Curtain Up opens at the Victoria and Albert Museum

The Theatre and Performance Gallery at the V&A is about to open  Curtain Up: Celebrating 40 Years of Theatre in London and New York for a run prior to its  transfer to Lincoln Centre, New York in October.

This exhibition brings together materials from a variety of shows that have traversed the Atlantic to appear in both the West End and New York, winning Olivier and Tony Awards. The theatre artefacts alone will be well worth the visit, from Michael Crawford’s original Phantom of the Opera mask, to Julia McKenzie’s Guys and Dolls garter from 1982, and Helen Mirren’s queenly dress from the 2013 production of The Audience. Interactive elements include a sound booth allowing you to adjust the levels on the Hairspray soundtrack, and a small recreation of the set from Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, which uses projection all around you to simulate being on stage. Find yourself on stage with Joey from War Horse and see the award statuettes up close with a spotlight on the Olivier Awards themselves.  free admission.

Victoria and Albert Museum

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See Buzz Aldrin in Conversation with Brian Cox at the Science Museum February 28

ImageHandler.ashx-2On February 28th you’ll have a chance to see Buzz Aldrin, one of the first two humans to set foot on another world, which he achieved in the 1969 Apollo 11 moonwalk.   He will be interviewed by British Physicist Brian Cox.

Since retiring from NASA, Aldrin continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.

Professor Brian Cox is an Advanced Fellow of particle physics in the School of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Manchester and presenter of numerous science programmes including BBC2’s Stargazing Live.

Science Museum.


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The London Art Salon: London’s art in a relaxed social setting

I often post on literary events and lectures, but Londoners have their choice of art lectures as well.  Here’s one salon which enables you to stay current with the exhibitions around town and do so in a relaxed setting.

The London Art Salon brings together expert speakers with an engaged membership in a series of talks, lectures and discussions covering London’s current exhibitions, events, art history and the art market. Their goal is to provide a guide to London’s art in a relaxed social setting, where salon attendees can make new friends and share their   curiosities.  They believe that art should not be a dry dusty subject, locked away for academics, but a starting point for human connection, a reflection of its surroundings and society, and a meeting point for interested and interesting minds.


What’s on at the London Art Salon this season

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For My NYC readers…Eco rock Feb 26th

On Feb 26th you’ll have a chance to support the Rainforest Action Network and hear Winning Review friend Howard Altmann give a poetry reading at the Cutting Room.  Suzanne Vega will be there too…..


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Feb 7 One night only cabaret at the Landor Theatre

 Buy tickets for this great lineup next Sunday evening to help raise money for Shelter–which combats homelessness.

Landor Theatre | The Landor Theatre

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Page Victor (@pcvictor63) • Fantastic London Instagram photos and videos

Screen Shot 2016-01-30 at 11.02.28
Winning Review reader from our early days, Page Victor, is capturing London each morning in all its glory.  Page’s photos are stunning and if you’re following my blog and don’t live in London already—you’ll soon want to.   Page Victor (@pcvictor63) • Instagram photos and videos.

I know that Page is always trying to find new ways of seeing London and according to the Guardian you can now go on a new type of tour that offers a fresh perspective on a familiar city,  It’s all part of the experience of an Unseen Tour, a walk around London with someone who knows it from a rather different point of view to your typical guide, because they once lived on the streets.  Unseen Tours: £10 (£7 concessions),


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 Magical Lantern Festival at Chiswick House opens Feb 3rd

imageFrom Chiswick House: The UK Premier of the world famous Magical Lantern Festival comes to Chiswick House & Gardens in London for the first time in its long and elaborate history.

The festival is a spectacular artistic installation of beautifully sculpted lanterns taking various forms from animals and birds to buildings and abstract lantern designs of all shapes and sizes. Experience amazing illuminations of art and light through giant sculpted lanterns in a variety of forms and structures. Soak up the buzzing carnival atmosphere with live cultural staged performances, tease your taste buds with a range of international cuisines and meander through the market and take home a beautiful lantern of your choice to adorn your home.

The Magical Lantern Festival will be a unique cultural experience and the only place to celebrate the Chinese New Year in all its glory and tradition. A festival for the whole family to enjoy together, with something for everyone, a must see event!
Ticketed entry every 15 minutes from 5.00pm to 8.45pm – please see the link on the right.

Buy tickets to the Lantern Festival through Ticketmaster on GIVEASYOULIVE.COM, choosing City Harvest London

I’ve recently been encouraging everyone to use to be the portal for all your online shopping-it will let you donate to good causes…..for free!.  While you pay the same prices you would have, the 4,000+ retailers on this site give a % of the sale price to the charity of your choice.

