The year’s not out yet! Make the most of 2019 with The Resident’s pick of the best things to do in the last weekend of 2019…
Lead image: Circus 1903 returns to the Southbank Centre
1 The Greatest Show Tunes, Barbican
Celebrate the best of West End and movie musicals with this show-stopping concert packed full of the greatest show tunes. Part of Raymond Gubbay’s Christmas Festivals, you can expect a high energy, musical theatre extravaganza performed live on stage by a star cast direct from the West End, accompanied by the sensational London Concert Orchestra. There’ll be hits from The Greatest Showman, Mamma Mia!, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Dreamgirls, The Phantom of the Opera, 9 to 5, La La Land, Jesus Christ Superstar and more. Tickets £16.50-£44.50. 7.30pm. Also at the Barbican this weekend is The Best of John Williams on 27 December and The Four Seasons by Candlelight on 28 December.
Barbican Centre, Silk Street EC2Y 8DS; barbican.org.uk
2 Circus 1903 at Southbank Centre
19 December-Until 5 January
Circus 1903 – the internationally acclaimed turn-of-the-century family spectacular from the producers The Illusionists and the award-winning War Horse puppeteers – takes us back to the mesmerising Golden Age of Circus. On now at Southbank Centre’s Royal Festival Hall with new acts for 2019 including the Brazilian Wheel of Death, the mesmerising production features larger-than-life puppet elephants alongside a huge cast of amazing and dangerous circus acts including acrobats, contortionists, jugglers, trapeze artists, high-wire performers and more. Tickets £29.50-£125.
Royal Festival Hall, Southbank Centre Belvedere Road SE1 8XX; circus1903.com
Until 5 January
The famous Hackney Empire panto returns with Dick Whittington and His Cat for 2019, promising its trademark magic and spectacle in a dazzling re-imagining of the classic rags-to-riches tale. The show stars Grande Dame Clive Rowe in his 13th Hackney panto appearance following an award-winning East End comeback last year. Rowe plays Sarah the Cook, alongside panto debuts from Tarinn Callender (Hamilton) as Dick Whittington and Annette McLaughlin as Queen Rat (Harry Potter and The Cursed Child). The cast also includes Hackney favourites Kat B and Tony Whittle as Vincent the Cat as Alderman Fitzwarren respectively, and welcomes Christina Tedders as Alice Fitzwarren and Sue Kelvin as Fairy Bowbells. Tickets £10-£38.
Hackney Empire, 291 Mare Street E8 1EJ; hackneyempire.co.uk
4 Museum of Architecture’s Gingerbread City at Somerset House
Until 5 January
Is it really Christmas until you’ve had your first gingerbread latte? This sweet treat is synonymous with all things festive, but have you ever seen an entire city made of it? Probably not, but now’s your chance: The Museum of Architecture is bringing its hugely popular Gingerbread City exhibition to Somerset House this month, which challenges architects, engineers and designers to create a futuristic city made of gingerbread. This year’s city will be exploring the theme of ‘transport’, with participants being asked to create a city that explores imaginative new ways of moving around. There will also be daily family-friendly gingerbread house making workshops and a shop. Tickets are £9 or £7 for under 12s. Under 3s go free.
The Strand WC2R 1LA; somersethouse.org.uk
5 Goldilocks & The Three Musketeers at Battersea Arts Centre
Until 31 December
Goldilocks & The Three Musketeers is a raucous festive treat by Sleeping Trees and Ben Hales that will have young audiences spellbound. The story begins as the mischievous Goldilocks flees from the Three Bears into the deep, dark wood. As she stumbles down a rabbit hole to escape, she finds herself in Wonderland, but all is not well… Teaming up with The Three Musketeers and a whole host of fairytale favourites – as well as a little help from the audience – can Goldilocks rescue Wonderland and live happily ever after? The production features original live music and songs. Tickets £10-£24, family tickets £50-£62. Each ticket includes a programme worth £4. Ages four and over.
Lavender Hill SW11 5TN; bac.org.uk
6 ABBA: Super Troupers, The Exhibition at The O2, North Greenwich
Until 31 August 2020
Let’s be honest, we’ve all sung along to Mamma Mia at some point in our lives and now you can celebrate ABBA’s incredible musical legacy at the O2 with this very special immersive exhibition. It has been conceptualised and curated by Jude Kelly MBE, former artistic director at The Southbank Centre, and it documents the Swedish band’s stellar rise to fame through personal items, photographs, costumes and lyrics.
