Stephen Fry, Jools Jams, Nude Madonna: London Weekend

Tap for Slideshow
Photographer: Simon Annand/Premier PR via Bloomberg

Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry as Olivia and Malvolio in "Twelfth Night." The production runs in tandem with "Richard III" performed by the same ensemble. Both stagings transferred from London's Globe Theatre.

Close
Photographer: Simon Annand/Premier PR via Bloomberg

Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry as Olivia and Malvolio in "Twelfth Night." The production runs in tandem with "Richard III" performed by the same ensemble. Both stagings transferred from London's Globe Theatre. Close

Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry as Olivia and Malvolio in "Twelfth Night." The production runs in tandem with "Richard... Read More

Photographer: Simon Annand/Premier PR via Bloomberg

Johnny Flynn and Mark Rylance as Viola and Olivia in "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare. Flynn plays a female character who disguises herself as a boy. Close

Johnny Flynn and Mark Rylance as Viola and Olivia in "Twelfth Night" by Shakespeare. Flynn plays a female character... Read More

Source: Bacchus PR via Bloomberg News

An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Jan. 8, 2009, shows the interior of Bob Bob Ricard restaurant in London. Close

An undated handout photo, provided to the media on Jan. 8, 2009, shows the interior of Bob Bob Ricard restaurant in London.

Source: National Gallery via Bloomberg

''An Annunciation'' (1994 2004) by Richard Hamilton. The annunciation may be coming via a telephone call. Close

''An Annunciation'' (1994 2004) by Richard Hamilton. The annunciation may be coming via a telephone call.

Source: National Gallery via Bloomberg

"The Passage of the Angel to the Virgin" (2007) by Richard Hamilton. The work is based on an Annunciation by the Florentine painter Zanobi Strozzi (1412-14680), a pupil of Fra Angelico. Close

"The Passage of the Angel to the Virgin" (2007) by Richard Hamilton. The work is based on an Annunciation by the... Read More

Source: Royal Albert Hall via Bloomberg

U.K. musician and TV presenter Jools Holland. Every year, Holland brings his boogie-woogie piano and Rhythm & Blues Orchestra to the Royal Albert Hall. Close

U.K. musician and TV presenter Jools Holland. Every year, Holland brings his boogie-woogie piano and Rhythm & Blues... Read More

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg News

Gerald Diemt, head Sommelier at Launceston Place, cleans a wine glass in preparation for the lunch service at the restaurant in London on April 3, 2008. Close

Gerald Diemt, head Sommelier at Launceston Place, cleans a wine glass in preparation for the lunch service at the... Read More

Photographer: Cesar Alocer/Sadler's Wells Theatre via Bloomberg

Dancer Angel Munoz and performers from Senegal and Guinea present "Quimeras" by master guitarist Paco Pena. The show is on at the Sadler's Wells Theatre in London through Dec. 1. Close

Dancer Angel Munoz and performers from Senegal and Guinea present "Quimeras" by master guitarist Paco Pena. The show... Read More

Photographer: Cesar Alocer/Sadler's Wells Theatre via Bloomberg

Charo Espino of the Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company in "Quimeras," about a group of African migrants who head for Spain. Guitarist Paco Pena is pictured in the background. Close

Charo Espino of the Paco Pena Flamenco Dance Company in "Quimeras," about a group of African migrants who head for... Read More

Mark Rylance has changed gender.

Face caked with pale white powder, lips painted dark red, the actor is Olivia in Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” at the Apollo Theatre. Sharing the stage with him is Malvolio, played by Stephen Fry, who runs around in a beard and yellow tights.

Rylance last wowed audiences as the limping lout in “Jerusalem.” This time around, he draws giggles aplenty as the grieving Olivia, who spurns the nobleman Orsino, then develops a huge crush on a handsome messenger. Lust gets the better of the timid geisha. Trouble is, the object of her affections is a woman in disguise.

As Olivia’s manservant, Fry is entertainingly pompous. At the Apollo Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 7EZ. Information: http://www.nimaxtheatres.com.

Bob Bob Ricard is near Shaftesbury Avenue, and far from the bustle of Soho on a Friday night. This eclectic restaurant is one of London’s most lavishly decorated, yet it keeps reasonable prices. Every table is equipped with a buzzer -- for that emergency Champagne refill. Bobby’s Bar, hidden in the basement, is a fine retreat for cocktails.

Information: http://www.bobbobricard.com/ or +44-20-3145- 1000.

Saturday

A curly-haired blonde sits alone in a room, talking on the phone. She’s stark naked.

This is “An Annunciation” (2005) by Richard Hamilton, who died last year and has a small show at the National Gallery. It’s his iconoclastic take on the Virgin Mary receiving the news that she’s expecting. The computer-generated, painted-over image is a witty wink at the Florentine Renaissance.

Hamilton seems to have looked back a lot. The show’s climax is an unfinished triptych titled “Le Chef d’Oeuvre Inconnu” (“The Unknown Masterpiece”), which shows a nude surrounded by Balzac, Courbet and Titian. The idea came from a Balzac short story, where an artist boasts he’s making a masterpiece, then produces a dud where only a woman’s foot is recognizable.

“Richard Hamilton: The Late Works” is at the National Gallery until Jan. 13. Information: http://www.nationalgallery.org.uk or +44-20-7747-2423.

Saturday

Jools Holland is hitting the road to bash out good-time boogie-woogie on his piano.

The television host and former Squeeze member will be at the Royal Albert Hall for his annual two-night residency with the Rhythm & Blues Orchestra.

Scottish singer-songwriter KT Tunstall is supporting.

Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP, Friday and Saturday night. Information: +44-845-401-5045; http://www.royalalberthall.com or http://www.joolsholland.com.

Launceston Place, a short walk away, is a charming neighborhood restaurant with exceptionally good food. It has won a Michelin star under chef Tim Allen, who joined in February. The early evening menu is 30 pounds ($48).

Information: http://www.launcestonplace-restaurant.co.uk/ or +44-20-7937-6912.

Alternatively, you can follow the adventures of a group of African migrants headed for Spain in “Quimeras,” by guitarist Paco Pena, in a staging by the Southbank Centre’s artistic director Jude Kelly. Pena shares the stage with the talented dancer Angel Munoz and with a troupe of performers from Senegal and Guinea.

Information: http://www.sadlerswells.com or +44-844-412- 4300.

Sunday

Stock up on gingerbread, cards and a little Bratwurst at the traditional German-style Christmas fair in the wooden chalets along the South Bank.

There’s singing while you shop -- and for recession-hit pockets, a special stall with cheap and cheerful options. The fair ends the day before Christmas.

Information: http://www.christmasmarkets.com or http://bit.ly/TlVEhb

(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Richard Vines on food, Jason Harper on cars and Rich Jaroslovsky on tech.

To contact the writers on this story: Farah Nayeri in London at farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.