Top 10 shows, exhibitions and events for your winter calendar.
BLOCKBUSTER Mega Broadway hit, Hamilton, is landing in the West End on 21 December. To a hip-hop, jazz, rap and R&B score, the story unfolds of West Indian born Alexander Hamilton who rose from poverty as an American émigré to become George Washington’s right hand man. Newcomer, Jamael Westman will take the title role in London as it opens the multimillion pound restored Victoria Palace Theatre. Hamilton, 21 December 2017 to 30 June 2018 (previews from 6 December), Victoria Palace Theatre, Victoria Street, London SW1E 5EA
STYLISH MYSTERY Chugging into cinemas this November is Kenneth Branagh’s all-star adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. As well as directing, Branagh plays the moustachioed detective, Hercule Poiret, investigating his stylish co-travellers including Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer and Penelope Cruz. Judi Dench leads the British talent whilst Johnny Depp takes the role of the victim, Edward Ratchett. The claustrophobic thriller fizzes with intrigue, treachery and simmering sexual tension. “You have great entertainment,” said Branagh, “but also something that touches quite deeply on loss, grief and revenge.” Murder on the Orient Express is released on 6 November 2017 by Twentieth Century Fox.
Having won the breakthrough act and Critics’ Choice awards at this year’s Brits, Rag’n’ Bone Man is touring his debut album, Human, across Britain from 17 November. His gritty, bluesy sound has turned Sussex Rapper, Rory Graham – his civilian name – from an open mic hero to industry darling with fans including Elton John. Prepare to belt out his anthems like Human and Skin among other revellers as he’s also heading Edinburgh’s fabled Hogmanay celebrations this New Year in Princes Street Gardens. Rag'n'bone Man - The Overproof tour, 17 November to 27 November, O2 Academy Glasgow, 121 Eglinton Street, Glasgow, G5 9NT; O2 Apollo Manchester, Stockport Road, Manchester, M12 6AP; O2 Academy Brixton, 211 Stockwell Road, London, SW9 9SL; Wolverhampton Civic Hall, North Street, Wolverhampton, WV1 1RQ. livenation.co.uk Edinburgh's Hogmanay 2018 Concert in the Gardens, Princes Street, Edinburgh EH2 2HG, 0131 510 0395. edinburghshogmanay.com
Breaking Bad’s teacher turned drug lord, Bryan Cranston makes his British stage debut on 13 November in the new adaptation of the 1976 Oscar winning film, Network. Cranston plays Howard Beale, the evening news anchorman who melts down on screen, uttering immortal lines like "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore". Joining him on stage as the exploitative TV executive is Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery swapping ball gowns for power suits. Network, 13 November 2017 to 24 March 2018 (previews from 4 November), Lyttleton Theatre, National Theatre, Upper Ground, South Bank, London SE1 9PX, 020 7452 3000. nationaltheatre.org.uk
As Britain’s merry monarch, little wonder that Charles II hoarded sumptuous paintings, tapestries, silver furniture, jewel encrusted objects and more to decorate his equally lux palaces and show his power. Now over 200 objects from this spectacular collection are on display at the Queen’s Gallery from 8 December. Curated in royal palaces from Edinburgh’s Holyroodhouse to the Tower of London’s Jewel House, the works show how the king reinvented the monarchy through art, says Rufus Bird, lead curator. Charles II: Art & Power, 8 December 2017 to 13 May 2018, The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1A 1AA, 030 3123 7301. royalcollection.org.uk
Romantics Anonymous is a new musical showing at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, Shakespeare’s Globe, London. In this endearing, complicated love story, chocolate-entwined couple, Angélique and Jean-rené help each other to discover that the obstacles to their happiness are not the usual external barriers, but those sneaky little ones we know all too intimately - the ones within. Romantics Anonymous, to 6 January 2018, Shakespeare's Globe, 21 New Globe Walk, Bankside, London SE1 9DT, 020 7401 9919. shakespearesglobe.com/romantics-anonymous
Whilst London is fashion’s centre, the north of England has stylish credentials too. British designers and models were born there like Burberry’s Christopher Bailey and Agyness Deyn, and so were trends. Take the 1990s parka, thanks to Manchester band, Oasis. Now a new exhibition, North: Fashion Identity highlights the Northern influence on fashion, photography and art at Somerset House from 8 November. Gritty and iconic landscapes form frequent photo backdrops for social documentary or fashion – sometimes ambiguously meshing the two. Whilst the fabled Manchester club, Hacienda, is turned into an art installation. North: Fashioning Identity, 8 November 2017 to 4 February 2018, East Wing Galleries, Somerset House, Strand, London WC2R 1LA, 020 7845 4600. somersethouse.org.uk
Ballet’s bad boy, Sergei Polunin, leaps onto the London Coliseum stage this December with his own company, Project Polunin, and a new work. It’s been a pivotal year for this 28 year old dance star who explosively quit the Royal Ballet five years ago. His documentary biopic, Dancer was released, including his raw, yet powerful Take me to Church performance; he fronted fashion campaigns for Diesel, among others, and has now transitioned to the big screen – as an aristo suspect on the Orient Express. In more films released next year, Polunin is one to watch. Project Polunin, 5 to 10 December 2017, London Coliseum, St Martin's Lane, London, WC2N 4ES, 020 7845 9300. londoncoliseum.org
Discover an intimate side to great British artist, JMW Turner, as his Sandycombe Lodge, opens to the public for the first time after a £2.4 million restoration. Unusually designed by the artist, the seven room house with sitting room, parlour and scullery was his bolthole from busy 19th century London. Now nestled in a residential street, the house’s River Thames surroundings at the time inspired his poetic work. “The spaces where people lived and worked is essential to our British heritage,” said Turner’s House Trust chairman, Catherine Parry-wingfield. Sandycombe Lodge, 40 Sandycombe Road, St Margarets, Twickenham TW1 2LR, 020 8892 5485. turnershouse.org
With their swanlike necks and elongated faces, Amedeo Modigliani’s paintings and sculptures are instantly recognisable. Now Britain’s most comprehensive exhibition of his early 20th century portraits, sculptures and nudes will be at Tate Modern from 23 November. “In the age of social media his work is relatable,” said Nancy Ireson, co-curator, “as we want to know who his sitters are.” Some works are here for the first time, whilst the iconic double portrait of his friends, Jacques and Berthe Lipchitz returns after over 60 years. Modigliani, 23 November 2017 to 2 April 2018, Tate Modern, Bankside, London SE1 9TG, 020 7887 8888. tate.org.uk