Lockdown Things To Do – Epilogue
Image above: promotional artwork for Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 streaming event
Guest blog by Pam O’Toole
As we trudge into the final week of the latest lockdown, the flood of new online entertainment offerings shows no sign of abating.
There are online events for every type of person and occasion. Culture vultures will flock to star-studded fundraisers, online plays, opera and classical concerts. If you like popular music, Dua Lipa’s offering a hotly-anticipated gig. Gourmets can sample intoxicating wine, gin and whisky tastings, or cookery classes from their living rooms. Singletons can try out online dating, while stressed parents will welcome a flurry of new pantos, plays and storytelling events to keep their little ones entertained. If your idea of fun is scaring yourself witless, there are terrifying online immersive games with amazing reviews. And to give your brain a workout, there are online quizzes, murder mysteries, free lectures and virtual underground tours.
Here are our picks of some of the best on offer.
One of the biggest gigs this week has to be Dua Lipa’s Studio 2054 streaming event on 27 November. This massively popular singer has won a raft of Grammy, Brit, and MTV Europe awards. Part of the American Express Unstaged series, it’s being streamed in four different time zones.
Tickets are £12.99.
Image above: promotional artwork for ‘An Evening at Joe’s’
An Evening at Joe’s, Act Three: The Covent Garden dining institution, Joe Allen, sadly closed at the moment because of Covid, is doing its third fundraiser on 26 November at 8.00pm on YouTube. Stars of stage and screen will come together to raise cash for this famous theatrical hangout and the embattled West End.
They include Dame Judi Dench, Sir Ian McKellen, Jennifer Saunders, Maureen Lipman, Christopher Biggins, Gyles Brandreth and Chita Rivera. The show will include performances from London and New York.
You can donate here:
Image above: Maureen Lipman in Rose
Maureen Lipman’s highly-rated one woman play, Rose, has been re-released online. Filmed onstage in an empty auditorium, it’s available until 13 December, tickets are £17. You book a specific date and they’ll give you a 24 hour viewing pass.
Signing up with stream.theatre.com will give you access to a variety of online theatrical performances. They include a critically-acclaimed production of the musical The Last Five Years (26-29 November) by the Southwark Playhouse, and Falling Stars, a celebration of the musicals and composers of the 1920s (22-29 November).
Until 3 December, stream.theatre.com is also offering Little Wars, with an all-female cast (headed by the amazing Juliet Stevenson) in aid of Women for Refugee Women. It’s a rehearsed reading. The concept is intriguing; on the fall of France in 1940, feminist icons Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas host Lillian Hellman, Dorothy Parker and Agatha Christie to dinner.
From November 27- 28, the Southwark Playhouse is offering a livestream concert of Fiver, a musical tracking the story of a humble five pound note as it passes through various hands in London. It was nominated for the WhatsOnStage Award for Best Off-West End Musical.
Image above: Don Giovanni, Act I ©2018 ROH. Photographed by Bill Cooper
Classical Music, Opera and Ballet
The Royal Opera House is offering a recording of the opera Don Giovanni 27 November – 27 December
The RoH is also continuing to stream a recent recording (from an empty auditorium) of The Royal Ballet’s Within the Golden Hour. It’s a programme of ballet excerpts and set pieces and is available until 13 December. It’s had excellent reviews.
Tickets are £10.
Another ballet online offering is Flight Pattern, an exploration of the refugee crisis, running until 5 December.
John Rutter and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra are live-streaming A Christmas Celebration from St Alban’s Cathedral. Featuring actor Simon Callow plus special musical guests. Tickets are £10 each and all proceeds go to the Royal Philharmonic. Live on 10 December, available on demand afterwards.
Entertainment for Kids
Image above: promotional artwork for ‘Reach for the Stars’
Little Angel Puppet Theatre presents Reach for the Stars, showing at weekends until 6 December. It’s a one hour online interactive Zoom event for ages 7-11. There’s a puppet show, inspired by the life of Mae Jemison, the first African American woman to go into space, with added games and activities.
Tickets £13.50 per household, available on Zoom.
Little Angel is also offering two free online Christmas productions, Mother Christmas and the Christmas Nisse.
