The Culture Vulture is knackered this week and you must be too if you’ve been trying to keep up with the rich variety of arts events going on in Merton over the last seven days. We’ve seen the climax of Wimbledon BookFest, now acknowledged as one of the leading book festivals in the country with an amazing array of top flight authors. I had the privilege of presenting two events on Saturday and Sunday, and felt full of pride at the welcoming, knowledgeable Wimbledon audiences who listened so carefully and asked such intelligent questions. More than half the 70 people who came to Viv Groskop’s event on Sunday had actually read War and Peace!
That’s far from all, because this week we’ve also heard the first ever Merton SingFest bring together more than a thousand musicians of all ages to make music together. I’ll be posting photos on my website, so keep an eye out here. As Marsie Skeete, the Mayor of Merton, said: “It shows how important singing has become in bringing communities together. As Merton is particularly rich in choirs, I was proud to attend the inaugural Merton SingFest and hope many people across the borough experienced the series of events over the weekend, and discovered the joy of singing for themselves.”
Even that’s not all, because the borough’s two professional drama companies, Attic Theatre and Baseless Fabric, both launched their main production of the year this week. My review of Baseless Fabric’s Reunion and Dark Pony is here. Attic Theatre’s play The Death of Ivan Ilyich continues at Merton Arts Space until 29 October and is an extraordinary, involving piece of theatre which I found moving and entertaining. Well worth seeing. Now half term is about to hit, so here are eight things to do that could suit families with kids of various ages.
- Theatre: Around The World in 80 Days, Rose Theatre Kingston until October 22. My top pick. What a fast, furious romp! Simply the best family show I can remember, suitable for 7+ here.
- Theatre: The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Merton Arts Space until October 29. What happens if you decide when you’re dying that you’ve lived your life all wrong? Funny and moving, suitable for 15+. here.
- Music: Jazz the Broad Way, New Wimbledon Theatre Studio on October 22. Acro-vocalist Verona Chard heads up an evening of sultry swing, funky beats, foot tapping originals and dance divining global tunes. here.
- Film: The Death Of Stalin, Odeon Wimbledon from Friday. Razor-sharp satirist Armando Iannucci (The Thick of It, Veep) and a stellar cast relish the terror and farce after the great dictator dies. Rated 15. information and booking.
- Film: My Little Pony, Odeon Wimbledon from Friday. Positive messages and some scary stuff in a sweet, sparkly package – and a free mini pony for every child, this weekend only. For younger kids. Information and booking.
- Children’s Theatre: Friends For All, Polka Theatre on October 20-22. A play about bullying and being yourself that’s aimed at ages 5-11. Information and booking.
- Out and about: Steam train the Bognor Belle is passing through Wimbledon station early evening on Saturday, on its way back from the seaside. You can travel on it (standard fare £99 adults, £76 children) or just watch it steam through for free.
- Museum: Harry Potter and the History of Magic, British Library, opens Friday and runs until February. For bookish lovers of the boy wizard, best for older teens.
Enjoy your weekend! The Culture Vulture.