What’s on in London for December 2013

harrodsThe year is nearly over and Christmas is just a few weeks away. This month is dominated by festive events, so we have selected what we think are the best 10 for December, they are quite varied and include sport, music and theatre I hope you get the chance to go to a least one of them and from everyone at Harmony Cars, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

No.1.  3rd December till the 1st March 2014 New Andrew Lloyd  Webber Show “Stephen Ward”  at The Aldwych Theatre . The world premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new production. The musical tells the story of a 1963 scandal that shocked British society. It looks back at the Profumo Affair- (named after the illicit encounters between Secretary of State John Profumo and a call girl)The story is about how a freeliving society physician Stephen Ward introduced the major players of the government of the time to  sex and vice, which turned into espionage and scandal.  Ward was targeted  by the press and eventually became the main victim. The show is based on a book  by     Christopher Hampton and the lyrics to the music by Don Black The musical puts Ward’s story into the spotlight. Tickets from £15 to £67.50

No 2.  4th to 8th  December “Masters Tennis” at Royal Albert Hall. Blasts from the past battle it out in London’s prettiest indoor arena in the annual Masters Tennis event at the Royal Albert Hall. Players in the ATP Champions Tour must be 35 years or older, and have been the world Number One, a Grand Slam finalist or have featured on a winning Davis Cup side – although exceptions have been made (Britain’s Tim Henman, for instance). The likes of Goran Ivanisevic, Thomas Enqvist, Henman and last year’s Masters and Seniors winners Fabrice Santoro and John McEnroe might have added a few pounds and lost swathes of speed and stamina over the years but they retain all the guile, poise and determination that made them champions in the first place. Expect five days of competitive singles and doubles with a healthy splash of fun as these past masters take to the court on a stage usually reserved for Brahms, Beethoven and the Beatles.

No.3.   6th to 17th December “Spitalfields Winter Festival” at Old Spitalfields. Spitalfields’ end of year musical celebration returns to warm up the winter nights. Taking place at several locations at  Spitalfields, the festival explores the east London area’s hidden corners with early and contemporary music, musical tours, opera for under 2s, and free events which bring together global and local artists. The best thing about the biannual Spitalfields festivals (a summer festival is held in June) is the array of contrasting venues: Old Spitalfields Market comes alive with what seems like impromptu musical performances, while the stunning 18th century Hawksmoor-designed Christ Church hosts a cluster of classical concerts. Shoreditch’s hip Village Underground holds some of the more contemporary offerings, and could you get a more apt setting for city-based bucolic folk than the Spitalfields City Farm?

No.4.  6th December to 12th January 2014 “Aladdin Panto” at New Wimbledon Theatre. Comedienne and actress Jo Brand stars as The Genie of the Ring in Aladdin, the Christmas 2013, making her pantomime debut alongside TV and stage star Matthew Kelly as Widow Twanky. They’re joined by street dance troupe Flawless, aka the Peking Police Force, David Bedella as Abanazar, and West End actor Oliver Thornton who plays the title role in this festive show featuring laughter, magic and audience participation. A top line-up for one of London’s most consistently reliable panto theatres.

No.5  7th December “OSS December Dip” at Parliament Hill Lido, Parliament Hill Fields. This annual freezing (not to mention crazy) dip into Parliament Hill Lido takes place on the first Saturday of December. Formerly known as the ‘Plum Pudding Plunge’, this is the first swim of the season organised by the Outdoor Swimming Society, who each year arrange festive swims as far away and chilly as Scotland. With mince pies to dispel the inevitable goosebumps, a hot tub, chattering teeth and general merrymaking, all swimmers, donning Christmas hats, will be encouraged to attempt two widths of the lido, with the most intrepid aiming for four or six. Swimmers must register for the event, which costs £15. Make sure you bring warm clothes, a woolly hat, swimsuits and a lot of courage. They say it’s good for the circulation…

No.6   7th  December “Great Christmas Pudding Race” at Covent Garden Piazza. You’re familiar with the egg and spoon race. Well, how about the Christmas Pudding Race? Covent Garden Piazza swells with spectators as about 150 contestants in teams of six don fancy dress and race around a course strewn with flour-filled balloons, foam jets and other obstacles – all while trying to balance a Christmas pudding on a flimsy plate! The race has been going on every year since 1980 and it raises money for Cancer Research. At this time of year Covent Garden is a great place to be, with shops full of Christmas decorations and street entertainers putting on some diverting shows before and after the main event.

No.7. 16th to 22nd December “London International Horse Show” at Olympia. A full week of galloping, jumping and pinpoint dressage steps. The UK’s only World Cup dressage qualifier, spectacular show jumping competitions, and some fantastic equestrian shopping opportunities. As well as the elegant steeds trotting around, there are usually some dog-related competitions too, including a canine agility contest. The grand finale is an enormous festive parade with hundreds of horses, costumes and music combining to a spectacular climax.

No.8 23rd December 2013 to 2nd March 2014 “Fuerzabruta” at Roundhouse, Chalk Farm Road. Following its sell-out success in 2006 and a triumphant limited run in 2012, Fuerzabruta returns to London for an extended run in 2013. With its title meaning brute force, the show has pushed its way to the top and is the fastest selling show in the Roundhouse’s history. With incredible visual effects – including its iconic image of a man bursting full throttle through a series of walls and a scene of a watery world suspended just inches above the audience – it is an all-encompassing theatrical experience that engulfs the audience and all their senses. As well as the visual effects, it also includes impressive acrobatic stunts and is a show that “leaves you dazzled by its physical bravura and technical skill” (The Guardian). Audiences are advised that this show is not suitable for young children and strobe lighting and water are heavily involved.

No.9. 24th  December“Midnight Mass at St Paul’s Cathedral”. Sir Christopher Wren’s magnificent St Paul’s Cathedral, viewed by many as the spiritual home of Great Britain, is a wonderful place to be on the night before Christmas when the Choir of St Paul’s Cathedral is joined by Barbican Brass to mark the first Eucharist of Christmas. This is one of many Christmas celebrations held at the cathedral throughout December. Demand is so great that St Paul’s puts on a series of special events but the high point has to be the Midnight Mass service. The cathedral’s famous dome, which can be seen over the top of London’s skyline from miles around, fills with the soaring sounds of the Cathedral Choir. In candlelit, majestic surroundings in the middle of the city, this is the perfect place to usher in Christmas Day before wrapping up warm and making your way home through the magically deserted streets. All you need is a fresh coating of snow to settle…

No.10. 31st December   “New Year’s Eve Fireworks”. London Eye, Jubilee Gardens, South Bank. New Year’s Eve Fireworks the annual New Year’s Eve Fireworks display, launched from the foot of the London Eye and from rafts on the Thames, is visible from most of central London: the basic rule is that if you can see the London Eye, you’ll be able to see the show. They cram enough firepower for an hour-long display into ten explosive minutes, lighting up the sky for miles around. The best views are from Victoria Embankment, the South Bank, and Westminster Bridge and Waterloo Bridge. Hungerford Bridge is closed after 8pm and there’s also no entry to Westminster Bridge after this time.

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