Things To Do This Week In London: 20-26 March 2023

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Things to do this week is sponsored by Oklahoma!

All week

Bourgeois and Maurice - one is dressed in black, one is dressed in white, futuristic looking outfits, against a red background
Bourgeois and Maurice grace the stage at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on Monday

HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH: Barbican Cinema hosts the Human Rights Watch Film Festival, which focuses on the power of individuals to make a difference. On the programme this week is the UK premiere of Silent Love, a Polish film about two women who must hide their long-term relationship, and Seven Winters in Tehran, about an Iranian woman sentenced to death for the murder of the man who tried to rape her. Until 24 March

BLOOD & BATTLE: You're running out of time to see the Old Royal Naval College's current exhibition, Blood & Battle: Dissecting the Life of William Beatty. Find out about 19th century naval surgeon and physician Sir William Beatty, who took up his post as Physician to the Royal Hospital for Seamen in Greenwich 200 years ago. The exhibition includes a replica of Nelson’s life mask, Beatty’s own medical chest and 18th and 19th century surgical instruments. Age 10+. Until 25 March

DANGEROUS GAMES: Immersive theatre maestros Teatro Vivo debut their new show, Dangerous Games this week. It's inspired by Dangerous Liaisons, with its themes of scandal, intrigue and libertinism. Here, our rebels take the form of a punk band — and the experience includes a live gig that spills out into a part of the city you might not have explored before... 20-25 March (London), 29 March-2 April (Weymouth) (sponsor)

& JULIET: Picking up where Romeo & Juilet ends, but with Juliet still alive, & Juliet uses well-known pop songs to tell the story of Shakespeare's romantic heroine as she tries to navigate life after Romeo. It's in its final week at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Until 25 March

An old map of London, with the Thames in the centre
The original Civitas Londinium map is on display. Image courtesy of London Metropolitan Archives

TEENAGE CANCER TRUST GIGS: Underworld, Wet Leg, Courteneers, Jake Bugg, Kasabian and Roger Daltrey are on the line-up for this year's series of gigs in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust, taking place at the Royal Albert Hall  this week. There's also a comedy gig on Tuesday, featuring Alan Carr, Rosie Jones, Harry Hill and others. 20-25 March

BEAT THE STREET: Calling all Merton residents! Here's a new challenge to get the community moving together. Beat the Street Merton is a free game that encourages players to get active and explore their local borough, with prizes like books and sports equipment vouchers for the teams that travel the furthest. Play with a card and map or via the Beat the Street app. 22 March-26 April (sponsor)

MAGNIFICENT MAPS: The oldest (complete) surviving map of London is the headline exhibit at Magnificent Maps of London, a cartographer's paradise of an exhibition at London Metropolitan Archives which closes at the end of the month. Also on display are the Ruins of London survey, commissioned following 1666's Great Fire, and 19th century maps, charting the spread of then-fatal diseases like typhoid, cholera and smallpox. FREE, until 29 March

LITERARY FOOTPRINTS: A reminder that Literary Footprints walking tour festival is still ongoing. Organised by the excellent Footprints of London, it's a programme of walking and virtual tours with a bookish slant — events this week include a walking tour of Sherlock's West End, and a deep-dive into books set along the Thames.  Until 31 March

Eight mannequins behind glass, each wearing a different outfit at Africa Fashion, with an information panel at their feet.
Time's running out to see Africa Fashion. Image courtesy V&A.

