23 - 25 SEPTEMBER
Film: Ticket To Paradise
As everything to do with the Nineties returns to fashion, George Clooney and Julia Roberts reunite for a thoroughly enjoyable featherweight rom-com. The sheer chemistry between the two leads is enough to overpower any weakness in the script.
Art: Carolee Schneemann Body Poltics
The first survey in the UK of the work of American artist Carolee Schneemann is a genuine revelation: a sprawling collection of mixed media brilliance featuring over 300 provocative pieces.
Theatre: Blues For An Alabama Sky
Samira Wiley (The Handmaid’s Tale, Orange Is the New Black) makes her UK stage debut at the National is this fabulous depiction of the Harlem Renaissance
Music: Hot Chip at Brixton Academy
Everyone's favourite wonky pop specialists return for a jubilant celebration to mark their new synthtastic LP 'Freakout/Release'. Support comes from the excellent Psymon Spine.
2 - 4 SEPTEMBER
Ralph Fiennes and Jessica Chastain are superb as a loathsome couple looking to escape from Tangiers.
Free to attend with a spectacular showcase of street art, Camden Inspire hopes to enhance the feel of community within the borough.
From the creator of the sellout play The Ex-Boyfriend Yard Sale, this is a timely and moving portrayal on a quarter-life crisis.
Streaming live internationally, this fundraiser for the late, great drummer has arguably the best rock lineup of the year.
26 - 28 AUGUST
Idris Elba recently revealed that he was in the process of having a romantic moment in the shower with his wife, Sabrina, but was interrupted by a small, wet bat. Will his luck be better battling lions?
Art: The High Life
Inspired equally by a Microsoft 1995 ad campaign and the sky-high aspirations of international travel, this show features painted sculptural sun loungers that depict the reality of low cost exploration.
Theatre: Southbury Child
Three time Olivier winning, Alex Jennings makes his first appearance at The Bridge playing a well-liked pastor who makes a mistake. A wonderfully structured play - clever thoughtful, devastating.
Music: H.E.R. at All Points East
Not only are the National playing their only UK date this year but check out H.E.R, the Oscar-winning R&B songstress, fresh from her support slot with Coldplay.
19 - 21 AUGUST
Jordan Peele's visceral horror is almost as good as star Keke Palmer's press campaign. A resounding yes from us, even if you're no fan of jump scares or CGI bears.
Art: Ilana Savdie In jest
For her first show in London, the Colombian artist brings her dreamscape paintings celebrating "the jester, the trickster, the parasite, the witch and the clown" to the White Cube.
Music: Kamasi Washington
A modern-day jazz pioneer, Kamasi Washington is both critically acclaimed and a formidable live presence. Co-headlining this show is Ezra Collective, genre-bending British new jazz outfit.
Theatre: Cruella Makes a Comeback
Manages the difficult task on improving on both Disney's original and the Emma Stone prequel - a delightful evening out with extraordinary puppetry and so many laughs.
12 - 14 AUGUST
Based on the Japanese novel Maria Beetle by Kōtarō Isaka, Brad Pitt stars as Ladybug, a seasoned but unlucky assassin tasked collecting a briefcase on a bullet train heading from Tokyo to Kyoto. Directed by Pitt’s former stunt-double, David Leitch, who next helm a big screen version of The Fall Guy starring Ryan Gosling, expect death-defying stunts and dry-witted one-liners.
Peggy Gou Pleasure Gardens
One of dance music’s undoubted taste makers, Peggy Gou, touches down in London for another one day festival in Finsbury Park. Peggy has invited a line-up of artists and friends that best represent her cultural vision to come together in an unmissable multi-layered event. One stage, one big sound-system. Produced by krankbrother, the party will recreate classic elements of a Victorian Pleasure Garden including street food, cold craft beers and summer inspired cocktails.
The Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe
Shakespeare’s tale of reckoning and redemption is showing now at the Globe Theatre. For powerful Prospero’s opening act of revenge, he raises a ferocious storm to shipwreck a crew of men - including his usurping brother - onto the remote island he now rules. His unwitting cast is now in position and, with reluctant support from the island’s colonised inhabitants, Prospero’s designs of magical and emotional manipulation unfurl with life-changing force. Directed by Associate Artistic Director Sean Holmes (A Midsummer Night’s Dream; Twelfth Night, Globe),the show runs till 22 October.
