The best things to do in London this weekend from Lightopia Festival in Chiswick to a Great Gatsby immersive theatre experience and Carnival celebrations at SUSHISAMBA
Lead image: The Great Gatsby immersive show has extended its run (photo: Helen Maybanks)
1 Lightopia Festival at Chiswick House & Gardens
Until 1 March
Lightopia Festival at Chiswick House & Gardens features a lantern trail of 47 lantern groups and 2,000 lanterns that revive and reinterpret the classics. Lightopia is an exploration of light, movement and form, captivating the senses with unique interactive and immersive lights, lanterns, and installations that create an enchanting, otherworldly experience. Key installations include The Love Gate, Tree of Life, Elysian Field, S-Harmony, The Flower Road, Happy Valley, Two Moons Eagle, each symbolising various experiences throughout life and humanity. There will also be acrobatic performances every night, food and drink stalls, 3D mapping projections, where objects are used as a surface instead of screens. 5pm-10pm. Tickets start from £13 for kids and £20 for adults (family tickets available).
Chiswick House Gardens W4 2QN; lightopiafestival.com
2 GENDERS: Shaping and Breaking the Binary at Science Gallery, London Bridge
Until 28 June
GENDERS at Science Gallery London is a playful and kaleidoscopic view of gender today, explored through the lenses of art and science. The free season will bring together artists, social scientists, biologists, neuroscientists and activists, drawing on interdisciplinary research from King’s College London and reflecting the understanding of many scientists that gender is both biological and cultural. Artworks will immerse visitors in individual and collective stories, considering themes such as the role of technology in gender expression, how gaming and roleplay can help us consider different perspectives, and how changing social norms are demanding more fluid understandings of the female and male ‘binaries’.
Great Maze Pond, London Bridge SE1 9GU; london.sciencegallery.com
3 West London Galleries Bus Tour, Portobello Road
The arty Routemaster will hit the roads of Kensington again this weekend. Enjoy a tour around the latest exhibitions in the area’s famous landmarks and some lesser known galleries, from the contrasting worlds of Japan’s urban future and rural traditions in WOW’s new digital art installation at Japan House to new works by Marco Piemonte at Daniel Benjamin Gallery and Frestonian Gallery’s solo show by Anna Freeman Bentley. If you arrive early, you can tag on an exhibition of contemporary lacquer sculpture by Japanese artist Shoko Taruma at The Muse Gallery, and the bus will stop long enough for a spin around the permanent collection at the Design Museum. This is no ordinary doubledecker – the bus ride includes some serious and not-so-serious chat and music from on-board broadcasters, Portobello Radio, plus everyone is invited to a post-bus party at The Tabernacle. 2-6pm. Free. Meet at the corner of Portobello Road and Oxford Gardens or meet in advance at The Muse Gallery at 269 Portobello Road.
Click here to book
The London Classic Car Show, the capital’s premier classic car event, parks up in its new home of Olympia, London, this February. Not only will visiting classic car collectors and connoisseurs have the opportunity to view more than 500 desirable cars, they will also be treated to a brand‐new selection of carefully curated features and celebrations of some of the most exotic and exquisite marques from the decades. This year sees the introduction of an exciting new Car Stories stage, hosted by classic motoring expert Max Girardo and featuring six of the most iconic cars in the world including the 1987 Rothmans Porsche 962C, the Maserati 250F driven by Sir Stirling Moss in 1954, and the Lotus 49 rebuilt by Adrian Newey. Tickets from £25.
5 Carnival at SUSHISAMBA Heron Tower & Covent Garden
SUSHISAMBA is hosting an epic Carnaval party to mark Brazil’s most extravagant celebration this weekend. Guests will experience live performances nightly, including hip-swaying samba dancers, booming batucada drummers and DJs spinning Brazilian grooves, while enjoying Carnaval-inspired menu specials by Regional Executive Chef Andreas Bollanos and caipirinhas shaken tableside. To kick it all off, SUSHISAMBA Heron Tower will host two back-to-back parties: the Carnaval Bloco Celebration, a street-style party with a parade of musicians, Brazilian DJs and colorful performers, on Thursday 20 February; and the Baile da Arara Costume Party, where’re encouraged to don your very own Brazilian-inspired look, on Friday 21 February (both 9pm-2am).
