Friday, 11 December 2015

What to Do in 2016

From RHS Chelsea to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, here’s our top picks


The Nap
The brilliant Richard Bean’s new comedy thriller about snooker opens at Sheffield’s Crucible. Where better? From 10 to 26 March at Crucible Theatre, Sheffield.
0114-249 6000,

People, Places & Things
Fresh from a sell-out season at the National, Duncan Macmillan’s sobering play about addiction and recovery, starring Denise Gough. From 15 March to 4 June at Wyndham’s Theatre. 0844-482 5138,

The Caretaker

Timothy Spall plays the irascible manipulative tramp who moves in with two brothers in Pinter’s menacing and marvellous power struggle. From 26 March to 14 May at The Old Vic. 0844-871 7628,

The Entertainer
John Osborne’s classic conjures the seedy glamour of the old music halls. From 20 August to 12 November at Garrick Theatre, London. 0330-333 4811,

Private Lives
Noël Coward’s play about a divorced couple who can’t live together and yet can’t live apart sets out on a threemonth national tour, with Strictly’s Tom Chambers as Elyot and Laura Rogers as Amanda. Starts 15 January.

events-theatre-590From left: Red Velvet. Private Lives

The Mother

Florian Zeller’s companionpiece to The Father, this is an exploration into another psychological void: emptynest syndrome. Gina McKee is compelling as the bereft mother. From 21 January to 5 March at The Tricyle Theatre. 020-7328 1000,

Escaped Alone
A new play from Caryl Churchill has four older women drinking tea, discussing a personal then an epic catastrophe. From 21 January to 12 March at Royal Court Theatre. 020-7565 5000,

Red Velvet
Adrian Lester reprises his award-winning performance in Lolita Chakrabarti’s awardwinning play, the true story a young black American actor asked to step into the role of Othello when Edmund Kean collapses. From 23 January to 27 February at the Garrick. 0330-333 4811,

Rabbit Hole
The Pulitzer Prize-winning play by American David Lindsay-Abaire, about a couple wrestling with terrible loss, has its British premiere at Hampstead Theatre from 29 January to 5 March. 020-7722 9301,

Uncle Vanya
Chekhov’s masterpiece, revived by Robert Icke, brings Paul Rhys back to the stage. From 5 February to 26 March at Almeida Theatre, London.  020-7359 4404,

Hand To God
Janie Dee, Jemima Rooper and Neil Pearson star in Robert Askins’s ‘hilarious and heartbreaking’ comedy about a shy teenager with a sock-puppet that takes on a foul-mouthed personality. From 5 February to 11 June at London’s Vaudeville Theatre. 0845-505 8500,


Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture
Calder pioneered hanging kinetic sculptures stirred by air currents, motors or touch to evoke the movement associated with performing arts. To him they were dancers, performers in their own right. This retrospective off ers the chance to see them in action. Until 3 April at Tate Modern. 020-7887 8888,

The Artist And The Sea
Painters never tire of capturing the sea, and in this cleverly curated show it appears in diff erent guises; as the setting for historic events – such as the Battle of Trafalgar or the arrival of King George IV into Leith harbour in 1822 – as well as the backdrop for our communities. At Edinburgh’s City Art Centre until 8 May. 0131-529 3993,

events-art-590Clockwise from top left: Churchill's Scientists. Delacroix And The Rise Of Modern Art. Hoyland by John Bratby (1961). Alexander Calder

Churchill’s Scientists

Marking the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death, this promises to be a celebration of scientific breakthroughs during his time as Prime Minister. There is also the chance to see the cigar he was smoking when he heard he’d been re-elected in 1951 and his notes on the proofs from his six-volume series The Second World War. From 23 January to 1 March at the Science Museum, London. 0870-870 4868,

Delacroix And The Rise of Modern Art
Themes will centre on the profound infl uence Delacroix had on other artists, with exhibits including works by his contemporaries Courbet and Géricault through to 20thcentury greats Van Gogh and Matisse. As Cézanne would later say: ‘We all paint in Delacroix’s language’. From 17 February to 22 May at the National Gallery. 020-7747 2885,

John Bratby: Everything But The Kitchen Sink Including The Kitchen Sink
The curator has ‘crowd curated’ the show by asking the public to bring in their Bratbys. A unique and interesting concept. From 30 January to 17 April at Jerwood Gallery, Hastings. 01424-728377,


Youth (29 Jan)
Michael Caine delivers one of his finest performances as a retired conductor recuperating at a Swiss spa hotel in Italian Paolo Sorrentino’s baroque comedy about growing old. Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz and Paul Dano round out a fabulously eccentric cast.

Dad’s Army (5 Feb)
A big-screen spin-off of the enduring TV favourite in which a tantalising comic cast, led by Toby Jones and Michael Gambon, are joined by Catherine Zeta-Jones to root out a German spy.

