Imagine a job interview with a leering shrink.
That’s what an aspiring secretary faces in the opening scenes from Joe Orton’s “What the Butler Saw” at the Vaudeville Theatre. As the lecherous Dr. Prentice endeavors to make her undress, his alcoholic wife barges in.
Expect generous helpings of role reversal, quid pro quo and all the other ingredients of an old-fashioned farce.
Sean Foley directs, and standup comedian Omid Djalili plays a psychiatric inspector. At the Vaudeville Theatre. Information: http://www.nimaxtheatres.com or +44-844-412-4663.
Rules is a fine traditional dining place nearby. Opened in 1798, it boasts plenty of past literary guests, including Graham Greene.
Information: http://www.rules.co.uk/ or +44-20-7836-5314.
Taste of London opens in Regent’s Park, showcasing the creations of leading U.K. chefs. Chefs signed up to give a demonstration are: Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver, Angela Hartnett, Michel Roux Jr., Bruno Loubet (Bistrot Bruno Loubet), Jason Atherton (Pollen Street Social), and Francesco Mazzei (L’Anima).
You can also wander around and try dishes from restaurants such as Club Gascon and Le Gavroche. Tokens bought at the gate can be exchanged for food and a chance to meet chefs such as Nuno Mendes (of Viajante), Gary Rhodes and U.S. stars David Chang and Wolfgang Puck.
There are afternoon and evening sessions, and they sell quickly, so book ahead. Tickets -- not including the tokens -- cost 28 pounds at the door (14 pounds for children). Information: http://www.tastefestivals.com/london/.
The lineup for Radio 1’s Hackney Weekend makes it one of the best summer rock festivals in London.
Jay-Z headlines Saturday’s show which also includes Kasabian, Example, Jack White and Will.i.am.
Sunday’s show raises the dance stakes with Rihanna bidding to outdo Jay-Z. Jessie J, Tinie Tempah, Florence & the Machine and Lana Del Rey also star.
Those who don’t have one of the free-issue tickets can catch highlights on BBC radio and TV broadcasts.
Hackney Marshes, Homerton Rd, London, E9 5PF. Information: http://www.bbc.co.uk.
Alternatively, opera’s lovably eccentric couple is back on stage together. Angela Gheorghiu and Roberto Alagna appear in the appealingly picturesque production of “La Boheme” at the Royal Opera House 20 years after they first showed up there as Mimi and Rodolfo.
If you can’t get in, see another doomed Italian romance. The new production of “Lucia di Lamermoor” at Opera Holland Park tells the dramatic story of Lucia, whose brother makes her marry against her will. Sets include a black slate backdrop and metal railings that shut like cages. Tenor Aldo Di Toro and bass-baritone Keel Watson stand out.
Information: http://www.operahollandpark.com or +44-300-999-1000.
Is that Princess Beatrice wearing a sink plunger hat?
Pas du tout: It’s 16-year-old Helena Fourment, child bride of the 53-year-old painter Peter Paul Rubens, who produced the handsome drawing of her now hanging in the Courtauld Institute. The strange contraption was used to hang a veil on; if you wear a funny hat on three late opening nights (June 28, Aug. 2, or Sept. 6), you’ll get to see the show for free.
Headgear aside, “Mantegna to Matisse” is an assortment of some of the finest drawings you’ll ever see from the Renaissance onwards. Don’t miss the French corner: Ingres’s stunning studies for the reclining woman in his legendary “La Grande Odalisque;” Seurat’s shaded pencil sketch of a model; and the prostitute in bed looking right at you, or rather at the artist Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.
“Mantegna to Matisse: Master Drawings from the Courtauld Gallery” ends Sept. 9, and goes to the Frick Collection in New York next. Information: http://www.courtauld.ac.uk or +44-20-7848-2526.
Muse highlights include Scott Reyburn’s reports on the art market, Martin Gayford’s art reviews, Jason Harper on cars and Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.