This weekend in London

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Charles Merser & Co.: Open Day

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Charles Merser & Co.: Open Day
Sadler's Wells Sampled
Bombay Bustle Yoga Brunch
Vault Festival
Secret Theatre Project: The Invitation
Mushrooms: The Art, Design And Future Of Fungi
Last chance: William Blake
New opening: Sarap


Make the most of your precious time off with the LondonTown weekend guide, which gives you the lowdown on the best events and things to do this weekend in London.


Vault Festival

The Vaults, 10 Leake Street, South Bank, London, SE1 7NN

Tube: Waterloo Station , Lambeth North Station


Dates: 28th January to 22nd March 2020


The boundless Vault Festival is one of the most exciting happenings on London's fringe with one of the largest curated arts programmes in the world. Returning for its eighth year in 2020, the festival offers eight weeks of theatre and comedy, immersive experiences, cabaret, live performances and late-night parties. This year, while the central hub will remain in the underground Vaults, 18 spaces across Waterloo and the South Bank will also be hosting events with the climate crisis at the forefront of the programme. Eco Week in Week 4 will present shows such as Matt Winning's It's the End of the World as We Know It and the carbon-neutral musical adventure How To Save A Rock. Another focal point will be global stories with highlights including Far Gone, inspired by writer John Rwothomach's experiences of nearly being kidnapped by a guerrilla rebel group in Uganda and Santi & Naz, a queer love story set against the backdrop of the partition of India.


Charles Merser & Co.: Open Day

Charles Merser & Co., 44 Essex Street, Sign of the Post and Hound, London, WC2R 3JF

Tube: Temple Station


Dates: Saturday 1st February 2020


For the first time since opening in autumn 2019, Merser & Co., London's only rum blending house opens its doors to the public to host a free open day. For one day only, you'll be able to see the underground cask store, blending room, bar and tasting room housed within a four-storey building in Temple. You'll also get the chance to try the company's first blend and discover the different components it's made from. Set up by the Hayman family, best known for their eponymous range of gins, the rum blending revives a side of the business which goes back to the mid-19th Century when they would source stock from West India Docks to create their own blends.


Last chance: William Blake

Tate Britain, Millbank, London, SW1P 4RG

Tube: Pimlico Station


Dates: 11th September 2019 to 2nd February 2020


This autumn, Tate Britain showcases William Blake's work as he intended it to be shown in what will be the largest survey of the artist's work in the UK for a generation. Widely considered to be one of Britain's greatest artists, Blake had bold ambitions as a visual artist and envisioned vast frescos that were unfortunately never realised. Through digital enlargement, this exhibition will project The Spiritual Form of Nelson Guiding Leviathan c.1805-9 and The Spiritual Form of Pitt Guiding Behemoth c.1805 onto one of the gallery walls, presenting them in the huge scale that Blake had once imagined for the very first time. The original works will be shown nearby in a re-staging of Blake's 1809 exhibition - his only significant attempt at gaining public recognition. The exhibition will also act as a visual biography of Blake's life with a strong focus on London and the previously unrecognised creative assistance of his wife, Catherine.


Sadler's Wells Sampled

Sadler's Wells Theatre, Rosebery Avenue, London, EC1R 4TN

Tube: Angel Station


Dates: Friday 31st January and Saturday 1st February 2020


An annual taster and a chance to dip into dance. With tickets from just 5 Sadler's Wells Sampled covers a wide variety of dance, from classical ballet to hip hop, contemporary and tango. This year's line-up includes circus from Machine de Cirque, popping and tutting from Geometrie Variable, tango from world champions Ezequiel Lopez and Camila Alegre, two BBC Young Dancers, cutting-edge contemporary from Company Wayne McGregor and an excerpt from Botis Seva's Oliver Award-winning BLKDOG. It's not just about the performances; come early for the full experience, including front of house performances, live DJs and workshops so you can have a go too.


New opening: Sarap

14D Market Row, Brixton Village, London, SW9 8LB

Tube: Brixton Station


Ferdinand 'Budgie' Montoya, formerly head chef of Foley's in Fitzrovia, is the Sydney-raised chef-owner behind Sarap, bringing Filipino cuisine to Brixton Village. Following three hugely successful pop-ups including at The Duke's Head in Highgate and at The Sun & 13 Cantons in Soho, Sarap has its first full-time stand-alone site. It's best known for its speciality slow-roasted pork belly dish, 'Lechon Liempo' - Sarap's own take on the classic Cebu lechon - described by the Evening Standard's Jimi Famurewa as "a lust-making pyramid of fatty, flame-scorched pig hunks". Add sides of pickled carrot and daikon, plus "a pair of killer condiments" (The Guardian): coconut vinegar and a rich barbecue sauce. The food menu is coupled with a small and carefully curated drinks list of low-intervention wines alongside Filipino-branded, local craft beers and cocktails. With approximately 25 covers including outdoor seating, this is the place to go for a fine Filipino food fix.


