From The Silent Twins to Sam Ryder: a complete guide to this week’s entertainment
Going out: Cinema
The Silent Twins
Featuring compelling lead performances from Tamara Lawrance and Letitia Wright, this drama, the English-language debut of Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska, is based on the unusual true story of June and Jennifer Gibbons, identical twins who grew up in Wales and who, for reasons the film explores, converse only with each other.
The Lord of the Rings: Extended Trilogy
The Prince Charles Cinema, London, 10 December
The greatest film trilogy of all time screens tonight at the Prince Charles Cinema. Assemble your nearest Fellowship and get on down to London’s Leicester Square for more than 12 hours of the visionary Sauron doing his very best to combat a shortsighted anti-growth coalition.
A co-production between Ireland and the Philippines, Nocebo has its sights set on Parasite-style class critique wrapped up in thriller trappings. It may not quite hit the heights of the best examples of the so-called “elevated horror” boom, but it’s an entertaining-enough mystery with a characteristically committed lead performance from the ever-watchable Eva Green.
Mr Bachmann and His Class
Winner of the Silver Bear and Audience award at Berlin film festival, this is a slow-burn documentary about an unconventional 64-year-old German teacher and his students, who hail from multiple different countries and range in age from nine to 12. Requires patient viewers, but will reward them handsomely. Catherine Bray
* * *
Going out: Gigs
The O2, London, 15 December
Fresh from winning album of the year at the Latin Grammys, Spanish pop pioneer Rosalía (above) brings her unique stagecraft to London. It’s a show that strips back the usual arena accoutrements in favour of highlighting Rosalía’s electric stage presence. Michael Cragg
14 to 21 Dec; tour starts Manchester
On April’s fourth album, It’s Almost Dry, the ex-Clipse rapper shifted from cult favourite to commercial player, landing a US chart-topper. Expect it to form the basis of these shows, along with dips into a back catalogue heavy with sinister-sounding bangers. MC
Alan Barnes Octet
10 & 15 December; tour starts Newcastle upon Tyne
Virtuoso saxophonist-clarinettist Alan Barnes is sometimes sidelined as a classic-swing nostalgist, but he can play the daylights out of almost any style, and is a witty frontman to boot. With a spirited octet of comparable talents, Barnes retells Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in recitations and vividly mood-switching music. John Fordham
Barbican Hall, London, 12 December; The Halls, Norwich, 13 December
Bach’s seasonal staple gets a slimmed-down treatment from Stephen Layton and the Britten Sinfonia. The 12 singers of Polyphony provide both soloists and chorus for four of the six cantatas (nos 1, 2, 3 and 6) that were written to be performed daily during Christmas 1734. Andrew Clements
Going out: Art
Friends and Relations
Gagosian Grosvenor Hill, London, to 28 January
An encounter between four of the greatest and most profound British modern artists. Francis Bacon, Michael Andrews and Lucian Freud all painted the human presence: Frank Auerbach (work pictured, above) still does. It is Freud’s centenary but was he the giant of the group? Here’s a chance to compare him with his brothers in paint.
York Art Gallery, to 22 January
Tracey Emin and Lucas Cranach the Elder make a good pairing in this show on tour from the National Gallery. She celebrates desire in neon, he depicts Venus as the naked embodiment of lust. Rembrandt has compassion for the shamed in his painting The Woman Taken in Adultery. Enticing stuff.
CCA, Derry, to 21 December
The history of plants is intertwined with the British empire. Exotic species were imported in the 18th and 19th centuries as well as often being transported from one colonial region to another. This exhibition about nature, injustice and resistance features Larry Achiampong and David Blandy, Maria Thereza Alves and more.
