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Top Picks

Every week, the London Calling team select our favourite events and activities taking place around London. Here are this week's most unmissable cultural events...

This week’s top theatre

Absolute Hell

Decried by critics and audiences alike for being too vulgar in it’s original 1952 run, Rodney Ackland’s Absolute Hell is back, this time on the National Theatre’s Lyttelton stage. Located in a post-war Soho drinking den, the play is brimming with London’s degenerates who bask in the perversity of their pleasure-seeking antics. Through seduction, fighting and deception, the characters make an attempt to muddle through the wreckage of a ruinous time.

Absolute Hell runs at the National Theatre from 18 April to 16 June.

The Writer

Ella Hickson returns to the Almeida with The Writer, probing the political power of art and the written word. The play centres around a young female writer who is wrestling to overturn the status quo, using words as her weapon. Starring Romola Garai (Emma and The Miniaturist, BBC) as the young writer, the play promises an evening of boundary-pushing and provocative theatre.

The Writer runs at the Almeida from 14 April – 26 May.

Spiked

A play created by mothers, about motherhood, Félicité du Jeu’s Spiked explores school gate segregation when three women find themselves stranded together in a hospital waiting room after their children are all mysteriously taken ill. Joanna, Karen and Rozhin are forced to confront brewing tensions, as they muddle through their cultural differences and work out what makes them surprisingly similar.

Spiked runs at the Pleasance Theatre from 16 – 28 April.

This week’s top films

  • credit: Visit Guernsey
Wildling

Anna has spent her life locked in a room and cared for by a disturbing man known only as ‘daddy’ in attempts to protect her from the Wildling, a monstrous creature in the outside world. When rescued by the police at age 16 and entrusted to her rescuer, Sheriff Ellen Cooper, Anna has to adapt to the outside world and the knowledge that the Wildling isn’t real. However, as Anna begins to develop it becomes clear that perhaps there is something to be afraid of after all. Starring Bel Powley, Liv Tyler and Brad Dourif, this twist on a well-established horror tale is both inventive and intelligent.

Wildling is out 20 April

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

This wartime drama based on the 2008 novel of the same name sees writer Juliet seeking a story worth telling in the aftermath of the Second World War. When she receives letters and creates a bond with the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society she feels the need to visit the book group and hear their stories of life during the German occupation of the island. Directed by Four Weddings director Mike Newell and featuring a mini Downton Abbey cast reunion thanks to Penelope Wilton, Jessica Brown Findlay and Matthew Goode as well as Lily James taking the lead, this film is a healthy slice of nostalgia, although from the sounds of it, perhaps a slice of potato peel pie itself may not be quite so appealing.


The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society is out 20 April

A Quiet Place

From British horror to a tense thriller in rural America in A Quiet Place. John Krasinski directs as well as starring with real life partner Emily Blunt as parents trying to protect their young family’s survival after the invasion of a deadly alien race that hunts its victims via sound. With clever set pieces ramping up the tension combined with very little dialogue, A Quiet Place takes the well-worn alien invasion narrative and creates something both incredibly scary and emotional by narrowing the scale to focus on this one family.

A Quiet Place is out 5 April

Isle of Dogs

After the success of Fantastic Mr Fox, director Wes Anderson returns with his newest stop motion animation film, Isle of Dogs. In the futuristic Japanese city of Megasaki, an overpopulation of dogs has led to an outbreak of dog flu, meaning all of the city’s canine inhabitants are quarantined to Trash Island. When 12 year old boy Akira crash lands on the junkyard island to find his dog Spots, it’s up to one of the packs roaming the island to help the little boy find his pet. Isle of Dogs fits firmly within Anderson’s brilliant visual and narrative style, with many of his regular actors lending their voices for the movie including Ed Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand and Tilda Swinton.


Isle of Dogs is out 30 March

This week’s top exhibitions

The Classical Now

Through the pairing of modern and contemporary art with classical Greek and Roman antiquities The Classical Now explores the ways in which Graeco-Roman art has captured and permeated the modern imagination. What is it about Greek and Roman art that still captivates the modern imagination and how can contemporary art help us to see the classical legacy with new eyes?

The Classical Now is at King’s College London until 28 April.

Another Kind of Life, Photography on the Margins

Touching on themes of countercultures, subcultures and minorities of all kinds, the show features the work of 20 photographers from the 1950s to the present day who followed the lives of individuals and communities operating on the fringes of society. Featuring sexual experimenters, outlaws, the economically dispossessed and those who openly flout social convention, the works present the outsider as an agent of change, reflecting a more diverse, complex view of the world.