David Batchelor: Colour is
A major exhibition of work by Scottish artist and writer David Batchelor is being held at Compton Verney in Warwickshire. For three decades, Batchelor has been concerned, above all, with colour. His work reflects both a delight in the brilliant hues of the urban environment, and an inquiry into how we respond to this rapidly changing technological environment. Including work in a wide range of media, from sculpture, installation and drawing, to painting, photography and animation, Colour Is will take visitors on a journey through Batchelor’s career, starting with his pre-colour works from the 1980s. These give way to his earliest experiments with colour and found objects in the ‘90s, and vivid multimedia installations during the 2000s. The exhibition culminates with recent work, including a glowing animation, in which sentences beginning with the words ‘Colour is …’ are projected in a continuously changing colour-saturated space.
Film: Where The Crawdads Sing
Based on the best-selling book by Delia Owens, Where the Crawdads Sing is a mystery drama set in the American south during the 1950s and 60s. Written by Lucy Alibar who co-wrote the 2012 award-winner Beasts of the Southern Wild and directed by Oliva Newman, critics haven’t been kind with many saying the film is too faithful to the original novel but if you’re a fan of the book, that could be music to your ears.
Art: Vivian Maier
MK Gallery is presenting the first exhibition in the UK of acclaimed photographer Vivian Maier, a Chicago nanny who took hundreds of thousands of photographs of everyday life, carefully storing them during her life and posthumously becoming one of the greatest street photographers of the 20th Century.
Bleeding-edge music festival Visions returns to Hackney on 23 July. Following last year’s sold out event, East London’s showcase has another incredible lineup of the best new experimental artists of the moment, including Black Country, New Road [pictured above], Far Caspian, Deathcrash, Giant Swan. Plus incredible after party action at Hackney Social and Daytimers at Paper Dress Vintage.
Theatre: The Seagull
The Game of Thrones actress Emilia Clarke, takes to the West End stage for her performance of Chechov's The Seagull, having suffered two brain aneurysms. Clarke’s performance is moving, truthful and restrained, which is impressive given that she said of her opening night jitters “I don’t think I’ve ever had that much adrenaline in my body at one time except when I jumped out of a plane voluntarily.”
Art: Africa in Fashion at the V&A
The most expansive exhibition of African fashion in the UK. It features 45 designers from over 20 countries. It displays over 250 objects, with many pieces from the middle of the Twentieth Century, as well as a plethora of emerging designers. It offers everything from a glimpse into the beautiful silks of Imane Ayissi, Kofi Ansah’s fusing of African and European aesthetics, to Moshions’ take on Minimalism.
Film: Thor: Love & Thunder
Last seen making mischief with The Guardians of the Galaxy, Thor Odinson returns to face Christian Bales’ Gorr the God Butcher, an alien being hell-bent on putting all gods to the sword. Based on Jason Aaron’s celebrated run of comics, Taika Watiti is back on director duty and Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster makes an appearance as a female Mighty Thor. Throw in Russell Crowe as Zeus and you’ve got all the ingredients for a big-budget action packed Marvel epic that fans will lap up and anyone sick of comic-book movie saturation will roll their eyes at.
Music: Jane Birkin at the Barbican
For those who remember her only as Gainsbourg's muse and a icon of French style, Jane Birkin's musical career has continued to evolve, including creating masterpieces such as “Oh! Pardon tu dormais…” with Étienne Daho in 2020. A night of alluring listening to those world-renowned wispy vocals is a Saturday night well spent.
Theatre: Richard III at RSC
Helmed by artistic director Gregory Doran and starring Arthur Hughes, the first disabled actor to take on the role of Richard in the RCS’s history, a new production of Shakespeare's Richard III is now playing at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon. Arfifa Akbar writing for The Guardian said “This production shines in its aesthetics and stagecraft, which has a magisterial splendour,” and Michael Davies in WhatsOnStage wrote “From the ghosts' eerie incarnation to the extraordinary grey locks of Minnie Gale's extraordinary, vengeful Queen Margaret, every detail is carefully placed.” Tickets will be popular, so grab them now and avoid this being the Summer of your discontent.