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36 flippin' great things to do in London this week

By Stephanie Hartman

As the countdown to Christmas continues, there's plenty of fun to be had. This week you can enjoy shellfish, jazz and drag queen cabaret in Finsbury Park, marvel at Kew Gardens' sparkling displays of festive lights, or finally catch 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' this Thursday. Have a good one y'all.

Things to do 

Mayor's Carol Service, Southwark Cathedral, TONIGHT, free. An hour-long service of congregational Christmas carols performed by guest choirs, bibilical and secular readings and poems, and carols that the public can sing along with. 

Sara Pascoe’s Christmas Assembly, Battersea Arts Centre, Mon-Wed, £12. Don't expect much Jesus chat at this human-focused celebration of all things Christmas – apparently gods are welcome but only 'if they arrange their own seating'.

Make E11: Speedcrafting Christmas Party, All You Read Is Love, Tue, £30. Get crafty this Christmas by designing and making gifts for your loved ones during quick-fire taster workshops with Make E11.

Principia Launch Day, various, Tue, free. On December 15, British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake launches into space for a six-month mission onboard the International Space Station. To celebrate, the Science Museum and Natural History Museum are hosting free events for all ages.

Some Voices present: Christmas No 1s, York Hall, Tue-Wed, £16 + booking fee. The Some Voices choir have rounded up their favourite Christmas chart toppers from the likes of Queen, Mariah and East 17 for two sparkling evenings of song featuring a live band and DJ.

Olympia, The London International Horse Show, Olympia London, Tue-Thu, from £15. Now in its 108th year, the equine world’s annual Christmas party will attract internationally acclaimed riders, Olympic Gold Medallists and horse-lovers from all over the country for world cup competitions, remarkable displays, festive entertainment and even a shopping village.

Christmas at Kew Gardens, Kew Gardens, Wed-Thu, £18, £12 concs, free under-4s; £16/£10 adv. The magnificent gardens get a beautiful seasonal makeover once more in 2015, as Christmas at Kew brings illuminations to light up the buildings, trails and planting.

Merry and Bright with Victoria Park Singers, St John-at-Hackney Church, Thu, £10, £8 concs/ £12, £10 concs on the door. The Victoria Park Singers perform a range of festive songs including a jazzy Jamaican number, a Dutch carol and other classics at this charity fundraiser for Bow and Hackney food banks.

…or check out more events happening in London this week.






Eating and drinking

Supper with London Shell Co., Curio Cabal, Tue-Wed, £45. Ordinarily London Shell Co. serve up their seafood feasts aboard a boat on the Regents Canal, but this two-night stint at pop-up Haggerston wine bar Nutkin & Co is a landlubber's chance to tuck into their menu.

The Glam Clam, The Dome, Thu, £32.50-£92.50. This pop-up restaurant experience is bringing all the glitter to Tufnell Park this December, offering a gloriously camp and slightly Christmassy night out involving shellfish, cocktails, jazz and drag queen cabaret.

…or check out the latest restaurant reviews.


© Andy Hollingworth Archive






Bill Bailey: Limboland, Vaudeville Theatre, Mon-Wed, £25-£49.50. ‘It’s going quite well,’ says Bill Bailey, 30 minutes into his new show. ‘I think I’ll do my joke.’Yep, Bailey is on typically bewildered form in ‘Limboland’, which has landed in the West End for a Christmas run after a year of touring.

Comedians' Cinema Club at Winterville, Victoria Park, Tue, £10. Comedian Eric Lampaert and his gang of movie-lovin' fools (including Will Seaward and Matthew Highton) – AKA the Comedians' Cinema Club – recreate Hollywood films, live, in their gloriously chaotic comedy shows.

Sofie Hagen: Bubblewrap, Soho Theatre, Tue-Thu, £12.50, £10 concs. Danish stand-up Sofie Hagen deservedly won the Best Newcomer gong at the 2015 Foster's Edinburgh Comedy Awards. Now you can catch 'Bubblewrap' in London, as Hagen plays a Christmas run at Soho Theatre.

Tim Key: Father Slutmas, The Invisible Dot Ltd, all week, £12-£18. Chaotic poet-comedian Tim Key's festive shindig is practically now a Christmas tradition. He slams down some yuletide poems at these December specials, both at the Invisible Dot and in the West End.

…or check out all the critics’ choice comedy shows.






Live music

Lianne La Havas, O2 Academy Brixton, TONIGHT, £21. Still just 25 but tipped by Prince and with a Top Five debut album under her belt, south London singer-songwriter La Havas recalls Feist and Erykah Badu with her velvety vocals and mellifluous, synth-shimmering folk-soul sound.

Lucy Rose, The Macbeth, Tue, £10.The poppy, acoustic young songwriter, known for singing guest vocals for Bombay Bicycle Club (and selling homemade tea and jam on her merch table), returns to play new songs from her second album.

