There is a lot to be said about simplification, even in a metropolis as large and intricate as London. Restaurants and bars, like Oscar in Fitzrovia, are starting to shorten their menus and list of ingredients, relying on just a few quality components. Likewise, the kind of mega productions that were once the speciality of companies like Cirque du Soleil have morphed into a more tightly controlled experience and are actually benefiting from it. The epitome of elegant simplicity, however, has to be the iconic Motown record label. Auto worker Berry Gordy brought a production line approach to hit making that hasn’t been bettered. Quality control will get you results every time and Londoners knows quality when they see it.

Amaluna – Royal Albert Hall
christmas-carol-royal-albert-hall-2
The touring production from Cirque du Soleil comes to London with a tale of star crossed lovers and death defying acrobatics. Based loosely on Shakespeare’s Tempest, this offering is less aggressive than some of the other incarnations of the Montreal contemporary circus but its increased subtlety allows audiences to appreciate more.

Unicycle stunts, wire walking and some jaw dropping stunts using bamboo poles are all used to propel the narrative along. State-of-the-art lighting effects divide the circular stage into pools of scintillating action. More than three quarters of the cast are female and the result is a more lyrical programme that nevertheless contains more than its fair share of danger and drama.

www.royalalberthall.com

Motown: The Musical – Shaftesbury Theatre
london-paladium
Even after their fellow 60s pioneers, The Beatles, had drifted into politics and mysticism, Tamla Motown stayed true to the idea of three minute pop perfection. A jingly intro, an infectious hook and some of the greatest vocals ever to be recorded: that was the formula and it resonates all over the world to this very day.

London has its own slice of soulful magic in this joyous production. Skilful playing and great voices bring the songs to life and let them shine. Make no mistake – the songs themselves are what made Motown great. The suits are as sharp as the moves but the enduring memory of this production are the mini-masterpieces that speak of love, hope and endless dancing.

www.motownthemusical.co.uk

Oscar Bar: Charlotte Street Hotel – Fitzrovia
anton-and-erins-christmas-cracker
An area that is on the up and up deserves a late night watering hole of distinction and finesse. They have it in the downstairs section of this boutique hotel, located in the heart of Fitzrovia. Expertly made cocktails are a speciality but the bar always get the basics right, avoiding fads and providing excellent service.

A selection of delicious bar snacks is available and the music is upbeat without being invasive. The crowd is made up of a mix of clever media types, tech gurus and discerning theatre goers. The parent hotel is part of the Firmdale group which specialises in just the type of luxurious urban enclave that attracts the hip and wealthy.

http://www.firmdalehotels.com/

Sully – Cinemas Londonwide
new-years-fireworks
If you happen to see a certain Hollywood megastar on your way through check-in, maybe it would be wise to make sure he’s not on your flight. It seems aircraft and Tom Hanks don’t get along. When he’s not crashing onto a deserted island (Castaway), he’s running out of oxygen halfway to the moon (Apollo 13). This January sees the release of the take of a real-life aviation miracle when an airline pilot belly flopped onto the Hudson River before calmly evacuating his passengers along the wings to safety.

Hanks, who plays Captain Sullenberger, specialises in stoic all-American heroes who face danger with a mix of steely calm and gentle humour. Clint Eastwood, who seems to be entering some sort of directorial Indian summer, guides us through Sully’s character, background and motivation before taking us on a nail-biting denouement in the skies above New York City.

www.viewlondon.co.uk

Facebook Plusone Twitter Linkedin Email