London Best: Mirren’s Corgis, Pompeii, Grandmaster Flash

A regal Helen Mirren, promiscuous Romans, and Grandmaster Flash are among Muse’s arts and leisure recommendations for London this weekend.


Helen Mirren is back as Queen Elizabeth II in “The Audience” -- a play about the weekly meetings between monarch and premier. We see the late Margaret Thatcher fume over her bad press, and David Cameron inquire about the Duchess of Cambridge’s pregnancy. Two corgis also make a much-cheered appearance. At the Gielgud: or +44-844-482-5130.

Ending Saturday is “Gibraltar,” on the shoot-to-kill deaths in 1988 of three Irish Republican Army terrorists who turned out to be unarmed. At the Arcola Theatre, E8 3DL: or +44-20-7503-1646.


Time is running out if you want to dine at Roganic, chef Simon Rogan’s London outpost. Housed in a temporary Marylebone site, it closes on June 20 after two years. To sample Rogan’s cooking after that, you’ll need to head north. His flagship L’Enclume is in the Lake District and he recently opened the French at the Midland Hotel, Manchester.

London’s unseasonally cold spring makes weekend planning a little tricky. Boundary Hotel’s Rooftop Bar & Grill works in any weather: It has a partially covered roof and heating. It’s now open seven days a week (from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.), and is a short walk from attractions such as the Geffrye Museum: or +44-20-7729-1051.


Drunken meals, secret trysts, threesomes: the Romans knew how to live it up, judging by the British Museum’s “Life and Death in Pompeii and Herculaneum” (through Sept. 29). In one fresco, a couple is watched over by a female slave (who probably joined in); in another, an inebriated dinner guest gets carried off. The museum has recreated a Roman town and filled it with carbonized dates, chamber pots, and petrified humans. History was seldom this fun. Information: or +44-20-7323-8181.

Opening at Pace London is “Calder After the War,” with some 50 postwar mobiles, paintings and works on paper. Ends June 7: or +44-20-3206-7600.


London rock fans can get back to the 1980s this weekend, with rare appearances by stars from both sides of the Atlantic.

New York’s Grandmaster Flash is still writing music and spinning turntables, 30 years after his hit “The Message.” U.K. bands James and Echo & the Bunnymen are playing a joint show.

Saturday, Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, NW1 7PG. Information:,

Friday and Saturday, O2 Academy, Brixton, 211 Stockwell Road, SW9 9SL. Information: +20-7771-3000 or

Two great opera singers take to the London stage this weekend. Placido Domingo, in baritone mode, stars Saturday in “Nabucco” at the Royal Opera House, livening up Daniele Abbado’s grim production: or +44-20-7304-4000.

Jonas Kaufmann sings Verdi and Wagner in a recital at the Royal Festival Hall Sunday: or +44-844-875-0073.


Sunday’s London Marathon pays tribute to the Boston victims by observing a 30-second silence before each start. Runners will be offered black ribbons by the organizers. Information: or call +44-20-7902-0200.

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

Muse highlights include New York and London weekend guides, Lewis Lapham on history, Jeremy Gerard on New York theater and Martin Gayford on European art.