EAT AND DRINK FESTIVAL: Foodies, head to Olympia London for the Eat & Drink Festival, which includes celebrity chef demos, an artisan food market, a chance to try new beers, wines and spirits, and of course, plenty of food and drink stalls to keep you fed and watered. It's part of the Ideal Home Show, which takes place at the same venue on the same dates. Until 2 April

AFRICA FASHION: There's less that a month left to see Africa Fashion, the V&A Museum's current fashion exhibition. See outfits by 45 designers from 20+ countries, plus photographs and artworks, which combine the rich history of the African continent and the Western influences that have been co-opted by African designers. Until 16 April

CHINESE AND BRITISH: Also closing next month is Chinese and British, a free display at the British Library focusing on the culture of British Chinese communities. Photographs, manuscripts and interviews come together to tell the stories of people within these communities, from merchant seamen to the business owners who set up Europe's first Chinatowns. FREE, until 23 April

FILM OF THE WEEK: Rye Lane (released 17 March) is a new rom com set and filmed around Peckham and south London — and what better place to watch it than Rye Lane's own Peckhamplex cinema. Especially when tickets are £4.99.

PUBS OF THE WEEK: It's boat races weekend, which means securing a prime pint-drinking position between Putney and Chiswick. We'd recommend the Boathouse in Putney, the Dove in Hammersmith and Ye White Hart in Barnes. For more recs, check out our comprehensive guide to the boat races.

Monday 20 March

Headshots of the six chefs involved in A Pepper Party
Six chefs celebrate pepper at a special supper club.

A PEPPER PARTY: Head to Spiritland in King's Cross for a one-off dinner party which brings together six respected chefs to celebrate one simple spice: pepper. Eat your way through six dishes which make use of either white or black pepper, by Mandy Yin, chef/owner at Malaysian Laksa restaurant Sambal Shiok; cook and writer Melissa Thompson; Tomas Heale, chef/owner of vegan restaurant Näifs; writer and community organiser Jenny Lau of platform Celestial Peach; and pastry chef Chloe-Rose Crabtree, all hosted by writer and academic Dr Anna Sulan Masing. 6.30pm-11pm

AIR EQUALITY: There's been a lot of talk about air pollution in London and how to combat it recently. Tonight, head to the Royal Institution to hear from atmospheric physicist Mark Richards about how scientists use cutting-edge technology and physics to analyse and understand air pollution, and the challenges in addressing the issue. 7pm-8.30pm

BOURGEOIS AND MAURICE: Cabaret duo Bourgeois & Maurice are at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe for a one-off, acoustic performance by candlelight. Though their songs feature in the current production of Titus Andronicus, it's the first time the duo themselves have performed at the venue. Expect a combination of  ultra-pop melodies with ultra-dark sensibilities. 7.30pm

BEOWULF: Professional storyteller Hugh Lupton performs epic Old English poem Beowulf — the oldest story in the English language — in an online broadcast hosted by the Viktor Wynd Museum of Curiosities. 9pm-10.30pm

THE LOL WORD: Queer women, trans and non-binary comedy collective The LOL Word is back at Soho Theatre for a one-off performance of Gender Reveal Party. Expect stand up, drag, musical comedy, party games, quizzes and a f**k you to the concept of binary gender. 9.15pm

Tuesday 21 March

A woman in a face mask using a smartphone, her face illuminated by the phone's light
Find out how we can tackle digital pandemics

THE EFFECT: A play that is part psychological thriller, part chemical romance, The Effect is at St Bride Foundation this week. It's about two young volunteers who agree to take part in a clinical drug trial, but manage to throw it off-course when they succumb to mutual attraction. 21-25 March

MEDIEVAL ST PAUL'S: Tickets to attend in person have sold out, but you can still sign up for an online viewing of Guildhall Library's talk about the Medieval Precinct of St Paul's Cathedral. Hear from City Guide Jill Finch about the citadel-style building which once stood where St Paul's is now. FREE, 2pm-3pm

DIGITAL PANDEMIC: Today's free Gresham College lecture, given by Professor Victoria Baines, addresses how we can use lessons learned about defeating physical viruses during the pandemic, to address online safety and security issues. Watch in person at Barnard's Inn Hall, or online. FREE, 6pm

