Two of the finest books about poverty are George Orwell’s 1933 memoir Down And Out In London And Paris and Polly Toynbee’s 2003 Hard Work, so it was only a matter of time before someone stuck them together in play form. That person was David Byrne and his production for New Diorama at Greenwich Theatre was simply brilliant. The moral of the story is that little has changed on the breadline since Orwell’s day. But an excellent script and a great cast, particularly Richard Delaney, Karen Ascoe and Andy McLeod, meant the misery was never unbearable. And the staging was magical, with the action switching between time-frames, sometimes in mid-sentence and often thanks to an ingenious bed with a hidden compartment. Theatre like this deserves the widest possible audience.
Rivka Golani is rightly dubbed the most famous viola virtuoso ever, so any concert featuring her is an event.She’s also a professor at Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance in Greenwich and led five of the college’s young stars in a fabulous performance of Brahms’ magnificent Sextet No2 in G major at the town’s parish church St Alfege’s. She threw herself into the recital with astonishing fearlessness, dynamism and intensity. Yet despite her extraordinary presence, she never overwhelmed violinists Andrea Montalbano and Nandita Bhatia, violist Jordi Morell and cellists Fraser Bowles and Olivia Clayton. The result was a rendition of a chamber piece it’s hard to imagine being equalled any time soon.
Last chance to see the extraordinary works of this Swedish pioneer at London’s Serpentine Gallery. Her colour-drenched, swirling, enigmatic abstracts were created years before Kandinsky, Modrian and Malevich took the art world by storm and she was experimenting with automatic techniques decades before the dadaists. Yet her name is almost unknown. Get down to the Serpentine this week to find out why she is such an important – and overlooked – 20th century painter.