15 Things to Do this Weekend in London: 25-27 September 2020

From Greenwich Comedy Festival to Beer Yoga in Fulham and Russell Howard at The Clapham Grand to London Podcast Festival in Islington, there’s plenty of socially distanced fun to be had in London this weekend 

Lead image: Swingers reopens this week (photo: Luke Dyson)

1 Greenwich Comedy Festival at the National Maritime Museum
23-27 September
The critically acclaimed Greenwich Comedy Festival returns for its 12th year, with more of an open-air, socially distanced vibe this year. It’s out with the Big Top and in with alfresco belly laughs as the likes of Bill Baily, Sara Pascoe, Dara O’Briain, Nish Kumar, Rachel Parris, Josh Widdicombe, Lou Sanders, Reginald D Hunter, and Jamali Maddix hit the stage. Performances will take place on a huge domed stage with large LED screens and audiences seated in socially distanced plots in the grounds of the Queen’s House and National Maritime Museum. Instead of the usual bars, street-food stalls and intervals, ticket holders can pre-select drink & snack bundles. Tickets to this year’s event are being sold in pairs (priced £25) and are nearly sold out, so move quickly to bag the few that are left!
National Maritime Museum, Greenwich SE10 9NF; greenwichcomedyfestival.co.uk

2 Icons at Riverside Studios, Hammersmith
24 September until 31 January
Riverside Studios has collaborated with Cambridge’s Art Hound Gallery to launch Icons, featuring portraits of Amy Winehouse, The Sex Pistols, David Bowie and Princess Diana, among others. The exhibition celebrates some of the many pop culture legends associated with Riverside Studios throughout the venue’s diverse history. But what makes an icon? From Hollywood legends to rock and roll superstars and theatrical celebs, icons have been an inspiration for a wave of artists exploring pop culture and beyond. This selection of artwork by some of the most exciting contemporary artists on the scene – including David Studwell, Lauren Baker, Mark Illuminati and Terry Pastor – explores the symbolism of iconography and the very notion of what makes a ‘star’.
101 Queen Caroline Street, Hammersmith W6 9BN; riversidestudios.co.uk

3 Pop Up Yoga Club x Small Beer Brew Co at Neverland London, Fulham
27 September
Swap the lederhosen for leggings this Oktoberfest for Pop Up Yoga Club’s first ever Beer Yoga Class in celebration of the unique Bavarian holiday. Taking place at Neverland London in Fulham this Sunday, the event will see Cassie McClements, Founder of Pop Up Yoga Club, deliver a yoga class that involves sipping while you stretch. The class, running in partnership with Small Beer Brew Co, kicks off at 10.30am for a 70-minute session featuring poses like the Extended Swig Angle. There will be plenty of time to enjoy your Oktoberfest tipple as tickets (costing £20) also include entry into Neverland’s Oktoberfest Party, running from 12pm-5pm. Covid-secure measures include socially distanced mat space, temperature checks and flexible booking terms.
Wandsworth Bridge Road, Fulham SW6 2TY; popupyogaclub.com

4 London Podcast Festival at Kings Place, Islington
21-27 September
London Podcast Festival returns to Kings Place for its fifth annual celebration of live podcasting this week. The festival will take place in front of a live audience at the UK’s home of podcasting, with all events live streamed in broadcast quality to a worldwide audience via pay-per view. Highlights include Spaced and Shaun of the Dead star Nick Frost joining Edith Bowman for Soundtracking on 25 Sept, Sara Pascoe, Athena Kublenu & Darrne Harriot joining Cariad Lloyd’s Podcast of the Year winner Griefcast on 21 Sept British-Nigerian designer Yinka Ilori joining Russell Tovey and Robert Diament for Talk Art on 22 Sept, and long-time LPF supporter Deborah Frances-White curating a day of her favourite female-led podcasts, including Sara Pascoe’s Sex Power Money, Isy Suttie’s The Things We Do For Love and The Divorce Club with Samantha Baines on 26 Sept.
90 York Way, Islington N1 9AG; kingsplace.co.uk

5 Rock ‘N’ Roll Politics Show at Greenwich Theatre
26 September
Steve Richards heads for Greenwich Theatre for the first time with his Rock ‘N’ Roll Politics Show. Could there be a better time to delve into the dramatic machinations of Westminster? The show – a sell-out in London and at the Edinburgh Festival – takes the audience behind the scenes of the latest epic political dramas. Each show is different as the award-winning political commentator and presenter reflects on current events, makes unreliable predictions about what might happen next, and takes questions on any topics of interest. Tickets £15. 7.30pm.
Crooms Hill, Greenwich SE10 8ES; greenwichtheatre.org.uk

