October to-do list: what you mustn’t miss in London in October


On the face it, overseas visitors may not be attracted to visiting the UK capital in of October – a traditionally rainy, grey, closed-down-for-business month when it comes to British tourism – but that belies all that’s happening in London between the 1st and 31st of October this year. And, in truth, it doesn’t matter what month or season it is, it’s always great to visit this world mega city (especially if you’re taking advantage of deals on London hotels at somewhere like the Park Grand Paddington Court London) – and here’s some reasons why this particular October…

National Portrait Gallery

Mantegna and Bellini

(National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN/ 1st October 2018-27th January 2019)

Major artists of the Italian Renaissance, whom not only influenced each other but were also related by marriage, Giovanni Bellini and Andrea Mantegna were responsible for the production of paintings, portraits, drawings and especially sculptures, examples of all of which are drawn together and presented side-by-side (for the sake of comparison and contrast) at this unique and impressive exhibition at the National Gallery (ideal then for nearby accommodation Paddington London). In particular, it focuses on their alternate interpretations of ‘The Agony in the Garden’ (two paintings that have, admittedly, hung together in the venue since the Victorian age), yet put together from elsewhere in the world especially for this exhibit are the likes of their contrasting takes on ‘The Presentation at the Temple’; Mantegna’s version hailing from Berlin’s Gemäldegalerie, Bellini’s from Venice’s Fondazione Querini Stampalia.

albert hall

Carlos Acosta – A Celebration

(Royal Albert Hall, Kensington Gore SW7 2AP/ 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th October)

Having retired from classical ballet two years ago now, Cuban dancer extraordinaire Carlos Acosta is set to return to the stage in celebration of his three decades as a professional dancer, performing a mixed bill then here at the Royal Albert Hall from 2nd-5th October at this most prestigious of venues. During his 30 fantastic years of dance he’s collaborated with some of the world’s most exciting companies (Moscow’s Bolshoi Ballet, the Ballet Nacional de Cuba and, in the UK, both the English National Ballet and The Royal Ballet). This show’s programme is set to feature British premieres of Christopher Bruce’s Rooster (featuring songs recorded by The Rolling Stones) and Alrededor no hay nada by Goyo Montero, as well as Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui’s highly acclaimed Mermaid and a new incarnation of Acosta’s own take on Carmen.


A Very Very Very Dark Matter

(The Bridge Theatre, 3 Potters Fields Park SE1 2SG/ 10th October-29th December)

For lovers of great drama, this, yes, very dark drama looks set to be a treat, indeed. Featuring the great British star of stage and screen that’s Jim Broadbent as legendary Danish children’s folk tale author Hans Christian Andersen, it lets the audience in a big secret to be found in the attic of his Copenhagen townhouse, one that’s been hidden from so many of his adoring readers. A new play from Martin McDonagh (Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri), it’s a twisted comedy-drama which looks set, no doubt, to draw comparisons to the auteur’s own National Theatre and Broadway hit The Pillowman. Directed for the stage by Matthew Dunster (who was previously charged with bringing McDonagh’s Hangmen to life at the Royal Court), it’s a piece of theatre, however, that really isn’t one for the kids, as it contains strong language, sexual references, violence and scenes people may find disturbing.

BFI London Film Festival

(BFI Southbank, Belvedere Road SE1 8XT/ 10th-21st October 2018)

Once again, the UK’s rolling out the red carpet for the BFI London Film Festival this autumn and it’ll doubtless see a welter of cinema’s ‘A-listers’ attending various premieres of their latest passion projects. Indeed, already conformed for this, the 62nd edition of the event, is the world premiere of Peter ‘The Lord of the Rings’ Jackson’s new effort, which is a passion project, indeed; being that it’s a feature-film made up of restored and colourised footage shot during the First World War, which was co-commissioned by 14-18 NOW and the UK’s Imperial War Museums. In addition to the glamorous and glitzy events and, of course, the opening gala razzmatazz, there looks set to be something for everyone at this year’s 11-day-long feast of film – the likes of informal post-screening Q&As, specifically chosen films-for-families, guest appearances and workshops and masterclasses. Oh, and naturally, lots and lost of movie screens – more than 350 of them, in fact.