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Rihanna Rocks, Mike Leigh Mourns, Dogs Parade: London Weekend

Rihanna in her native Barbados. The singer has sold more than 20 million albums and is currently touring Europe. Source: PRNewsFoto/Barbados Tourism Authority via Bloomberg
Rihanna in her native Barbados. The singer has sold more than 20 million albums and is currently touring Europe. Source: PRNewsFoto/Barbados Tourism Authority via Bloomberg

Nov. 10 (Bloomberg) -- The princess has new clothes.

“Sleeping Beauty” returns to the Royal Opera House with a jazzed-up wardrobe (inspired by the original 1946 designs). Her tutu is now cotton-candy pink, while other ballerinas show off bodices in bursts of fuchsia and midnight blue.

Look out for Aurora’s bravura moment: Standing on one pointe with her left leg in the air, she is spun around by four suitors, who each -- briefly, and perilously -- let go of her hand.

The Boston-born principal Sarah Lamb takes the star role on Friday night. The ballet continues with a changing cast through Dec. 21. Information: http://www.roh.org.uk or +44-20-7304-4000.

Rules is an excellent choice for dining nearby. Traditional and specializing in game and British dishes, the restaurant has a 200-year history, and has long been a favorite with artists and writers, such as the late Graham Greene. Information: http://www.rules.co.uk/ or +44-20-7836-5314.

Saturday

Handbag dogs are the kind actresses Catherine Zeta-Jones and Paris Hilton tuck under one arm like designer clutches.

The pair’s favored breeds -- Coton de Tulear and smooth-coat Chihuahua -- are increasingly fashionable in the U.K., as you’ll find at the Discover Dogs fair.

Dogs can be educational too. A literacy group called the Bark & Read Foundation (which is starting at the fair) aims to help kids fight insecurity by having them read out loud to “a non-judgmental companion.”

The Discover Dogs fair ends Sunday at the Earls Court exhibition center. Information: http://www.discoverdogs.org.uk or +44-844-4633-980.

Cambio de Tercio is a fine Spanish restaurant in nearby South Kensington -- understated, though not to be underrated. The food is high-quality and the service friendly. Information: http://www.cambiodetercio.co.uk/ or +44-20-7244-8970.

Saturday Night

Mike Leigh is often tight-lipped about his film plots, revealing little until the movies are screened.

The director has brought the same formula to the National Theatre, where he had carte blanche to put on a play. “Grief” was unscripted, and had no title until just before the premiere.

It’s the story of a widow who lives with her rebellious teenage daughter and her listless insurance-clerk brother. Their grim household is cheered up by visitors, including a doctor who likes one-liners (“As I said before, I never repeat myself.”)

“Grief” is largely thin on plot, though it does have a shock ending. While the run is sold out, some day tickets are available. At the Cottesloe until Jan. 28, 2012. Information: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or +44-20-7452-3000.

Sunday

The name Barry Flanagan evokes bronze sculptures of leaping, big-eared hares.

Yet the British artist’s early work was completely hare-free, as an exhibition at Tate Britain demonstrates.

Rope and sand are some of the materials he used in his arte-povera-like early style. It just makes you wonder where the hares came from.

Tate Britain, Millbank, SW1P 4RG, until Jan. 1, 2012. Information: http://www.tate.org.uk or +44-20-7887-8888.

Sunday Night

Rihanna is back at the O2 Arena with a show short on clothes and big on pop hits. The 23-year-old Barbadian singer strips to a micro-bikini on a stage hyperactive with disco dancers and thrusting hydraulic platforms.

The show includes songs like “Only Girl (in the World),” “Love the Way You Lie” and “Umbrella.”

The O2, Peninsula Square, SE10 0DX, Nov. 13 and 14. Information: http://www.rihannanow.com/live, +44-20-8463-2000 or http://www.theo2.co.uk.

(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: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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