What's On in London December 2014
Dressing Vivien Leigh
Dates: Friday 5th December 2014 - 6.30pm-7.30pm
Victoria and Albert (V & A) Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 2RL
A weekend-long exploration of the late actress's influence on fashion and costume design.V&A curator Keith Lodwick discusses the actress Vivien Leigh and the costumes she wore as part of a weekend-long exploration (from Friday 5th to Sunday 7th December) of the late actress's influence on fashion and costume design by cultural platform Fashion & Cinema. 'Dressing Vivien Leigh' includes a Saturday night screening of 'The Roman Spring of Mrs Stone' atHam Yard Hotel and a Sunday afternoon showing of Elia Kazan's 'A Streetcar Named Desire' at Cine Lumiere, South Kensington. The film will be introduced by John Lahr, author of 'Tennessee Williams: Mad Pilgrimage of the Flesh', and Vivien Leigh's biographer Kendra Bean.
Dates: From 04th December 2014
Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN
Matthew Bourne translates the classic 1990 Tim Burton film into a delightful dance.
Having so successfully given new interpretations to classics like Swan Lake, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella and Nutcracker!, Matthew Bourne now brings Edward Scissorhands to Sadler's Wells this Christmas. This delightful dance adaptation of the classic 1990 Tim Burton film in which Johnny Depp plays a boy with scissors for hands returns for a six week season having first been staged in 2005. The title role will be played by popular New Adventures stars, Dominic North (Sleeping Beauty) "a strong dancer" who "conveys the pathos of the character with subtlety and restraint" (The Observer) and Liam Mower (the original Billy Elliot). Promising "a fresh new look at this magical production", Bourne has reworked the show for this revival. "The show's other star is Lez Brotherston's set," wrote Luke Jennings in The Observer reviewing the production at Sadler's Wells six years ago. "The Middle-American 'burbs are created by ranks of miniature candy-coloured villas in extreme perspective, a glance at one of the interiors revealing a hideous vase and a Tretchikoff print... Like all Bourne's shows, Scissorhands has its sophisticated little bonuses."
Statoil Masters Tennis
Dates: 3rd to 7th Dec 2014
The highlight of the ATP Champions Tour.
Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore, South Kensington, London, SW7 2AP
The highlight of the ATP Champions Tour is definitely the Statoil Masters Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall as blasts from the past battle it out in London's prettiest indoor arena. To play in the tournament players must, at one time, have been the world Number One, a Grand Slam finalist or a player on a winning Davis Cup side (with exception of certain invited players) - so that means top quality. These guys might have lost a few ounces of speed and stamina over the years but they retain all the guile, poise and determination that made them champions in the first place. Last year, American Pat Rafter faced Tim Henman in the final after defeating Goran Ivanisevic on a stage usually reserved for Brahms, Beethoven and the Beatles. Expect a few days of competitive tennis with a healthy splash of fun as these past masters take to the court once again.
Dates: From 04th December 2014
Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD
The world's most complete example of a Stegosaurus is unveiled at the Natural History Museum.The world's most complete example of a Stegosaurus, found in the USA 11 years ago, takes pride of place inside the Natural History Museum's Exhibition Road entrance from 4th December 2014. Set to rival the museum's Diplodocus in the Central Hall, arguably the most famous exhibit in the building, the 150 million year old Stegosaurus stenops is the first complete dinosaur specimen to go on display at the museum in close to a century. At 560 centimetres long and 290 centimetres tall with over 300 bones, the skeleton is similar in size to a 4x4 car, and although much smaller than Dippy (who is a whopping 32 metres long) the new Stegosaurus dinosaur is a real fossil while its larger rival is a replica cast.
East London Design Show
Dates: 4th, 5th, 6th and 7th Dec 2014
The Old Truman Brewery, 91 Brick Lane, Spitalfields, London, E1 6QL
More than a hundred stalls create the perfect chance to pick up a designer gift.
