10 Best Cultural Events for London 2012

Yayoi Kusama

Yayoi Kusama from livincool.com

Yayoi Kusama at the Tate Modern

9th February to 5th June 2012

Spots, pumpkins and repetition are this 82 year old lady’s trademarks and she is said to have been a big influence on Yoko Ono. Her art, which earned a record amount of money for a female artist  in 2008,  reflects her own obsessions and she has been living voluntarily in a psychiatric insitution since the 1970s.

Sweeney Todd at the Adelphi Theatre

10th March to 22nd September 2012

QT has already bought tickets for this one. The production of this dark musical earned fabulous reviews when it ran in Chichester in 2011, and its stars Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton are transferring to the West End show. The lyrics and music in this Stephen Sondheim creation are the best I’ve ever heard, so if you like your entertainment slightly twisted and in a minor key, go for it!

Master and Margarita

Master and Margrita from http://english-learners.com

Master and Margarita at the Barbican

15th March to 7th April 2012

Mikhail Bulgakov who wrote “The White Guard” which ran at the National Theatre in 2011 wrote the novel on which this is based.  It describes a visit of the devil to the Soviet Union and is a satire on the stifling social order in Russia of the 1920s and 30s. Considered a masterpiece this production comes from the Complicite theatre company.

Gross and Klein at the Barbican

13th to 29th April 2012

This one’s set to be immensely popular as it stars Oscar award winning actress Cate Blanchett. It’s a surreal Alice in Wonderland-like play where the main character becomes unfamiliar to all who previously knew her. This production has already appeared in her home country Australia, and garnered great reviews for Ms Blanchett’s performance.

Caligula at ENO

25th May to 14th June 2012

This German opera composed by Detlev Glanert is based on Albert Camus’ 1944 play about the perverted Roman emperor of the same name. QT knows nothing about opera but has been a fan of Caligula since seeing John Hurt play him the 1970s BBC series I, Caligula (available very cheaply on Amazon) Should be dark and disturbing and will probably bring to mind our modern day dictators.

Bauhaus School, Dessau

Bauhaus School, Dessau

Bauhaus – Art as Life at the Barbican

3rd May to 12th August 2012

The Bauhaus school was only around for 14 years but has had a huge influence on Modernist architecture and design ever since. This exhibition will include painting, sculpture, architecture and more and the Barbican are running workshops and films to complement the exhibition. Read QT’s review of the Bauhaus exhibition

Dr Dee at ENO

5th June to 7th July 2012

The prodigious talent of Damon Albarn keeps on rocking. This Alan Moore-inspired opera first saw the light of day in Manchester in 2011 and is coming to the ENO. It tells the story of 16th century magician and scientist John Dee, advisor to Elizabeth I and owner of one of the largest libraries in Britain at the time.

Here’s a Guardian video of Albarn and others discussing Dr Dee

Gillian Wearing at the Whitechapel Gallery

Gillian Wearing

Gillian Wearing at Whitechapel Gallery

28th March to 17th June 2012

A Turner prize winner (for her sins), Gillian’s photographs and films are really quite unnerving and apparently seek to explore identity. They often feature ordinary people in slightly odd circumstances. The Whitechapel Gallery itself is a lovely gallery and if you get a chance, go to see its Rothko exhibition before it ends on 26th February.

Another London at Tate Britain

1st July to 16th September 2012

This photographic exhibition will feature classic 20th century images of London by the likes of Henri-Cartier Bresson, Bruce Davidson and Elliot Erwit. Old London photographs always a winner, in my book!

And last but certainly not least …

Viva Forever

Yes – Spice Girls, the Musical. I haven’t bothered to look up where it’s happening or when as this is a bit tongue in cheek. But it’s written by Jennifer Saunders!

Related post: Top 10 Best Kept Secrets in London

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