Tristan and Connie are laboratory guinea pigs: They have volunteered to test an antidepressant under medical supervision.
They’re also the protagonists of “The Effect” by Lucy Prebble, whose “Enron” famously dramatized a corporate meltdown.
This time, Prebble examines the meaning of love -- and the power of drugs.
As they take the pill, Tristan (Jonjo O’Neill) and Connie (Billie Piper from “Belle de Jour”) start displaying signs of passion. They get sweaty and excited, and their heartbeat accelerates. Is it because of the drug, or in spite of it? Who can tell?
Director Rupert Goold delivers a solid piece of theater with high-caliber acting. At the National Theatre’s Cottesloe (also on Saturday afternoon and evening).
Information: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or call +44-20-7452-3000.
The 1960s and 1970s saw the horrors of the Vietnam War, civil-rights campaigners marching in America, and South Africa enduring the indignity of apartheid.
Those episodes and more are illustrated in a Barbican photo exhibition ending this weekend. Larry Burrows pictures U.S. soldiers in Vietnam dragging a dead comrade through tall grass. Bruce Davidson photographs a seated Martin Luther King with reporters towering over him. David Goldblatt portrays the cramped conditions in the South African township of Soweto.
The show is a bit of a grab-bag, and could use some definition. Yet there’s a lot of fine photography on display.
“Everything Was Moving: Photography from the 60s and 70s” ends Sunday at the Barbican Art Gallery. Information: http://www.barbican.org.uk or +44-20-7638-8891.
Alba, just up the road from the Barbican, has been serving modern Italian food for more than 20 years. It’s a quiet and understated restaurant, which now opens on Saturdays for lunch and dinner. Information: http://www.albarestaurant.com/ or +44-20-7588-1798.
Get to hear the singer whose skyscraper beehive hairstyle and retro songs are credited as a major influence on the young Amy Winehouse.
Mari Wilson came to fame belting out the 1982 retro hit “Just What I Always Wanted” with the Wilsations. She followed with more 1960s-style singles such as “(Beware) Boyfriend” before moving into jazz with “Cry Me a River.” She has a great voice for standards by Irving Berlin, Burt Bacharach and Rogers and Hart.
Wilson is the guest of another of Britain’s most popular jazz vocalists, Ian Shaw. The crooner and pianist has been playing dates with friends at a Soho dining venue so small that booking is essential.
So far this winter, London is not experiencing freezing temperatures. Just as some colder weather is forecast, the ice sculpting festival is starting.
The annual event takes place all weekend in Canary Wharf, with professional artists chiseling away around the themes of infinity and the wonders of the universe. Visitors can play ice chess or scrawl on an ice graffiti wall.
Iberica, a contemporary Spanish restaurant, is excellent for lunch on Sundays at Canary Wharf. You can stop by for a meal or just for a glass of wine and some tapas. The ingredients are good and the dishes authentic and reasonably priced.
Information: http://www.ibericalondon.co.uk/ or +44-20-7636-8650.
Tim Hugh is the soloist in Elgar’s Cello Concerto at the Barbican on Sunday Evening. The London Symphony Orchestra and choir concert also includes Mozart’s Requiem.
The event was to be called “Sir Colin Davis at 85,” with a rare appearance by the veteran conductor. The orchestra said in a statement Sir Colin is recovering from illness and hopes to conduct again in March. Yutaka Sado stands in for him.
Barbican Hall, Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8BS. Information: http://lso.co.uk/144/Elgar-and-Mozart/483
(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)