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Karaoke Bodyguard, Sherman Poses: London Weekend Guide

January 25, 2013

Cindy Sherman 'Untitled Film Still #24'

A self-portrait by Cindy Sherman, "Untitled Film Still #24" (1978). The image, part of the series that made her famous, is on display at the Whitechapel Gallery in an exhibition of the collection "Sandretto Re Rebaudengo." Source: Collezione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo/Whitechapel Gallery via Bloomberg

An ex-secret serviceman risks his life for a stalked diva. The two fall hopelessly in love.

Remember “The Bodyguard” (1992) with Whitney Houston? Now comes the stage musical, which has just seen its London run extended for five months.

Directed by Thea Sharrock, it’s an excuse for the cast to perform Whitney covers, with the plot threaded around the tunes. Several hits are performed by the diva’s sister (Debbie Kurup). The untalkative bodyguard (Lloyd Owen) gets to sing “I Will Always Love You” in a karaoke bar. Even the stalker (Mark Letheren) exercises his vocal chords.

The good news is, Heather Headley -- who plays superstar Rachel -- doesn’t even try to copy Houston. She plots her own musical course, demonstrating volume and range.

“The Bodyguard” is at the Adelphi Theatre. Information: http://www.thebodyguardmusical.com or +44-844-579-0094.

Joe Allen is a good place to eat near the Adelphi. This low-key restaurant has been serving theatergoers since 1977 and is popular with actors. It’s one of Joe Allen’s quirks that burgers don’t appear on the menu and you need to ask for them. Information: http://www.joeallen.co.uk/ or +44-20-7836-0651.

Saturday

Seven of the self-portraits that brought fame to Cindy Sherman are currently on view at the Whitechapel Gallery.

The black-and-white shots from the 1977-1980 “Untitled Film Stills” series are set indoors or outdoors, and show Sherman posing in a range of wigs and guises that vaguely recall the movies of Alfred Hitchcock or Michelangelo Antonioni.

On the opposite wall is another woman artist’s work. Zoe Leonard photographs instruments used to control women’s bodies. There’s a medieval chastity belt; a wall of gynecological instruments that look more suited for plumbing; and a “beauty calibrator” -- a device once used in Hollywood to measure perfect facial features.

The photographs are in a three-part, yearlong show of works from the Sandretto Re Rebaudengo collection (based in Turin, Italy). At the Whitechapel Gallery, 77-82 Whitechapel High Street, E1 7QX. Information: http://www.whitechapelgallery.org or +44-20-7522-7888.

Saturday Night

Music fans can spend the weekend catching rare shows from two veteran acts: the Animals, known for “House of the Rising Sun,” and jazz-funk band Incognito.

The Animals -- whose members included Eric Burdon and Alan Price -- are now led by John Steel and Mick Gallagher. They still crank out golden hits including “We Gotta Get Out of This Place” and “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” (Islington Assembly Hall, Upper Street, Jan. 26.)

Incognito has similarly gone through dozens of musicians, with Jean-Paul “Bluey” Maunick their perennial singer. (Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden, Jan 24, 25 and 26.)

Information: http://assemblyhall.islington.gov.uk/ and http://venues.meanfiddler.com/jazz-cafe/home.

While in Camden, it’s worth seeking out Market, just along Parkway. It’s a casual restaurant serving seasonal British food. The early evening set menu is 17.50 pounds ($27.75) for two courses. Information: http://www.marketrestaurant.co.uk/ or +44- 20-7267-9700.

Sunday

Snowfall permitting, there are free guided walks around London this weekend.

Whether it’s to check out old Camden Town, learn about seafaring London, or explore the Lea Valley in the east, Walk London -- funded by Transport for London to show how pedestrian- friendly the city is -- has a promenade for every taste.

On Saturday and Sunday: http://www.walklondon.org.uk.

A big selection of guided tours is also available for 9 pounds a pop from London Walks, whose offerings include London as experienced by the Beatles and Oscar Wilde, and Olympic- themed strolls. Information: http://www.walks.com.

(Farah Nayeri writes for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. The opinions expressed are her own.)

Muse highlights include Mark Beech on music, Jason Harper on cars and Rich Jaroslovsky on tech.

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

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


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