15 Things to Do this Weekend in London: 23-25 October 2020

From a coronavirus-inspired monologue on stage at Bridge Theatre to mixing with friends virtually and an out-of-this-world photography exhibition, there’s plenty to do in London this weekend, despite the new Tier 2 restrictions 

Lead image: Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 Overall and Galaxies winner Nicolas Lefaudeux with Andromeda Galaxy at Arm’s Length? (Photo © Nicolas Lefaudeux/Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020)

1 Beat the Devil with Ralph Fiennes at Bridge Theatre, Tower Bridge
21-31 October
Nick Hytner’s Tower Bridge theatre is emerging from lockdown with a collection of star-studded monologues including Beat the Devil, starring none other than Ralph Fiennes. Directed by Hytner and written by David Hare, the production depicts Hare’s experience of contracting Covid-19 early on in the pandemic. Suffering a pageant of apparently random symptoms, Hare recalls the delirium of his illness in a monologue of furious urgency and power. The playwright previously described the government’s response to the pandemic as worse than the handling of the Iraq war, so don’t expect this soliloquy to pull any punches. Tickets £10-£30.
One Tower Bridge SE1 2SD; bridgetheatre.co.uk

2 Sh!t-faced Shakespeare at Live at Ally Pally
25 October
Live, indoor events have returned to Alexandra Palace with the launch of Live at Ally Pally on 15 October. The season of music, comedy and entertainment features some of the most exciting acts in comedy and music, and also marked the re-opening of The West Hall, which had been closed to the public since March. 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 (18 Nov), and one of the UK’s best alternative club nights, Rebel Bingo (31 Oct). But this weekend’s highlight is Sh!t-faced Shakespeare, which returns with its unique take on A Midsummer Night’s Dream on Sunday 25 Oct. Live at Ally Pally runs until 22 November.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com

3 Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020 at National Maritime Museum, Greenwich
23 October-8 August 2021
French photographer Nicolas Lefaudeux has beaten thousands of photographers from around the globe to win the Royal Observatory Greenwich’s title of Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020. As well as securing the £10,000 top prize, his image takes pride of place in the exhibition of winning photographs, opening at the National Maritime Museum on 23 October. Winning images of the other categories include the breath-taking Aurora Borealis above Hamn i Senja, Skaland, in Norway by Nicholas Roemmelt; Łukasz Sujka’s image showcasing the alignment of our moon and Jupiter; a remarkable illustration of the satellite trails between earth and the Albireo double star by Rafael Schmall; and the captivating Dark River by Julie F. Hill – the inaugural winner of the Annie Maunder Prize for Image Innovation. Adults £10, kids £6.50.
Park Row, Greenwich Peninsula SE10 9NF; rmg.co.uk

4 Russell Howard at The Clapham Grand
25 October
Russell Howard can’t keep away from Clapham Grand at the moment. Following a run of sold-out post-lockdown shows at the iconic venue in the September, the comic is returning for one last crack of the whip. Join the comedian, television presenter, radio presenter and actor – best known for his TV shows Russell Howard’s Good News and The Russell Howard Hour, as well as his appearances on Mock the Week – for a unique night of work-in-progress stand-up, alongside some of his favourite comedians. 6pm-9.45pm. Tickets from £14.75.
21-25 St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction SW11 1TT; claphamgrand.com

5 Ann Veronica Janssens: Hot Pink Turquoise at South London Gallery, Camberwell & Peckham
Until 29 November
South London Gallery, which has just been announced as an Art Fund Museum of the Year 2020 winner, is currently hosting the first major presentation of Belgian artist Ann Veronica Janssens’ work in London. Hot Pink Turquoise spans the SLG’s Main Gallery and three floors of the Fire Station, with works ranging from an expanse of glitter through to a coloured light installation exploring ideas around perception. Janssens’ Untitled (Blue Glitter), an expanse of blue glitter scattered across the floor, occupies the Main Space for the first half of the show after which, on 28 October, it will be replaced by Janssens’ reflective wheeled Bikes, 2001, where visitors are invited to cycle round the Main Gallery on one of five custom-made bicycles with mirrored wheels. Janssens’ sculptures, projections, light works and installations also occupy three floors of the Fire Station.
65-67 Peckham Road, Camberwell SE5 8UH & 82 Peckham Road SE15 5LQ; southlondongallery.org

6 BOXPARK Oktoberfest, Wembley
24-25 October
BOXPARK is celebrating Oktoberfest for the first time this year, with a Bavarian-themed socially-distanced Bavarian brew-haha at BOXPARK Wembley this weekend. The 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.
18 Olympic Way, Wembley Park HA9 0JT; boxpark.co.uk