For a refreshing and alternative shopping experience in the lead up to Christmas then try the annual East London Design Show at The Old Truman Brewery. The show celebrates its 20th birthday this year and is offering its usual supply of stylish surprises from more than one hundred of the best independent, product, interior and jewellery designers in London. The wares range from ceramics to clothes, to jewellery and furniture, and there's also stationary, children's toys, lighting, art and homewares, plus the requisite array of zany gimcracks and cheerios. Plus, this year welcomes a new food hall that will feature the best in local, national and international foods to gift. Expect something a little sleeker, funkier and less folksy and dated than the craft goods you'll find in the German Markets around town. Who knows, you might even be buying a future design classic. Shopping is the main event, but there's also a bar/cafe and workshops on sustainable gift-wrapping, hat making and toy making.
First World War in the Air
Dates: 4th December 2014 to 31st December 2020
The finest collection of First World War aircraft tells the story of air power in WWI.
Royal Air Force Museum London, Grahame Park Way, Hendon, London, NW9 5LL
Tube: Colindale Station.
Eleven years after the first powered flight, aviation emerged as a force capable of changing the face of battle. In 1914 the Royal Flying Corps numbered just 1,500 people. By 1918, when the Royal Air Force was created, this had grown to more than 205,000. The full strategic value of air power had become all too evident - both on the battlefield and on the Home Front. The compelling story of the First World War in the Air is revealed in a major exhibition which includes the finest collection of First World War aircraft, medals, letters and uniforms on display in the Claude Grahame-White Hangar of theRoyal Air Force Museum from 4th December 2014.
Tristan und Isolde
Dates: 5th to 21st December 2014
Christof Loy's award-winning production of Wagner's epic opera returns to the Royal Opera House.
Royal Opera House, Bow Street, London, WC2E 9DD
A major hallmark of Antonio Pappano's tenure as Music Director of theRoyal Opera House has been his exploration of Wagner. Continuing that theme, he returns to conduct Tristan und Isolde, Christof Loy's award-winning production first performed here in 2009. Wagner's epic opera is an Arthurian love story of knights and duelling-to-the-death, which starts with the fiery Isolde being taken aboard a ship to marry King Marke of Cornwall against her will. She is escorted on the journey by the knight Tristan, the king's nephew, who she rails against as the one responsible for her situation. Tristan also killed her fiance Morold, but a mistaken love potion later and the opera enters an otherworldly evocation of love, in which state Tristan and Isolde risk everything to be together. Nina Stemme returns as Isolde and renowned Wagnerian John Tomlinson, who sings the role of King Marke, both reprise their roles from the 2009 production. They are joined by American tenor and Wagner specialist Stephen Gould as Tristan.
City Of Angels
Dates: 5th December 2014 to 7th February 2015
The Donmar Warehouse, 41 Earlham Street, Seven Dials, London, WC2H 9LD
Musical comedy set in the glamorous world of Broadway in the 1940s.
A New York novelist is given the opportunity to adapt his detective character of his books into a big-screen hero in Cy Coleman and David Zippel's musical, City Of Angels, revived by the Donmar's Josie Rourke as the theatre's 2014 Christmas production. The musical comedy is set in the glamorous world of the film studios of Broadway in the 1940s and chronicles the misadventures of Stine, a young novelist, attempting a screenplay for movie producer/director, Buddy Fidler. The Light Princess actress Rosalie Craig stars opposite fiancee Hadley Fraser who returns to the Donmar following his performance in Rourke's production of Coriolanus earlier this year. Craig is making her Donmar debut as Stine's wife Gabby alongside Les Miserables' Samantha Barks who plays Mallory Kingsley, the missing step-daughter of striking socialite, Alaura Kingsley, who turns up in her birthday suit in Stone's bed.
Santa Run Battersea Park
Dates: Saturday 6th December 2014
Dress up as Santa and run through Battersea Park in aid of Disability Snowsport UK.
Battersea Park, Albert Bridge Road, Battersea Park, Battersea, London, SW11 4NJ
Join hundreds of other Santas on a festive run through Battersea Parkbefore relaxing afterwards with mulled wine and Christmas cake. No previous experience is needed for this fantastically festive day. Simply register online, turn up on the day, collect your free Santa outfit and tackle the 6km run. The spirit of the event is to be decided solely by the participants, meaning you can decide to walk, jog or run as fast or as slow as you like. Why will everyone be dressed as Santa? Well, ignoring the obvious (the time of year), proceeds from the run will be donated to Disability Snowsport UK, a national charity that helps people with disabilities to access the thrill of snow sports. If you've ever fancied a fun run through London whilst dressed as Father Christmas (and let's face it, who hasn't?) then this is the one for you. Alternatively, try out the Santa Run at Victoria Park on 7th December 2014.