Art on Paper Since 1960
British Museum, London, to 5 March
Jake and Dinos Chapman are often seen as insouciant provocateurs but they are also committed graphic artists whose drawings and prints inhabit the great tradition as well as desecrating it. They feature in this show from the quirky collection of Hamish Parker, alongside Picasso, Freud, Marlene Dumas and Blinky Palermo. Jonathan Jones
* * *
Going out: Stage
A Streetcar Named Desire
Almeida theatre, London, 17 December to 4 February
Rebecca Frecknall is on red-hot form after her thrilling production of Cabaret. She directs a superlative cast, including Paul Mescal, Patsy Ferran and Anjana Vasan in Tennessee Williams’ electric play. Please note: this production has been delayed by a week due to the withdrawal of actor Lydia Wilson. Miriam Gillinson
The Night Before Christmas
Royal & Derngate, Northampton, to New Year’s Eve
A talented trio of family theatre-makers – Royal & Derngate, Northampton and Polka Theatre – join forces to stage Hattie Naylor’s adaptation of this popular festive poem. Ages seven and up. MG
Joel Kim Booster
Soho theatre, London, 13 to 17 December
An enviable combination of slickness, sweetness and super-coolness, Booster’s work plays on his identity as a gay Korean-American man with lightly worn confidence and fun. He concludes a triumphant 2022 with this string of London dates. Rachel Aroesti
The Place, London, 14 to 24 December
A new interactive kids’ show for ages five-plus from Anna Williams and Tom Roden, AKA Anatomical (makers of The Buildy-uppy Dance Show). The setting is a village in the mountains where four friends are snowed in and invent a fantastical hotel to explore. Dancing, singing and snowballs abound. Lyndsey Winship
* * *
Staying in: Streaming
If These Walls Could Sing
16 December, Disney+
Few cultural institutions have been more enthusiastically eulogised than Abbey Road Studios, but this love letter has a couple of USPs. Firstly, the talking heads are top notch (Paul McCartney, Jimmy Page, Roger Waters); secondly, as the daughter of a Beatle, director Mary McCartney underpins her celebration with a deep emotional connection to the building.
15 December, ITVX
After last week’s A Spy Among Friends, another prestige drama about British-Russian relations arrives on ITV’s new streaming service. David Tennant takes on the role of the titular Russian defector who was poisoned in 2006 – an astounding event that seems to foreshadow the global turmoil of today.
Strike: Troubled Blood
11 December, 9pm, BBC One & iPlayer
It may pale in comparison to the Harry Potter universe, but JK Rowling’s other book franchise is proving a stealthy on-screen success. Now the fifth novel in the author’s Cormoran Strike detective series gets a TV adaptation, with Tom Burke and The Capture’s Holliday Grainger reprising their leading roles.
Joe Lycett vs David Beckham: A Got Your Back Christmas Special
15 December, 9pm, Channel 4 & All4
His headline-grabbing stunts (changing his name to Hugo Boss to protest the brand’s conduct, ironically endorsing Liz Truss on Sunday morning TV) have established Lycett as a new, morally progressive species of prankster-comedian. His latest scheme – appearing to shred £10k to protest David Beckham’s World Cup deal – is the subject of this festive edition of his consumer affairs shows. RA
* * *
Staying in: Games
High on Life
Out 13 December, Xbox, PC
From Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland, this comedy shooter has you wielding guns that are actually foul-mouthed sentient aliens. The jokes come thick and fast, and some of them stick.
Out 13 December, Switch, Xbox, PC
An anime-styled rhythm game where you fight giant robots with sick guitar solos. Looks scrappy but cute. Keza MacDonald
* * *
Staying in: Albums
Sam Ryder – There’s Nothing But Space, Man!
With his puppyish charm and voice that could peel wallpaper, Sam Ryder (above) helped breathe new life into the UK’s Eurovision reputation, finishing second with Space Man in May. That’s featured here alongside a smattering of big ballads (All the Way Over) and David Guetta-assisted dance-pop behemoths (Living Without You).
Mount Westmore – Snoop, Cube, 40, $hort
Supergroup Mount Westmore, AKA west coast rap greats Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, E-40 and Too Short, originally released this debut in June via the blockchain-based platform Gala Music. Six months later, it’s streaming, alongside a handful of new tracks including braggadocious single Too Big.
A Boogie Wit da Hoodie – Me vs Myself
A year after the release of the B4 AVA EP, this rising New York rapper – real name Artist Julius Dubose – returns with his fourth album. Delayed from its original November release, Me vs Myself confidently builds on his heavily Auto-Tuned sound, utilising the likes of guest Roddy Ricch in the process.
Leland Whitty – Awake
When he’s not being one-quarter of Canadian jazz experimentalists BadBadNotGood, multi-instrumentalist Leland Whitty can be found collaborating with Kendrick Lamar, Mary J Blige and Kali Uchis. He’s also now added this solo album to the mix, with its cinematic soundscapes created by synths, strings and woodwind. MC
* * *
Staying in: Brain food
As the festive season of overeating approaches, this detailed series provides the perfect inspiration for show-stopping meals. Celebrity chef David Chang debates the best recipes to showcase different ingredients, from spinach to sweet pies and plantain.
On the surface just a fun visualiser placing Ordnance Survey maps of the UK from different time periods side-by-side, but the more you explore Bothness the more you can track the vast and fascinating changes in our landscape.
Last Chance U: Basketball
13 December, Netflix
Where Drive to Survive has provided a riveting insight into F1 racing for novice viewers, Last Chance U brings life to the emotionally charged world of community college sports. We return to LA for this post-Covid second season. Ammar Kalia