Scissor Sisters, Tate Tanks, King Rylance: London Weekend

The Scissor Sisters
Members of the band Scissor Sisters pose before a show in London. The group is playing at the BT River of Music concerts. The Scissors close the Saturday show at the America stage at the Tower of London. Source: Universal Music Group via Bloomberg News.

Mark Rylance, who played a limping down-and-out in the award-winning play “Jerusalem,” reappears this weekend as one of the stage’s best-known hunchbacks.

Rylance is power-hungry Richard III in Shakespeare’s Globe’s summer blockbuster. The production has an all-male cast, as in the Bard’s day, and historically correct costumes, music and dancing. “Richard III” ends its run Oct. 13.

The actor will resurface later this year in a different guise: as Olivia in “Twelfth Night,” which opens Sept. 22.

Information: or +44-20-7401-9919.

The Table is a cafe near the Globe that serves modern European dishes such as English rose veal paillard, asparagus, scorzone black truffle. It’s owned by a group of architects. Chef Shaun Alpine-Crabtree previously worked for London culinary stars Bruno Loubet and Anthony Demetre. Information: or +44-20-7401-2760.

Another Shakespearean figure comes back to life this weekend, in a heavily rejiggered version.

Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison has re-imagined the Desdemona of “Othello” and written words for her and her African nanny, Barbary (Rokia Traore).

The two-hour piece with musical interludes may not be to everyone’s liking: Our Paris critic found it platitudinous when it was staged there last year.

Directed by Peter Sellars and set to original songs by Malian-born Traore, “Desdemona” is at the Barbican Friday night. Information: or +44-20-7638-8891.

The Barbican is close to a destination restaurant for Malaysian cuisine. Family-run Sedap keeps the mother and father in the kitchen and the daughter out front serving customers. It’s authentic and inexpensive. Information: or +44-20-7490-0200.


Tate Modern missed a self-imposed deadline to finish its 215-million-pound ($336 million) new wing in time for the London Olympic Games.

The former power station does have something to show, though: large subterranean tanks that once contained oil for electricity generation. The Tanks -- the arenas’ fashionable new sobriquet -- are Tate’s new film and performance spaces, and they’ve opened for just 15 weeks before construction resumes.

There’s live human action in one tank, including final performances (on Friday) of Belgian choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker’s mesmeric “Fase,” danced to a repetitious Steve Reich riff. The next-door video-art tank currently features a more opaque installation by Korean artist Sung Hwan Kim.

The Olympic-year tank activity runs through Oct. 28. Information: or +44-20-7887-8888.

Saturday Night

The Scissor Sisters, Noisettes, Staff Benda Billy and Hugh Masekela all take part in the free BT River of Music event, which bills itself as a curtain raiser to the Olympics on the weekend before the games opening ceremony.

The festival features artists representing Olympic and Paralympic nations. It spans six sites along the Thames, with an Asia stage in Battersea Park, Europe stages at Somerset House and Trafalgar Square, Americas at the Tower of London, Oceania at the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, and Africa at the London Pleasure Gardens in the Docklands.



The Spitalfields International Food Festival, opening Saturday, celebrates this East London area’s emergence as a home to exciting bars and brasseries.

Spitalfields has attracted immigrants since the late 17th century, when French Huguenots settled there. These days, it’s known for culinary diversity, from the Indian restaurants of Brick Lane to European venues such as Galvin Cafe a Vin. Information:

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

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