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Pricey Picasso, Ghost Haunts, Marc Almond Sings: London Weekend

Robert Bathurst and Hermione Norris in "Blithe Spirit" by Noel Coward. Thea Sharrock's production conjures up a world of cocktails and sophistication. Photographer: Manuel Harlan/Arthur Leone PR via Bloomberg

Watch a pretty commoner wed prince charming as your weekend starter in London.

Not Kate Middleton, the girl-next-door now married to Prince William, but Cinderella, who bags a wealthy blue-blood in the Royal Ballet production ending Friday.

Her ugly sisters, wigged and feathered males, look like drag queens as they trip and tumble across the stage. Don’t miss Cinderella’s own graceful tiptoe, en pointe, down the stairs.

Yuhui Choe plays the beauty, and Sergei Polunin, her prince in “Cinderella,” choreographed by Frederick Ashton. Information: or +44-20-7240-1200.

If you are looking for somewhere grand to dine near the Royal Opera House, Rules traces its history to 1798 and counts many members of the royal family among its customers during the reigns of nine monarchs. Its food includes steak-and-kidney pudding and shepherd’s pie. Information: and +44-20-7836-5314.


Madame Arcati is someone most newlyweds could live without.

She’s the nutty medium in “Blithe Spirit” -- hired by author Charles Condomine as he researches spiritualism. Working overtime, she conjures up the ghost of Condomine’s first wife, unsettling his marriage to wife No. 2.

A mockery is made of matrimony, on a chic Art Deco set.

“Blithe Spirit” by Noel Coward is at the Apollo Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue, with a matinee performance at 2:30 p.m. Information: or +44-844-482-9671.

Gauthier Soho is a smart Michelin-starred French restaurant that’s convenient for the Apollo. There are lunch and pre-theater seasonal menus. Information: and +44-20-7494-3111.

Saturday Night

Woody Guthrie’s song “This Land Is Your Land” inspires the “These Lands Are Your Lands” festival at the Southbank Centre. The weekend celebration of British and International music includes a Saturday evening show by Oysterband, Marc Almond, Green Gartside, June Tabor and Robyn Hitchock performing “The Great Folk Jukebox,” songs from the last 60 years. They are joined by members of the group Bellowhead, artists in residence at the Southbank, whose album “Hedonism” proves they are always ready to whip up a ceilidh storm.

Alternatively, you can hear statuesque Mariza -- the young face of Portugal’s ageless fado tradition -- at the Royal Festival Hall, in the last of three performances (May 5-7).

Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX. Information: +44-20-7960-4200,


The world’s priciest painting is not necessarily the best.

Tate Modern has a room dedicated to Picasso’s “Nude, Green Leaves and Bust” (1932), which sold a year ago for $106.5 million at Christie’s International in New York. It was the costliest artwork ever bought at auction, and its anonymous owner has lent it for two years to Tate.

Picasso’s then mistress Marie-Therese Walter is pictured in a naked swoon, next to a plate of fruit and a bust of herself. It’s a fine work, though not as potent as “The Three Dancers” from 1925 (also known as “La Danse”) -- hanging in the same room, and from Tate’s own collection.

Information: or +44-20-7887-8888.

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

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