15 great things to do in London this weekend from winter lights festivals in Canary Wharf and Battersea to beautiful ballet in Bromley
Lead image: Constellations by Joanie Lemercier, part of Winter Lights at Canary Wharf (photo: Kyle McDonald)
1 Ronnie Scott’s Presents Viva Cuba at Twickenham Stadium
Twickenham has teamed up with Ronnie Scott’s Jazz Club to bring the rich sounds of Cuban music to the stadium, featuring live music from the talented Yelfris Valdes, Eliane Correa and DJ Richie Rich. Yelfris Valdes has spent the last 10 years mastering the art of Cuban improvisation with the band Sierra Maestra, arranging complex rhythms from the island and touring in more than 50 countries. Eliane Correa, a young Latina pianist, MD and composer based in London and Havana, is a session pianist for The World Of Hans Zimmer. Enjoy performances from both Valdes and Correa in the Live Room, Twickenham Stadium’s purpose-built auditorium, followed by late-night music from DJ Richie Rich, a veteran of the London Latin scene. You can even choose to dine pre-show in The Gate restaurant, with a menu of Cuban-inspired dishes designed by Executive Head Chef Thomas Rhodes. Tickets start from £49pp.
2 Ingmar Bergman’s Persona at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
21 January-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
22 January-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
4 Filthy Lucre: Whistler’s Peacock Room Reimagined at the V&A
25 January-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
5 Crisis Icebreaker Challenge, Parliament Hill Lido
Londoners are being encouraged to plunge themselves into the ice-cold waters of Parliament Hill Lido this weekend to raise money for people experiencing homelessness. The annual Crisis Icebreaker Challenge, part of a series of events happening across the capital this winter, sees fancy dress-clad swimmers either jump into the freezing waters of the outdoor pool, swimming one width, or taking part in the relay race as a team of four. Swimmers are also encouraged to get friends and family involved by sponsoring their involvement, as all the money raised will go towards Crisis’ year-round services. The registration fee is £25 and fundraising and fancy dress encouraged. 11am-1pm. Click here to sign up.
Parliament Hill Fields, Gospel Oak NW5 1LT; crisis.org.uk
6 ABBA Disco Wonderland at Electric Brixton
What could be better than ABBA and and a winter wonderland together in one space? If you know your Waterloo from your Dancing Queen, this is the night for you. Since launching in June 2018, Disco Wonderland’s ABBA Tribute night has toured 26 different cities across the UK with some 41 shows attended by more than 35,000 attendees. What to expect? As well as all of ABBA’s hits, Electric Brixton will be transformed into an ABBA wonderland, complete with performers, confetti and air cannons. Tickets £5-12. 18+, photo ID required. 10pm-3am.
Town Hall Parade SW2 1RJ; electricbrixton.uk.com
Dry January ain’t so bad when you have distractions… The Old Nuns Head knows this, and has roped in board games aficionados So Board to transform the pub’s function room into an analogue game geek’s paradise. Tickets £7.50 for a five-hour board game session with access to a library of more than 150 games and a 20% discount on drinks. From 12pm.
Nunhead Green SE15 3QQ; theoldnunshead.co.uk
8 Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair, Battersea Park
Once the Christmas decorations are packed away and the dreary days of mid-winter stretch ahead, where to turn to for some cheerful interior inspiration? For a decorative pick-me-up or a full-on new decorating project for the home, the event of choice for design professionals and buyers in the know is the winter edition of the Decorative Antiques & Textiles Fair in Battersea Park – a luxurious feast of fine and fun period design. Expect to find a wealth of wonderful period design – anything from £15 vintage French wine glasses to valuable paintings by the likes of Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Peter Blake and Banksy. Register online for a complimentary ticket.
Battersea Evolution, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ; decorativefair.com
9 Winter Lights Festival, Canary Wharf
Until 25 January
Winter Lights festival at Canary Wharf was an absolute cracker last year, and this year it’s back to add a little sparkle to the post-festive period. The free event sees an eclectic mix of 25 spectacular installations and experiences, with both fresh and returning artworks. Highlights include Sky on Earth by Uaii Studio, a UK premier that will transform Columbus Courtyard into an electrifying life-sized storm cloud made of foam, illuminated by lighting and accompanied by the rumble of thunder; Mountain of Light by Angus Muir Design, a towering installation brought to life by a dramatic repertoire of lighting effects controlled by you; and Constellations by Studio Joanie Lemercier, a London premier that takes you on a trip into deep space through a black hole created by projecting water onto a giant water screen. Most works are best viewed from dusk, with installations switched off at around 10pm each day, and don’t forget to drop by the Winter Lights Bites street food hubs.