Since the charity City Harvest London is dear to me, I encourage you to select it as your charity of choice on giveasyoulive. com   I just bought my tickets for this event using Ticketmaster through giveasyoulive!  An
d all my ATG theatre tickets can be purchased through  the portal as well.

Chiswick House and Gardens – Magical Lantern Festival

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Visit The Museum of Innocence at Somerset House

Somerset House is delighted to announce a collaboration with Nobel Prize-winning author Orhan Pamuk which will see a unique new version of his collection The Museum of Innocence, the physical manifestation of his novel of the same name, travels to Somerset House in January 2016.  If you haven’t read the novel Museum of Innocence I highly recommend it.

Both the novel and the museum tell the story of engaged wealthy socialite Kemal Bey’s obsessive love for Füsun, his twice removed cousin and a beautiful shopgirl, through an array of everyday items which have taken on special emotional significance as mementos and keep-sakes of the couple’s ill-fated romance.

From Somerset HouseThe exhibition at Somerset House will focus on 13 vitrines filled with everyday objects that each represent a single moment within the relationship, interwoven with film by celebrated director Grant Gee, original material about the making of the museum and facsimile manuscripts of the novel. More than the sum of their parts, each vitrine lends insight into the private world and passions of the novel’s characters as well as Istanbul as a city. Some pieces, such as hair clips, toothbrushes or cologne, hint at the fictional lovers’ bodily presence; some at everyday life in 1970s Istanbul through newspaper clippings, tin spoons and salt shakers; and some at key moments within their love story, such as the formal invitation to Sibel and Kemal’s engagement party.

The careful collection and curation of each piece in the exhibition demonstrates the magic of everyday items and the imprint we leave not just on the lives of those who love us but the objects with which we surround ourselves.”

Source: The Museum of Innocence : Somerset House

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Ancient Egyptian Exhibition at Two Temple Place opens January 30th


v0_masterTwo Temple Place, one of London’s hidden architectural gems, hosts great exhibitions   twice a year and if you haven’t been to this venue yet, find some time to go.

You’ll get a chance to visit on January 30th when the exhibit Beyond Beauty: Transforming the Body in Ancient Egypt open. This major new exhibition allows us to experience the ancient Egyptians at their most spectacular and at their most intimate, uncovering a civilisation fascinated by appearance and identity both in life and death.

From Two Temple Place “Rare surviving imagery on exquisite painted cof ns, decorated funerary masks, delicate gurines and beautifully carved reliefs emphasise the importance of body image. Meanwhile jewellery, mirrors, hairpins, scent bottles and makeup provide an insight into some surprisingly familiar daily routines and the ever changing styles of the time. Through artefacts spanning over four millennia, from 3,500 B.C. to 400 A.D., the viewer is invited to ask why Egyptians cared so much about transforming the way they looked and how our perceptions are in uenced by the objects they left behind.

Beyond Beauty is created by the Bulldog Trust in partnership with 7 museums from across the country. Many of the artefacts on display come from the same archaeological excavations, and are seen together collectively for the first time since their discovery by pioneering Victorian Egyptologists.”

Two Temple Place

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Homer’s epic retold in an extraordinary dance theatre production at Wiltons

The Mark Bruce Company’s Dracula was perfect in the setting of  Wilton’s and now they are bringing another unique dance experience to the venue, Homer’s epic, The Odyssey.

From WiltonsThe King, Odysseus separated from his family for ten years of brutal war, faces another ten year struggle to return home, as a reckless God drags him on an epic journey across oceans to strange lands and the darkness beyond. Immortal beauties, shape shifters, monsters and sorcerers both guide and torment the king as he hurtles towards a savage and desperate reunion with his Queen.The cast and creative team that brought you the multi-award winning Dracula present a vision of a broken world, from faded New York pageants to islands of fantasy; brutal seas, battlefields and a gateway to Hades. Set to music spanning Mozart to Mark Lanegan, Sacred Arias to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and an originally composed score, this Odyssey is of now – contemporary horror and fantasy splintering from ancient myth. The themes universal: how we face our mortality and the driving force of the Gods inside us.”

Mark Bruce Company: The Odyssey – Wilton’s

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Guided Free Walks Across London this weekend


From TFL:‘Winter Wanders’ sees TfL put on 43 free guided walks across London on Saturday 23 and Sunday 24 January. The walks, which are led by experienced Walk London guides, are a perfect post-Christmas activity as they range from short strolls to more challenging routes, and all start and finish within easy reach of public transport.

“From our new Walking Tube map to Legible London wayfinding signs and our pedestrian safety action plan, we’re committed to making London the most walkable city in the world.”

