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Matilda Wins, Picasso, Acosta Leaps: London Weekend Guide

Eleanor Worthington Cox as the pre-adolescent overachiever in
Eleanor Worthington Cox as the pre-adolescent overachiever in "Matilda the Musical," confronting her materialistic mother Mrs. Wormwood, played by Josie Walker. The Royal Shakespeare Company production is in London through 2012. Photographer: Manuel Harlan/Corner Shop PR via Bloomberg

A precocious pre-teenager with special powers is the flavor of the week in London.

“Matilda the Musical,” the story of a little girl who triumphs over her tacky parents and heartless headmistress, snagged a record seven Laurence Olivier awards last weekend, the London stage’s highest accolades.

The four girls alternating as Matilda shared the trophy for best actress in a musical. There’s plenty of time to see at least one of them in action: The production is on through February 2013 and then transfers to Broadway.

Information: or +44-844-800-1110.

If you’d rather watch a Cuban dance prodigy do perilous jumps, Carlos Acosta returns to “La Fille Mal Gardee” at the Royal Opera House. It’s the story of a loved-up couple who are set to live happily ever after when the girl’s mom butts in, insisting she can do better.

The ballet ends its run on May 16. Acosta performs again on April 26. Information: or +44-20-7240-1200.


A curious kind of Chinese collector is in the spotlight at the Barbican Gallery.

Artist Song Dong’s late mother never threw anything away. Over 50 frugal years, she stashed more than 10,000 household items that are now on display in an exhibition. Squeezed tubes of toothpaste, old bras, faded doormats, and empty Coke cans, once her everyday things, now serve as moving reminders of a lapsed life.

Song Dong originally put the show together with his mother, whose collecting habit got worse when her husband died. Ever since her own death in 2009, Song Dong has been remaking the show with his sister and wife. You never know, those half-used soap bars could come in handy one day.

“Song Dong: Waste Not” is at the Barbican Gallery through June 12. Information: or +44-20-7638-4141.

Chiswell Street Dining Rooms is a good place to visit before or after a performance at the Barbican. There’s a bar with cocktails as well as beers from microbrewers, while the restaurant serves modern British food. Information: or +44-20-7614-0177.

Saturday Night

Leftfield is back with a new live album, “Tourism,” and a concert to help the War Child charity.

The electronics duo, best known for “Leftism” in 1995, will be reprising its hits which include “Open Up” and “Afrika Shox.”

Brixton O2 Academy, 211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL. Information: +44-844-477-2000,,,

If you’re looking for fun dining in Brixton, Satay on Coldharbour Lane is worth a visit. It’s happy hour for cocktails every day between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m., while the late-dining menu is available until midnight on Saturdays. Information: or +44-844-474-6080.


No need to be an oligarch to own a Picasso.

Etchings by the Iberian master -- as well as by Damien Hirst and Lucian Freud -- are on sale at the London Original Print Fair, held inside the Royal Academy of Arts.

The prints are priced between 30,000 pounds ($47,920) and 40,000 pounds with the Picassos at the upper end of the range.

If you like that sort of thing, Queen Elizabeth II’s 60th-anniversary Jubilee is one of the themes at the fair this year.

The fair runs through April 22 at the Royal Academy. Information: or +44-20-7439-2000.

Or you can watch all 154 of William Shakespeare’s sonnets be recited in more than 20 languages -- including Noongar, one of Australia’s indigenous tongues -- at the Globe Theatre.

The event is free, and there’s an international food market, too. It’s a preamble to the six-week Globe to Globe Festival, where all 37 of the Bard’s plays will be performed in 37 languages.

Information: or +44-29-7902-1492.

Today's Muse highlights include: Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on theater.

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

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