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Diana’s Stepbrother, Onstage Boxing, Air Redux: London Weekend

Actor Daniel Kaluuya as the young boxer Leon in the Royal Court Theatre production of ''Sucker Punch
Actor Daniel Kaluuya as the young boxer Leon in the Royal Court Theatre production of ''Sucker Punch" in London. The production is directed by Sacha Wares and runs through July 31. Source: Chris Nash/Royal Court Theatre via Bloomberg

July 8 (Bloomberg) -- London’s Royal Court Theatre has morphed into a boxing ring.

The Sloane Square venue has the first staging of Roy Williams’s play “Sucker Punch,” about two black youths aspiring to be boxers in the bigoted environment of 1980s London. Troy (Anthony Welsh) is a maximalist; Leon (Daniel Kaluuya) is prone to compromise.

Their climactic face-off comes with deafening ringside cheers, a flashing scoreboard, intermittent gongs, and fluorescent high-waist shorts. Strong acting, a coherent plot, and inventive directing by Sacha Wares add up to a good show.

Information: http://www.royalcourttheatre.com or call +44-20-7565-5000. The play ends July 31.

Saturday

Princess Diana’s stepbrother has taken suggestive black-and-white shots of Naples.

Johnnie Shand Kydd’s show “Siren City” got press for its celebrity-studded opening. Yet it got even more preliminary coverage: His poster-sized picture of four street boys trying to grab their ball off a balcony was banned from the London Underground, in case the graffiti in the image encourage copycats.

That photo -- along with others of heaving beaches and uniformed cadets -- is at the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art through Sept. 12.

Information: http://www.estorickcollection.com/ or call +44-20-7704-9522.

The photographs have been published as a book by Other Criteria. Information: http://www.othercriteria.com.

Cantina Italia, in Canonbury Lane near the Estorick, is a neighborhood trattoria popular with locals for its inexpensive and unpretentious food. The Sicilian wines are another draw. Information: +44-20-7226-9791.

Saturday Night

French electronic duo Air play the Forum Saturday as they prepare to release a fifth album. Air has already sold more than 5 million CDs, its 1998 “Moon Safari” containing hypnotic tracks such as “La Femme d’Argent.”

HMV Forum, 9-17 Highgate Road, Kentish Town, NW5 1JY. Information: http://venues.meanfiddler.com.

Air also play the Somerset House Series of concerts on Friday night. The annual gigs in the former palace courtyard feature Noah and the Whale on Saturday and N-Dubz on Sunday (for those fleeing the World Cup final.) While many Somerset House events have sold out, tickets can be bought online. Over the next week, the XX, Gil Scott-Heron, Florence & the Machine and Corinne Bailey Rae also play there.

Somerset House, Strand, WC2R 1LA. Information: +44-20-7845-4600, http://www.somersethouse.org.uk/music/932.asp

Sunday

Margaret Thatcher belittles her colleagues for laughs at Tate Britain.

A puppet of the U.K.’s former prime minister (from the 1980s satirical TV show “Spitting Image”) orders raw meat at the cabinet table. “What about the vegetables?” asks the waitress. “They’ll have the same as me,” Thatcher deadpans.

There are more comic displays in “Rude Britannia” (through Sept. 5), a four-century survey of British comic art. Don’t miss the chamber pot with a figurine of Napoleon inside, or the fake images of ex-premier Tony Blair: giving ex-President George W. Bush a leg-up, and taking cell phone snaps of his smiling self in a smoking war zone.

Information: http://www.tate.org.uk or +44-20-7887-8888.

(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 farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Mark Beech at mbeech@bloomberg.net.

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