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    What's on in London this January 2018 around Kensington

    Happy new year! 2018 is going to be another fantastic year to be in London. This month we've got art and theatre recommendations plus news of an amazing light festival.

    BEGINNING

    The National Theatre's critically acclaimed production of Beginning transfers to the Ambassadors Theatre in the West End from 15 January 2018. The limited 10-week season includes thousands of seats priced at just £18.

    Beginning is a tender and funny look at the first fragile moments of risking your heart and taking a chance. Reprising their highly praised roles as Laura and Danny, Justine Mitchell (Bodies, Royal Court; Mr Burns, Almeida Theatre) and Sam Troughton (King Lear, National Theatre; The Hollow Crown, BBC; and The Ritual), are directed by Polly Findlay (Limehouse, Donmar Warehouse; As You Like It, Protest Song and Antigone, National Theatre) in this must-see hit by David Eldridge.

    Every story starts somewhere. It’s the early hours of the morning and Danny's the last straggler at Laura’s party. The flat's in a mess. And so are they. One more drink?

    LUMIERE LONDON

    The UK's largest festival of light is returning to London this month. Lumiere London was last here in 2016 and it was truly brilliant. It's totally free to see iconic buildings and public spaces transformed with light from 18 to 21 January 2018.

    It did get busy last time so the light installations are happening at more locations this year. There's King's Cross, Fitzrovia, South Bank and Waterloo, Trafalgar Square to Victoria as well as West End locations including Oxford Circus, Regent Street, Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus.

    More than 40 UK and international artists will create a vast nocturnal outdoor exhibition across London. Highlights include The Light of the Spirit by Patrice Warrener at Westminster Abbey (as it was incredibly popular in 2016) and OSC-L by Ulf Langheinrich at The National Theatre transforming the National Theatre’s fly tower into a luminous monument, glowing along the South Bank's skyline.

    INTO THE WOODS

    I mentioned Into the Woods: Trees in Illustration at the V&A in October (and it's still on until 23 January 2018). I wanted to also highlight Into the Woods: Trees in Photography which is on at the V&A until 22 April 2018.

    This display, which is also free, marks the 800th anniversary of the Charter of the Forest, signed in 1217 by King Henry III, to protect the rights of free men in England to access and use the Royal Forests – and the launch of the 2017 Charter for Trees, Woods and People to protect trees and woods in the UK.

    Explore how trees have been a source of inspiration to photographers all over the world, from the earliest practitioners to the present day. This display features photographs by celebrated artists such as Ansel Adams, Alfred Steiglitz and Agnes Warburg who consistently responded to trees as a subject in their work.

    Into the Woods: Trees in Photography is the first display that draws on works from both the recently transferred Royal Photographic Society (RPS) collection and the V&A permanent photographs collection ahead of the opening of the new Photography Centre in 2018.

    THE GAMING DEN

    Here's a fantastic reason to visit Banqueting House on Whitehall this month. On 21 January you can enjoy an afternoon (2-5pm) or evening (6-9pm) of board gaming in one of the oldest gambling dens in the country – used by King James I himself.

    Grab a drink, roll a dice and unleash that competitive spirit as the on-hand gaming gurus at The Gaming Denteach the rules to both historical and modern games. With participants attempting to win favour in the royal court, the stakes are bound to be high.

    ROSE WYLIE

    It's worth walking in Hyde Park this month as the Serpentine Sackler Gallery has an exhibition of work by British artist Rose Wylie until 11 February 2018. The vibrant, large-scale canvases show how she is inspired by a variety of sources from art history, cinema, comic books and the natural world to news, verbal anecdotes, celebrity stories and sport.

    Quack Quack includes paintings dating from the late 1990s to the present day – some never previously exhibited. Included is a new group of works inspired by Hyde Park and Kensington Gardens. One, based on Wylie's childhood memories of living in Bayswater during the Blitz, maps the park's landscape – dogs, ducks, the Serpentine lake, and both the historic building and Zaha Hadid's present day extension of the Gallery – with memories of Spitfires and Messerschmitt planes fighting overhead. The exhibition title connects similarly to place as well as to ‘ack-ack’, a term used to describe Second World War anti-aircraft artillery.

    There's free wifi in the Serpentine Gallery and you can access a mobile tour of the exhibition on your smartphone.

    ANNIE

    Actor and comedian Meera Syal has taken over the orphanage in the West End production of Annie at the Piccadilly Theatre.

    Set in 1930s New York during The Great Depression, brave young Annie is forced to live a life of misery at Miss Hannigan's orphanage. Her luck soon changes when she's chosen to spend a fairytale Christmas with famous billionaire, Oliver Warbucks. Meanwhile, spiteful Miss Hannigan has other ideas and hatches a plan to spoil Annie's search for her true family…

    Don't leave it until 'Tomorrow' or you'll have a 'Hard-Knock Life' missing out on the fun. And it's 'Easy Street' for families as children go free with a full-paying adult.

    CÉZANNE PORTRAITS

    While you may have seen Cézanne's landscapes in the permanent collection at The Courtauld Gallery, the National Portrait Gallery has a different take on the impressionist master on until 11 February 2018.

    Cézanne Portraits has over 50 portraits, including works never before seen in the UK. He painted numerous pictures of himself and his wife, and many complementary pairs and multiple versions of the same person. Included are some of his remarkable portraits of his Uncle Dominique, right up to his final portraits of Vallier. The exhibition also explores how some of the sitters may have shaped the characteristics and development of the paintings.

    Cézanne is widely understood to be one of the most influential artists of the nineteenth century. Generally categorised as a Post-Impressionist, his unique method of building form with colour, and his analytical approach to nature, influenced the art of Cubists, Fauvists, and successive generations of avant-garde artists. Both Matisse and Picasso called Cézanne 'the father of us all.'

    If you are planning a trip in London this January, check-out Fraser Suites Queens Gate special offers and promotions! We are located in the heart of Kensington and surrounded by tourist attractions. 

     

    Laura Porter writes AboutLondonLaura.com and contributes to many other publications while maintaining an impressive afternoon tea addiction. You can find Laura on Twitter as @AboutLondon and on Facebook as @AboutLondonLaura.

     

    Required image credits: Beginning: Justine Mitchell and  Sam Troughton and in Beginning by David Eldridge. Image by Johan Persson | Rose Wylie: Rose Wylie, Queen with Pansies (Dots), 2016 © Rose Wylie, Courtesy the artist and David Zwirner, London, Photograph: Soon-Hak Kwon