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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

  • Photo Credit: Stephen Cummiskey
Fanny and Alexander

Based on the classic film by Ingmar Bergman, Fanny & Alexander is the story of two children whose liberal, passionate and fun family life is turned upside down when their father dies and their mother remarries a cold, strict bishop. The Old Vic’s adaptation draws on the inherent theatricality in this story of childhood imagination and family love.

Fanny and Alexander runs at the Old Vic 21 February - 14 April.


Shakespeare’s classic tragedy of jealousy, power and prejudice is reimagined as a condensed story for young audiences at the brilliant Unicorn Theatre this spring. The all-black production reveals the continuing modern relevance of Shakespeare’s story, making it accessible to children without shirking its heavy and disturbing themes.

Othello runs at the Unicorn Theatre 3 February - 3 March


Ill-matched couple Jenny and Elias stay in a cluttered bnb on a holiday; their relationship slowly unravelling under the gaze of myriad knick-knacks, dolls and statuettes. This is an unsettling play that circles around questions of love, madness and female friendship.

John runs at the National Theatre’s Dorfman theatre until 3 March 2018.

A Passage to India

Step into Imperial India in a play which tackles vast philosophical and political questions as well as exploring individual experiences of love and life. Based on E.M. Forster’s classic novel, this new adaption of A Passage to India features original live music performed by legendary composer Kuljit Bhamra.

A Passage to India comes to Park Theatre 20 February - 24 March.

This week’s top films

I, Tonya

As we draw to the close of Awards Season, we’re going out with a bang in the shape of the biographical I, Tonya. Based on the life of controversial American figure skater Tonya Harding, the film follows Harding from her difficult childhood and white trash persona, her connection to the attack on fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan during the 1994 Winter Olympics, as well as modern day mockumentary-style interviews with the characters. Oscar nominee Margot Robbie brings her indisputable talent in playing Tonya, whilst Allison Janney is scooping up awards for her take on Tonya’s abusive mother, with the relationship between the two being one of the highlights of this punchy film.

I, Tonya is out 23 February

Dark River

After the death of her father, Alice finally returns to their Yorkshire family farm after a 15-year absence to find both the farm and her relationship with her brother Joe, in ruin. With both siblings dealing with their own demons and resentment and battling for tenancy of the farm, this is an incredibly tense and emotional drama with the fantastic Ruth Wilson and Mark Stanley.

Dark River is out 23 February

The Shape of Water

The frontrunner and big winner throughout Awards Season, The Shape of Water hits screens this week. Set in 1960s Baltimore, this in an unconventional love story between Sally Hawkins’ Elisa, a mute laboratory cleaner, and the labs newest secret experiment in the form of an amphibious humanoid creature. Directed by the king of dark fantasy, Guillermo del Toro, this beautiful unconventional love story meet B-movie thriller is a great cinematic alternative to the traditional Valentine’s Day romcom as despite the scaly nature of the leading ‘man’, this is a film with a surprising amount of warmth.

The Shape of Water is out 14 February

Black Panther

The latest and highly anticipated offering in the Marvel franchise, Black Panther, bursts into cinemas this week. Introduced back in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa is now newly on the throne of the super tech society of Wakanda and taking on the mantle of the Black Panther, protecting their way of life with the aid of some of impressive battle armour and the incredible Dora Milaje - Wakanda’s all-women special forces. With stunning visuals, a perfect soundtrack and a strong cast including Lupita Nyong’o, Daniel Kaluuya, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright and Michael B. Jordan, Black Panther is already set to be a contender for the best film in Marvel’s expanding catalogue.

Black Panther is out 14 February

Lady Bird

Written and directed by Oscar nominated Greta Gerwig, this semi-autobiographical film set in early 2000’s California follows the self-styled Lady Bird negotiating her last high school year with expectations, some more realistic than others, ofher relationships and future. One of the key relationships explored in Lady Bird is of that between the title character and her realist mother. Played powerfully by Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, it’s this relationship that goes beyond the self-absorbed teen/overbearing parent stereotype and fleshes out to something that’s compelling and personal.

Lady Bird is out 16 February

This week’s top exhibitions

Andreas Gursky at the Hayward Gallery

The Andreas Gursky retrospective at the Hayward Gallery shows massive scale landscape photographs that focus on the mass production and consumerism of our modern world. From swarming night clubs and jammed trading floors, the German photographer tests the very limits of image-making.

Andreas Gursky is at the Hayward Gallery 25 January - 22 April

Charles I: King and Collector

King Charles I (1600-1649) and his wife Henrietta Maria had been avid art buyers and assembled a collection of renaissance paintings to rival any out there. The collection got split apart after his death, but this show brings some of it back together with loans from the Prado and the Louvre.

Charles I: King and Collector is at the Royal Academy of Arts 27 January — 15 April

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style

The V&A dives into the glamorous, adventurous and ultimately short-lived world of the luxury liner, curating a stunning array of objects from the golden age of seafaring travel.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is at the V&A until June 10

Whales: Beneath the Surface - Last Chance

Exploring whales, dolphins and porpoises’ extraordinary adaptations to their underwater environments, the exhibition travels back 50 million years to the beginning of the evolution of the whale.

Whales: Beneath the Surface
 is at the Natural History Museum
 till 28 February

This week’s top food & drink

Southbank Centre Food Market

With some of the best street food in London, Southbank Centre Food Market returns, delighting food lovers and explorers alike. Bursting with fresh, creative and vibrant flavours, the market to a wide variety of food preferences, making the Market one of the capital’s top foodie destinations.

Southbank Centre Food Market is open 23 February - 25 March.

Daddy Bao

Daddy Bao is the second restaurant from the team behind Mr.Bao. They’re heading to Tooting and are bringing with them their ever popular Taiwanese dishes, as well as some new and exclusive dishes to this location. To top it off, the damage to your wallet is minimal - that is, if you can stop yourself ordering everything on the menu…

Daddy Bao is now open at 113 Mitcham Road, Tooting, SW17 9PE.

TT Liquor

If you haven’t yet been to TT Liquor, then we fully suggest that it jumps to the top of your London to-do list. Located on the trendy Kingsland Road, the bar boasts three whole storeys’ worth of boozy experiences, including cocktails and masterclasses. It’s set up in a huge converted Victorian police station, with brick walls, stone slab floors, and caged liquor bottles all contributing to an effortlessly cool atmosphere. Perfect for after-work drinks that stretch into the early hours.

TT Liquor is located at 17B Kingsland Road, E2 8AA.

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