Zoolander 2 (12 Feb)
The world’s most stupid male model and fashion icon Derek Zoolander is back, as embodied by Ben Stiller. Shot at European catwalk shows, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell and Penélope Cruz join in, with celeb cameos including Billy Zane and a Kardashian or two.

Hail, Caesar! (26 Feb)
The Coen brothers’ latest screwball-style comedy is set in the Hollywood studios of the 1950s, when the star of a Roman epic, Baird Whitlock (George Clooney), is kidnapped and ransomed. Jonah Hill is a mogul, Scarlett Johansson a starlet and Tilda Swinton a gossip columnist. Looks a treat.

Batman v Superman: Dawn Of Justice (25 March)
I’m not one for superhero movies but this could change the game as two of the best collide. Ben Affleck was a controversial choice among fans to play the caped crusader who battles Henry Cavill’s Kryptonian survivor. Amy Adams returns as Lois Lane – she’s usually the best thing about these.

Eddie The Eagle (1 April)
I expect heart-warming, underdog comedy in the Ealing style as our most famous plasterer-turned-skijumper is played by Taron Egerton and trained by Hugh Jackman as they work towards soaring (a bit) at the 1988 Calgary Olympics.

events-film-590Clockwise from top left: Batman V Superman. Michael Caine in Youth. Bridget Jones's Baby. Dad's Army.

Son Of Saul (1 April)

Extraordinary Holocaust drama from Hungary follows one man through the hell of Auschwitz as he seeks a dignified burial for a body he thinks might be his son.

Bridget Jones’s Baby (22 April)
Renée Zellweger returns with a bump after 11 years. Colin Firth is on board, Hugh Grant is not, but fans might be sated by Patrick Dempsey from Grey’s Anatomy. Jim Broadbent and Gemma Jones are still Mum and Dad, and Sally Phillips is back as Shazza.

Ghostbusters (15 July)
With an all-female cast this time, and directed by Bridesmaids’s Paul Feig, this should be the comedy hit of the summer. Kristen Wiig and Melissa McCarthy headline but cameos from the original cast have been promised. Who you gonna call?

The BFG (22 July)
Steven Spielberg directs a Disney fi lm for the fi rst time, bringing a mix of CGI and live action to Roald Dahl’s story. Mark Rylance is the BFG, with other big fellas played by Jermaine Clement and Bill Hader. The late Melissa Mathison (ET) wrote the script.

Doctor Strange (28 Oct)
Expect psychedelic and scientific action in this Marvel adaptation as Hamlet himself, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Chiwetel Ejiofor star as the spiritual sorcerer superhero and nemesis. Rachel McAdams should provide a sparky female presence.

Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them (18 Nov)
JK Rowling’s 2001 book gets the big-screen treatment to extend the magic (and money) of the Harry Potter universe. Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) is the wizard and ‘magizoologist’ out of whose briefcase fantastic animals escape, prompting a hunt through 1920s New York.


Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
This new production has just begun an extensive tour of the UK and Ireland at the West Yorkshire Playhouse and won’t come to rest until early November in Woking. A starry cast includes Jason Manford and Lee Mead alternating as Caractacus Potts. See local theatres for details. Grey Gardens Based on the legendary documentary, this opens on 2 January starring Sheila Hancock and Jenna Russell as Jackie Kennedy’s eccentric aunt and cousin who lived in privileged squalor in their Long Island mansion.  020-7407 0234,

The Girls
Gary Barlow’s musical version of Calendar Girls is heading for The Lowry, in Salford, in January and then the West End; look out for venue details.  0843-208 6000,

Mrs Henderson Presents
This was a smallscreen hit with Judi Dench and the late Bob Hoskins. Now a musical version opens at the Noël Coward Theatre on 9 February. The story of the Windmill Theatre, which stayed open throughout the war, is being sold under the cheeky line: ‘For the show to go on, the clothes must come off!’ 0844-482 5140,

events-musical-590From left: Mrs Henderson adn Funny Girl

Tom: A Story Of Tom Jones

Sir Tom gets the full musical treatment in a tour that opens in Cardiff on 7 March and takes in Edinburgh, Leicester, Sheffield, Bradford and Birmingham, among others. Check local venues for details. Sunset Boulevard More than 20 years after fi rst playing faded silent-screen star Norma Desmond, Glenn Close is ready for another close-up. She’ll play 43 performances in a semi-staged production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical at the London Coliseum from 1 April. 020-7836 0111,

Funny Girl
Its sold-out run at the Menier finishes on 5 March, Sheridan Smith takes a well-earned break and then Funny Girl, the story of Broadway star Fanny Brice, transfers to the Savoy for 12 weeks from 9 April. 0844-871 3046,

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