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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

  • Image: Johan Persson
Aristocrats

Steering away from the renowned naturalism of the play, acclaimed director Lyndsey Turner revives Brian Friel’s haunting 1979 Aristocrats on the Donmar Warehouse stage. Set in 1970s Donegal in the middle of The Troubles, the play follows the upper class Roman Catholic O’Donnell family, who upon returning, find their once grand ancestral home declining into a state of decay. Dislocated from the elite and their community due to their religion and class, the O’Donnell’s must grapple with isolation and dysfunctional family life.

Aristocrats runs at the Donmar Warehouse from 2 August to 22 September.

Little Shop of Horrors

Bursting onto Regent’s Park’s Open Air Theatre is a theatrical retelling of the 1986 American rock comedy horror musical cult favourite, Little Shop of Horrors. Teamed with blood, gore and gaudy show tunes by Alan Menken and Howard Ashman, this botanical bloodfest follows gawky flower shop assistant Seymour’s killer discovery of an inexplicable new plant, and it’s deadly consequences…

Little Shop of Horrors runs at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre from 3 August to 22 September.

Goodnight Mister Tom

Based on the critically acclaimed children’s book of the same name, Goodnight Mister Tom at the Southwark Playhouse brings Michelle Magorian’s classic wartime drama to life on stage in an adaptation by the UK’s ‘National Children’s Dramatist’ (The Times) David Wood. Set in the heart of the English countryside, this heartfelt story traces the growing bond between the neglected evacuee Willie Beech and his temporary carer “Mister Tom”.

Goodnight Mister Tom runs at the Southwark Playhouse from 25 July to 25 August.

This week’s top films

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Following his involvement in the destruction seen in Captain American: Civil War, Scott Lang has been under house arrest for two years. However, just before his sentence ends he hears from Hope and Hank Van Dyne, aka The Wasp and her scientist father, he finds himself back in his Ant-Man suit, ready to team up to help save someone close to the group trapped in the sub atomic quantum realm, whilst battling the mysterious Ghost, a molecularly unstable woman who wants the power found in the quantum realm for her own purposes. With Paul Rudd back as the likeable ‘regular Joe’ superhero, and Evangeline Lily taking on the mantle of The Wasp, this is a fun summer instalment from the Marvel universe.

Ant-Man and the Wasp is out now

The Escape

What if everyone told you that you had a perfect life? A husband, children, a lovely home? But what if that wasn’t enough? The Escape explores the world of Tara, more often called mummy or babe, as a housewife left raising her two small children who she can’t seem to connect with, and an unsympathetic husband who doesn’t recognise her unhappiness that has been left so long that she can no longer control it bubbling over into her everyday life. When her desperation reaches breaking point, she decides to walk out of her life and on to the Paris-bound Eurostar. With an absolutely heart breaking and powerful performance from Gemma Arterton, this claustrophobic drama highlights the idea that ‘having it all’ from the outside is rarely the case when you look closer.

The Escape is out now

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Tom Cruise, the master of stunts, is back as IMF agent Ethan Hunt in the latest in the Mission: Impossible series. With Ethan facing old nemesis Solomon Lane after his escape, the threat of nuclear disaster, and distrust from the CIA in the form of Henry Cavill; his team of Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg and Rebecca Ferguson are back to help him save the day through the huge action-packed set pieces and slick tricks galore that we’ve come to expect as we find ourselves on the edge of our seats.


Mission: Impossible – Fallout is out 27 July

This week’s top exhibitions

James Cook: The Voyages - Last few weeks!

It is 250 years since the Endeavour set sail from Plymouth. This British Library exhibition tells the story of Captain James Cook’s three world-changing voyages through original documents, many of which were produced by the artists, scientists and sailors on board the ships. Maps, artworks and journals from the voyages sit alongside newly-commissioned films offering contemporary perspectives. Examine the expeditions that shaped Europe’s knowledge of the world and consider their far-reaching legacy.

James Cook: The Voyages is at the British Library until 28 August

Audrey Hepburn: Beyond The Big Screen

Renowned for her progressive acting roles, stylish sensibilities and humanitarian endeavors, Audrey Hepburn remains one of the most instantly recognisable icons of the 1950s and has charmed generations since the Golden Age of Hollywood. This photographic exhibition revisits classic and timeless portraits celebrating Hepburn’s legacy on the 25th anniversary of her death, displaying rare portraits captured by a selection of high profile twentieth century photographers. This collection brings together the work of Terry O’Neill, Norman Parkinson, Bob Willoughby, Eva Sereny, Mark Shaw and Douglas Kirkland; each celebrated for their distinct portrayals of Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn: Beyond The Big Screen opens at Proud Galleries, 32 John Adam Street, London WC2N 6BP on 17 August.

Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition 2018

Celebrating Nelson Mandela’s 100th birthday this exhibition explores his journey as a freedom fighter, wanted fugitive, prisoner and, ultimately, president of a post-apartheid South Africa through artefacts such as a complete collection of Shakespeare’s works (one of Mandela’s possessions while he was in prison on Robben Island), as well as a thank-you letter to Britain on the day of his 1990 Wembley concert, displayed for the first time.

Nelson Mandela: The Centenary Exhibition 2018 is at Queen Elizabeth Hall, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX until 19 August.

This week’s top food & drink

Gunpowder

Never able to get a table to try Gunpowder’s home-style Indian meals in their tiny and packed Spitalfields venue? Why not head to their new, larger restaurant at One Tower Bridge to try out their brand new menu created by head chef Nirmal Save? Alongside fresh new dishes such as peanut masal chaat, Bengali fish fingers and Madras-style chicken lollipops, Gunpowder also still delivers its much loved favourites including pulled duck with homemade ootapham, mustard fish in steamed banana leaf and spicy venison and vermicelli doughnuts!

Gunpowder is located at Tower Bridge, 4 Duchess Walk, SE1 2SD.

Three Girls Cook at Brother Marcus

Masterchef 2017 finalists Alison, Giovanna and Lorna (also known as Three Girls Cook) are back at Brother Marcus for their third visit to the venue, and to host a summer garden party like no other! So head down with your friends to enjoy a three course meal prepared by the girls, which has been inspired by the season and is completely vegetarian! The Brother Marcus boys will also be preparing a special selection of refreshing cocktails and wine for you to booze on, so let’s hope the weather holds up so that it’s only your drink that’s chilled as you relax outside under the twinkly fairy lights.

Three Girls Cook takes place on 17 & 18 August at Brother Marcus, 9 Chestnut Grove, Balham, London, SW12 8JA

Alphabet

You may remember Alphabet as the Soho bar that’s been closed for a few years. But not anymore! Reopening in Islington’s Upper Street, Alphabet is serving up Mediterranean dishes and of course creative cocktails by mixologist Chris Edwards, from panettone-infused Negroni to pisco-livened sours! All can be enjoyed in the super chic venue, with design features that read like a hipster interior designers shopping list: exposed light bulbs (check), vines and greenery (check), white washed brickwork (check), neon light art work (check!)

Alphabet is located at 56 Upper Street, Islington, London, N1 ONY

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.