What’s on in London for February 2016

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London is a little quieter at the moment with tourists not being quite so visible. So what is on offer this month? Well there are a number of new theatre productions starting including the Broadway hit “Motown” plus there are some exhibition events and not to forget Pancake Day, and The Chinese New Year. So there is still lots to see and do if you are coming to London this month.

No.1. 1st to 24th February 2016 “L’Etoile” at the Royal Opera House. A high-spirited opera full of wacky scenarios and whimsical comedy, starring Chris  Catch this madcap comic opera L’Etoile as it makes its debut in the splendour of the Royal Opera House. Mixing a farcical storyline and dark comedy with a sophisticated score and moving lyrical moments, Chabrier’s 19th-century French opera has enjoyed a recent surge in popularity among performers and audiences alike. Director Mariame Clément’s fresh take on the opera sees British comedian and actor Chris Addison star as Smith, a newly-created role for an added comic twist. The eccentric King Ouf the First enjoys marking his birthday with a public impalement. Having left his palace in disguise to locate a suitable prey, he encounters a young pedlar who has fallen in love with a princess. Unfortunately for the pedlar, the princess is to marry King Ouf, who in turn thinks that he has found the perfect victim. But when a court astrologer reveals that should the pedlar die, then so will the king, the latter must change his plans.

No.2. 2nd February 2016 to 14th May 2016 “The End of Longing” at Playhouse Theatre. Discover Matthew Perry as you’ve never seen him before as he debuts and stars in a new play, The End of Longing. Lindsay Posner directs the story of four forty-something friends who come together in a bar in Los Angeles and spend a raucous, troubled evening together. This is a dark comedy about human error and relationships.

No.3. 4th February 2016 to 30rd April 2016 “Nell Gwynn” at Apollo Theatre. Gemma Arterton plays the title role in this funny historical romp, which charts the rise of 17th century British actress Nell Gwyn.Watch an unlikely protagonist go from selling oranges at Drury Lane Theatre to becoming a celebrated 17th-century theatre star and mistress to King Charles II in this historical comedy by Jessica Swale. The witty and talented Nell Gwyn, played by Gemma Arterton, is still winning the hearts of her audience with her incredible rags-to-riches story.

No.4. 9th February 2016 to 18th June 2016 “Mrs Henderson Presents” at the Noel Coward Theatre. Based on the acclaimed film that starred Dame Judi Dench and Bob Hoskins, this glitzy production tells the colourful wartime story of London’s Windmill Theatre. The story is set in 1937 and the eccentric and recently-widowed Laura Henderson is looking for a new project on which to focus her time and money. She takes a liking to a run-down cinema on Great Windmill Street where she puts on a variety show with the help of theatre impresario Vivian Van Damm. But as the Second World War breaks out, something with a bit more pep is needed to boost morale and bump up box office takings. So Mrs Henderson presents a new idea: The Windmill Girls, exotic and glamorous women who pose on stage as nude statues. Causing uproar, mayhem and joy, the show takes off and The Windmill becomes a refuge from the war.

No.5. 11th to 14th February 2016 “The London Bike Show” at ExCel, Royal Victoria Dock. A showcase for all cycles and cycling related products.

No.6.   11th February 2016 to 22nd October 2016 “Motown the Musical” at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Relive the joys of one of the most influential sounds in music as Motown the Musical comes to the Shaftesbury Theatre. Already a huge hit on Broadway, having won a Tony Award and many fans, the electrifying show makes its long awaited debut in London. With just $800 borrowed from his family, Berry Gordy founded Motown records and launched the careers of music greats like Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson and even Michael Jackson and the Jackson 5. Boasting hits such as Dancing in the Street, I Heard it Through the Grapevine, Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and My Girl, this show uncovers the story of the legendary record label that changed music history and created the soundtrack of a generation.

No.7. 14th February 2016 “Chinese New Year 2016” in London. Celebrate the Year of the Monkey in London, with the biggest Chinese New Year celebrations outside Asia. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people descend on the West End to wish each other “Xin Nian Kuai Le” (Happy New Year in Mandarin) or “San Nin Faai Lok” (in Cantonese). The Chinese New Year festivities in Central London are free to attend and take place in Trafalgar Square, Chinatown and across the West End on 14 February from 10am to 6pm. Kicking off London’s Chinese New Year celebrations is a grand parade featuring ten lion teams in one of Europe’s biggest lion dance. The Chinese parade starts in Trafalgar Square at 10am, and snakes its way through the streets of the West End before ending in Chinatown. Head down to Trafalgar Square from 12pm as firecrackers mark the start of the stage performances, including traditional dance troupes, acrobats, dragon and flying lion dances, opera and martial arts performances. Don’t miss the grand finale from 5.20pm in Trafalgar Square as monkey dancers and acrobats take to the stage to celebrate the Year of the Monkey and pyrotechnics illuminate Nelson’s Column. On top of the Chinese New Year parade and main-stage performances, there are plenty more things to do and see around the West End. Take the children to the family area on Charing Cross Road for activities and children’s martial arts and opera performances. Watch local and emerging artists take to the stage on Chinatown’s Shaftesbury Avenue and browse traditional craft stalls in Chinatown. Pause to sample a wide selection of Chinese regional dishes at one of Chinatown’s many Chinese restaurants or pop-up food stands. Alternatively, secure a table at one of the top Chinese Restaurants in London.

No.8. 18th to 21st February 2016 “The London Classic Car Show” at ExCeL London. The world’s best classic cars and dealers under one huge roof. Following the success of the 2015 event, the show returns with more stands, more cars and more experts in 2016. Featuring some of the finest and most iconic cars ever built, this is an essential experience for anyone with a passing interest in motoring, from collectors to classic car enthusiasts. Taking pride of place through the centre of the venue is the Grand Avenue, where iconic vehicles from Formula One Grand Prix racing motors through to glorious veteran cars can be seen and heard in action, as they accelerate down the runway. Bringing together the world’s best classic car manufacturers, clubs, collectors and dealers under one vast roof, there are more than 200 stands to browse for car products, services and memorabilia, as well as displays of the most prestigious vintage cars. Guest speakers take to the stage throughout the event in the Classic Corner to share their passion for and expertise on classic cars. With last year’s event attracting the likes of James May, James Martin, Chris Evans and Grand Prix stars, more big names are expected this year for an even more spectacular show.

No.9. 24th February 2016 “The BRIT Awards 2016” at The O2. Ant & Dec return to host the annual celebration of British and international music, which made front page headlines in 2015 when Madonna took a tumble off the stage during her live performance. Ten winners are announced on the night, all of whom receive an exclusive statuette, alongside the previously announced 2015 Critics’ Choice winner.

No.10.   25th to 28th February 2016 “London Fashion Weekend 2016” at Saatchi Gallery. Leading brands from the fashion world dazzle with their designs. Cutting edge glamour arrives in the capital as the London Fashion Weekend gets underway at the Saatchi Gallery For four days, this art gallery is transformed into a fashion paradise as big names from the beauty and style industries show off their creative work. The ultimate fashion and designer shopping experience, the show is bursting with catwalk shows, pop-up shops, hair and beauty products and even educational panels from leading fashion experts. Style savvy glamour fans can get their winter wardrobe sorted for the year as more than 100 of the nation’s best loved designer brands (including AIX Armani Exchange, J JS Lee, Paper London and Linda Farrow) dazzle with their designs.


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