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Comic Killers, Tech-Crazy Hockney, China Fiesta: London Weekend

January 29, 2012

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Preview by Farah Nayeri

Jan. 26 (Bloomberg) -- A gang of conmen posing as a string quintet are breaking box-office records at the Gielgud Theatre.

In “The Ladykillers,” they rent a room from a little old lady who admires their musicality and loves to serve tea in her finest China. She seems an easy, gullible accomplice. If only.

That conventional plot is brought spectacularly to life in Sean Foley’s staging -- with a spinning set, moving props, and a toy car and train that recreate the burglary as if in a police mock-up.

Marcia Warren is delightful as widowed Mrs. Wilberforce.

The Gielgud Theatre, 35-37 Shaftesbury Avenue, W1D 6AR. Information: www.delfontmackintosh.co.uk or +44-844-482-5136.

Saturday

David Hockney is as tech-crazed at the age of 74 as a teenager in a gadget store.

The shiny landscapes he draws on his tablet PC are standouts in an exhibition of his recent work. Beamed on wall- mounted IPads, or blown up into six-foot-high (1.8 meters) prints, they proclaim his insatiable appetite for life, nature, and the new.

Hockney also has a multi-video-screen grid that shows one single scene shot with each camera pointing in a slightly different direction. It’s like the human eye, which captures views from multiple angles, instead of all in one go.

Among the many paintings on show, there are a few letdowns. Yet Hockney, like Monet, still manages to take you wherever he plants his easel. You’re there, in the leafy woods, with him.

For a sense of how he works, watch the 2009 documentary “A Bigger Picture,” in which he also offers kernels of wisdom.

At the Royal Academy of Arts. Information: www.royalacademy.org.uk or +44-844-209-0051.

Sketch is offering a gourmet three-course Champagne lunch together with a ticket for the Hockney show (from Tuesday to Saturday) for 48 pounds ($74.80). Information: bit.ly/wpSNX6 or +44-20-7659-4500.

Saturday Night

Bruce Hornsby is in London to show audiences how he is much more than the man behind “That’s the Way It Is.” The piano-led hit is the best-known sample of his Grammy-winning music, which spans jazz, blues, Motown and rock.

Not many people know that Hornsby was once a member of the Grateful Dead and has been working with the Noisemakers for his recent albums. He will be solo for the Jan. 28 show and demonstrating his multi-instrument range, playing accordion as well as keyboards.

O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Shepherd’s Bush Green, W12 8TT. Information: www.o2shepherdsbushempire.co.uk and http://www.brucehornsby.com/tour/

Sunday

Tens of thousands of people will crowd in and around Trafalgar Square for the Chinese New Year celebrations on Sunday.

At noon, Mayor Boris Johnson and Chinatown’s president will stand on the main Trafalgar Square stage to perform the “Dotting of the Eye” ceremony -- where the dragon and lion come alive to get the show started.

Five-and-a-half hours of music, dance, stunts and acrobatics will follow, with a fireworks display at 5:40 p.m.

Information: www.london.gov.uk/event- meeting/2012/jan/chinese-new-year-2012.

Good luck finding somewhere to eat at random around Chinatown, where streets are sure to be crowded. If you like spicy Chinese food, book at Bar Shu, which serves authentic Sichuan cuisine and is popular with visitors from China. Information: www.bar-shu.co.uk/ or +44-20-7287-8822.

--With assistance from Mark Beech and Richard Vines in London. Editors: Mark Beech, Jim Ruane.

To contact the writer on the story: Farah Nayeri in London farahn@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Manuela Hoelterhoff at mhoelterhoff@bloomberg.net.


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