London has a brand-new theater a block away from Buckingham Palace.
The 6 million pound ($7.5 million) St. James Theatre just opened with “Bully Boy,” about a British soldier named Eddie (Joshua Miles) who’s to be court-martialed for throwing an Iraqi boy down a well.
Questioning Eddie is the grand Major Oscar Hadley (Anthony Andrews from “Brideshead Revisited”), who’s wheelchair-bound after fighting in the Falklands War.
Penned by comedian-broadcaster Sandi Toksvig, “Bully Boy” focuses on war’s psychological casualties. Though the play can get worthy, the acting -- especially Miles as the feral soldier -- saves the day.
Through Oct. 27 at St. James’s Theatre, 12 Palace Street, London SW1E 5JA. Information: http://www.stjamestheatre.co.uk or +44-844-264-2140.
Noura is a Middle Eastern restaurant close to the theater. It serves authentic Lebanese cuisine and Chateau Ksara wines. Information: http://www.noura.co.uk/restaurants/belgravia.php or +44-20-7235-9444.
Imagine bringing some of the finest bronze sculptures ever made under one roof.
The Royal Academy’s “Bronze” show does just that. Cambodian, Nigerian, Italian and Persian sculptures meet an Etruscan figure who looks uncannily like a Giacometti. Farm animals (a ram, a turkey) sit near a bronze basketball by Jeff Koons, its logo proudly emblazoned across the front.
Though the ancients do come out on top, Matisse manages to turn heads with a row of chunky relief nudes. The show has no curatorial theme beside its title. What’s next? “Marble?” Still, there’s beauty galore.
“Bronze” ends Dec. 9 at the Royal Academy of Arts, Piccadilly. Information: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk or call +44-20-7300-8000.
At the back of the Royal Academy are works donated by academicians to raise money for its expansion. Highlights include a glazed Grayson Perry pot picturing academicians such as Tracey Emin (50,000 - 70,000 pounds), and a Norman Foster model of his Gherkin skyscraper (3,000 - 5,000 pounds).
The auction is on Oct. 9. The show at 6 Burlington Gardens, “RA Now,” ends Nov. 11: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk or +44-20-7300-8000.
The 500 Festival has a reputation for showcasing bands to watch. Started in 2010 in Devon, southwest England, the event moves to London this year for a 14-hour party in Shoreditch.
Leading the lineup is Sylver Tongue, the new electronic project from Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley. Other bands include Demob Happy, Maker, Transformer and Shake Tiger Shake.
The Princess of Shoreditch, a 10-minute walk from the festival, offers a seasonal menu using locally sourced ingredients. This pub with an upstairs dining room recently won a Michelin Bib Gourmand for serving quality food at reasonable prices. Information: http://www.theprincessofshoreditch.com/ or +44-20-7729-9270.
Alternatively on Saturday night, you can watch the supple dancer Akram Khan -- who starred in the London 2012 Olympics opening ceremony --tell his life story in “Desh.” The show moves between Britain and his parents’ native Bangladesh, and has designs by Tim Yip (who won an Oscar for “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon”).
“Desh” ends Oct. 9 at Sadler’s Wells. Information: http://www.sadlerswells.com or +44-844-412-4300.
Fans of Eric Clapton and Gerhard Richter get a bit of both at Sotheby’s.
The guitarist’s Richter oil-on-canvas, up for grabs in an Oct. 12 auction and priced as much as 12 million pounds, is on view from the Sunday before its sale. The 1994 “Abstraktes Bild (809-4)” -- smudged blocks of red and dark green -- hangs near other contemporary and Italian works also being sold Oct. 12.
While there, see a Raphael sketch priced at 10 million to 15 million pounds that Peregrine Cavendish, Duke of Devonshire, is selling in a Dec. 5 London auction to maintain his estate.
At Sotheby’s, 34-35 Bond Street, W1A 2AA. Information: http://www.sothebys.com or +44-20-7293-5000.
(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include Manuela Hoelterhoff on arts, Jason Harper on cars and Rich Jaroslovsky on technology.