Christmas trees are being thrown out, commuters are once again heading grim-faced into the bowels of the Underground, and many of you will be revising for exams, or settling back into another term of lectures – there’s no doubt about it, 2018 has officially begun.
Over in Victoria, Hamilton is getting into the swing of its run, with Lin-Manuel Miranda hoping to recreate in London the mania that gripped New York in 2016. Quite aside from Hamilton, there’s plenty of shows and exhibitions to look forward to in London this term.
Rita, Sue, and Bob Too
After allegations of sexual misconduct arose about Max Stafford-Clark, one of the producers involved with Rita, Sue and Bob Too, a play that follows two teenage babysitters as they embark on a sexual relationship with their employer, The Royal Court cancelled its run. Following a public outcry over the theatre censorship, the decision was reversed. The play, which is semi-autobiographical, was written by Andrea Dunbar when she was just 19. Its portrayal of two girls on the cusp of adulthood is vivid and powerful. Far from being something that should be shelved in the era of #MeToo, it is a necessary staging.
At The Royal Court from 9th to 27th January. From £12.
The Brothers Size
Melding together Yoruba mythology and a searing portrayal of brotherly love, The Brothers Size is a revival of the debut play by writer Tarell Alvin McCraney who also wrote the Academy Award-winning Moonlight. When it was first staged at the Young Vic ten years ago it received widespread critical acclaim for its masterful mixing of ritual and reality in a story about two African-American brothers: Ogun who is sensible and the wilder Oshoosi who has just been released from prison.
At the Young Vic from 19th January to 14th February. From £10.
The word satyagraha, is derived from Sanskrit and means “the strength of truth”. Mahatma Gandhi used the concept of satyagraha to guide his campaign of non-violent resistance to colonial rule in India which eventually led to India’s independence in 1947. Philip Glass’ operatic masterpiece tells the story of Gandhi’s early years in South Africa where he first began to form the ideas of non-violent protest to bring about seismic political change. In doing so Glass provides commentary on the nature of war and politics in the world. As with Akhnaten and Einstein on the Beach, the other two operas in Glass’ Portraits trilogy, Glass eschews conventional narrative, and Satyagraha weaves Gandhi’s story into scenes from the Hindu epic Mahabharata. There is no dialogue, instead the principles and chorus sing verses adapted from the Bhagavad Gita. Grand in scope and spectacular in its delivery, Satyagraha promises to be magnificent.
At the English National Opera from 1st to 27th February. From £12
All Too Human: Bacon, Freud, and a Century of Painting Life
No one exemplifies the legacy of British figurative art more than Francis Bacon and Lucian Freud, both of whom sought to capture vitality of their subjects in their portraits. Freud’s almost sculptural use of paint inspired Jenny Saville’s visceral depiction of the abundance of flesh. All Too Human will seek to draw out the threads linking Bacon,and Freud to contemporaries Frank Auerbach and Paula Rego, as well as placing their paintings in context of those by the previous generation which included Walter Sickert and David Bomberg.
At Tate Britain from 28th February to 27th August. From £16.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Playwright Tom Wright adapts Joan Lindsay’s classic exploration of the clash between Victorian sensibilities and primal nature in Barbican’s Picnic at Hanging Rock this February. Drawing on the psychological undertones of the original source material, director Matthew Lutton takes us through this dark tale: three schoolgirls and their teacher decide to head to a rural spot one day in 1900, and mysteriously vanish. They are never seen again. A haunting pick, which is not to be missed.
At Barbican from 21st February to 24th February. From £16
Picasso can be a dizzying artist to get to grips with, producing over 50,000 works in his lifetime, ranging from cubism to realism, clothwork to paintings. Luckily, the Tate Modern decide to narrow things down for us, picking only a single year in the artist’s life: 1932. It was an exceptionally creative time for Picasso, and the works on offer explore his creative drive and personal struggles. Somewhat amazingly, it will be the Tate Modern’s first solo Picasso exhibition, and is set to be a spring blockbuster.
At Tate Modern from 8th March - 9th September From £20