Great Christmas Pudding Race
Dates: Saturday 6th December 2014
Covent Garden Piazza, Covent Garden, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD
A festive take on the egg and spoon race.
You're familiar with the egg and spoon race. Well how about the Christmas Pudding Race? Covent Garden Piazza swells with spectators as about 150 contestants in teams of six don fancy dress and race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles - all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate! The race has been going on every year since 1980 and it raises money for Cancer Research. At this time of year Covent Garden is a great place to be, with shops full of Christmas decorations and street entertainers putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event. The perfect way to break up a day of Christmas shopping in Covent Garden's collection of stylish stores.
The Royal Ballet: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
Dates: 6th December 2014 to 16th January 2015
See a stunning stage version of Lewis Carroll's fantastical tale at the Royal Opera House.
Royal Opera House, Bow Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2E 9DD
The Royal Ballet stages a stunning stage version of Lewis Carroll's fantastical tale which returns to the Royal Opera House following its well received 2011 world premiere here. Christopher Wheeldon's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland combines elaborate costumes, projections and backdrops with inventive props and music by Joby Talbot. Praised for its theatrical effects, all of Carroll's famous characters through the looking glass are portrayed in incredibly inventive ways. Although the story has been tweaked, beginning with a party in Oxford held by Alice's parents, children (from five years old) will enjoy the engaging show and atmospheric music and will recognise the twitchy White Rabbit, a tap dancing Mad Hatter, a sinuous caterpillar and The Queen of Hearts.
Cats: The Musical
Dates: 6th December 2014 to 28th February 2015
Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger makes her West End stage debut as Grizabella.
London Palladium, 8 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7TF
Appropriately enough, one-time Pussycat Doll, Nicole Scherzinger, makes her West End stage debut as Grizabella in Andrew Lloyd Webber's long-running musical based on TS Eliot's 'Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats'. One of the longest-running shows in West End - it played for 21 record-breaking years - Cats: The Musical returns to London's West End for 12 weeks from the beginning of December 2014. Cats is a wonderful show about the Jellicle cats who meet on one special night of the year at the Jellicle Ball. Long term Associate Director of Cats Chrissie Cartwright recreates Trevor Nunn's original direction featuring Gillian Lynne's choreography and some wonderful and well loved songs including Memory which became a Top 10 hit in the UK in 1981 for Elaine Paige who originally played the role of one-time glamour cat Grizabella in the first West End production.
Dates: 9th December 2014 to 17th January 2015
The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ
A colourful and philosophical show from the theatre collective 1927.
Blending original animation with entrancing music and live performance, Golemexplores one of the great questions of the modern world: what happens when man and machine become intertwined? A colourful and philosophical show from the theatre collective 1927, whose smash hit 'The Animals and Children took to the Streets', "a thrilling blend of junk-shop retro and hi-tech gadgetry" (Telegraph), caused Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington to "gawp at the sardonic wit". This UK premiere at the Young Vic, which proposes that the danger lies not in machine becoming more like man but in man becoming more like machine, is consequently one of the most anticipated new shows of 2014.
English National Ballet: Nutcracker
Dates: 11th December 2014 to 4th January 2015
London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4ES
Wayne Eagling choreographs for the English National Ballet to Tchaikovsky's famous score.
A very traditional interpretation of E.T.A. Hoffman's 'The Nutcracker,English National Ballet's version has been staged every year since 1950. In 2010 Wayne Eagling (artistic director of the company from 2005 to 2012) created this version to celebrate the company's 60th birthday. This glittering production, with an Edwardian setting created by Peter Farmer, cannot fail to get you in the Christmas spirit. As sure as putting up fairy lights, filling Christmas stockings and having too much mulled wine at the office party, watching Clara dance in front of the Christmas tree is a truly festive thing to do. It's hard to imagine a production more indulgently sumptuous than Wayne Eagling's choreography to Tchaikovsky's famous score. From the heart-warming family party of the opening scene to the appearance of the magical kingdom, the action beckons you in. View our great ticket deals for English National Ballet's Nutcracker.