ART DECO CITY: Join Footprints of London guide Jane Parker for an evening stroll around the Square Mile, focusing on the area's Art Deco architecture. See Jazz Age metalwork, carved wood and stone reliefs, ziggurat and zig-zag embellishments and beautifully-tiled façades that you've probably never noticed before, and find out who constructed the buildings and what they were originally used for. 6.30pm-8.30pm

DICK AND DOM: A throwback for 90s and early-00s kids, Dick & Dom (of Da Bungalow fame) are back with a live tour, resurrecting favourite parts of the much-loved children's TV show. Head to Fairfield Halls in Croydon for a night of absolute mayhem, including the return of the Creamy Muck Muck game. 7.30pm


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Award-winning Oklahoma! Gallops onto the West End stage

Two people in flamboyant cowboy clothes dancing

The classic Rodgers & Hammerstein musical Oklahoma! has returned to the London stage, with critics and crowds alike going wild for this "absolute knockout" of a production. Oh, What a Beautiful musical indeed!

The story of a community banding together against an outsider — and the frontier life that shaped America — arrives in the West End, dazzlingly re-orchestrated for the 21st century, yet with all the songs you've grown up to adore. Musical lovers, fans of top-notch theatre — and anyone after a rootin' tootin' good time — just Cain't Say No to this show.

But don't take our word for it. Oklahoma! has been showered in ★★★★★ reviews, while The Evening Standard says "Believe the hype!" and The Guardian praises this modern retelling as "so revitalised it might've been written yesterday." Oh, did we mention Oklahoma! is also nominated for SEVEN Olivier Awards — including Best Musical Revival? Everything is going its way!

Tickets for Oklahoma! start at just £25, but its run at Wyndham's Theatre is strictly limited — make sure you bag yours today!


Wednesday 22 March

Jack Whitehall in a jacket and bow tie on a red carpet
See Jack Whitehall live in Wimbledon. Image: Sean Reynolds via creative commons

FLASHDANCE: Urdang bring Flashdance The Musical to the stage at Bernie Grant Arts Centre, with multiple shows running from today until Saturday. Adapted from the 1983 movie Flashdance, the show tells the story of a young welder who dreams of escaping to study at a renowned dance academy. Until 25 March

EVENING MUSEUM TOUR: Here's a rare chance to tour the Charles Dickens Museum in Bloomsbury after hours. The guided evening tour is a chance to explore the author's former home in a small group, led by a knowledgable guide, and hear stories about Dickens' life and work within those walls. 6pm

WINE FOR EVERYONE: Wine subscription company Vino Mojo launches a new series of 'Wine for Everyone' tastings. There's a different theme each time, kicking off with 'great female winemakers' tonight. Walworth wine bar Diogenes the Dog hosts as you sample your way through six wines (one sparkling, two white and three red), under the guidance of an expert. 7pm

BOUNCE CINEMA: Rich Mix hosts a series of screenings, talks and discussions celebrating talent in the film industry. Bounce Cinema is aimed at anyone interested in breaking into the industry, providing advice and tips. Age 18+. 7pm

JACK WHITEHALL: Comedian Jack Whitehall's current tour is at the New Wimbledon Theatre for one night only, giving London audiences a chance to see him trying out new material. 7.30pm

Thursday 23 March

A grand, Georgian double-steepled church
This might not look like a jazz club, but it bally well is. Image: St John’s Smith Square

AUSTRIAN FILMS: The Austrian film festival WatchAUT begins at South Kensington's Cine Lumiere. It's a celebration of the best new films to come out of the country covering everything from space missions to how to deal with the issue of manmade rubbish. It begins today with The Fox, about a young soldier who finds a wounded fox cub at the start of the second world war and looks after it — it's shown in German with English subtitles. 23-26 March

CARTOON MUSEUM LATE: This party is a work event! That's the tagline of the Cartoon Museum's evening opening, which focuses on a current exhibition celebrating cartoon depictions of Boris Johnson. Tonight, take a tour of the exhibition, hosted by contributing cartoonist Zoom Rockman, listen to a panel discussion, or take a photo with corporate puppet Boris Johnson. 6pm-10pm

