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Killer Sings, Queen Grins, Buzzcocks: London Weekend

Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball in ``Sweeney Todd'' by Stephen Sondheim, at the Adelphi Theatre in London. Sondheims 1979 musical is about a psychopathic barber who murders his clients, after which his partner, Mrs. Lovett, chops up the flesh for her pies. Photographer: Tristram Kenton/Cornershop PR via Bloomberg
Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball in ``Sweeney Todd'' by Stephen Sondheim, at the Adelphi Theatre in London. Sondheims 1979 musical is about a psychopathic barber who murders his clients, after which his partner, Mrs. Lovett, chops up the flesh for her pies. Photographer: Tristram Kenton/Cornershop PR via Bloomberg

May 24 (Bloomberg) -- It’s everyone’s nightmare when going for a haircut. The barber turns into Sweeney Todd, sharpening his cutthroat razor ready for the kill.

The London revival of Stephen Sondheim’s musical is helped by Michael Ball as Todd, who is on a rampage of revenge after years of false imprisonment. Ball successfully swaps his MOR crooning for a weightier role. Imelda Staunton is superb as Mrs. Lovett, the pie-shop owner who lovingly bakes Todd’s victims.

“Sweeney Todd” is at the Adelphi Theatre. Information: http://www.sweeneytoddwestend.com or +44-844-811-0053.

Those wanting deeper fare can try “Making Noise Quietly” at the Donmar. It’s your last chance to see the trilogy of plays by Robert Holman that takes on the secrets and silence of war.

“Making Noise Quietly” is at the Donmar Warehouse through May 26. Information: http://www.donmarwarehouse.com +44-833-871-7624.

Ceviche is a great place to grab a bite to eat when visiting the Donmar, nearby. It’s a casual Peruvian bar-restaurant, where you can go for dinner or just drop in for a pisco sour and a few snacks. It’s popular, so book ahead. Information: http://cevicheuk.com/ or +44-20-7292-2040.

Saturday

The RHS Chelsea flower show closes on May 26 with an opportunity to buy some showpiece plants at cut price.

The everything-must-go selloff before the 5:30 p.m. close results in many people carrying tree-sized blooms home by subway or bus.

The Royal Horticultural Society event is spread over the grounds of the Royal Hospital. This year’s show offers gardeners advice on exotic fruit, the environment and how to make the most of urban green spaces.

Royal Hospital Chelsea, Royal Hospital Road, SW3 4SR. Information: +44-20-7492-1561, http://www.rhs.org.uk

Caraffini is a popular and friendly Italian restaurant situated next door to the flower show. Advance booking is recommended. Information: http://www.caraffini.co.uk/ or +44-20-7259-0235.

Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s Mayfair and Fergus Henderson of St. John will be among chefs cooking on Saturday at the Soho Food Feast, a charity day of tastings, demonstrations and contests. The bad news is that the event is sold out, so you’ll need your powers of persuasion to get in.

The feast is held at St Anne’s Church Garden on Wardour Street from midday until 7 p.m. It’s organized by Margot Henderson of Rochelle Canteen and brings together restaurateurs and foodies from across London. Others who have said they will attend include Thomasina Miers of Wahaca, Mark Hix of Hix and Jeremy Lee of Quo Vadis. The French House will run the bar.

Saturday Night

The Buzzcocks have spent 36 years taking the spirit of punk and adding a pop edge for songs such as “Ever Fallen in Love (With Someone You Shouldn’t Have).”

The U.K. band is back in London for a show reuniting them with their first singer, Howard Devoto, and co-founder Pete Shelley, who replaced him as vocalist. Whoever takes the lead, the single “Everybody’s Happy Nowadays” retains the ironic bite it had back in 1979.

The Buzzcocks “Back to Front,” O2 Academy Brixton, 211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL. Information: +44-844-477-2000 or http://www.o2academybrixton.co.uk and http://www.buzzcocks.com.

Sunday

Queen Elizabeth II meets the Spice Girls in 1997. They show lots of cleavage; she doesn’t. The color photo of that backstage meeting, part of her majesty’s effort to rejuvenate her image, hangs in “The Queen: Art and Image,” a National Portrait Gallery survey.

At first, Elizabeth II was pictured with a crown by deferential photographers. By the 1980s she is subjected to irreverence. She is shown frowning at the opening of parliament and looking gob smacked in a hooded raincoat after the Windsor Castle fire.

There’s also Gerhard Richter’s 1967 painting of Her Majesty, in an unusually broad smile.

“The Queen: Art and Image” is at the National Portrait Gallery, 2 St. Martin’s Place, London WC2H 0HE through Oct. 21.

Information: +20-7306-0055 or http://www.npg.org.uk.

Pianist Llyr Williams plays Beethoven’s Piano Concerto No. 3 at the Barbican on Sunday. He replaces Yefim Bronfman, who has been advised by his doctor to take a few days off to recover from a virus, the Barbican announced tonight. The London Symphony Orchestra under Michael Tilson Thomas also performs Mahler’s Symphony No. 4, which has one movement summoning a violin-playing skeleton from German folklore.

Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk Street, EC2Y 8BS. Information: +44-7638-8891, http://www.barbican.org.uk or http://www.yefimbronfman.com/.

To contact the writers on the story: Mark Beech in London at mbeech@bloomberg.net; http://twitter.com/Mark_Beech; Farah Nayeri in Cannes at Farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.

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