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‘American Idiot,’ Iron Man, Skating Rinks: London Weekend

Somerset House Skating Rink
Skaters glide across the temporary ice rink in the 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House. The rink is one of several set up at landmarks around the city, including the Tower of London. Photographer: David Jensen/Somerset House via Bloomberg

The “American Idiot” has crossed the Atlantic.

The rock opera based on Green Day’s blockbuster 2004 punk album is blasting through a short run that ends this weekend.

The show is on an international tour before it gets turned into a movie. On stage, the trio of stars lead parallel lives -- in the army, in a big city, in a small town. They find pleasure and pain in money, love, drugs, and of course Green Day’s music.

HMV Hammersmith Apollo, 45 Queen Caroline Street, W6 9QH, until Dec. 16. Information: +44-844-844-4748 or


Step inside the iron man.

Sculptor Antony Gormley has produced a 110-ton self-portrait using joined-up steel blocks that you walk through. The structure is a pixelated, horizontal version of Gormley. Before you go in, a gallery attendant makes you sign a paper that asks you to move carefully, stoop where necessary, and never climb.

You enter “Model” via the artist’s foot, and make your way into dim chambers that could be his thighs. The structure then turns into architecture: a spacious loft that you can see yourself living in, with skylights and mezzanines.

By the time you reach the final enclosure, with its stage-like elevation, make sure you take the narrow entrance. It represents the inside of Gormley’s head, and is ominously dark.

“Antony Gormley: Model” ends on Feb. 10 at White Cube Gallery, 144-152 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3TQ. Information: or +44-20-7930-5373.

Saturday Night

Two aristocratic sisters squabble about what to do with their crumbling chateau.

Lady Dorothy Stacpoole (Frances de la Tour) is one of the sisters in “People,” the new Alan Bennett play at the National Theatre. She’s all in favor of selling the edifice to a greedy business consortium. Her archdeacon sibling (Selina Cadell) would rather have hordes of paying visitors cover the bills, care of the National Trust.

As an interim solution, Dorothy hires out the premises to a film crew. A bunch of men barge in to shoot what turns out to be a pornographic work, subtly titled “Reach for the Thigh.”

Performances are excellent. Information: or +44-20-7452-3000.

The National Theatre is surrounded by chain restaurants and cafes, yet it can be hard to get a really good meal. Skylon may be the best of the bunch, with its river views and cooking by Finnish chef Helena Puolakka. There’s a formal dining room and a brasserie, depending on your mood and what you want to spend. Information: or +44-20-7654-7800.


The Ice Age has returned to London.

Skating rinks are popping up at some of the city’s best-known landmarks: in the grand 18th-century courtyard of Somerset House, outside the dinosaur-filled Natural History Museum, and in the iced-over moat of the Tower of London, where Henry VIII had all that head chopping done centuries back. So get your winter blades on -- and be prepared to pay for the privilege.


If you choose the Tower of London, Rosemary Lane is a charming and very low-key nearby restaurant that’s worth seeking out. Chef Cristina Anghelescu might be a celebrity if she didn’t spend so much time in her kitchen, cooking. Information: +44-20-7481-2602 or

Otherwise, you can watch an Oscar-winning movie about a memorable meal: “Babette’s Feast,” the 1987 classic, returns to the screens after restoration by the British Film Institute. Catch it in theaters around London starting this weekend.


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

Muse highlights include Richard Vines on the best mince pies and Frederik Balfour on Singapore art galleries.

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