SCHITT'S CREEK: Bishopsgate Institute hosts an online workshop looking at the queer revolution of TV show Schitt's Creek. Using key storylines including David and Patrick’s romance, it looks at how the show told queer stories and connected with the queer community. 7pm-9pm

WAR IN UKRAINE: Southbank Centre brings together a panel of historians to discuss the likely outcome of the war in Ukraine. Dr Olesya Khromeychuk, Orlando Figes, Max Hastings and Anne Applebaum debate whether a Ukrainian victory will see Putin defeated anytime soon, or whether trouble between the two countries will continue for years to come. Hosted by BBC newsreaders and presenter Clive Myrie. 7.30pm

JAZZ IN THE CRYPT: If you're something of a night owl, head along to St John's Smith Square for a late-night Jazz in the Crypt concert. Food and drink are served as jazz musicians perform live in the intimate space. 9.30pm

Friday 24 March

The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower in complete darkness. Vehicles passing by on the road outside still have their lights on.
Earth Hour is on Saturday evening. Image: Magnus D via creative commons

SOUNDS OF WAR: Modern British History expert Dr Emma Hanna gives a free lunchtime talk about the sounds of war. Head to Chelsea's National Army Museum to find out how music was used by the British Armed Forces during the first world war, and the importance it took on. FREE, 12pm

LATE AT TATE: Tate Britain stays open late for an evening curated by arts organisation Black Blossoms, which specialises in showcasing the works of underrepresented artists from diverse backgrounds. Get stuck into performances, installations, talks, and workshops which celebrate inclusivity and social justice. FREE, 6pm-10pm

EXECUTIONS LATE: Been to Museum of London Docklands' excellent Executions exhibition yet? For one night only, the museum hosts a late-night opening centred around the exhibition featuring talks and tours, film screenings, music and other activities. 7pm

PINK: Barking's Broadway Theatre hosts Pink — Beautiful Trauma, a tribute night to pop rock singer Pink. Stacy Green takes on the role of the Grammy Award-winning musician, taking the audience through all of her biggest hits. 7.30pm

QUEENZ: Drag act Queenz takes over Fairfield Halls in Croydon for The Show with Balls, featuring live performances of reimagined pop anthems, including Queen Of The Night, Born This Way, Raining Men, I Will Survive and I Wanna Dance With Somebody — accompanied by plenty of sequins. 7.30pm

Saturday 25 March

Two row boats head to head on the Thames
The Boat Races take place on Sunday. Image: Shutterstock

FOR BLACK BOYS...: Following sold-out runs elsewhere in London, award-winning play For Black Boys Who Considered Suicide When The Hue Gets Too Heavy transfers to the West End for a six-week run starting today, telling the story of six young Black men who meet for group therapy. From 25 March

AFTER IMPRESSIONISM: The period between 1880 and the outbreak of the first world war in 1914 is the focus of the National Gallery's new exhibition, After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art, which opens today. Find out about the influence that Paul Cézanne, Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin had on younger generations of artists, resulting in a new genre of modern art. From 25 March

BERLUSCONI: Former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi is the unexpected subject of a new musical, opening at Southwark Playhouse. Berlusconi tells the outlandish story of the morally dubious politician through the eyes of three women who want to share their side of the story. 25 March-29 April

THE HAUNTED GALLERY: Conway Hall is the venue for a day of talks and discussions on artists and magic in art. Hear from archivist Victoria Jenkins about the occult collection of artworks, letters, objects, and ephemera in the Tate Archive, and Vivienne Roberts, curator and archivist at The College of Psychic Studies, about its collection of spirit-inspired art, photographs, and artefacts from 1850 to the present day, as well as several other speakers. 11am-5pm

MEADFEST: Peckham-based Meadery Gosnells of London hosts what is apparently Britain's first Meadfest — think a traditional beer festival, with focus very much on the fermented honey drink. Head to Gosnells' new taproom in Surrey Quays to sample your choice of five meads, included in your ticket. 1pm-10.30pm