7 Live Jazz at The Tramshed Project, Shoreditch
23 October
London’s newest restaurant, workspace and culture venue, The Tramshed Project in Shoreditch, is hosting its very first live performance with resident jazz band Black Flamingo this Friday. Fronted by Heidi Vogel, who made her professional debut touring with Cirque du Soleil before becoming a frequent face on the London and LA jazz scene, the four-piece jazz band will perform live in the Main Hall from 6pm-10pm. Guests are invited to book a table to wine, dine and toe-tap – safely within your social bubble, of course. The Tramshed Project is a membership-free destination for coworking, eating and learning. Brought to life by Street Feast founder Dominic Cools-Lartigue, it brings together three of the capital’s most exciting chefs; resident chef Andrew Clarke, alongside Zoe Adjonyoh and James Cochran.
32 Rivington Street, Shoreditch EC2A 3LX; tramshedproject.com 

8 START at Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
23-25 October
The seventh edition of START is going ahead as planned at London’s iconic Saatchi Gallery. One of the few art fairs to take place in the capital this autumn, START 2020 offers art lovers to enjoy the benefits of cultural immersion in person in a Covid-secure environment. Helping to revitalise the art world, this year’s edition will present a must-see curated collection of 21st century contemporary art complemented by innovative START Projects. Highlights include Nightlife, an exhibition of works by the Godfather of Street Art, Richard Hambleton, and photographer Franc Palaia, presented by Soho-based art studio, Woodbury House; and David Bowie 20/20 Vision, a collection of never-before-seen photographs by Tony McGee that were hand selected by Bowie himself. The VIP Private View takes place on 21 & 22 Oct.
Duke of York’s HQ King’s Road, Chelsea SW3 4RY; startnet.com

9 DNA VR at Battersea Power Station
From 21 October
DNA VR – a new virtual reality venue at Circus West Village, Battersea Power Station – offers the perfect solution to the Covid-19 winter of discontent. Household groups can meet with people from different households virtually – without physical interaction – to engage in more than 50 fun experiences. DNA VR’s new flagship entertainment space features individual VR pods, which can be separated into different rooms to accommodate groups of up to 11 from different households. The venue can also organise gaming sessions for groups between their three London venues – Battersea Power Station, Camden and Hammersmith – so that gamers from the different venues can talk to and interact with each other virtually. The company’s signature Free-Roaming Experiences, which will take place on a separate mezzanine level within the new venue, are also available for same household groups of up to four people.

10 Drive In Film Club at Alexandra Palace
Until 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

11 Secret 7″ at NOW Gallery, Greenwich Peninsula
Until 1 November
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

12 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

13 Dante’s In Furlough at The Vaults, Waterloo
Until 30 December
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 Silberstein’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

14 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

15 London Never Dies at London Cabaret Club, Bloomsbury
Until March 2021
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


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 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, and available to book for your own household. Tickets are priced on a pay-what-you-can basis.
For the full list of locations, timings and to book, see greenwichdance.org

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 

Camden Oktoberfest at The Electric Ballroom
Until 24 October
Camden Oktoberfest will pair the usual merry traditions with a modern twist featuring live brass bands and DJs. The fully decked out Bavarian beer hall will set the scene for tonnes of authentic German bratwurst, grilled Black Forest sausage, Currywurst, pretzel alternatives Brotzel, plus giant sloshing steins of German beer. You’ll find only the finest Bavarian brews, supplied by Spaten, Löwenbräu & Becks, and legendary Bratwurst sausage street food trader Herman Ze German is the exclusive food partner. An eight piece brass band will lay down a mix of pop, rock, hip hop, R&B, funk and soul covers, and dancers, competitions and unique challenges will keep the energy levels high until the Club De Fromage DJs switch things up later on. Tickets from £20 (minimum four tickets, maximum six).
184 Camden High Street NW1 8QP; camdenoktoberfest.com

West End Musical Drive-In, Enfield
Until 31 October
Alongside London’s many drive-in cinemas, there’s the West End Musical Drive-In, a socially distanced musical theatre party from the producers of West End Musical Brunch. Taking place at The Drive In at Troubadour Meridian Water, the entirely contact-free concert experience delivers you live performances from the biggest West End superstars. The performances, featuring songs from a host of different musicals, will be projected from the stage onto a massive screen with sound provided straight to your car radio. Tickets from £65 (based on one car with two attendees). Running every Saturday until 31 October.

Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN, Mayfair
Until 31 October 
Atelier Picasso at BASTIAN recreates Picasso’s Cannes studio as an immersive experience, offering a rarely seen glimpse into the ingenious mind of one of the greatest talents of the 20th century. Picasso moved to the South of France to escape war-torn Paris following WWII, and despite an already remarkable career, he was determined to keep experimenting. A hoarder, Picasso piled the surfaces and floors of his studio with a treasure trove of source material and original works, from furniture and sculptures to ceramics, drawings and prints, as seen in this exhibition. Atelier Picasso also features a number of photographs from André Villers, a close friend of Picasso’s who took many photos of the artist at work, as well as The Complete Set of 20 Visage plates from 1963. Open Tues-Sat, 10am-6pm. Admission free.
8 Davies Street, Mayfair W1K 3DW; bastian-gallery.com