Ellie Goulding, Roundhouse, Wed, £35. She's a big star nowadays, but Goulding still has a fragile, personal side to her music that sets her apart from other chart-pop performers. She does her disco-meets-electropop thing in a big room tonight, with material that spans big EDM drops and tender ballads.

…or take a look at all the live music events in London this week.







Grotto Outré, 148-50 Curtain Road, Tue-Thu, £10. This over-18s-only festive pop-up will see Shoreditch gain an ice kingdom featuring some weird and wonderful characters.

DJ Mag's Best of British Awards, Heaven, Wed, £16 for two tickets, £10 single ticket. Dance publication DJ Mag hosts an awards ceremony to celebrate the finest in UK dance music talent, also doubling up as a rather nifty party soundtracked by said talent.

Skate at Somerset House: Club Nights, Somerset House, Wed-Thu, £17. The series of late-night DJ-led skate sessions at the picturesque ice rink returns for another year, as part of the wider Skate at Somerset House programme. Catch NTS Radio on Wed and License 2 Trill on Thu.

…or see all the parties planned this week.







Frozen River, Genesis Cinema, Tue, £5. If you’re fed up of having your cockles warmed but still feel like watching something appropriately snowy, this is the movie for you. Melissa Leo is Ray, a woman who will go any distance to ensure the future of her children – even if it means bending the law.

Meet Me in St Louis, Regent Street Cinema, Wed, £11, £10 concs. A technicolour ode to the joys and tensions of living side-by-side with your fellow man. In a snow-globe rendering of St Louis, Missouri circa 1903, the affluent Smith clan must face the prospect of ripping up their ancestral roots to chase future fortunes.

Rock ’n’ Roll High School, Barbican Centre, Thu, £9.50, £8.50 concs. Crammed with throwaway humour, this is a feisty reworking of the kids-versus-adults rock ’n’ roll movie format of the 1950s, with the great Paul Bartel in the traditional role of the adult kook who goes hip, and Don Steele as the radio commentator who brings the confrontation to the nation.

Or at the cinema...

Star Wars: The Force Awakens If you care about ‘Star Wars’ you’ll already have the skinny on ‘The Force Awakens’: you’ll know that ‘Star Trek’ rebooter JJ Abrams is directing, that the diverse, well-chosen cast includes Peckham’s own John Boyega, newcomer Daisy Ridley, ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’ star Oscar Isaac and of course the original three icons, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher and Harrison Ford (plus sidekicks Chewbacca, C-3PO and R2-D2). 

Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict ★★★☆☆ A documentary about the life of the respected art collector and social butterfly.

By the Sea ★★★☆☆ Anglina Jolie directs and stars – alongside hubby Brad Pitt – in this lacklustre but intriguing marital drama.

…or see all of the latest releases.


© Cameron Harle






No Villain, Old Red Lion, Tue-Thu, £18, £16 concs. This premiere of Arthur Miller’s debut play, staged for the first time nearly 80 years after it was written, will surely intrigue a generation brought up on showbiz pages and Instagram backstage snaps.

Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Apollo Shaftesbury, Tue-Thu, £20-£49.50. Peter Pan soars! Or doesn’t, in this extremely funny follow-up to ‘The Play That Goes Wrong’, which transferred from a fringe venue to the West End, won an Olivier for Best New Comedy earlier this year and gladdened the hearts of theatre-makers everywhere.

Hapgood, Hampstead Theatre, all week, £18-£35, £10-£15 concs. As always with a Tom Stoppard play, 'Hapgood' is not actually about what you think it is. Sure, it may seem like a Cold War espionage thriller, but that’s just a front for the play’s true theme: quantum physics. The play is itself a double agent.

…or see our theatre critics’ choices. 


This week's best new art

Fig-2, ICA, Thu, free. 50 weekly spontaneous exhibitions will take over the ICA’s studio space. For the final show, Laura Eldret presents her video installation, 'The Juicers'.

Rob Pruitt: Therapy Paintings, Massimo De Carlo, Tue-Thu, free. Rob Pruitt had his years in the wilderness. Back in the early ’90s, in collaboration with fellow American artist Jack Early, Pruitt created an installation that openly criticised and attacked mainstream society’s appropriation of African-American culture.

Grand Magasin Deux, French Riviera, Wed-Thu, free. After the success of the first iteration of this selling show back in 2013, Nat Breitenstein’s collaborative project invites artists and makers to present works that tread the fine line between product and art.

Brigitte Lacombe: Complicities, Phillips, Thu, free. Since 1977, the Hollywood snapper has been capturing intimate, behind-the-scenes moments from some of our era’s most captivating films. In these photographs, Leonardo DiCaprio, Meryl Streep, Dustin Hoffman, Kirsten Dunst, John Malkovich and Michelle Williams are among those caught just before action is called or cut.

…or see all London art reviews.

And finally

Win... a luxurious European weekend away with Haywards or tickets to Grey Gardens, a weekend at The Cavendish London and dinner at The Breakfast Club

Grab... up to 58% off a wash, cut and blow dry with Luxe Oil treatment at Andrew Jose - from £25

Book… these gigs while you still can

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