Arts & Culture
Originally published on Wednesday, 28th April 2010
UJ Culturist May 2010
Festival season lurking on the horizon has two wonderful knock-on effects for the London cultural calendar this month. 1) The first smatterings of multi-day mash-ups and gigs can be felt already. And 2) the tumult of less carnage-driven distractions is also gaining momentum. What does this mean to the rest of us? Mostly that there’s such an awesome range of things to do in May it should be illegal. Now get out there.
April 28 – May 15, £10-£36
Peacock Theatre, Portugal Street, WC2A 2HT
If you managed to catch Traces – their astonishing show that was one of 2009’s performance highlights – you’ll know just how mind-blowing The 7 Fingers can be. Featuring 11 unfeasibly talented French-Canadian performers, their latest creation, Psy, blends a barrage of unstable psychoses with an amazing soundtrack and the most original, unpretentious, sometimes terrifying take on circus you’ve ever seen, delivering it in one hell of a ride.
May 5-8, £10-£40.
Barbican, Silk Street, EC2Y 8DS
You know those shows that you really beat yourself up for missing? Well last year’s beautiful, lauded, sell-out Kabuki version of Twelfth Night was one of them. But with its director, Yukio Ninagawa, returning to the Barbican with a phenomenal cast and a new Noh-based production about two of feudal Japan’s most legendary swordsmen (Musashi Miyamoto and Kojiro Sasaki), it looks like I can finally stop the self-flagellation.
MUSIC: Springtime Cabaret
May 7, 10:30pm, £8
Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, SE1 8XX
What better to take your mind off all the growing political gravity that’s been doing the rounds than a little springtime distraction? Led by Marcella Puppini (of Puppini Sisters fame) and her All Girl Punk Orchestra plus support from the mischievous Beaux Belles and an optional dress-code of “animal costumes, Pre-Raphaelite or pagan chic,” this late-night cabaret promises to revel in the many May-time wonders of life, laughter and love.
FOOD/DRINK: Deliver Us From Innocence
May 11, 7-11pm, £50
Shoreditch Town Hall, 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT
After a few months’ breather (that felt like an age to our palettes/kidneys), The Tasting Sessions are back with their latest mouth-watering instalment. Teaming up with the chocolatier Damian Allsop, they’ll take you on a journey through the land of Paradise Found, a place of temptation, eternal youth, forbidden fruit and some of the finest chocolate/booze pairings you’ve ever encountered.
MUSIC/ART: Concrete and Glass
The first of this month’s microfests, Concrete and Glass covers your two key cultural bases of music and art, highlighting the cream of the emerging crop in both arenas. Taking place over a fortnight and overthrowing much of the Hoxton Square area with its various gigs and shows, expect cinematic soundtracks, Turner-winning conceptual artists, a top-notch open-sub exhibition, and of course David Shrigley’s Worried Noodles.
OUT OF TOWN: The Great Escape
May 13-15, £22.50-£90
The Great Escape ticks two massive boxes on our to-do list. 1) Get out of the big smoke for a few days. 2) Catch some of the hottest, freshest live bands out there. Three relentless days of gigs, talks (if you’re really into the music scene, these are also excellent) and parties with 400-odd artists including Ellie Goulding, Groove Armada, Crystal Fighters, Rolo Tomassi, Dan Smith, and so many, many more that it’s almost silly. And the best thing? Wellies entirely unnecessary!
May 14-17, £15, £10 adv.
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, SW3 4SQ
The Craft Council’s international fair for contemporary objects is back at the Saatchi after last year’s gorgeous show. 36 galleries from around the world are on board for this one, with work from both established and emerging artists alike to get your paws on. And in the build up to the fair itself, a selection of local stores including Cath Kidston and Taschen are giving up their windows for the fair’s Collect Trail (May 1-18).
MUSIC: Stag & Dagger
May 21, £15 adv.
Back for its third year, Shoreditch’s very own full-on music mini-fest is back to tear poor East London apart. So whether you consider this a warm-up for the summer’s coming carnage or just another excuse to rock out, the ‘Ditch’s one day all-in is here. Over 100 acts are already confirmed, including the likes of Django Django, Archie Bronson Outfit, Filthy Dukes and Teenagers In Tokyo … so grab your tickets early ‘coz this one is sounding FUN!