ALEXANDRA PALACE FIREWORKS FESTIVAL | London

Recommended

Alexandra Palace’s Fireworks Festival is one of the biggest and best in the country; described as “the Glastonbury of fireworks” (ITV). On Saturday 5 November 2022, the venue will be taking on a full festival across its 196-acre park and historic palace, with outdoor live music, DJs and street food.

The legendary display will light up Ally Pally’s epic skyline, soundtracked by a specially curated playlist. There will be a huge family area, including a bonfire and fire shows. Visitors can also step inside the Palace, with the ice rink featuring an ice disco, while the Great Hall will be transformed, as is now tradition, into the UK’s largest German Bier Festival, featuring pulsating live music, including Europe’s leading Elvis tribute act, ‘One Night of Elvis’. The Palace’s award-winning theatre will host film screenings, while Gok Wan MBE headlines the DJ bill with a set of soulful and uplifting club classics.

“We’re going big,” says Simon Fell, Alexandra Palace’s Fireworks Festival director, “with a sensational display and massive bonfire. It’s a proper festival vibe with live music and street food, perfect for families. It’s going to be spectacular!”

The firework display will start at 8pm, but visitors can join the fun anytime from 4pm. Early birds can enjoy an up-close fire show by Tottenham-based Chivaree Circus, with the bonfire lit at 6:30pm. The party continues with food, drink and live music until 10:45pm.

Book online for Saturday 5 November 2022. Tickets £16.50.

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PICKLE | London, Park Theatre

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Two-word summary: it’s Jewish Fleabag. Yes, that world-dominating, award-winning sitcom started as one-hour, one-woman show, too. After captivating audiences during its sold-out performances in May, Pickle returns to the Park Theatre for a two-week run, in this cheeky and authentic exploration of what it means to be a young Jewish woman in London today.

Pickle is written and performed by Deli Segal, produced by Tanya Truman (Confessions of a Rabbi’s Daughter; Tier Three Sisters) and directed by Kayla Feldman (Swimming; Dear Peter), all female Jewish theatre-makers who strive to amplify Jewish voices on stage.

Pickle is all about one woman’s experience of reconciling belief and tradition with change,” says Deli Segal, writer and performer. “I wanted to tell a story that explores being in the middle of both worlds: the parts that fit together, and the parts that don’t. The vibrancy, the spirit, the richness of culture, the humour of Jewish life – those things often get lost.”

Ari lives at home in North-West London, where her life is dominated by overbearing parents, tradition and expectations. However, her daily life includes her job, going out – and, inevitably, the dating scene. Pickle follows Ari as she tries to balance Friday night dinner with drinks at the pub, JSwipe with Hinge, being Jewish and secular. This uproarious simcha of a one-woman show explores a young Jewish woman’s psyche as she navigates her two contrasting worlds with irreverent humour and heart. Expect smoked salmon, guilt and a large dose of self-deprecation as Pickle brings Ari’s vibrant world to life.

Playing at the Park Theatre 14 – 26 November, 2022.

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LANG LANG: THE DISNEY BOOK | London, Royal Albert Hall

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Global superstar pianist Lang Lang returns to London’s Royal Albert Hall, for an unforgettable evening of music celebrating the upcoming centenary of The Walt Disney Company, which was founded in 1923. Lang Lang’s 55-minute album featuring new solo and orchestral arrangements of classic Disney tunes was released in September earlier this year, to the delight of his fans worldwide.

At this celebratory event, Lang Lang is joined by the entire Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra, to perform favourite melodies that span the Disney centenary – from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and The Jungle Book (1967), to Beauty and the Beast (1991) and Encanto (2021). Lang Lang also draws on material from Disney’s iconic theme park attractions, like a solo theme and variations on “It’s a Small World”.

This enchanting musical journey offers the perfect half-term treat for young and old alike, with the magic of Disney brought to life by one of the world’s greatest pianists – alongside the sumptuous sound of a full symphony orchestra. It’s all part of Lang Lang’s aim to encourage the exploration of classical music.

With more guest artists still to be announced (on the album, Lang Lang partners with guest star singers like Andrea Bocelli and instrumentalists like Guo Gan), this promises to be one of the highlights of the Royal Albert Hall’s autumn calendar.

Tickets for Mon 24 Oct 2022 are available on the Royal Albert Hall’s website, priced £55.75 – £109.50.

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RE:IMAGINING MUSICALS | London, V&A Museum

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A new free musical theatre exhibition has been announced at London’s V&A Museum from 15 October 2022, featuring previously unseen items from their theatre and performance collections.

Re:Imagining Musicals will celebrate some of our best-loved musicals, from Miss Saigon to My Fair Lady, and Six the Musical to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, and will explore their cultural significance.