The Way Back Home
Dates: 11th to 23rd December 2014
The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, London, SE1 8LZ
A delightful introduction to the magical world of opera.
Oliver Jeffers's enchanting book, The Way Back Home, is brought to life though Joanna Lee's opera for families and children aged between 5 and 8 years old in this delightful introduction to the magical world of opera. The perfect family treat this Christmas, English National Opera perform the story of a boy who, on discovering an aeroplane in his cupboard, flies off towards the stars in search of adventure at the Young Vic. Created by Katie Mitchell and Vicki Mortimer, the pair behind the National Theatre's acclaimed stage adaptation of Dr Seuss's The Cat in the Hat, The Way Back Home is an exciting co-production and ENO's first ever show for children.
Dates: Friday 12th December 2014
The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB
The English tenor plays at the O2 for the first time.
Following the release of his new album 'Trust', Alfie Boe will play at the O2 for the first time in December 2014. The English tenor - known as 'The Nation's Tenor' - became a household name after he broke into the industry back in 2011, selling nearly 700,000 copies of his hit albums 'Bring Him Home' and 'Alfie'. In this latest album, the follow up of his 2012 release 'Storyteller', Boe moves away from his traditional operatic repertoire to create a more contemporary sound and applies his voice to a set of country and blues, folk and gospel.
Jeff Wayne's The War Of The Worlds Final Arena Tour
Dates: Saturday 13th December 2014
The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB
The live version of HG Wells' novel goes on tour for the final time.
After five previous successful tours, Jeff Wayne's Musical Version of The War of the Worlds will tour for the sixth and final time in 2014. Coinciding with the 115th anniversary of the HG Wells novel and the 75th anniversary of Orson Welles' radio adaptation, the tour comes to the O2 arena for two shows on Saturday 13th December. The musical concert version will see Brian McFadden star as The Journalist, Jason Donovan reprise his role as Parson Nathaniel and Carrie Hope Fletcher as his wife, Beth. Joseph Wheel from 2013's XFactor will also join the show as The Voice of Humanity and Liam Neeson's screened performance as The Journalist will feature.
London International Horse Show
Dates: 16th to 22nd Dec 2014
Olympia London, Hammersmith Road, Kensington, London, W14 8UX
The UK's only World Cup dressage qualifier, show jumping, trotting ground and shopping.
London's annual equestrian fiesta graces Olympia once more for a full week of galloping, jumping and pinpoint dressage steps. There's enough to please everybody at the London International Horse Show, with the UK's only World Cup dressage qualifier, spectacular show-jumping competitions, and some fantastic equestrian shopping opportunities. As well as the elegant steeds trotting around, there are usually some dog-related competitions too, including a canine agility contest. The grand finale is an enormous festive parade with hundreds of horses, costumes and music combining to a spectacular climax.
The Railway Children
Dates: 16th December 2014 to 1st March 2015
King's Cross Railway Station, Euston Road, London, N1 9AP
Mike Kenny's Olivier Award-winning adaptation pulls in to King's Cross.
Mike Kenny's Olivier Award-winning adaptation of The Railway Children, staged at Waterloo three years ago, moves to King's Cross Theatre for a Christmas run. E Nesbitt's classic tale is specially adapted for the railway setting by Mike Kenny. A highlight of this site specific theatrical production in which the three children are forced to make do after their father's false imprisonment is a real steam locomotive, Silver Stirling, whose steam and noise certainly adds to the atmospheric setting. When the show premiered at the National Railway Museum, York, in the summer of 2008 it was described as "pretty spectacular" (The Guardian) with Kenny's "unsentimental adaptation" praised for reclaiming the text from romantic notions and frilly petticoats, returning to Nesbit's original Fabian message. The rest of the station has been put to good use too - while you're waiting for the play to start, you can browse an exhibition all about E Nesbit's original book, the history of the railways, the Railway Children Charity, and the play's Yorkshire setting. The train now departing from platform 5 may not be bound for Paris but it promises just as much drama and excitement - and a tear jerking climatic final scene.
Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown
Dates: 20th December 2014 to 9th May 2015
Playhouse Theatre, Northumberland Avenue, London, WC2N 5DE
Tamsin Greig stars in a surprising, heart-breaking and rebellious musical comedy.
