London Best: Clapton Blues, Burning Heretic, Gatsby Dance

Eric Clapton’s blues, a dance version of “The Great Gatsby” and a new wine festival are among Muse’s arts and leisure recommendations for London this weekend.


Harold Pinter has rarely been as funny as in “The Hothouse.”

The 1958 play has just been revived by Jamie Lloyd and stars Simon Russell Beale. He plays the head of a medical institution whose staff are endlessly flirting and drinking.

At the Trafalgar Studios, 14 Whitehall, SW1A 2DY. Information: +44-844-871-7627 or

Howard Brenton’s play “#aiww: The Arrest of Ai Weiwei” ends its debut run tomorrow. Hampstead Theatre, Eton Avenue, NW3. Information: +44-20-7722-9301,


Fans of natural wine may head to east London for RAW, a two-day celebration featuring more than 150 growers. The fair opens on Sunday at the Old Truman Brewery on Brick Lane. Tickets are 20 pounds in advance or 25 pounds on the door. That includes a tasting glass and all the wines you sample. Information:

Brick Lane is best known for curries. It is now also home to a small French establishment: Chez Elles Bistroquet. This cozy restaurant is open from midday to 6 p.m. on Sundays, so would be convenient for a visit to the wine fare. It’s wise to book ahead. Information: or +44-20-7247-9699.


Ava Gardner, Catherine Deneuve and Lee Miller were a few of the beauties that photographer Man Ray captured during his lengthy career. Yet judging by “Man Ray Portraits” (at the National Portrait Gallery), his greatest subjects were artists.

In a 1923 portrait, Picasso gazes assertively at the photographer, hands stuffed in the pockets of his wool cardigan. Braque, pictured in the next frame, appears somewhat less secure. Further along, the young Dali sports a thin, cartoonish moustache that makes him look positively diabolical.

Don’t miss the loan from Elton John: Man Ray’s famous headshot of Picasso’s lover Dora Maar, which now has a slightly garish black-and-gold frame around it. Ends May 27. Information: or +44-20-7306-0055.


Eric Clapton is back at the Royal Albert Hall for his annual one-week residence starting tonight.

The guitar veteran continues with his themed shows which range from laid-back blues to acoustic folk -- and just occasionally blazing rock. Expect plenty of material similar to his new CD, “Old Sock,” and appearances from his star pals.

To May 26, Kensington Gore, SW7 2AP. Information: +44-845-401-5045;

The Nicholas Hytner-directed “Don Carlo” is revived at the Royal Opera. The Verdi grand opera gets a spectacular showing with Spanish inquisitors and burning heretics. The fine cast is led by Jonas Kaufmann as Don Carlos. Antonio Pappano conducts.

Royal Opera House, Bow St, WC2E 9DD, to May 25. Information:


London is making its own contribution to the “Great Gatsby” craze: a dance version of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel. Jay Gatsby does what you’d expect him to -- he throws big bashes and wows the guests. Only he’s wearing ballet shoes.

At the Sadler’s Wells Theatre through May 18. Information: or +44-844-412-4300.

(Farah Nayeri and Mark Beech write for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are their own.)

Muse highlights include Farah Nayeri on film, Richard Vines on food, Lewis Lapham on history, Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night and Jeremy Gerard on U.S. theater.

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