The best things to do in London this weekend, from the launch of Winter Wonderland to a photography exhibition documenting London’s changing skyline and pertinent exhibitions calling for tolerance and action on climate change…
Lead image: A Decade of Change (photo: Barbican Storm, 2017 by James Burns / londonfromtherooftops.com)
1 A Letter to a Friend in Gaza at The Coronet Theatre, Notting Hill
Part theatre, part film, and part tribute to Albert Camus’ Letters to a German Friend, A Letter to a Friend in Gaza is multi-award winning film and theatre-maker Amos Gitai’s elegiac and moving address to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, told through the perspectives of those living it. Four actors – two Palestinian and two Israeli – seated at a long table, read each other poems, writings and letters by Palestinian and Israeli writers and thinkers such as Mahmoud Darwish, S. Yizhar and Emile Habibi, against a backdrop of news and archive footage from the on stage cameras, interwoven with a soundtrack from live musicians. Tickets from £15.
103 Notting Hill Gate W11 3LB; thecoronettheatre.com
2 Austentatious at Fortune Theatre, Covent Garden
18 November-16 December
Austentatious is an improvised comedy play starring a cast of the country’s quickest comic performers. Every single show the cast conjures up a brand new ‘lost’ Jane Austen novel based on nothing more than a title suggested by the audience. The group has established itself as one of the UK’s most popular live acts, with seven sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe under their belt, a monthly West End residency in 2018, and a BBC Radio 4 special to mark the bicentenary of Austen’s death. Returning for a limited season in London, Austentatious is back and ready to ring in the festive season complete with pre-show carol singers. You can also get a loyalty card – see the show four times and your fifth time is free! Ages 12+. Tickets from £20.
29 Russell Street, Covent Garden WC2B 5HH; atgtickets.com
3 A Decade of Change at Steel Yard, the City
James Burns, photographer and founder of London from the Rooftops, is showcasing his work in a three-day exhibition at the Steel Yard, an intimate bar and gallery space in the City. James’ work documents the ever-changing London skyline over the last decade, which has seen the most intensive period of high-rise construction in London’s history. From his unique vantage point on London’s rooftops, he’s captured some beautiful panoramas of the city, the way cityscape photography was enjoyed before everything became a square on Instagram. A rolling film will grant visitors a more in-depth trip through the previous decade, and James will also hosting a series of talks.
13-16 Allhallows Lane, the City EC4R 3UE; londonfromtherooftops.com
4 Oh Yes Oh No: Louise Orwin at Battersea Arts Centre
Until 23 November
Provocative, surreal and dark, Oh Yes Oh No is a frank interrogation of sexuality, consent and survival in the wake of #MeToo. Made with the candid input of those willing to speak openly and honestly about their sex lives through interviews conducted all over the UK, award-winning performance artist Louise Orwin explores how to understand and reclaim your desire in the face of sexual trauma and rape culture, and the power of asking for what you want. Featuring intricate video design, Barbie and Ken, audience participation, and a heady mix of pop culture references, this show is for anyone who has struggled to find their sexual voice or questioned the sexual culture they were brought up in. Over 16s only. 8pm. Tickets £12.50.
Battersea Arts Centre, Lavender Hill SW11 5TN; bac.org.uk
5 Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
21 November-5 January 2020
It’s hard to beat Winter Wonderland. Celebrating its 13th year in 2019, one of London’s biggest festive attractions has everything for the Christmas lover. Browse the 100+ fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden chalets of the Angel’s Market and pick out gifts for friends and family from jewellery and clothing to handmade crafts and Christmas decorations, buy tickets to ice skate around the pavilion in Hyde Park or check out one of the many new shows, including the Magical Ice Kingdom presents A Christmas Carol, Paddington on Ice, Mr Men & Little Miss – The Show, Cirque Berserk, ice sculpting workshops and more. Free to enter. Attractions carry a fee. Closed on Christmas Day.