6 Mums That Rave Galentine’s Day Vogue Ball at The Curtain, Shoreditch
Mums That Rave is hosting its first event of the year with a Queen of Hearts-themed Galentine’s Day party. Inspired by the hit TV series Pose, the Mums That Rave invite you to slay the dancefloor with your best walks and Vogue moves in the glittering surroundings of the LG Nightclub at The Curtain Club. Mums That Rave is a community for women to network, express themselves, feel empowered and party hard with no kids or distractions – just feel good vibes. Focusing on inclusion and womanhood, it has fast-grown into movement where friends are made, business ideas germinate and joy abounds. The Galentines Day Vogue Ball will feature a panel discussion, dancing and special treats and surprises. Expect tunes from the old school and new cool, with anything from So Solid Crew to Chaka Khan, Destiny’s Child to Lizzo and more, all spun by DJ Nikki Beatnik. 7pm-2am. Tickets £20 (click here to book).
45 Curtain Road, Shoreditch EC2A 3PT; mumsthatrave.com
7 MEAT at Theatre503, Battersea
19 February-14 March
MEAT, a finalist in the Theatre503 Playwriting Awards in 2018, debuts this week. Written by Gillian Greer – recently appointed as Soho Theatre’s new Literary Manager – MEAT is a story of consent, class and how modern-day Ireland reckons with transgressions surrounding harassment, sexual assault and consent buried in its past. Over the course of one wine-soaked evening, two past-lovers are thrown back into the eye of the storm where old wounds are exposed, and new truths uncovered. But how do you make sense of the fallout of one night, seven years ago, if you can’t agree on what happened? A daring exploration of the aftershock of sexual assault revelations, Greer’s frank play tests their biases, perspectives and beliefs about how sex and power can operate in the modern world.
503 Battersea Park Road, Battersea SW11 3BW; theatre503.com
8 The Great Gatsby at IMMERSIVE | LDN, Mayfair
Until 26 July
Due to overwhelming demand, thousands of new tickets have been released for The Guild of Misrule’s critically acclaimed The Great Gatsby, the UK’s longest running immersive production. The show allows audiences to fully immerse themselves into the world of Jay Gatsby, complete with red-hot rhythms, bootleg liquor, dancing, pure jazz-age self-indulgence and scandal. You can also opt to enjoy a bespoke fine dining experience before the show begins, designed by Immersive LDN catering partners Flavourology. Hosted by F Scott Fitzgerald and his wife Zelda, you’ll begin your journey into the Roaring 20s with a menu that includes buttermilk fried chicken with champagne hollandaise and caviar, bourbon-cured salmon with celeriac puree and remoulade, and a pudding of spotted dick under a white chocolate dome with custard parfait and salted caramel sauce.
56 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 5HR; immersivegatsby.com
9 The Silence of Snow: The Life of Patrick Hamilton, Greenwich Theatre
Acclaimed actor Mark Farrelly plays one of the great English writers of the inter-war years in this riveting production labelled ‘horrifyingly funny’ by The Spectator. Patrick Hamilton – who produced hit plays Rope (filmed by Hitchcock), Gaslight and classic novels like Hangover Square – was a dazzling success in his 20s, but he was also an alcoholic, whose wit darkened as his inner and outer worlds collapsed. Covering the entire sweep of Hamilton’s life, The Silence of Snow entertains and challenges, asking audiences how so many of us get through life without feeling we ever truly knew another person? Mark Farrelly’s West End credits include Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? opposite Matthew Kelly, and Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope, a hugely successful solo play. He is directed by EastEnders star Linda Marlowe. Tickets £16.
Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES; greenwichtheatre.org.uk
10 Pride and Prejudice at Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich
The Dulwich Players present a new adaptation of Jane Austen’s much-loved classic Pride and Prejudice this month. Enjoy Elizabeth’s straight-talking, Mr Bennet’s dry wit, Darcy’s arrogance and Mr Collins’ pomposity – along with Mrs Bennet’s increasingly fragile nerves as she seeks to marry off her errant daughters. Newly adapted by Rebecca Dallaway and Hannah Tomlinson, and brimming with Austen’s sparkling original lines, this version is fast-paced, funny and full of charm. This evergreen exploration of love, marriage, society and family – and the pitfalls of pride and prejudice – has never been more enjoyable. 8pm. Tickets £12 (available online, on the door, or from Art Stationers in Dulwich Village).
