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Rod Stewart Warbles, Upside-Down Mel Gibson, Chelsea Blooms

Actress Fiona Shaw as Lady Gay Spanker in the Dion Boucicault 1841 farce ``London Assurance
Actress Fiona Shaw as Lady Gay Spanker in the Dion Boucicault 1841 farce ``London Assurance" at the National Theatre in London. The mannish Lady Gay helps the play's young lovers to unite against parental opposition. Photographer: Catherine Ashmore/National Theatre via Bloomberg

May 27 (Bloomberg) -- Watch a young man outwit his father to seduce an 18-year-old country heiress at the National Theatre on Friday night.

“London Assurance,” staged by Nicholas Hytner, the theater’s Tony-Award-winning boss, is an 1841 farce where cheeky Sir Harcourt Courtly (Simon Russell Beale) proposes to young Grace. Enter his son and rival Charles, who gets help from a woman by the improbable name of Lady Gay Spanker.

“London Assurance” runs through June 29. Information: or +44-20-7452-3000.


Saturday is the last day to enjoy London’s horticultural event of the year: the Chelsea Flower Show.

A wet bar, a bespoke fireplace and a wall covered with artificial grass are some of the unusual additions to this annual celebration of the outdoors. At 4 p.m. is the sell-off, where exhibitors exchange their plants and products for cash.

Information: or +44-845-260-5000.

Saturday Night

Rod Stewart can be expected to lead raucous singalongs of “Tonight’s the Night” and “Maggie Mae” when he plays the 02 on Saturday night. The 65-year-old rocker is enjoying his best sales in years with the “Great American Songbook” series of albums.

The 02, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX. Information: or +44-208-463-2000.


Mel Gibson’s face hangs upside down in “Conquest of the Useless,” a wacky show at the Whitechapel Gallery.

Cher and Ronald Reagan also feature in the installation by Rachel Harrison: a tower of cubic museum plinths set with pop-culture figures, video screens and paraphernalia.

Next door is the Whitechapel’s answer to Tate’s Turbine Hall series -- a site-specific sculpture that will be there a year. “Shadow Spans” is an array of wood and metal frames covered with curtains and upturned flower pots. Artist Claire Barclay brings the outside in, and leaves you to imagine narratives.

Rachel Harrison’s “Conquest of the Useless” ends June 20. Claire Barclay’s “Shadow Spans” (sponsored by Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News) ends May 2, 2011. Information: or +44-20-7522-7888.

You won’t need to go far for a good meal. Chef Maria Elia has created a reasonably priced seasonal menu at the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room. The wine list won’t break the bank either.

Information: or +44-20-7522-7896.

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

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at

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