Hyde Park W2 2UH; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
6 Tolerance: A Solo Exhibition by Patrick Altes at Gerald Moore Gallery, Eltham
19 November-25 January 2020
Tolerance is a new solo exhibition by Patrick Altes, taking place at Gerald Moore Gallery in Eltham.Born in colonised Algeria and having lived in many countries – including South Africa under apartheid – before settling in Britain in 2006, Altes’ work is deeply informed by his own personal history and diasporic experiences. His first-hand experience of unjust, brutal and discriminatory societies fuelled a sense for the politically, socially and humanly acceptable, which has become a thematic concern in his creative work. In Tolerance, Altes turns his attention to the harrowing circumstances that increasingly accompany migration and resettlement, creating several installation pieces, together with new digital collages, posters and paintings to promote a cohesive multicultural society. Free entry. Open Tuesdays 4pm-8pm & Saturdays 10am-4pm (closed 23-29 December).
Mottingham Lane, Eltham SE9 4RW; geraldmooregallery.org
7 The Merchant’s Tail: A Christmas Pop Up for Cats and Dogs, Hackney
Until 8 December
Pet labels Cheshire & Wain and Fetch & Follow have teamed up to curate The Merchant’s Tail – a Christmas pop up to delight cats, dogs and their owners. Inspired by their customers’ tales and a mutual appreciation for one another’s brand, the co-hosted lifestyle store is a place where pet owners can indulge their furry friends with Christmas gifts, enjoy a host of exciting events and engage with their animal-loving kinfolk. The Merchant’s Tail will bring together the best of Fetch & Follow and Cheshire & Wain’s stylish and functional collections, from pet accessories – jackets, jumpers, leads and collars – to cosy homes and snacks, with fun curiosities for pet lovers too. On Sunday 24 November, holistic vet Ciara from Vet in the City will be leading a dog walk around Haggerston Park from 10am, where owners can discuss all things winter health for your pooches. Tickets are £5 and each owner gets a Fetch and Follow Doggie Bag. The pop-up shop is open Weds-Fri 10am-6pm & Sat-Sun 10am-5pm.
270 Hackney Road E2 7SJ; @fetchandfollow / @instagram.com
8 MELTDOWN: Visualizing the Climate Crisis at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill
23 November-12 January 2020
MELTDOWN: Visualizing the Climate Crisis is the latest exhibition at The Horniman Museum and Gardens in Forest Hill. Unlike wildfires and flooding, glaciers are not part of the weather system and when looking at glacier mass loss over time, one can see the result of global heating, making glaciers key indicators of the climate crisis. Since 2008, climate change charity Project Pressure has been commissioning artists to document changes to the world’s vanishing glaciers, the consequences for billions of people, and efforts made to limit melting. These works have been brought together as MELTDOWN, which is broken down into three chapters: The Importance of Glaciers, Current Issues and Meltdown Consequences. The series of striking art works includes Norfolk + Thymann’s image of part of the Rhône glacier covered in geo-thermal cloth to limit melting; Richard Mosse’s photograph of the ice cave under the Vatnajökull glacier in Iceland; and Noémie Goudal’s large-scale photographic installation mirroring the shifting glacial landscape. Entry is free.
100 London Road, Forest Hill SE23 3PQ; horniman.ac.uk
9 Trinity’s Limited-Edition White Truffle Menu, Clapham
Until 24 November
Chef Adam Byatt Michelin-starred Trinity restaurant in Clapham is offering a special white truffle menu – a celebration of the decadent and luxurious white truffles of Piedmont – until 24 November. The limited-edition menu features dishes such as potato and white truffle tartlet with Tete De Moine and Dover sole baked in white truffle butter. Available for £160pp by pre-order only. In addition, there will be a special one-off White Truffle Wine Pairing Dinner on Monday 25 November, served upstairs at Trinity. MW Thomas Parker, from Farr Vintners, will be hosting a very special wine pairing of Jean-Marie Guffens wines from Burgundy and Segla from Bordeaux, which will complement Byatt’s truffle menu, featuring dishes such as beef tartare with Umbrian white truffle, and whole turbot braised in oxidised white Burgundy with broccoli and shaved white truffles. The six-course wine pairing menu is £195pp. To book call Trinity on 020 7622 1199.
4 The Polygon, Clapham SW4 0JG; trinityrestaurant.co.uk
10 Meals on Reels at The Signal, Forest Hill
Meals on Reels, The Signal’s infamous edible screening event, returns this weekend with another fabulous film – The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Experience this cult classic in a totally unique way, where you eat and drink throughout the film. The five-course extravaganza kicks off with a Time Warp cocktail to match the music, with a cheese doughnut served alongside it, followed by a special Dr Frank ‘N’ Furter canapé with a glass of prosecco. A black pudding Scotch egg will also be served before the main event – gammon with cranberry sauce, similar to that served in the extraordinary dinner party scene in the film – plus a glass of red wine. To finish, guests can indulge in a forbidden fruits baked apple with cinnamon and raisin. Tickets are £25pp. Starts at 7.30pm.