The 43 guided Winter Wanders include:
• Scenes on Screen – Film and TV in London at 14:00 (1.7 miles) a new walk for 2016, which will take in locations used for films, TV series and commercials, as well as insights into some of the famous former local residents.
• Goodnight Mr Tom – London in the Blitz at 14:00 (1.6 miles) this new family-focused walk is inspired by Michelle Magorian’s much loved book “Goodnight Mister Tom”, which tells the story of Willy Beech who is evacuated from London during World War II. The walk explores the City of London and hears what life was like for those who remained in the Capital during the Blitz.
• Hidden Alleyways and Courtyards – St Paul’s to Chancery Lane at 11.00 (1.5 miles) this walk explores London’s past including a monastery, hidden alleyways and the history of London’s newspapers and journalism.
• Discovering Historic Southwark – in the Shadow of the Shard at 14.30 (2 miles) walk from London Bridge to Tower Hill. Learn about the Roman times to the present day, Southwark’s famous landmarks and inhabitants, its seafaring past, its literary connections and some of its dark secrets.
• London’s Hidden Treasures – Waterloo to London Bridge at 11:30 (2 miles) this is a gentle stroll along both sides of the River Thames which will reveal some of the secrets that lie beneath the streets and under the river. The walk starts at Waterloo and the iconic London Eye before moving directly on to the river where the history is over 2,000 years.
• Seafaring London – Tower Bridge to Greenwich at 11.30 (6.5 miles) a special walk exploring seafaring London. Walking through Shad Thames and also looking across the water at St Katherine’s Dock, Wapping, Limehouse and Millwall.


Walk London

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 Audra McDonald making her West End Debut in Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill in June

From Wyndham’s TheatreSix-time Tony Award® winner Audra McDonald makes her West End debut as legendary jazz icon, Billie Holiday.

Spend an intimate evening filled with some of the most inspiring and moving songs ever written and hear the personal stories of Holiday’s loves and losses through a turbulent but extraordinary life.

With a glorious score featuring God Bless the Child, What a Little Moonlight Can Do, Strange Fruit, Crazy He Calls Me and Taint Nobody’s Biz-ness you’d better pull up a chair and order a drink because this legend’s got a life to sing.”

Audra McDonald, a Tony, Grammy, and Emmy Award-winner, is one of Broadway’s biggest stars and holds the record for Tony-winning performances including her Best Actress winning performance for Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill.: Lady Day at Emerson’s Bar & Grill 

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The Pianist of Willesden Lane at the St James Theatre January 20th

From the St. James theatre:  “A true story of family, hope and survival told through the world’s most beautiful music.

Set in Vienna in 1938 and in London during the Blitz, The Pianist of Willesden Lane tells the true story of Lisa Jura, a young Jewish pianist who is dreaming about her concert debut at Vienna’s storied Musikverein concert hall. But with the issuing of new ordinances under the Nazi regime, everything for Lisa changes, except for her love of music and the pursuit of her dream – as she is torn from her family and set onto the Kindertransport to London.

Featuring some of the world’s most beloved piano music played live, The Pianist of Willesden Lane is performer Mona Golabek’s true family story. The production makes its UK premiere at the St. James Theatre after critically acclaimed, sold out runs in New York, Chicago, Boston, Berkeley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

From the NYTimes Review: ““The Pianist of Willesden Lane,” which opened on Tuesday at the 59E59 Theaters, tells the remarkable story of Lisa’s years in wartime London with an economy of means and a simplicity that only enhance the emotional effect. Packed with startling setbacks (the house at Willesden Lane is destroyed during the Blitz) and equally dramatic triumphs (against all odds, Mrs. Cohen has it rebuilt), it’s the kind of tale that would probably seem melodramatic if it were fiction”

St James Theatre

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Lumiere London Programme – 14-17 Jan, 6:30-10:30pm

Winning Review guests EW and AW report that this was unmissable, and let you see the best parts of the capital in all new ways.  The interplay between the architecture and the incredible illuminations was captivating. Favourites included the Alice in Wonderland themed garden in Leicester Square and the fishnet inspired artwork in Oxford Circus. Find out which artists will be displaying at Lumiere London and discover their spectacular light installations.   6.30pm to 10.30pm each evening, 14-17 Jan

Lumiere London Programme

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Acclaimed Pink Mist transfers to Bush Theatre in February

Read Reviews of Bristol Production of Pink Mist

From the Bush Theatre:  “Who wants to play war?Best friends Arthur, Hads and Taff were barely out of their teens when they were deployed to Afghanistan. Returning to the women in their lives who must now share the physical and psychological aftershocks of their service, they find their journey home is their greatest battle.