The museum said: “Re:Imagining Musicals will explore how musicals have been adapted, revived, and retold for new audiences and reimagined against cultural and historical contexts.”

Considering how extensive the V&A’s collection of modern and ancient theatre artefacts is already, this is set to be a fantastic opportunity for all theatre lovers. It’s definitely worth a visit to the V&A before October 15, too, to check out the current free exhibition, including costumes from War Horse and The Lion King, and set design models from London productions throughout the decades.

Re:Imagining Musicals opens at the V&A Museum in South Kensington on 15 October.

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KALEIDSCOPE FESTIVAL | London, Alexandra Palace

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Following 2021’s triumphant, sold-out spectacular, Kaleidoscope Festival will return to Alexandra Palace on Saturday, 23 July, with more crowd-pleasing live music, DJs and comedy at London’s highest festival. With a backdrop that takes in sweeping views across the whole city, acres of parkland to explore, plus access to some of the hidden corners of the iconic Palace, this is a summer festival like no other. For fans, families and fun-seekers, Kaleidoscope is hard to beat, and this year’s line-up demonstrates it’s a favourite for artists too.

On the main Hilltop Stage, ORBITAL promises to bring proceedings to a scintillating climax following the inimitable Manchester sound of HAPPY MONDAYS. CHARLOTTE CHURCH’S POP DUNGEON brings a medley of bangers to raise the temperature as the sun begins to set, while THE MAGIC NUMBERS and HOUSE GOSPEL CHOIR will have crowds of all ages dancing all afternoon.

Over on the DJ Stage – Cloud 10 – the line-up is equally mouth-watering with CRAZY P SOUNDSYSTEM, CRAIG CHARLES, DJ YODA, ZERO 7 and PBR STREETGANG all performing on the terrace decks, whilst The Alternative Stage features the legendary Creation Records founder and music industry visionary ALAN MCGEE in conversation; comedy from trigger happy stalwart DOM JOLY and rising star SINDHU VEE; plus THE CUBAN BROTHERS will ramp up the party atmosphere.

There will ALSO be a host of entertainment for families around the festival site, including interactive theatre, workshops and story-telling. Meanwhile the Palace’s secret Victorian Basements will be opened up for people to discover; and there’s more line-up to be announced on all stages.

Book online for Kaleidscope Festival, running 1pm – 11pm on Saturday 23 July 2022.

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REFLECTIONS | Berlin, Bar Jeder Vernunft

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Jack Woodhead’s new show Reflections is bruising, wounding cabaret in all its rabid, raucous splendour. After committing a murder – matricide – reflecting is Jack’s coping mechanism, a spectacular and intimate form of PTSD. Jack’s shimmering and darting reflections move with streamline precision towards redemption through loss of memory. In his own words, Jack searches “far and wide” for his forgotten inner child. He must remember what is forgotten, in order to forget what he remembers.

But did Jack murder his mother? Perhaps he’s just a little drunk, just a little lonely, sipping a tipple while sitting in a moth-eaten armchair in a cold flat in a dark windswept city no one has heard of. Perhaps he lives a life of quiet desperation that reaches sublime heights that no one will ever know.

Reflections is life seen through a peephole, magnified and whispered through art and alcohol. It shows how life can slap you around and you may just slap it back. It shows imagination as a corrective and rampart to reality. But though reality bites back, the siren call of the forgotten inner child, lured to the surface by alcohol, trauma, or simply by childlike wonder, can provide solace.

Somewhere between Beethoven and burlesque, with his band of four, Jack Woodhead manages to negotiate a musical metamorphosis from concert pianist to cabaret star. His dramatic make-up is only surpassed by his eccentric stage outfits. Flashy and provocative in nail varnish, leather, fur and sequins, he moves elegantly and sleekly across the stage. His performance is lightning fast, sharp as a razor and completely wacky.

Next playing 25 April and 13 June 2022 at Bar Jeder Vernunft, Berlin.

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DISNEY IN CONCERT: A DREAM IS A WISH | Hong Kong, KITEC Star Hall

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The Hong Kong Symphonic Winds (HKSW) Symphony Orchestra are once again putting on a spectacular new concert that combines the thrill of a live orchestra with a cast of singers and clips from classic Disney movies on a cinema-style screen.

With only four special performances over the New Year’s Day public holiday weekend, audiences of all ages can enjoy orchestral selections from The Little Mermaid (1989); Beauty and the Beast (1991); Aladdin (1992); The Lion King (1994); Frozen (2013); and many more.