6 Stand Up at The O2, North Greenwich
26 September & 3 October
Stand Up at The O2 is an all-new event series offering you the chance to enjoy an exclusive comedy performance on top of the world’s number one music, entertainment and leisure venue – once you’ve climbed it. The urban mountaineering experience has partnered with award-winning comedian Suzi Ruffell to host the events, which start with an exhilarating climb up to the roof of The O2, followed by Ruffell’s intimate comedy set of exclusive material, complete with 360-degree, panoramic views of the capital, before climbing back down to Base Camp. As seen on The Jonathan Ross Show, Live at the Apollo and The Last Leg, and praised by The Guardian as a ‘stand-up gem’, Ruffell has established herself as one of the top upcoming comedic talents, completing five sell-out runs at Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Stand Up at The O2 takes place on 19 & 26 September and 3 October at 7pm and 7.30pm. Tickets are £40pp.
The​ O2, Peninsula Square, North Greenwich SE10 0DX; tickets.aegeurope.com/upattheo2

7 Russell Howard at The Clapham Grand
27 September
London’s iconic Clapham Grand reopened last week with its first post-lockdown shows featuring Frank Turner, Russell Howard and Emily Atak, and it seems Russell Howard enjoyed himself so much he’s returning this weekend. 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. Tickets are sold in pairs, threes and tables of four, due to physical distancing measures, with tickets per person £20 plus a £1 restoration fee and 10% booking fee. You can also pre-order drinks and food. Also performing at The Clapham Grand this weekend are Jimbo the Drag Clown, The Vivienne and Baga Chipz.
21-25 St John’s Hill, Clapham Junction SW11 1TT; claphamgrand.com

8 Swingers City & West End Reopen
From 24 September
Swingers reopens both its London venues this week with new crazy golf holes and features. Each one of our four courses (two at each venue) have been revamped with a number of new moving installations including clocktowers, waterwheels, carousels and Ferris wheels. Street food vendors Breddos Tacos, Patty&Bun, Pizza Pilgrims, Made of Dough and Hackney Gelato will be back, and there’s also a new package for colleagues who might be remote working but want to get together for a meeting and to socialise (the Team Set (£45pp) offers the use of a private room for two hours, street food, dessert, soft drinks, meeting equipment and a round of crazy golf). The 20,000 sq ft venues have plenty of room for social distancing, and raft of new COVID-secure measures will help keep golfers safe, including a new Swingers app with food and drink ordering capability, an online scorecard and a track-and-trace form.
Swingers West End, 15 John Prince’s Street W1G 0AB & Swingers City, 8 Brown’s Building EC3A 8AL. See swingers.club

9 CUCIELO’s Vermouth Pop Up, Islington
26 September
This Saturday is the last chance to catch CUCIELO’s Vermouth pop up and soak up the final rays of summer at Little Bat in Islington. The perfect socially distanced cocktail experience, the CUCIELO Route is serving up alfresco cocktails and a ‘walktail’ – as they do in NYC – or sufficiently spaced indoors. The Vermouth bar serves up CUCIELO Cinque7 – a refreshing blend of CUCIELO Bianco Vermouth, Prosecco DOC/DOCG, Angostura Orange Bitters and soda water. Order at the bar and you’ll be given a postcard to exchange for a drink, which you can drink inside, alfresco, or take it to go and have yourself a ‘walktail’. Head for the CUCIELO bicicletta outside Little Bat from 5pm-9pm on Saturday 26th.
Little Bat, 54 Islington Park Street N1 1PX; @cucielo_vermouth

10 Open House Festival, various locations
19-27 September
In response to Covid-19, alongside the familiar format of opening buildings, there are a number of new collections of programming allowing you to experience Open House in different ways, from documentary films to online events, self-led walking tours and a new podcast. Collections include Architecture for Climate Change, Culture at Risk, Radical Housing, Local Discoveries and Pubs. Highlights for the final weekend include The Lost Canals and Hidden Industry of SE London with John Rennie, a cycling tour of the old Grand Surrey Canal route from Rotherhithe to Peckham (meet at 169 Rotherhithe Street SE16 5SZ at 10am on Sun 27th); and Walking in the Footsteps of Sovereignty, a walking tour of the history of the seven monuments that made up the Coronation pilgrimage (meet at Tower Hill Terrace EC3N 4EE on Fri 25th at 2pm).

