You can’t have competition without a bit of ruthlessness and for every success story, there is a tale of broken hearts and thwarted dreams. It doesn’t matter if it’s a vintage girl band or a bunch of cartoon pigs, ambition can turn deadly if it isn’t kept in check. The artists of the new Russian republic thought they had freedom of expression until the rise of Stalin and their subsequent suppression is well documented in this month’s London exhibition.

Revolution: Russian Art 1917 – 1932 – Royal Academy
royal-academy
When we think of Soviet art, we tend to think of posters depicting square jawed proletarian heroes looking towards a bright graphically designed future: in short we think of propaganda. But that was to come later. In the immediate aftermath of the revolution, all forms of art flourished with Kandinsky, Malevich, Chagall and Rodchenko all rising to the challenge and pushing the envelope.

The propaganda was there also, but it was clothed in abstract forms and was more aimed at individual expressions of freedom. This exhibition charts the rise and the abrupt fall of the movement, just before Stalin took power and suppressed anything that was not state approved.

https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/exhibition/revolution-russian-art

Sing – Cinemas Londonwide
sing
It’s an established fact that interest in talent contests fades when the no-hopers have dropped out. The makers of Despicable Me have made sure that the weirdness of these modern day rituals of public humiliation remains with us to the very last clip. Of course the beauty of using cartoon animals in place of humans is that nothing is too grotesque or too embarrassing – just like the real thing.

From pigs to porcupines, each contestant brings their own sense of quirky fun as they cheerfully butcher soft rock classics and hip hop remixes with equal abandon. There’s a subplot about saving a failing theatre in there somewhere, but the contestants are so funny that you could miss it and still enjoy the film.

https://www.view.co.uk/london/cinemas-films

Dreamgirls – Savoy Theatre
dreamgirls
The show that launched the vocal phenomenon that is Jennifer Hudson comes to the West End with a full complement of chops, tragedy and glamour. Based loosely on the story of The Supremes, the show is still accurate enough to have annoyed Diana Ross, Berry Gordy and most of the Motown hierarchy as it charts how raw talent can be trampled by ruthlessness.

Three girls start out as equals in a dynamic singing group. Once a svengali has signed them, they are groomed and trained before the prettiest one is singled out for stardom, leaving the more talented member in her wake. Ambition, envy and great songs add up to a dynamite evening of classic soul.

http://www.dreamgirlswestend.com/

Strictly Come Dancing Live Tour – O2 Arena
o2-arena
This event has become a perennial family favourite as it allows those who couldn’t get tickets to see the TV broadcasts a chance to experience some of the glitz and glamour of the event. There are more professional set pieces in this version as well which will satisfy the dance purists.

The band also come into their own as they have more space to add a bigger string section which gives the ballroom numbers extra warmth. The show will be compared by recent contestant, Anita Rani and will feature judges, Craig Revel Horwood and Len Goodman plus some surprise guests.

http://www.theo2.co.uk/events/detail/strictly-come-dancing-the-live-tour-2017

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