London's arts scene wakes from its early winter slumber to bring us two arty openings this week.
At the V&A, Magnificence of the Tsars looks at the opulence and grandeur of Imperial Russia; the perfect antidote to our current early-recession frugality. Look out for the 14-year-old Tsar Peter II's coronation waistcoat, embellished with gold and silver.
Indian Highway at the Serpentine is billed as "a snapshot of a vibrant generation of artists working across a range of media". Our mole says last night's opening was too packed with people not looking at the art (tsk), and warned of sub-zero temperatures in the tent outside. The events programme looks fun though.
In Theatreland, the sublime and the ridiculous come out to play. Friday sees the start of Derek Jacobi's run in Twelfth Night as part of the Donmar West End at Wyndhams. (Shh: there's tickets left for Sundays.) Cinderella also opens on Friday, at New Wimbledon Theatre, with Stacey from Gavin and Stacey, Gareth Gates and Alistair McGowan. He's behind you, etc.
Elsewhere, the RSC's The Cordelia Dream opens at Wilton's Music Hall on Tuesday, and Ida Barr (former music hall singer turned elderly rap star) leaves her retirement home to bring Barbican audiences a "flava" of Christmas from Thursday. Check out the Artificial Hip Hop.
Dance fans can choose between two Nutcrackers this week. The Royal Opera House hosts the Royal Ballet's Nutcracker from Monday; the Coliseum hosts the other from next Wednesday. The English National Ballet's Nutcracker, designed by Gerald Scarfe and choreographed by Christopher Hampson is on for the last time after seven years of seasonal sissonnes.
Prefer your opera with popcorn? Then head to the vue cinemas in Croydon, Finchley Road, Fulham Broadway, Harrow or Islington this coming Tuesday, and you can enjoy the Royal Opera's performance of Engelbert Humperdinck's Hänsel und Gretel without the faff of having to get to the Royal Opera House in the tourist-trap that is Covent Garden. Brilliant.
Last Chance To See
The Lucien Freud: Early Works 1940-1958 exhibition at Hazlitt Holland-Hibbert in St James's is finishing on Friday. There's some pretty exciting private stuff on show that you wouldn't normally get to see, so don't miss out if you're a fan.
Image shows red wool coat with silver embroidery worn by Peter II, 1727-30. © The Moscow Kremlin Museums