Panto: Latest additions include Sleeping Trees’ version of the Dick Whittington tale – The Legend of Moby Dick Whittington. A giant whale swims into the Thames and swallows Father Christmas whole. London Mayor Dick Whittington, his cat and a host of fairy tale characters rush to the rescue.
Tickets £5, runs for the whole of December.
Storytelling: The Unicorn Theatre presents six theatrical readings of gruesome fairy tales from the brothers Grimm, as adapted by Philip Pullman (of His Dark Materials fame) .
Available free online until 21 February on the theatre’s YouTube channel:
Suitable for ages 8-12.
Image above: promotional image for Little Portland Street Cookery School
The Little Portland Street Cookery School in London is continuing interactive online classes and courses into the New Year. They range from New York Deli specials, roast dinners, and Christmas cakes and puddings to sessions on special stews, what you can do with tinned tomatoes and a full “beginners” course.
Prices from £30. They also sell gift vouchers – so good for Christmas presents.
For a grown-up evening, you could join the West London Wine School’s online wine tasting on 27 November. It costs £10 to register for the two hour tasting experience, redeemable against the £90 cost of the six tasting samples.
The ticketing website Design My Night has a number of other boozy-night-in options including a Zoom class on the history of gin and how to make gin based cocktails.
Tickets from £15 – you provide your own ingredients (including gin). Various dates from 25 November.
Smudged Lipstick’s events include virtual dating, with the emphasis on having fun, first and foremost, rather than just “meeting someone”. There are also open mic nights where people tell “worst date” stories.
Image above: promotional artwork for ‘Morpheus’
Jury Duty claims to be “a ground breaking immersive game”. It’s won awards and comes with rave reviews from the Telegraph, the Guardian and the New York Times. You get to look for evidence, rummage through an online database for clues and interrogate an actor playing the defendant.
If you like your online immersive theatrical events scary, Locked Down from Morpheus has received plaudits from the critics. Players are “led” blindfold by actors in an adventure aimed at saving the world from a deadly virus. You’ll need access to Zoom – and your own blindfold.
Duration: two hours.
Tickets £39. Suitable for ages 18+ – note it may not be suitable for people who suffer from claustrophobia or anxiety.
The Mermaid’s Tongue, described as an interactive detective play/ escape room experience where you track down a lost ancient artefact, has also received amazing reviews.
Tickets £15, with a recommended team size of two to six people. Currently booking through to the end of March.
Watch a trailer: swampmotel.co.uk/live/#the-mermaid’s-tongue
If you fancy yourself as a spy, try Agent Venture, where an actor leads you and your friends on a wild ride as support team to a secret agent. Currently booking until 13 December.
Tickets: £10 per player.
Four or five tickets must be ordered together at agentventure.com/
Musical bingo, quizzes and tours
There are heaps of online quizzes out there. Musical Bingo Cribs, 12 December, offers a few twists. You’re told to expect comedians, dancing around your living room, and a quirky form of bingo, with a DJ playing songs for you to tick off on your card.
Tickets from £8.
Design My Night features a number of other quizzes, including more music and bingo quizzes, drag quizzes and a Christmas quiz.
The London Transport Museum is offering the Ultimate Hidden London Quiz on 26 November.
Tickets are a tenner and you can win prizes of gift vouchers for Hidden London tours.
Talking of which, (one for transport geeks here) the Transport Museum also offers online tours of abandoned and largely-forgotten tube stations
Free lectures and courses
Gresham College Lectures: One of the best kept secrets in London, Gresham College has been going since 1597, the result of an endowment by merchant Thomas Gresham, who build the original Royal Exchange in central London. Since 2018, it’s been offering livestreams of its lectures. Categories include art and literature, history, music politics, science, maths, business, law and religion.
There are thousands on offer. A particularly seasonal lecture on 9 December surrounds the lies and legends surrounding Christmas gresham.ac.uk/watch
And don’t forget that the Open University has courses on offer, including language courses.
Read more stories on The Chiswick Calendar
See also: Lockdown things to do – Mark 2
See also: Lockdown Things To Do – Mark 3
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