Edward Alleyn Theatre, Dulwich College SE21 7LD; dulwichplayers.org
11 VAULT Festival, Waterloo
Until 22 March
VAULT Festival returns to the tunnels under Waterloo station this month with eight weeks of the best new theatre and comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, live performance and late-night parties. This weekend’s highlights include Aamira and Gad: A Story of Hope in Conflict, an immersive experience that invites the audience to step into a border conflict between two nations (Saturdays 22 February, 29 February & 7 March, tickets from £17); Jekyll / Hyde, an exciting, new urban game for adults, based on Robert Louis Stevenson’s Gothic masterpiece, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (12 February-22 March, tickets from £20); The Future is Mental, near-future stories drawing on Black Mirror, Margaret Atwood and the black comedy of Killing Eve (18-23 February, tickets from £10); and new political thriller The Nobodies, which focuses in on the state of the NHS in the North of England and the feeling of restlessness in the working classes (18-23 February, tickets from £12).
12 Crowd at Hannah Barry Gallery, Peckham
20 February-4 April
Entering a crowd can be liberating, euphoric, powerful, and even threatening. From the ecstasy of the dancefloor to the dangerous energy of a protest with the potential to tip over into a riot. Crowds are so commonplace now – gathering in stadiums, on the streets, in unlicensed clubs and in stained-glass churches – that we forget they are a relatively new experience, emerging in earnest in the late 19th and early 20th century. In time we have wielded this power to enact political change and transform our societies, and art has long responded to this energy – from Bosch’s 15th century hells through the pre-war industrialism of Bomberg, Lewis and Nevinson and the claustrophobia of Kafka’s court chambers. Now, artists including Lydia Blakeley, Sharon Eyal, Danny Fox, Kingsley Ifill, Yulia Iosilzon and Xiuching Tsay interpret this theme through their works at Hannah Barry Gallery.
4 Holly Grove, Peckham SE15 5DF; hannahbarry.com
13 Once In A Blue Moon Gin Experience at Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge
21 February-1 March
Calling all gin lovers! Harvey Nichols is hosting an enchanted multi-sensory experience to celebrate the launch of Hendrick’s Lunar Gin, the second innovative release from the super premium gin’s Cabinet of Curiosities. Launching on Friday 21 February, the 10-day immersive pop-up experience will transport you into the unusual, twilight world of Hendrick’s Lunar Gin, where a cosmic astrologer will entice you to try two magical cocktails, savoured under the bewitching light of the moon. Tickets are £8pp (click here to book) and Hendrick’s Lunar Gin is currently available in all Harvey Nichols stores and online priced £47. You can also enjoy two Hendrick’s Lunar Gin cocktails in the Fifth Floor Bar at Harvey Nichols for the duration of the pop-up.
CANVAS, Fifth Floor, Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge SW1X 7RJ; harveynichols.com
14 CROOKS 1926 at King William IV, Elephant and Castle
Until 29 March
Plunge deep into the gritty, criminal underworld of 1920s London at COLAB’s new immersive experience, CROOKS 1926. Game mechanics collide with a pulsing, hair-raising narrative giving audiences the chance to throw themselves into one family’s brutal battle for supremacy in the immersive theatre company’s most ambitious project to date. In a world where nothing is certain, violence is rampant, and deals are made to be broken, the audience will have complete autonomy to shape their own thrilling experience. While some might to choose to orchestrate a grand territorial takeover of London or broker an alliance with The West End Boys, others might ‘go it alone’ by scheming with a devious traitor – no two shows will be the same. COLAB, the group behind The Great Gatsby Immersive Experience, debuts CROOKS 1926 at their brand new permanent space. Tickets £28.
16 Harper Road, Elephant and Castle SE1 6AD; colabtheatre.co.uk
15 British Baroque: Power and Illusion at Tate Britain
Until 19 April
British Baroque: Power and Illusion, which opened in early February at Tate Britain, is the first ever exhibition to focus on baroque culture in Britain. From the Restoration of Charles II in 1660 to the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the exhibition explores the rich connections between art and power in this often-overlooked era. The show includes many new discoveries and works displayed in public for the first time, many on loan from the stately homes for which they were originally made. Tickets £16.
Millbank SW1P 4RG; tate.org.uk