Peninsula Square, North Greenwich SE10 ODX; theo2.co.uk
7 MELTDOWN: Visualizing the Climate Crisis at the Horniman Museum and Gardens, Forest Hill
Until 12 January 2020
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 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 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
8 Peter Pan Goes Wrong at Alexandra Palace
Until 5 January
Following their multi-award-winning success with The Play That Goes Wrong and The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Mischief Theatre returns with their riotous spin on a timeless classic, Peter Pan Goes Wrong. It will be showing at Alexandra Palace this month, and it’s a pantomime that is every bit as appealing for adults as it is for children. Times and ticket prices vary.
Alexandra Palace Way N22 7AY; alexandrapalace.com
9 Top Secret: From Ciphers to Cyber Security at Science Museum, Kensington
Until 23 February
Catch the last couple of months of this fascinating exhibition at the Science Museum, which uncovers the remarkable world of code-breaking, ciphers and secret communications. From the trenches of the First World War to the latest in cyber security, the exhibition traces over a century’s worth of communications intelligence through fascinating artefacts such as hand-written documents, declassified files and previously unseen artefacts from the Science Museum Group’s and GCHQ’s historic collections. As a result, it’s a must for the aspiring James Bonds and Bond Girls amongst us. This is free to enter.
Exhibition Road, South Kensington SW7 2DD; sciencemuseum.org.uk
10 Tutankhamun: Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh at Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea
Until 3 May 2020
One of the hottest exhibitions in town, take advantage of the stillness of London during the holidays to check out Tutankhamun – your last chance to see these glittering world heritage artefacts before they permanently return to Egypt. Commemorating 100 years since the groundbreaking discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb, there are more than 150 pieces on display at Saatchi Gallery – three times the quantity that has travelled in previous exhibitions. More than 60 of these are travelling outside Egypt for the first time. Tickets from £24.50 for adults and £16.50 for children.
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road SW3 4RY; saatchigallery.com
11 Disney On Ice Celebrates 100 Years of Magic at the O2 Arena, North Greenwich
26 December-5 January 2020
This magical show will be arriving at the O2 just after Christmas, with a cast of more than 50 characters – including Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Donald Duck and of course a princess or two – skating their way into London. Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic offers you the chance to sing along to more than 30 unforgettable songs, including favourites like Frozen’s Let It Go to Toy Story’s You’ve Got a Friend in Me, and The Lion King’s Hakuna Matata. Tickets from £33. Performance times vary.
Peninsula Square SE10 ODX; theo2.co.uk
12 Dazzle Contemporary Jewellery Exhibition, South Bank
Until 5 January
Didn’t get what you wanted for Christmas this year? Then take yourself off to Dazzle and pick out something nice. For the 38th year, this annual exhibition returns with over 4000 handmade pieces for sale, which have been created by a line-up of 90 talented makers – each has been carefully selected and often discovered by leading contemporary jewellery pioneers, Tony Gordon and Christine Bola. As a result, this is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for something special for the loved one in your life. It will take place at the Oxo Tower’s gallery, and entry is free.
Oxo Tower Wharf, South Bank SE1 9PH; dazzle-exhibitions.co.uk
13 Winter Wonderland, Hyde Park
Until 5 January 2020
With many Londoners off visiting family, this weekend should be one of your best chances to visit the eternally busy Winter Wonderland when it’s not heaving. It’s one of London’s biggest festive attractions with 100+ fairy-lit Bavarian-style wooden chalets in the Angel’s Market, a huge outdoor ice rink around the pavilion, and new shows including the Magical Ice Kingdom presents A Christmas Carol, Paddington on Ice, Mr Men & Little Miss – The Show and Cirque Berserk. Free to enter. Attractions carry a fee. Closed on Christmas Day.
Hyde Park W2 2UH; hydeparkwinterwonderland.com
Until 5 January 2020
Head out of town and enjoy a spot of ice skating at Hampton Court, where the rink is set against the iconic backdrop of Henry VIII’s historic home. You’ll be treated to views of both the palace and the Thames, but we recommend going after dusk when the historic Tudor gate is bathed in light. Warm up with a hot drink and a sweet treat at the Ice Rink Café Bar, too. The ice rink is open from 10am until late on weekdays, and from 9am until late at the weekend. Adult tickets from £15, kids £10.50, family tickets available.
Hampton Court Palace, East Molesey KT8 9AU; hrp.org.uk
15 Ravens: Spassky Vs. Fischer at Hampstead Theatre
Until 18 January 2020
Uncover the secrets of the Cold War with Tom Morton-Smith’s gripping new psychological thriller, which will be shown at Hampstead Theatre until January. Directed by Annebelle Comyn, this stellar new play depicts a match that became a signature event of this period in history, exploring how two very different individuals were co-opted to stand for contrasting political systems. Times and ticket prices vary.
Eton Avenue, Swiss Cottage NW3 3EU; hampsteadtheatre.com