We pick out the must-see theatre, film, music and visual arts events that you just can’t miss, even if the heat wave arrives.
Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish may have jumped ship, but there’s still plenty to look forward to with the upcoming release of Ant-Man. Paul Rudd leads a stellar cast including Michael Douglas and Evangeline Lilly in the 12th instalment in the Marvel universe series.
WHILE WE’RE YOUNG
Early reviews of Noah Baumbach’s While We’re Young have praised its wit and ingenuity. Ben Stiller and Naomi Watts star alongside cult favourite Adam Driver in a cross-generational comedy about ambition, success, failure and marriage, and what happens when a middle-aged couple befriend a younger version of themselves.
The popular TV show gets a big screen reboot in Spooks: The Greater Good, in which a young terror suspect escapes the clutches of MI5. Starring Game of Thrones’ hotly tipped Adam Qasim, if it manages to channel the zippy, Bourne-style thrills of the television version, director Bharat Nalluri will be onto a winner.
Joshua Oppenheimer’s documentary about the Indonesian genocide, The Act of Killing, was hailed as one of the best documentaries of all time when it was released in 2012. Critics were equally effusive about its sequel, The Look of Silence, after its premiere at Venice last year. The film finally gets a UK release in June.
Tate Britain, 9 June – 13 September tate.org.uk
This exhibition at Tate Britain examines war, martyrdom and catastrophe in history painting from the eighteenth century to the present day. History paintings weren’t only a way of recording what happened at various pivotal moments for posterity; they also distilled the values and codes of the times in which they were painted. The exhibition also includes depictions of modern conflict, including Jeremy Deller’s Battle of Orgreave.
Somerset House, 24 April – 10 May
The world’s most prestigious photography awards return to Somerset House, with culture, architecture and nature gongs all up for grabs. There’s also a lifetime achievement award going to Elliot Erwhit, who for decades has delighted with his ironic and playful black and white images.
House of Illustration, 1 April - 28 June
London’s small but perfectly formed House of Illustration is hosting an exhibition of 70 original works by McCauley “Mac” Connor, who the gallery refers to as “one of the original Mad Men”. A defining illustrator during America's golden age of advertising, Connor’s sharply stylised work brightened the pages of magazines from the 1940s to the 1960s (pictured below).
Tate Modern, 3 June - 11 October tate.org.uk
Hot on the heels of the Tate Modern’s blockbusting Marlene Dumas exhibition, the gallery is hosting another retrospective of a female 20th century titan, Agnes Martin. The first comprehensive look back at the seminal American painter since her death in 2004 will trace her career from its experimental beginnings to later works of confident but subtle abstraction.
Victoria Park, 6-7 June
Eclectic music festival Field Day returns to east London with a host of electropop DJs to fill Saturday’s line-up led by Caribou and FKA Twigs, while Sunday’s line up is headlined by 90s shoegazers Ride and the legendary Patti Smith. Weekend tickets £83, visit fielddayfestivals.com.
Electric Ballroom, 20 May
Bask in a moment of Californian sunshine when Best Coast bring their low-tempo surf rock to the Electric Ballroom in Camden. The duo are touring the UK this spring to promote their new album, California Nights, which is due out in May. Tickets from £16.50, ticketmaster.co.uk.
02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, 3 June
It’s been nearly two years since LA-based Odd Future breakaway Earl Sweatshirt released his debut album, Doris, to critical acclaim both in his native USA and on our shores. His second effort, Grief, is out next week and he’s trying it out on Londoners this June at the 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire. Tickets from £22, ticketmaster.co.uk.
KINGS OF CONVENIENCE
Bush Hall Shepherd’s Bush, 7-8 May
Described as “an elegant Belle and Sebastian”, the Norwegian duo will be bringing their brand of Scandinavian indie-folk to west London independent music venue Bush Hall for two nights next month. Known for their calming acoustic sound, they say they take inspiration from Simon and Garfunkel. Tickets from £25, bushhallmusic.co.uk.
Apollo Theatre, from 21 April
Kristin Scott Thomas wowed the critics with her turn as Electra at the Old Vic last year, and she returns to the London stage to fill the shoes of Helen Mirren in The Audience. Thomas’ steely hauntedness will make for an interesting antidote to Mirren’s – now familiar – portrayal of Elizabeth II.
Whyndham’s Theatre, 16 April – 27 June
The last David Mamet play to be performed in London, Speed the Plow, was overshadowed by a member of its cast: Lindsay Lohan. This production of American Buffalo at Wyndham’s Theatre also features an A-lister in the form of Damian Lewis, who will star as one of two junk shop workers planning to steal a valuable coin collection.
Barbican, from 5 August
Benedict Cumberbatch is at the height of his powers so what better time to tackle the role of roles. He takes to the stage as Hamlet this summer in a tantalising production directed by Olivier Award-winning Lyndsey Turner. One of the theatre events of the decade.