SIX NATIONS: Thought the rugby was over? Think again! England's Red Roses take on Scotland in the opening clash of the Women's Six Nations, and Valderrama's in Angel is hosting a watch party. Get that shirt back on! 4pm

PANTHER RECORDS: London label Panther Records is showcasing three of its bands tonight at the Lexington: Zebrah, Wonderprince, Bastien. The latter release their debut EP, Stroud Green Stoop, next month, which is inspired by the streets of Finsbury Park. 7pm

EARTH HOUR: For one hour on Saturday evening, London's switching the lights off for WWF's Earth Hour, raising awareness of the effects of global warming. Individual businesses and households are encouraged to take part by turning off the lights, but several of the capital's major landmarks will be plunged into darkness too. FREE, 8.30pm

Sunday 26 March

A replica of Big Ben and the Elizabeth Tower, made from Lego
A reminder that the clocks change on Sunday. Photo: Matt Brown

CLOCKS CHANGE: Just a reminder that the clocks go forward at 1am in the early hours of Sunday. The bad news: we lose an hour. The good news: it's a sign that the days will start to get longer, and Summer is on the way.

WHERE'S WALLY: Though it's previously taken place in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park (and virtually), this year's Where's Wally Fun Run is at Battersea Park. Don your best Where's Wally stripes, choose whether to run 1km, 5km or 10km — and get sponsored in aid of The National Literacy Trust. Alternatively, head down to Battersea Park to cheer the runners on. 9am

PALACE HALF: If ever a half marathon route was fit for a king/queen, it's the Palace Half. Start your run at the gates of Hampton Court Palace and take in the local area — including crossing the Thames twice, before finishing in the palace gardens. Plenty of charities are still looking for runners to take part on their behalf. 9am

OLIVER TWIST: The Charles Dickens Museum offers a guided walking tour of the London locations which inspired the author when he was writing Oliver Twist. Meet at the museum and wander through the City, finishing up at the Old Bailey. Age 12+. 11am

SMITHFIELD: It's one of the most historically interesting parts of town and will soon by home to the Museum of London, but how much do you know about the Smithfield area? Join this London on the Ground walking tour to explore the area, exactly 900 years after the foundation of Bart's hospital. 2.30pm

BOAT RACE: Pimm's and gillets at the ready! The men's and women's rowing teams from Oxford and Cambridge universities go head to head on the River Thames in the annual Oxford Vs Cambridge Boat Race today. Head down to the riverside between Putney and Mortlake early to get a good position to watch the action. FREE, women's race 4pm, men's race 5pm

JAZZ: Squeeze into the cosy Oliver's Jazz Bar in Greenwich this evening to relish the sounds of the Robbie Ellison Quartet. 6pm-11pm

SUNDAY SCHTICK: There are open mic japes aplenty at the Rose & Crown in Kentish Town, and its Sunday Schtick night. Watch comics established and less-so brave the microphone — and if you're feeling confident, sign up to do a tight five yourself. FREE, 7pm

Urban oddity of the week

A view of the River Thames with a stone post in the foreground
Image Matt Brown.

Did you know that the boat race start and finish 'lines' are marked by stone bollards? These permanent uprights can be found in both Putney and Mortlake (shown here). Each is marked with the letters "UBR", for University Boat Race.

Good cause of the week

Planning a Coronation party on 6 May, or know someone who is? Hackney Foodbank is asking everyone organising celebratory street parties or lunches to collect donations for them. The money will be ring-fenced for their holiday lunch clubs – funding meals for children during school holidays. If you’re organising a Coronation party and would like to support the food bank, please email [email protected] to request artwork/logos to share with your guests.  To donate towards holiday lunches for schoolchildren visit this website. You don't have to live in Hackney to contribute, though you may find that your local food banks are running similar schemes.