The Signal, 7 Devonshire Road, Forest Hill SE23 3HE. For tickets see designmynight.com
11 Taste of London: The Festive Edition, Tobacco Dock
The festive edition of the capital’s finest culinary celebration, Taste of London, returns to the Grade I-listed Victorian Tobacco Dock to showcase the capital’s best chefs, restaurants and gourmet producers. Devour signature dishes from more than 20 of the capital’s top restaurants, as well as some brand new ones they’ve created exclusively for Taste, enjoy festive tipples and take part in hands-on masterclasses where you can learn how to create an impressive dish or shake up a cocktail. Plus, there are nearly 100 of the UK’s finest gourmet producers to sample and shop. Tickets from £15.
12 WOW: City Lights and Woodland Shade at Japan House London, Kensington
21 November-22 March 2020
Japan House London welcomes the mesmerising digital displays of multidisciplinary visual design studio WOW this month. Their first UK solo exhibition features two installations looking at both the urban future and timelessness of rural Japan. WOW’s Tokyo Light Odyssey presents a mind-bending 360-degree re-imagining of Japan’s capital city by night, heralding 2020 and the year when the world looks to Tokyo for the Olympics. At once familiar – with neon lights emanating from train stations and convenience store logos floating in the darkness – the artists use omni-directional motion graphics to contort the known world and present a new interpretation of the cityscape. Then there’s POPPO, an excursion into the folk art of Japan’s countryside with three different installations focusing on kokeshi (wooden dolls) and O-taka poppo (carved wooden figures in the shape of hawks). Touch screens allow you to carve your own kokeshi doll and digitize them to become part of the exhibition, displayed on the walls of the gallery. You can also project your own face on to the kokeshi. Free to attend.
101-111 Kensington High Street W8 5SA; japanhouselondon.uk
13 The Boy Friend at The Menier Chocolate Factory, Southwark
22 November-7 March 2020
The Menier Chocolate Factory is showing a major revival of Sandy Wilson’s The Boy Friend this month. Directed by Matthew White, Wilson’s all-singing all-dancing love letter to 1920s musical comedies is the first major London revival in over 10 years. Set in Madame Dubonnet’s finishing school in the south of France, these perfect young ladies burst into song at the least provocation, and forbidden boy friends are forever popping through the French windows to sing and dance with them. Since its premiere in 1953, this light-hearted soufflé of a show has delighted audiences worldwide and has become one of the most well-loved British musicals of all time.
53 Southwark Street SE1 1RU; menierchocolatefactory.com
14 Figure This! at Thames Side Gallery, Woolwich
Until 1 December
Figure This! at Thames-Side Studios Gallery in Woolwich brings together the work of a group of UK and international figurative artists whose work is underpinned by the universal importance and immediacy of the human figure. The selection focuses on powerful and coherent work, where there is real engagement with the materials – where pigment coexists with thought-provoking subjects, creating a hugely evocative exhibition. Figure This! fills a demand for contemporary figuration to be part of serious and yet accessible conversation. The exhibition will also feature a number of talks, workshops and a one-day conference on Saturday 30 November to delve into the heart of the matter.
Harrington Way, Warspite Road, Woolwich SE18 5NR; thames-sidestudios.co.uk
15 Treasures of Osterley – Rise of a Banking Family, Osterley Park and House
Until 23 February
The splendour of west London’s Osterley Park and House is known to many, but the story of the banking family whose fortune filled the estate with treasures has not been fully explored. The Child family counted monarchs, mathematicians and actors as customers at their bank, but now the family themselves will be in the spotlight with a new exhibition exploring the fine furniture and works of art they collected. Each object in the exhibition has been chosen to provide a glimpse into the Childs’ lives and work, from an original iron strongbox in which gold bullion, jewellery and other valuables were stored, to a ‘timeline’ of gold and silver coins that tell the story of national economic events, a set of lacquer furniture and a 17th century French ebony cabinet.
Jersey Road, Isleworth TW7 4RB; nationaltrust.org.uk