Wrap up the last few days of 2015 using the fun-filled list of events below. Catch brilliant comedy shows, festive pantos and art exhibitions before the countdown begins on Thursday night and London blasts its way into 2016 with heaps of dazzling New Year’s Eve parties. It’s going to be great!
Things to do
Frozen Sing-A-Long, Barbican Centre, Wed, £11.50, £9.20 members, £10.50 concs, £6 under-18s. Gather up the family and head to the Barbican for a sing-a-long screening of Disney's 'Frozen'. Grown-ups who don't know the words to 'Let it Go' yet (where have you been?!) will benefit from song lyrics on screen, and fancy dress for the little ones in encouraged.
New Year's Eve Cleudo Party, Village East, Thu. Turn your New Year's Eve meal into a giant game of Cleudo at Village East, where they're theming each of their rooms to recreate the game's Tudor mansion.
Rib it Up this New Year's Eve, St Katherine's Pier, Thu, £290. Come back, vegetarians! This has nothing to do with gnawing on ribs and everything to do with an exciting boat trip along the Thames which will allow a flawless view of the New Year's Eve fireworks display.
Front Row Fireworks on New Year’s Eve with Columbia Restaurant, Columbia Restaurant & Bar, Thu, £249, £339 overnight package. Dig into a four course dinner complete with champagne and canapés at the Columbia Restaurant this New Year's Eve. Food will be followed by a cruise down the Thames, with guests slowly making their way from the hotel's private pier towards Westminster for perfect views of the fireworks.
The View from The Shard's New Year's Eve Party in association with Time Out, London Bridge, Thu, £149.95. Bring in the New Year while enjoying 360-degree panoramic views oveer the city at this New Year's Eve party in Western Europe's tallest building. Tickets include a welcome cocktail and glass of champagne for a toast at the stroke of midnight, and more drinks will be available to buy from a cash bar.
New Year's Eve Hogmanay Ceilidh, St Leonard's Church, Thu, £20-£25. Folk Of The Wood host their final ceilidh of the year, welcoming 2016 with foot stomping fiddles, a Scottish caller and the Ceilidh Tree band.
Gods Own Junkyard: My Generation, Lights of Soho, all week, free. To mark one year since the passing of magnificent neon artist Chris Bracey, his family present a showcase of work made by their own hands alongside dazzling pieces from the God's Own Junkyard founder.
Southbank Centre Winter Festival, Southbank Centre, all week, free. The Southbank Centre Winter Festival returns for 2015 and along with its array of festive shows and performances they will also be celebrating the coldest season with a fistful of fun pop-ups and activities.
Disappearing Dining Club: NYE Dinner Dance
Eating and drinking
Christmas Snow Globe at The Gherkin, Searcys at The Gherkin, Tue-Thu, from £35. A rare opportunity to gain access to Searcys, the private members club situated at the top of the Gherkin where the building's iconic domed roof will be decked out with beautiful white Christmassy decorations.
Disappearing Dining Club: NYE Dinner Dance, The Chainstore, Thu, £100 (including dinner and canapes), £35 (after-dinner party only). Feast on fine food and sink brilliant booze at this popular, grand bash from pop-up party crew Disappearing Dining Club. It's set in the Chainstore, a waterside Victorian warehouse in the Docklands connected to London’s only remaining lighthouse.
…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.
© Mandee Johnson
Sam Simmons – Spaghetti for Breakfast, Soho Theatre, Mon-Wed, £15-£20. 2015's triumphant Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Award-winner Sam Simmons is back in London for another victory lap. This Aussie absurdist is erratic, loud and relentlessly silly, and 'Spaghetti for Breakfast' is his best show yet.
Foil, Arms and Hog: Skiddlywup, Soho Theatre, Mon-Wed, £12.50. This Irish sketch trio are hugely charming and have a big following at the Edinburgh Fringe. Three lovable Irish lads performing silly skits.
Allah Made Me Funny, multiple venues, Mon-Tue, Thu, £10-£25. This Muslim comedy show from the United States returns with Mo Amer, Preacher Moss and Azhar Usman. It's been a sensation all around the world and is well worth a look.