Another Kind of Life is at the Barbican 28 February – 27 May

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography

This major exhibition is the first to examine the relationship between four ground-breaking Victorian artists: Julia Margaret Cameron, Lewis Carroll, Lady Clementina Hawarden and Oscar Rejlander. The exhibition features some of the most breath-taking images of sitters such as Charles Darwin, Alice Liddell, Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Thomas Carlyle. Influenced by historical painting and frequently associated with the Pre-Raphaelites, the four artists formed a bridge between the art of the past and the art of the future.

Victorian Giants: The Birth of Art Photography is at the National Portrait Gallery 1 March – 20 May 2018

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy

1932 was an intensely creative period in the life of the 20th century’s most influential artist. This first ever solo Picasso exhibition at Tate Modern will bring you face-to-face with more than 100 paintings, sculptures and drawings, mixed with family photographs and rare glimpses into his personal life. The myths around Picasso will be stripped away to reveal the man and the artist in his full complexity and richness.

The EY Exhibition: Picasso 1932 – Love, Fame, Tragedy at Tate Modern until 9 September

This week’s top food & drink

Yolkin

With the sun finally making an appearance, Londoners can look forward to an influx of chilled treats, and none look more tempting than the macaron ice cream sandwiches from Yolkin. Flavours are inspired by British comfort food with Asian influences; think chocolate, banoffee and early grey with lychee, Hong Kong milk tea and black sesame.

Yolkin is now open at 24 Rupert Street, W1D 6DQ.

The Prince

The pub formally known as Prince of Wales in West Brompton has been revamped for 2018 by the team behind Pergola, who have transformed four buildings plus a pub on one street, linking them together with a walkway. There’s a load of familiar names for you to grab some grub at too, including Patty and Bun, Begging Bowl and Coqfighters to name a few. The perfect pub to spend a hazy Sunday in.

The Prince is now open at 14 Lillie Road, SW6 1TT.

Lahpet

The popular food stall now has a permanent home! Widely celebrated as one of London’s best Burmese restaurants, Lappet has set itself up in the heart of Shoreditch. The menu includes the Burmese classics that made them a staple of the Spitalfields scene, as well as a great selection of cocktails to help whet your whistle. And the cherry on top? You can actually book a table.

Lahpet is now open at 58 Bethnal Green Road,
E1 6JW.

A guide to alternative Christmas shows 2017

A guide to alternative Christmas shows 2017

Check out these Christmas shows with a difference.

Top 5: Alternative Christmas Concerts in London 2017

Top 5: Alternative Christmas Concerts in London 2017

Because it’s always great to have a bit of a sing song at Christmas…

Top 5: London Christmas Craft Fairs

Top 5: London Christmas Craft Fairs

Get all your Christmas presents sorted at these gorgeous markets and support local craftspeople and makers.

Top 5: Sunday roasts in London

Top 5: Sunday roasts in London

Prepare yourself...we've come up with some amazing places for a proper winter lunch

Top 5: London Street Food Markets

Top 5: London Street Food Markets

Where to find the tastiest food stalls in London

Top 5: Vegetarian Restaurants in London

Top 5: Vegetarian Restaurants in London

London Calling's top tips for the tastiest ways to get your five a day.

Top 5: Afternoon Tea with a Twist in London

Top 5: Afternoon Tea with a Twist in London

London Calling's guide to London's more unusual Afternoon Tea choices.

Top 5: Urban Oases in London

Top 5: Urban Oases in London

Our favourite green havens nestled in the heart of the urban sprawl.

Top 5: Small Club Nights in London

Top 5: Small Club Nights in London

Our pick of the cosier side of London's club culture

Top 5 Wine Bars in London

Top 5 Wine Bars in London

Our favourite spots in London for praisin' the raisin.

Top 5: Rooftop Bars in London

Top 5: Rooftop Bars in London

From cosy chilled-out spaces to high-end glitzy restaurants overlooking the city’s skyscrapers, we pick out some of the best rooftop bars you should be spending your summer evenings at.

Top 5: Alternative Places to go on a Date in London

Top 5: Alternative Places to go on a Date in London

When a 5 star restaurant meal feels a bit too much but the local pub just won't do. We've picked out five alternative date ideas in London that will ensure sparks fly.

Top 5 Alternative Tours of London

Top 5 Alternative Tours of London

For those who've really seen it all. See London through a different perspective with these quirky tours.

Top 5 Jazz Venues

Top 5 Jazz Venues

We’ve rounded up five excellent jazz hubs that are bringing New Orleans vibes to Central London and beyond.

Top 5: Calm Places in London for a Moment of Reflection

Top 5: Calm Places in London for a Moment of Reflection

And...breathe. Within the hustle and bustle of this city we've picked out some of the best places for a little escape and some tranquility.