Nestled not far from the hip district of Shoreditch, the Barbican area lies where the centre of London essentially meets the financial district known as ‘The City’; and yet, it’s far, from an arts wilderness, being the part of town where perhaps the capital’s greatest multi-arts venue resides. And, best of all, the Barbican Centre is extremely easy to reach from centrally-located accommodation like The Piccadilly London West End. So, what Barbican dates should you put in your diary for the upcoming weeks…?
The Cherry Orchard: Moscow Pushkin Theatre Company
(5th and 6th February)
She may be little known on these shores, but the Russian screen and stage star Victoria Isakova is, fittingly, the leading lady in this new, acclaimed, blockbuster production of Chekov’s majestic stage play that portrays the nature of how a nation faces revolutionary change (a topic that, to an extent, feels a little resonant nowadays – or perhaps it simply always is resonant?).
Isakova then essays the role of Lyubov Ranevskaya, the play’s protagonist who’s the epitome of measured elegance, as she comes back to her estate and discovers her beloved cherry orchard will be sold due to debts owed. And yet, despite the reality of turmoil and transformation around them, she and her family tragically are unable to face their plight and that of their nation; denying the sheer reality of both.
Directed by the revered Vladimir Mirzoev, this production looks set for certain to evoke the spirit of Russia at the turn of the 20th Century, but offers too something of a contemporary vision, suggesting the societal collapses of nations around the world in more recent years. So, why not treat yourself on your trip to London with one the best Indian afternoon tea London at our hotel and then treat yourself to this outstanding evening of theatre?
Dance Those Magical Musicals: Anton and Erin
(9th and 14th February)
Following a family day spent in and around Piccadilly (perhaps renewing some Rainforest Café offers), why not then pop along to the Barbican for household-name dancers Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag’s new, show-stopping production, ‘Dance Those Magical Musicals’ here present a world where the ballroom meets musical theatre via sensational costumes and beguiling choreography; the whole shebang set to iconic theatrical music from shows such as The Phantom of the Opera, Mary Poppins, 42nd Street, Wicked, Top Hat, Hairspray and Jersey Boys.
And, joining Anton and Erin live on stage, will be the London Concert Orchestra under the baton of Richard Balcombe, in addition to a supreme West End dance ensemble and the stunning star vocalist Lance Ellington. Moreover, both shows are set to conclude with an always popular Q&A session with the two dancing stars themselves. Indeed, commenting on the show, Anton Du Beke has claimed: “Get ready for West End live on the dancefloor! Expect fabulous dancing, music and song.”.
Mahler’s Ninth Symphony: Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra
If you’re a lover of great classical music performances, this is one simply not to be missed; it’s Mahler’s final masterwork performed by the orchestra he himself began – the Vienna Philharmonic, which is today conducted by Adam Fischer (who’s been associated with it for more than 50 years, in fact).
Rather melancholic as well as triumphant, this symphony’s opening notes deliberately echo those of Mahler’s own failing heart into the orchestra – as if it’s the great composer bidding farewell to the musical universe.
And don’t doubt it, if any orchestra knows how to interpret this piece then it surely has to be this orchestra. With its full 80-minute running time, this is a symphony that’s simply brimming and dripping with grandeur and you can rely on the Vienna Philharmonic to draw out every last drop of the power and humanity that courses throughout. Sweet, sad, dramatic, beguiling and unforgettable, it may just be the aural experience for you following a day spent indulging yourself at the likes of the Piccadilly London West End hotel spa.