Monkey Business New Year's Eve Extravaganza, Holiday Inn London Camden Lock, Thu, £35 including veggie buffet and party pack. This long-running comedy club hosts a NYE celebration at the Camden Holiday Inn's Glasshouse room, featuring vegetarian food, live music, table magic and post-chimes dancing.
Up the Creek – New Year's Eve, Up the Creek, Thu, £30 including after party. Fun and frolics at this legendary club in Greenwich as it celebrates the new year. Ninia Benjamin is on hosting duties, introducing spots from feelgood comic Mo Gilligan, Kate Lucas and circuit legend Adam Bloom.
…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.
Live music and nightlife
Bryan Adams, Central Hall Westminster, Thu, £99. Everyone’s favourite gravel-voiced Canadian dad-rocker returns to the UK to fill up an arena or two. He’s got plenty of new material to promote, but don’t think that’ll stop him belting out classics like ‘(Everything I Do) I Do It For You’ and ‘When You’re Gone’.
Ian Shaw’s New Year’s Eve Bash, Vortex, Thu, £43.20. Top British jazz vocalist Ian Shaw performs a special New Year’s Eve show. As well as a fine interpreter of jazz classics, Ian is a fine composer and has a talent for reworking alternative songs with a jazz inflection.
Flawless NYE, The Macbeth, Thu, £8-£10. Feeling as flawless as Queen Bey at the top of her game? You sure will be if you head to this ace, reasonably priced New Year's Eve party loosely themed on one Beyoncé Knowles.
The Hydra: Bugged Out NYE, Studio Spaces E1, Thu, £40. The Bugged Out crew get busy for NYE again, teaming up with The Hydra for a mighty party. The line-up is, of course, superb: Bristolian house maestro Julio Bashmore (whose 'Knockin' Boots' album impressed us some earlier this year), Derrick Carter, UK club stalwart Shanti Celeste, Dalston Superstore selector Dan Beaumont, Lemmy Ashton and special guests tba.
Eastern Electrics NYE, A secret east London warehouse location, Thu, from £29.95. Heavyweight dance festival crew Eastern Electrics get some New Year's vibes on the go in stellar style. Top names laying down the grooves include Infiinty Ink, Waif and Strays, Boddika, Dense & Pika, Normski, Geddes, Subb-an and a secret guest.
Soundcrash Tropical New Year's Eve Party, Village Underground, Thu. Get down to tropical house from Quantic, global jams from Gilles Peterson, atmospheric techno from Hyperdub boss Kode9 and ace, bassy business from genre-hopping act LV.
In the Heart of the Sea ★★★☆☆ When Chris Hemsworth starts waving his harpoon around, this lively tale of eighteenth-century whale-hunters is hard to resist.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens ★★★★★ JJ Abrams's Star Wars reboot is as thrilling and playful as anyone could have hoped – a masterly revival of old themes and faces.
…or see all of the latest releases.
© Manuel Harlan
The Lorax, Old Vic, all week, £12-£60. 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' adaptor David Greig takes on one of Dr Seuss's kooky heroes.
Robin Hood, Theatre Royal Stratford East, all week, £17-£27.50, £13-£21 concs. The TRSE panto is back to its loopy best under dream team Trish Cooke and Robert Hyman.
Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Donmar Warehouse, all week, £10-£37.50. Dominic West returns to the Donmar for Josie Rourke's enjoyable revival of this saucy classic.
…or see our theatre critics’ choices.
Art exhibitions to catch this week
Michael Craig-Martin: Transience, Serpentine Gallery, Tue-Thu, free. You probably feel pretty snazzy with your iPhone 6s and your hoverboard, but a quick trip to Michael Craig-Martin’s Serpentine Gallery show should put you to rights. The man who tutored the YBAs (and isn’t sorry) and curated this year’s summer show has documented objects of technological desire in big, simple, direct canvases.
Simon Denny, Serpentine Sackler Gallery, Tue-Wed, free. The young New Zealand artist’s first London solo show looks at hacker culture.
Jim Shaw, Simon Lee, all week, free. You don’t have to be an art history whiz or need to know the New Testament inside-out to get Jim Shaw’s culturally rich and brilliantly absurd paintings. However, it might help to do so, in order to really get the cutting wit of this Los Angeles-based artist.
…or see all London art reviews.
Best of the blog