfridges on Oxford Street. A Tale Of Cake celebrates the joy of a cake moment in a sweet and indulgent single malt Scotch whisky, and the Fount Bar is embracing this with cake-inspired cocktails such as the Tale of Cake Old Fashioned. Head there over the weekend (17-18 Oct) and you can also get a complimentary slice of Layered Pineapple Cake when you enjoy a dram of the new Glenmorangie whisky or a cake-inspired Glenmorangie cocktail (first-come, first-served basis).
Accessories Hall, Ground Floor, 400 Oxford Street W1A 1AB; selfridges.com

10 Ice Skating at Alexandra Palace
From 1 October

Ally Pally’s ice rink has reopened! Now open seven days a week, there will be public sessions (open to all), learn-to-skate classes, professional classes and ice hockey sessions. Skating has even been described as the closest you can get to the feeling of flying, so whether you’re three years old or 90 – a beginner or a pro – it’s a great way for friends and families to get moving all year round. In line with Covid-secure guidelines, there will be five times fewer people on the ice per session than usual, as well as a one-way system, hand sanitiser and NHS Track and Trace QR codes. Open 11am-5.30pm week days and 11am-6pm at weekends. Tickets from £9 for adults, £8 for ages 16 and under, and under 5s from £6.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com

11 BOXPARK Oktoberfest, Croydon & Wembley
17-18 & 24-25 October
BOXPARK is celebrating Oktoberfest for the first time this year, with a Bavarian-themed socially-distanced party at its Croydon venue this weekend, followed by another Bavarian brew-haha at BOXPARK Wembley from 24-25 October. The weekend long Oktoberfest celebrations – in partnership with Czech brew Staropramen – will features live performances by Premier Oompah, alongside the host DJ Disco Disco, as well as traditional Bavarian games, stilt walkers, lederhosen steins of Staropramen and Bavarian-style eats from the local street-food traders. To keep things socially distanced, three sessions will run across the day at each venue (2pm-4.30pm, 4.30pm-7pm and 7pm-9.30pm), with admissions in groups of six. Tickets are £20, including a jug of beer and guaranteed entry for two people. All visitors will need to download the BOXPARK Black Card to enter.
BOXPARK Croydon, 99 George Street CR0 1LD; boxpark.co.uk
BOXPARK Wembley, 18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park HA9 0JT; boxpark.co.uk

12 Silver Lining at Eros, Piccadilly
Until 19 October

Sofitel is welcoming back Londoners after this difficult year with a new major art installation in St James’s. Silver Lining, a first-time collaboration between critically acclaimed MTArt Agency’s represented artists Ania Catherine, Dejha Ti and poet, filmmaker and actress, Greta Bellamacina, is a public art installation that aims to bring to life Sofitel’s much loved ‘Joie de Vivre’ (the Joy of Life) philosophy and inspire passers-by to look for the silver lining in life as they navigate this new era. Found nestled between Haymarket and Piccadilly, Silver Lining will be a metaphorical ‘welcome back’ to the capital created by award-winning LA-based artists Ania Catherine and Dejha Ti, featuring shimmering ribbons of silver interwoven with a powerful, hope-filled verse from Bellamacina’s inspirational poem.

13 Greenwich Dance’s Ragtime to Grime – Bring It Home Tour, Royal Borough of Greenwich 
Until 24 October
Greenwich Dance has commissioned social and street dance company Grounded Movement to bring live dance theatre to individual homes throughout the Royal Borough of Greenwich in celebration of Black History Month. The Ragtime to Grime – Bring It Home Tour is a powerful street dance and rap performance telling the story of troubled young people who feel mentally adrift and disenfranchised from history. Just 10-minutes long, the specially choreographed performance by Temujin Gill, featuring dancers Daniella May Selwood and Adrian Falconer, alongside rapper Sunanda Biswas, will take place at the end of a path or in a communal outdoor space in a physically distanced format. There will be 30 individual shows, each in a different location each day, from Abbey Wood to Eltham, Greenwich and Woolwich, and available to book for your own household. That means a total of just 30 tickets are available, priced on a pay-what-you-can basis. The original music is by Nick Ramm and features original lyrics by the late Nigerian-born hip hop artist Ty (aka Ben Chijioke), who died earlier this year after contracting Covid-19.
For the full list of locations, timings and to book, see greenwichdance.org

14 We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus
Until 24 October
We Were Having a Perfectly Nice Time at Clapham Omnibus is a dark comedy about loo roll, lost love at the bus station and knowing when to end a conversation – especially a sad one. Some people are inherently unlikeable. Some people have just read The Bell Jar and insist on telling everyone. Some people click their fingers at waiters… these two flatmates hate those people. In fact, they hate a lot of things, perhaps even each other. But they were having a perfectly nice time until she went and spoiled it all. Presented by Conflicted Theatre in association with Grace Dickson Productions. Tickets £6. Staged on Friday & Saturday evenings. Clapham Omnibus has new Covid-secure measures in place. Click here for more.
Northside, Clapham Common SW4 0QW; omnibus-clapham.org 

