Moss Mannequin, Jail Garden, Paloma Faith: London Weekend
A Kate Moss mannequin, jailhouse gardeners and Paloma Faith are among Muse’s arts and leisure recommendations for London this weekend.
A butcher’s son spills the family beans.
Alan Bennett looks back on his humdrum childhood in “Untold Stories.” Via two segments -- readouts from his memoirs -- the adult author (played by Alex Jennings) presents his parents: a gruff but well-meaning dad who brews beer to raise extra cash, and a mom who longs to join the middle classes, though she knows a chaise longue is “only a settee with the ends cut off,” and one of those expressions people use “to make you feel shut out.”
Touching and well performed, “Untold Stories” features a small chamber ensemble and ends June 15 at the Duchess Theatre: http://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk or +44-20-7452-3000.
At the Royal Opera House, star choreographer Wayne McGregor shows off his new creation: “Raven Girl,” about the daughter of a postman and a raven who desperately wants to fly. Boston-born principal Sarah Lamb, in a jet-black wig, imbues the role with mystery; see her in the final performance Saturday night. Information: http://www.roh.org.uk or +44-20-7304-4000.
Soho Food Feast is back for a third year -- this time lasting two days, and starting midday tomorrow. Organized by chef Margot Henderson, the event brings together some of the district’s most popular restaurants, including Brasserie Zedel, 10 Greek Street, the Ivy and Quo Vadis. The tickets sold out at last year’s event, so it’s best to book early this time. For more information: http://www.sohofoodfeast.co.uk/index.html.
For some of London’s poshest fish and chips, try the new Fish & Chip Shop in Islington: brainchild of Des McDonald, former chief executive of Caprice Holdings (owner of J Sheekey and Scott’s). Running the kitchen is Lee Bull, who was head chef at Le Caprice. Besides the usual -- sustainable cod, plaice and haddock -- there are oysters and scallops. Information: http://www.thefishandchipshop.uk.com/ or +44-20-3227-0979.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition -- that 245-year-old grab-bag of art -- is back again, with 1,200 works for you to wade through. Thankfully, there are a few stunners.
One hangs on the building: Ghanaian artist El Anatsui’s glimmering wall piece “Tsiatsia” is made with bottle caps, printing plates and roofing sheets. Inside, head for Room VIII (portraits): Besides a yellowish Allen Jones painting showing Kate Moss’s head on a naked, armless mannequin, it has works by Chuck Close, Julian Opie, and Marina Abramovic.
Don’t miss the Grayson Perry tapestries about a doomed social climber. They’re full of witty details, like a golf bag labeled “Aspiration,” and a mock Penguin Books mug marked “Class Traitor by Chip E. Prole.”
Ends Aug. 19. Information: http://www.royalacademy.org.uk.
Paloma Faith brings her “Fall From Grace” tour back home to London with a date at the O2. The soulful pop show includes hits such as “Picking Up the Pieces” and “Stone Cold Sober.”
At the Barbican, conductor Michael Tilson-Thomas pays tribute to Benjamin Britten. He leads cellist Yo-Yo Ma and the London Symphony Orchestra in a program of Britten, Shostakovich and Copland on June 9 (also June 11 and 12). Information: http://www.barbican.org.uk or +44-20-7638-8891.
OTHER LONDON OUTINGS
If you’re dying to sneak into London’s private garden squares, the gatekeepers of some of them (including the exclusive Eaton and Bedford Squares) will let you in this weekend. So will the guards at Holloway Prison, where you can tour the flowerbeds planted and maintained by -- get this -- the prisoners. Information: http://www.opensquares.org.
Another outdoor option is the Serpentine Gallery’s 2013 summer pavilion, designed by Japan’s Sou Fujimoto. It’s a complex white grid that, inside, turns into a luminous enclosure with high bleachers and a Fortnum & Mason cafe. Information: http://www.serpentinegallery.org or +44-20-7402-6075.
(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)
Muse highlights include London and New York weekend guides and Lewis Lapham on history.