10 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
11 The London Art Fair, Islington
The London Art Fair returns to showcase the most exceptional modern and contemporary art of our time. The fair invites visitors to see work by artists like Andy Warhol and Salvador Dali, with the opportunity to buy pieces as well. Expect talks, tours, screenings and curated spaces, including Photo50, an annual exhibition of contemporary photography; Art Projects, which features large-scale installations, solo shows and group displays; Screening Room, a programme of collaborative film and new media initiatives; and Platform, a new feature focusing on a single distinct theme every year. This year’s Museum Partner is, Southampton City Art Gallery, which celebrated its 80th anniversary in 2019 and will showcase around 25 works significant to the gallery’s history. Tickets from £17. Preview evening Tuesday 21st, 6pm-9pm, tickets £31.
Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, Islington N1 0QH; londonartfair.co.uk
12 Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet: Swan Lake and The Nutcracker at Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet returns to the UK to perform The Nutcracker and Swan Lake this month. A relatively new visitor to the UK, Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet has already built a following of audiences who appreciate the artistry and technique of this company of exquisite young dancers. Tchaikovsky reigns supreme in these captivating productions. The Nutcracker is delightfully festive, as Clara is whisked away on a magical adventure by her Nutcracker Prince, while Swan Lake is Tchaikovsky’s masterpiece, a tragic tale of love and betrayal with an instantly recognisable score. Under the expert direction of Marina Medvetskaya, principal dancers Natalia Romanova, Evgeny Silakov and Yassaui Mergaliyev (seen on BBC’s The Greatest Dancer early in 2019) will showcase the company’s focus on classical training and technique, dancing alongside a full orchestra. Tickets from £28.
High Street, Bromley BR1 1HA; churchilltheatre.co.uk
13 Frank & Dean’s Hootenanny at Boisdale Canary Wharf
Boisdale – Scotland’s unofficial embassy in London – is one of London’s top spots for a Scottish celebration. You can toast Rabbie Burns at any of Boisdale’s four London restaurants (located in Belgravia, Bishopsgate, Mayfair and Canary Wharf) this month, but Frank & Dean’s Hootenanny is reserved for Canary Wharf, running for three nights from 23-25 January. Enjoy a three-course menu and live music courtesy of Frank and Dean (Iain Mackenzie and Steve Pert with the Pete Long Orchestra) and their unbeatable blend of swing classics, floor-filling classic pop and a few Scottish surprises along the way. Your haggis will be piped to the table in the traditional manner before the piper recites the Ode to a Haggis by Rabbie Burns. Tickets from £69.50 (click here to book). There will also be a Burns Night Piper & Live Music Extravaganza at Boisdale of Bishopsgate on 25 January from 6.30pm, with Speakeasy Jazz & Blues by Dust Me Down (tickets from £49.50, click here to book).
14 The French Property Exhibition, Olympia
The French Property Exhibition is a ‘must attend’ for anyone who is serious about buying a property in France. The show, which has been running for over 29 years, is the perfect opportunity to find out more about buying your dream home, discuss your plans with the experts face to face, and browse thousands of properties for sale. And now that Brexit has finally been passed through Parliament, you might have more questions than ever before. Fortunately, there will be a host of free seminars offering expert advice on a range of issues, including tax, legal, financial and mortgage matters, as well as how to generate an income and make your French property dream pay for itself (tickets available on a first-come-first-served basis). All visitors will get a complimentary copy of French Property News on arrival and a free show guide. 10am-5pm. Click here to register for free, fast-track entry.
15 Magic Goes Wrong at the Vaudeville Theatre, Strand
Until 31 May
Magic Goes Wrong is the latest production from Mischief Theatre, the Olivier award-winning company behind The Play That Goes Wrong. Created with magic legends Penn & Teller, the original Mischief company plays a hapless gang of magicians presenting a charity event to raise funds for their unfortunate contemporaries who have been injured while practising their craft. But as the accidents spiral out of control, so does their fundraising target. While there may be one too many bumps of the head in part one of Magic Goes Wrong, part two will have you grinning despite yourself as you’re swept along by the warm-hearted gang of misfits. The Mind Mangler in particular, played by Henry Lewis, is quite brilliant. Tickets from £20.
404 Strand WC2R 0NH; magicgoeswrong.com
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