TOP 10 PLAY OF 2015
The Guardian, The Observer

Owen Sheers’ Pink Mist was inspired by interviews with retired servicemen, and bravely exposes the mental scars of war.“Fearlessly lyrical in its imagery” (The Times), this critically acclaimed show matches Sheers’ haunting verse with a dream-like physical language that sings with love, grief and friendship.”

Pink Mist | Bush Theatre

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Jekyll & Hyde, new dance thriller at Old Vic in May 2016

A new dance thriller devised, directed and choreographed by Drew McOnie. Inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.  Innovative theatre choreographer Drew McOnie reimagines Robert Louis Stevenson’s sinister drama in an excitingly physical new dance production with music by Grant Olding.

Drew McOnie was nominated for the Emerging Artist Award at the 2014 National Dance Awards for The McOnie Company’s DRUNK! (Leicester Curve/The Bridewell Theatre London). Recent choreography credits include the Oklahoma! (UK tour), Bugsy Malone (the Lyric Hammersmith), In The Heights (Off-West End Award Winner – Best Choreography) and Chicago (Leicester Curve).

Jekyll & Hyde

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Powerhouse trio cast for The Maids at Trafalgar Studios, opens Feb 2016

The Jamie Lloyd Company’s first production of 2016 will be the full-throttle UK premiere of a contemporary adaptation of Jean Genet’s masterpiece, The Maids – not seen in the West End for twenty years. Director Jamie Lloyd has assembled a powerhouse trio of actors – double Emmy Award winning Uzo Aduba (Orange is the New Black), Zawe Ashton (Fresh Meat) and Laura Carmichael (Downton Abbey), to tackle this explosive psycho-drama.

From Jamie Lloyd: “In a luxurious bedroom, two maids fantasize about killing their employer, playing out dangerous and sadistic scenarios as they plan her violent death.  An intense psychological thriller seething with unique theatricality and brimming with intrigue, The Maids is a vicious analysis of the class system, and a provocative exploration of sexuality.”

The Maids

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Sondheim’s ROAD SHOW opens at  Union Theatre in February

Following the successful transfer to the Menier Chocolate Factory of the New York Production of Road Show in 2011, the Union Theatre is now creating the first ever UK production of Sondheim‘s show. 

 From the Union Theatre: “At the turn of the last century old Pa Meisner sends his sons, the charming and ruthless Wilson and the thoughtful unambitious Addison off to make their fortune. 

 The ill matched pair embark of the story of their lifetime across the U.S. stopping off at some of the key moments which shaped modern America. 

 A moving story of love, antagonism and reconciliation between two brothers, events in Road Show mirror a mighty nation in transition. 

 Prominently featuring a romance between Addison and an idealistic young male artist Road Show also includes Sondheim’s first openly gay characters and one of his most haunting love songs, notably sung by one man to another.


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The Wasp transfers to Trafalgar Studios through January 16

Following a sold out run at the Hampstead Theatre last year, The Wasp transfers to the Trafalgar Studios.

★★★★ ‘These characters and performances make for a pair of very good bad girls’ Financial Times
★★★★ ‘Absolutely excellent… A taut, brilliantly calibrated two-hander’ The Stage

From Trafalgar Studios:Heather and Carla haven’t seen each other since school. Their lives have taken very different paths – Carla lives a hand to mouth existence while Heather has a high-flying career, husband and a beautiful home. And yet, here they are in a café having tea and making awkward conversation. That is until Heather presents Carla with a bag containing a significant amount of cash and an unexpected proposition…  Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s electric thriller asks how far beyond the playground we carry our childhood experiences and to what lengths some people are willing to go to in order to come to terms with them.”

The Wasp

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An Evening with Gloria Steinem – how to: Academy February 24th

It always seems a bit funny to start booking things for the new year.  Is it really 2016?  But here’s a good one to start filling your diary with:  Gloria Steinem, fearless journalist, political activist, voice for women everywhere, is back on the road and coming to talk in London.

From the HowTo  Academy:  “Her new book –  the first she has published in twenty years – is the story of her travels,  from childhood trips in her father’s trailer to the campaign trail of Hillary Clinton. It is in planes, trains and automobiles that Steinem has encountered what she calls ‘the surrealism in every day life’, and on this one-stop tour you can hear the legendary speaker, who has taken to the podium on the most pressing issues of our time, reflect on her life-long journey. With the unique perspective of one of the greatest feminists of the 20th and 21st centuries, this will be an inspiring, profound, enlightening talk about one woman’s life-long journey. “

An Evening with Gloria Steinem

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