11 Totally Thames, various locations
1-30 September

Totally Thames returns this September, with a slightly adjusted, Covid-secure programme of river-related activities, heritage events and public art installations taking place throughout the month. Look out for Thames TideFest, a celebration of fun on the river with London’s biggest angling competition and paddlesports like kayaking, canoeing and stand-up paddleboarding all taking place at Strand on the Green on Sunday 6 Sept; Brunel’s London, a boat trip under three Brunel Bridges to the launch ramps of Brunel’s monster ship on the Isle of Dogs, plus a guided tour through Brunel’s Thames Tunnel, taking place daily in Sept (Mon-Fri meet at 10.20am at Embankment Tube Station, Sat-Sun meet at 11.10am, tickets £14-£16); and Live from Under the Thames, a live-streamed concert from the Brunel Museum by Modulus Quartet, performing new works from their upcoming album, Evolutional, broadcast from the Brunel Museum in Rotherhithe and followed by a Q&A session with the performers and composer (Sun 27 Sept, 6pm-7.45pm).

12 ENO Drive & Live at Alexandra Palace
Until 27 September
Live opera has returned with Puccini’s La Bohème in a unique drive-in experience at Ally Pally. When the struggling writer Rodolfo meets his neighbour Mimì, it’s love at first sight, but as the youthful couple and their friends indulge in life’s pleasures, their happiness is quickly dashed by the realities of their precarious living situation. This new 90 minute production of Puccini’s tragic romance is performed live – both on stage and on the ground – by members of the award-winning ENO Orchestra and Chorus. The raised stage has large screens relaying the performance, with microphones for high quality stereo sound both outside and inside your car. Plus, if you don’t have a car you can book an Uber Box – a static car that adheres to social distancing – or you can go on a bicycle. Tickets £35-£100.

13 Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Annka Kultys Gallery, Hackney
Until 10 October
Annka Kultys Gallery is making history as the first commercial art gallery to represent a humanoid robot artist, Ai-Da Robot, in Do Robots Dream of Electric Bees? Ai-Da is the world’s first ultra-realistic robot artist, who made the headlines last year for making over £1m in sales before her inaugural exhibition at Oxford University opened. The upcoming exhibition, a play on the novel by Philip K. Dick, presents new works by Ai-Da including oil paintings, drawings and sculptures, as well as one video work. The exhibition deals with themes from global warming, the extinction of species to the uses and abuses of future technologies. Aided by computer vision, Ai-Da can draw, and is a performance artist. Since her creation last year, Ai-Da has shown at the Barbican, Tate Modern, Ars Electronica and Abu Dhabi Art. Open Thurs-Sat, 12pm-6pm.
Unit 3, 1st Floor, 472 Hackney Road E2 9EQ; annkakultys.com

14 Architecture for Dogs at Japan House London, High Street Kensington
Until 10 October
Japan House London will be the first destination in Europe to host the internationally acclaimed Architecture for Dogs exhibition. Featuring a collection of 16 architectural designs for different dog breeds including the Beagle, Bichon Frise and Poodle, the exhibition offers a fun and insightful exploration into how it is possible for dogs and their human companions to be at their happiest through interaction with specially designed architectural pieces. The exhibition offers smaller dogs the opportunity to interact with a number of the designs, such as Architecture For Long-Bodied Short-Legged Dogs, designed by world-renowned architectural practice Atelier Bow-Wow. Other exhibits include A new home for Snoopy and a candy floss cocoon inspired by the distinct fur of the Bichon Frise.
101-111 Kensington High Street W8 5SA; japanhouselondon.uk 

15 SLEEPLESS, A Musical Romance, Troubadour Wembley Park Theatre
Until 27 September
SLEEPLESS, a new musical starring Jay McGuiness from The Wanted and Kimberley Walsh of Girls’ Aloud, alongside a 12-piece jazz orchestra, is the first fully staged, indoor musical to be back up and running post lockdown. The timeless romantic comedy tells the story of Sam, a brokenhearted man who moves to Seattle following the tragic death of his wife. When his 10-year-old son phones a radio show, Sam ends up talking about his sleepless nights live on air and suddenly finds himself one of the most-sought after singles in America. The spacious venue means that there will be no physical contact between the staff and audience at any time, and a new COVID-19 test, which delivers results within an hour, will be used for cast, musicians, crew and theatre staff on a daily basis. Theatregoers can also park at Wembley Stadium for just £1. Tickets from £15.
3 Fulton Road, Wembley Park HA9 0SP; sleeplessthemusical.com