15 Black Greenwich Pensioners at Old Royal Naval College, Greenwich
Until 21 February 2021
The ORNC’s Black Greenwich Pensioners exhibition explores the hidden histories of the Black Royal Navy personnel, who formed one of Britain’s earliest Black communities when they became pensioners at the Royal Hospital for Seamen (where the Old Royal Naval College stands today). Co-curated by Black British heritage consultant S. I. Martin, this vital and fascinating exhibition looks at the presence and impact of the recorded Black communities that have been resident in Greenwich for over 200 years. Telling the stories of Black seamen, some of whom were volunteers and others who were enslaved or impressed, the exhibition traces their dangerous and unpredictable lives in the 18th and 19th centuries. The exhibition examines the role Black Mariners played in British naval conflicts as well as the personal histories of prominent Greenwich pensioners such as John Thomas, who escaped slavery and was later returned to enslavement in Barbados, and John Simmonds, a Jamaican veteran of the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar whose descendants still reside in the UK. There will be related workshops and tours during the exhibition.
Mezzanine Gallery, Visitor Centre, Old Royal Naval College, King William Walk SE10 9NN; ornc.org


Kovet.Art makes Photo London Debut
Until 18 October
As Photo London launches its inaugural digital edition this month, Photo London Digital, new visual art platform Kovet.Art will be showcasing works from its inaugural Kovet.Art exhibition, Delineating Dreams. Kovet.Art will show defining works by Tom Faber, Loreal Prystaj, Candice Jewell and Giovanna Petrocchi. The selection is grounded in dream-like explorations of the subconscious. Each artist questions concepts of the body and the natural landscape, using transformative and multi-disciplinary ways of working to subvert what is known and familiar, inviting us to dream of possible new futures. Kovet.Art will also host a free online discussion between Kovet.Art resident artist Loreal Prystaj and Sotheby’s Head of Photography Brandei Estes on 13 Oct at 5pm.
For tickets and more information see Kovet.Art

JOY Found Me by Amy Broch, Mayfair
Until 18 October
Artist Amy Broch has created a playful art installation in a previously empty shopfront where whimsical characters come alive and create ‘joy bombs’ – the artistic equivalent to photo bombing. JOY Bomb London – created by Broch after her husband’s ALS diagnosis – creates site-specific multi-sensory installations that transform ordinary spaces into mini-worlds of rainbow-filled delights. Many Scientists believe that a good laugh is like a break for your brain, restoring hope and reviving optimism. JOY Found Me is a site-specific, interactive installation for the ground floor window and first floor balcony areas of 48 Brook Street. Available to view daily from 12pm-8pm, with interactive performances on Fridays and Saturdays from 12pm-8pm.
48 Brook Street, Mayfair W1K 5DR; illuminateproductions.co.uk

#NordicSpiritNights Northern Lights Pop Up, Soho
Until 17 October
The Northern Lights – aka the aurora borealis – can be tricky to spot, and with travel a little awkward at present anyway, it’s best to let them come to you… Nordic Spirit, a leading nicotine pouch brand from Sweden, is bringing the very best of the Nordics to London this October with an immersive pop-up experience called #NordicSpiritNights. The Soho space will operate as a Nordic Sprit shop during the day, but come evening, the space will transform into #NordicSpiritNights, a Scandinavian forest and fjord-like setting offering a 360°-experience where you can enjoy Nordic Noir, a screening of Oscar-nominated The Square under the ‘stars’ with a selection of drinks and Scandi-inspired nibbles (Weds to Sat evenings). Entry is free and open to existing adult smokers, vapers and nicotine users over the age of 18.
10 Argyll Street, Soho W1F 7TQ; nordicspirit.co.uk

Streatham Festival, various locations
Until 18 October
Streatham Festival will feature online events for the first time this year, as well as a range of physical ones, celebrating all aspects of the arts. The new Streatham Literature Festival will feature workshops and readings by writers, publishers, and illustrators, as well as a downloadable literature walking tour of Streatham. Check out StreatArt too, where local artists are showcased across a number of venues in the area.

Frieze Sculpture, Regent’s Park
Until 18 October
Frieze London and Frieze Masters introduce a new hybrid format of online and offline activity this year, with The Institute of Melodic Healing (IMH), an ‘institute of sound and performance’ located at 9 Cork Street, Mayfair, Frieze Viewing Room, a virtual gallery space presenting major works by established and emerging artists, and Frieze Sculpture. Frieze Sculpture is an outdoor exhibition of 12 ambitious works by leading international artists across the English Gardens at Regents Park. The 2020 line-up includes David Altmejd, Eric Fischl, Patrick Goddard, Lubaina Himid, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk and Rebecca Warren. This year’s selection of works touch on a range of timely themes, including civil rights, ecology, and the role of the artist as disruptor. Free and open to all.