Olivier-Award winner Tamsin Greig (Episodes, Green Wing, Jumpy, God of Carnage), who made her name as Debbie Aldridge in Radio 4's The Archers, makes her musical theatre debut in the UK premiere of Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown. Pedro Almodovar's Oscar-nominated film has been adapted for the stage by the all-American writing team of David Yasbek and Jeffrey Lane, whose Dirty Rotten Scoundrels musical is currently playing to positive reviews in the West End. Pepa (Tamsin Greig) and her friends juggle their everyday lives and extraordinary moments in a surprising, heart-breaking and rebellious musical comedy. The production is directed by Tony Award-winner Bartlett Sher, resident director of the Lincoln Center theatre in New York.
Dates: 22nd December 2014 to 21st January 2015
National Theatre: Olivier Theatre, South Bank, London, SE1 8XZ
Robert Louis Stevenson's classic adapted by Bryony Lavery for the National.
The National Theatre's Christmas kids' show takes Robert Louis Stevenson's classic,Treasure Island, and adapts it for children aged ten and above. This stage adaptation has been written by Bryony Lavery, the 67-year-old playwright best known for her play Frozen, who has also penned The Believers, playing at the Tricycle Theatreearlier in the year, in spring 2014. Speaking to the Ham & High about Treasure Island, Lavery said, "It's made me think that characters don't always have to say things to show what they mean." She continued: "Most of our experiences of strong emotions are silent. We are quite gobstruck and rarely say, 'I am feeling like this'. My aim is to keep it as spare as possible and write as few words to give the sound and acting space." Polly Findlay, who has directed Protest Song, War Horse (Berlin), Antigone, and Double Feature for the National, directs.
Disney On Ice presents 100 Years of Magic
Dates: 24th December 2014 to 4th January 2015
The O2 Arena, Peninsula Square, London, SE10 0BB
Mickey, Minnie, Donald Duck and the Disney Princesses are joined by their friends.
A colourful cast of more than 60 Disney characters take part in this show on ice as Disney On Ice celebrates 100 Years of Magic. Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck and the Disney Princesses are joined by their friends from Disney's Mulan, The Lion King and Pinocchio, and Disney/Pixar films Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Toy Story, as they take to the ice for a grand celebration. Produced by Feld Entertainment, this production features Disney stars that span the decades, a sing-along score of award-winning Disney music and beautiful costumes.
Midnight Mass at St Paul's Cathedral
Dates: Wednesday 24th December 2014
St Paul's Cathedral, St Paul's Churchyard, City, London, EC4M 8AD
The perfect place to usher in Christmas Day.
Sir Christopher Wren's magnificent St Paul's Cathedral, viewed by many as the spiritual home of Great Britain, is a wonderful place to be on the night before Christmas when the Choir of St Paul's Cathedral is joined by Barbican Brass to mark the first Eucharist of Christmas. This is one of many Christmas celebrations held at the cathedral throughout December. Demand is so great that St Paul's puts on a series of special events but the high point has to be the Midnight Mass service. The cathedral's famous dome, which peaks over the top of London's skyline from miles around, fills with the soaring sounds of the Cathedral Choir. In candlelit, majestic surroundings in the middle of the city, this is the perfect place to usher in Christmas Day before wrapping up warm and making your way home through the magically deserted streets. All you need is a fresh coating of snow to settle...
New Year's Eve Fireworks
Dates: Wednesday 31st December 2014
London Eye , Jubilee Gardens, South Bank, South Bank, London, SE1 7PB
You'll have to pay £10 this year but it'll be worth it.
The annual New Year's Eve Fireworks display, launched from the foot of the London Eye and from rafts on the Thames, is visible from most of central London: the basic rule is that if you can see the London Eye, you'll be able to see the show. They cram enough firepower for an hour-long display into ten explosive minutes, lighting up the sky for miles around. The best views are from Victoria Embankment, the South Bank, and Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. Hungerford Bridge is closed after 8pm and there's also no entry to Westminster Bridge after this time. Watched by half a million people last year, in 2014 the organisers have introduced a £10 charge and ticketing in order to prevent overcrowding. Tickets will be available at 12 noon on Friday 26th September 2014. Go to www.london.gov.ukfor full details.