Although the HKSW Symphony Orchestra is a majority amateur ensemble, the standard is unbelievably high, conducted by celebrated conductor Fung Ka Hing. The gigantic ensemble fills the cavernous Star Hall at Kowloonbay, ably supported by extra percussion and rock instruments, in addition to wonderful sound tech.

The name of this concert is taken from the title song in Cinderella (1950): “A dream is a wish your heart makes”. This festive season, enjoy the magic of classic Disney songs, played as they’re meant to be played, in this family-friendly concert for all ages.

Playing 1 – 2 January 2022, 3rd Floor, Star Hall, Kowloonbay International Trade & Exhibition Centre, Kowloon.

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STITCHES IN TIME | Hong Kong, Central MTR Station

Recommended

This exhibition is a showcase of hand-embroidered works of Ms Nikki Delport-Wepener and her students from the Les Designs Studio: a celebration of what can be achieved with the needle. The students are from many different countries, and it is this cosmopolitan mix that allows the uniqueness of the individual to shine through.

The common denominator is the love of hand stitching. The designs and techniques viewed throughout the exhibition are a culmination of many years of tuition and expertise from Nikki.

Nikki aims to increase the public’s awareness of the arts, and in particular, of mixed media hand embroidery. Nikki and her students share their joy in creative stitching by showcasing images of the lifestyle in Hong Kong, as well as the flora and fauna around the world.

These displays are a mixed range of Nikki’s stitches and techniques she teaches the students. The themes on display are based on flora around the world This particular display shows different interpretations of flowering plants, flowers in bloom, Fynbos, flower and creature samplers, decorated cheongsams and aprons that are created as two-dimensional and three-dimensional images; a variety of stitches and techniques have been used in each design, every embroidered piece has been carefully crafted over several months.

Check out the whole exhibition for free at Central MTR Exit J, 13 July – 10 September 2021.

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DISNEY IN CONCERT: MAGICAL MUSIC FROM THE MOVIES | Hong Kong, KITEC Star Hall

Recommended

This summer, the renowned Hong Kong Symphonic Winds Symphony Orchestra are inviting us to experience some of the most beloved Disney scores of all time, with Disney in Concert: Magical Music from the Movies. Joined by four powerhouse vocalists, and conducted by Fung Ka Hing, the orchestra play alongside perfectly synchronized projected video clips from iconic Disney films, so the whole family can enjoy.

Audiences will be treated to Disney’s most iconic scores and songs, including for the Oscar-winning animated features The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), Aladdin (1992), and The Lion King (1994). Live action features like Mary Poppins (1964) and the swashbuckling Pirates of the Caribbean film series are also set to be particular crowdpleasers.

This is without doubt the perfect pick for a youngster’s first concert. Founded in 1987, The Hong Kong Symphonic Winds (HKSW) is the first amateur band in Hong Kong with considerable size and structure, devoted to promoting music education in the community. The standard is extremely high, with a number of top professional players among the ranks.

These family-friendly concerts are always extremely popular, so book early to avoid disappointment. There is no better way to fall in love with the magic of a live orchestra than through the magic of Disney.

Presentation licensed by Disney Concerts © All rights reserved

Book online now for 31 July and 1 August 2021.

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YOU’RE A GOOD MAN, CHARLIE BROWN | Hong Kong, HKAPA, Drama Theatre

Recommended

Based on Charles M. Schulz iconic comic strip about Snoopy and the “Peanuts” gang, this 1967 musical revue created by Clark Gesner and the original company has won a slew of awards over the years, including a successful run on Broadway. This is just a graduate showcase for the School of Drama Bachelor of Fine Arts students, but boy, you’d never know it: it plays like a professional version.

Despite the quintessentially American trappings with Thanksgiving and little league baseball, it is amazing how this musical takes on new meaning in Hong Kong. With a new Cantonese translation (Wong Cho-lam, Li Wing-hong), there are lots of fun updates like a reference to “Baby Shark” instead of “Frère Jacques”. Even accidentally, in Cantonese, Snoopy’s imaginary fight against “The Red Baron” takes on connotations of the fight against a “red” communist regime. But really, the central themes of school-bred anxiety in children, and “Give me a child till he’s seven, and I will show you the man”, are universal.

Though ostensibly a cast of “actors who sing”, as opposed to musical theatre students, the quality of the vocal ensemble, not to mention electrifying choreography (Tony Wong), is already professional standard.

The cartoon, cardboard-cutout set (Siu Jiou) is a huge part of the action, with a row of portholes serving as everything from traffic lights to Charlie Brown’s (Kwong Oon-hin) anxiety, shown through massive eyes shifting left and right. Get a ticket to the next graduate showcase; you might just be seeing the stars of tomorrow.

Follow the Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts online.

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