Tower of London
As mentioned last month, the Tower of London has Twilight Tours on selected Sundays from 3 November. Be appalled and amazed by tales of prisoners and past residents, of royal gossip and of the secrets kept within the ancient walls.
The tours are at 7pm to 8.30pm so it’s dark and spooky by then. Yeoman Warders lead the after-hours atmospheric tours, taking in Traitor’s Gate and the Bloody Tower.
With over a thousand years of history, the Tower has been host to many significant events such as the alleged murder of the two boy princes, the execution of Tudor queens, the torture of traitors and countless stories of ghostly apparitions, making this a truly unforgettable tour for those that dare.
Also at the Tower of London this month (and a lot less gruesome!) is the gun salute on 14 November at 1pm for the birthday of HRH Prince Charles.
You don’t need a ticket for the Tower to see this as it happens on the Gun Park located on the Wharf (that space between the Tower and the river Thames). The Wharf closes at least an hour before the gun salutes and there is no access during the setup and duration of the gun salutes.
The basic royal salute is 21 rounds, fired at ten second intervals, but at the Tower an extra 20 are also fired because the Tower is a Royal Palace. A further 21 rounds are fired because it is located in the City of London, meaning a total of 62 rounds and a total firing time of around ten minutes.
As it is so loud it may be better to watch from Tower Bridge or even across the water, outside City Hall.
Barber Shop Chronicles returns to the National Theatre on 20 November following the sell-out run this summer.
Inua Ellams’ dynamic play is on at The Dorman Theatre. It features characters from across the globe as the action journeys from a barber shop in London, to Johannesburg, Harare, Kampala, Lagos and Accra. These are places where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling. Newsroom, political platform, local hot-spot, confession box, preacher-pulpit and football stadium. For generations, African men have gathered in barber shops to discuss the world.
Also at the National Theatre, at the Lyttleton Theatre, this month is Network. Based on the award-winning Paddy Chayefsky film and adapted by Lee Hall, Network previews from 4 November.
The cast includes Tony Award winner Bryan Cranston (All the Way, Breaking Bad and Trumbo for which he was nominated for both an Oscar and a BAFTA) in the role of Howard Beale.
Howard Beale, news anchor-man, isn’t pulling in the viewers. In his final broadcast he unravels live on screen. But when the ratings soar, the network seizes on their new found populist prophet, and Howard becomes the biggest thing on TV.
Hilarious and horrifying by turns, Network depicts a dystopian media landscape where opinion trumps fact.
A very limited number of additional on-stage seats will be released in the autumn.
Coinciding with the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Russian Revolution last month, Tate Modern is staging the first major museum exhibition in the UK of artists Ilya and Emilia Kabakov (b.1933 and b.1945).
Curated in close dialogue with the artists and organised in collaboration with the State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg and the State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow, the exhibition explores this pioneering couple’s place in the international story of conceptual art and offers the chance to view rarely seen works together for the first time in the UK.
Also at Tate Modern, and opening on 8 November, Red Star Over Russia looks at the years that followed 1917, as Russia became the Soviet Union. Early experiments and diverse practices formed a new visual culture for a nation that covered one sixth of the Earth.
The exhibition explores how Russian and Soviet artists created a unique visual identity over five decades, from the first revolution of 1905 to the death of Stalin in 1953.
Rarely seen posters, photographs, and other graphic works from the David King Collection – now part of Tate – are on display, including work by El Lissitzky, Gustav Klutsis, Dmitri Moor, Alexander Deineka, Nina Vatolina and Yevgeny Khaldei.
Hair the Musical
A 50th anniversary production of the original protest musical Hair is on at The Vaults, near Waterloo.
Like a mini Woodstock, The Vaults is transformed into an immersive 60s venue with themed pop-up restaurants plus stalls selling tie-dye clothes, smiley badges, hippie wigs and flower headdresses. This intimate theatre only has seating for 200 so the audience is close to the action.
1967 and Hair‘s hippie-hood youngsters live as The Tribe, in the East Village of New York, yearning to change the world. They are wild, colourful, free, sexually-liberated beautiful people who join in protest and song. Featuring classic hit songs Aquarius, Let the Sun Shine In and Good Morning Star Shine, the story of youth and war still resounds making this a topical musical for today.
Fashion & Textile Museum
On at the Fashion & Textile Museum, Louise Dahl Wolfe A Style of Her Own features one of the most influential fashion photographers of the 20th century. This is the first solo show of her work outside the United States.
Louise Dahl-Wolfe (1895–1989) revitalised the Hollywood portrait and invigorated fashion photography of the 1930s, 40s and 50s.
During two decades spent working for Harper’s Bazaar (1936–58), Dahl-Wolfe pioneered the use of natural lighting in fashion photography, shooting on location and outdoors. Her modernist outlook changed American visual culture and influenced a school of artists – including Richard Avedon.
London Jazz Festival 2017
The EFG London Jazz Festival celebrates its 25th year in 2017. The 10 day festival (10-19 November) features another stellar line-up of artists performing at the Barbican and its neighbouring venues, including an evening with jazz guitarist Pat Metheny and his new quartet; two giants of Cuban piano music, Chucho Valdés and Gonzalo Rubalcaba, in a rare joint performance; an exploration of how jazz influenced the popular music of India by tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain alongside Dave Holland and Chris Potter and a premiere of a Festival commission bringing together Terence Blanchard and the BBC Concert Orchestra; the London premiere of a new choral symphony by composer and pianist Roland Perrin; and progressive trio Phronesis and Engines Orchestra in a performance of renowned composer Dave Maric’s new music.
Further concerts include influential jazz pianist Brad Mehldau; jazz icon Herbie Hancock showcasing his new brand new project; Portuguese fado singer Carminho paying homage to the music of Antônio Carlos Jobim, one of the godfathers of Bossa Nova; a celebration of the profound musical and spiritual legacy of two of the most influential figures in Western musical history, Alice and John Coltrane, featuring a headline set from cosmic jazz icon Pharoah Sanders, a new project from Denys Baptiste entitled The Late Trane, and innovative harpist Alina Bzhezhinska with her quartet; a rare performance of Joe Zawinul’s Stories of the Danube – his grand orchestral vision of one of the world’s great rivers – conducted by his friend Kristjan Järvi and featuring the BBC Concert Orchestra and Terence Blanchard Quintet.
If you would like even more ideas for this month, have a look at the Things to Do in London in November 2017 from Kensington House Hotel, our sister hotel.
Yes, it’s Christmas next month but I’m just as excited about the ABBA: Super Troupers exhibition coming to the Southbank Centre. Opening on 14 December (and on until 29 April 2018), this is a brand new, immersive exhibition that charts Swedish pop sensation Abba’s music, lyrics, creative process, and irrefutable influence as one of the most iconic pop bands of the modern age. Just try and tell me you’re not excited too.
There are other RSC performances on already at the Barbican but the Royal Shakespeare Company is performing Titus Andronicus on 7 December 2017 to Friday 19 January 2018. The decay of Rome reaches vicious depths in Shakespeare’s most brutal and bloody play. Blanche McIntyre directs the epic conclusion of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Rome season.
Do check out the latest offers as London Bridge Hotel has weekend rates from as low as £99. You can sign up for special offer alerts here. And when you can’t be at the hotel, you can try making the Quarter Bar’s cocktails with these recipes.
Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.