Arctic Monkeys, Loren Lips, Maggie’s Bag: London Weekend

Sophia Loren’s lips, Margaret Thatcher’s handbag, the Hoi Polloi restaurant and a Frank Zappa movie are our choices for London this weekend.


One hand on her leather handbag, Margaret Thatcher sinks into a deep curtsy before Queen Elizabeth II.

“Handbagged” (by Moira Buffini) is all about the tense weekly meetings between the late U.K. prime minister and her sovereign. The pair discuss Zimbabwe, Prince Charles’s marriage to Diana, and the miners’ strike. Their older, wiser selves stand behind, making snide asides and speaking their real mind.

The Queen comes across as the more likable of the two. At the Tricycle, 269 Kilburn High Road, NW6 7JR. Information: or call +44-20-7328-1000.


Hoi Polloi is the restaurant and bar at the new Ace Hotel in Shoreditch. It’s open all day from breakfast through late at night, when cocktails feature prominently. The casual hangout is the brainchild of the people behind Bistrotheque and Shrimpy’s. Information:, +44-20-8880-6100.

Bjorn van der Horst is one of London’s gifted chefs, and he’s back after a stint abroad. Van der Horst, formerly of the Greenhouse and Eastside Inn, is director of food, beverage and kitchens at the new Rosewood London on High Holborn. The hotel has a finely redecorated Art Deco bar as well as the Mirror Room restaurant: or +44-20-7781-8888.


A cutout of Sophia Loren’s mouth features in a snappy new show at the Barbican.

The actress’s lips, glued atop Richard Hamilton’s car painting “Hers Is a Lush Situation” (1958), open the Barbican’s “Pop Art Design” exhibition. It’s about how the visual vocabulary of commerce and advertising pervaded art and design from the 1950s onwards. You won’t know what’s art and what’s not -- and that’s exactly how the curators want it.

Don’t miss works by Tom Wesselmann such as “Smoker Banner” (1971), a large wall mount of a woman’s smoking lips, stitched together with bits of vinyl. For more information: or +44-20-7638-4141.


The Arctic Monkeys bring their world tour to London tonight and tomorrow. The Sheffield band is improving on the show first seen at Glastonbury this year. The Earls Court shows are mostly sold out, though some tickets are available online. Information:

Bob Geldof has reconvened the Boomtown Rats for the band’s first shows in almost three decades. At the Roundhouse, the Dublin punks will reprise songs such as “I Don’t Like Mondays.” Information:

Music Theatre Wales starts a residency at the Royal Opera Houses’s Linbury Studio Theatre with Mark-Anthony Turnage’s “Greek.” (Friday, Saturday):


Frank Zappa’s widow Gail remembers him in a lunchtime talk on Sunday, part of the 1960s segment of the Southbank Centre’s “The Rest is Noise” festival.

Screening Saturday is Frank Zappa’s wild movie “200 Motels,” loosely based on a tour by his Mothers of Invention band. And on Tuesday, you can hear “200 Motels” performed live in concert for the first time in the U.K. at the Royal Festival Hall. (Organizers warn that the content is sexually explicit.)

See or +44-20-7960-4200.

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

Muse highlights include the London and New York weekend guides, Warwick Thompson on London theater, Lewis Lapham on history, Amanda Gordon’s Scene Last Night and Greg Evans and Craig Seligman on movies.

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