Bombay Bustle Yoga Brunch

Bombay Bustle, 29 Maddox Street, London, W1S 2PA

Tube: Oxford Circus Station


Dates: 1st to 29th February 2020


Indian restaurant Bombay Bustle is helping Londoners out with their healthy New Year resolutions with a series of Yoga Brunches. Running from 1st to 29th February, the event takes place every Saturday morning and kicks off with a yoga class at nearby wellness hub, Yogasphere on Grosvenor Square. Whether you choose a warm restorative class or a hot power yoga session, the hour-long class will stretch the muscles and clear the head. Following this, it will be time for a well-earned three-course brunch at Bombay Bustle, which commences with a warming winter vegetable soup followed by a choice of dishes such as tofu and lentil risotto, cauliflower corn patties, and Malwani trout with spiced rice.


Secret Theatre Project: The Invitation

Town Hall Hotel, 8 Patriot Square, London, E2 9NF

Tube: Bethnal Green Underground Station


Dates: 28th January to 5th April 2020


Fresh from a sell-out run in Hong Kong, Secret Theatre Project is back in London with a brand new immersive theatrical show. Described by the organisers as 'Eyes Wide Shut Meets SE7EN', The Invitation takes place at the fictional Masquerade Palace, in the wonderfully historic Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green. Everything is not what it seems as you gradually learn of the role you play in determining the fate of this arcane world of masked secrets, hidden clubs and tragedy. You can opt for immersive dining as part of the theatrical experience and enjoy food by Simon Shand, head chef at the hotel's Corner Room restaurant, before the show. As the theme is Masquerade Party you'll be expected to wear a mask and be a part of show. Since launching in 2008, Secret Theatre Project has succesfully staged shows world-wide including Edward Scissorhands in an abandoned factory in New York and the critically acclaimed Code 2024.


Mushrooms: The Art, Design And Future Of Fungi

Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA

Tube: Temple Station


Dates: 31st January to 26th April 2020


Take a trip into the weird and wonderful world of mushrooms this winter with Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi. A major new exhibition at Somerset House, the event celebrates the progressive, poetic and psychedelic wonder mushrooms evoke with the works of more than 40 leading artists, designers and musicians exploring its colourful cultural legacy. Artists such as Seana Gavin and Haroon Mirza illustrate the playful side of mushrooms while other highlights include watercolours from renowned author Beatrix Potter, John Cage's limited edition Mushroom Book of recipes, and a look at groundbreaking experiments that are set to utilise mushrooms in exciting new ways such as sustainable shoes and a decomposable mushroom burial suit.


English National Opera: Carmen

London Coliseum - English National Opera (ENO), St Martin's Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2N 4ES

Tube: Charing Cross Station , Leicester Square Station, Covent Garden Station, Embankment Underground Station


Dates: 29th January to 27th February 2020


Calixto Bieito's "tough, dark, spare and intelligent" (The Guardian) production of Bizet's classic love story about Don Jose and his all-consuming passion for Carmen explores the complex relationships between the sexes at the tail-end of Franco's regime in the 1970s. Performed by English National Opera at the London Coliseum, mezzo Justina Gringyte plays Carmen - a role in which she captures the character's "reckless vulnerability superbly" (The Guardian) - and rising star Sean Panikkar makes his ENO debut as Don Jose. Last staged here in 2015, when it earned four star reviews, this hot-blooded production has been "enjoying enormous success in opera houses all over the world" (Independent) for close to 20 years.


Last chance: Rembrandt's Light

Dulwich Picture Gallery, Gallery Road, Dulwich Village, London, SE21 7AD

Tube: Denmark Hill Station


Dates: 4th October 2019 to 2nd February 2020


In the year that marks 350 years since Rembrandt's death, Dulwich Picture Gallery is staging Rembrandt's Light, a new exhibition focusing on the Dutch Master's refined use of light and visual storytelling. Bringing together 35 carefully selected international loans, the exhibition focuses on his greatest years, from 1639-1658, and pays particular attention to his skill at creating impact and drama, evoking a meditative mood and lighting his subjects. Among the highlights are three of Rembrandt's most famous images of women: A Woman Bathing in a Stream, A Woman in Bed and the Gallery's inimitable Girl at a Window - displayed side-by-side for the very first time. Award-winning cinematographer Peter Suschitzky, famed for his work on films like Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back and Mars Attacks!, has assisted with lighting some of Rembrandt's greatest paintings, etchings and drawings for the exhibition.



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