April 21, 2011


Chouf Ouchouf

In the medina of Tangiers, people live 10 to a house and it's easy to be overlooked. If you don't shout, you'll never be heard; if you don't push to the front, you'll never be seen. Yet beneath the chaos, secret figures are pursuing their agendas in the maze-like streets and along the rooftops. But what, or who, is in the bag? In a show aimed at both children and adults, the 12 performers who make up the Groupe Acrobatique de Tangier weave together contemporary performance and traditional acrobatics to turn Moroccan life upside down. With Taoub in 2006, they won huge acclaim at London's Southbank Centre. They return to the Queen Elizabeth Hall (21-25 April) for an equally exhilarating new show.


Cardenio: Shakespeare's 'lost play' re-imagined

Lewis Theobald's 17 drama, The Double Falsehood, is based on an episode in Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605), but it is also widely believed to be an adaptation of Cardenio, a lost play by Shakespeare and John Fletcher first performed in 1612. To get back as close as possible to the original, the Royal Shakespeare Company's chief associate director Gregory Doran has consulted all the sources and performed a masterly act of literary archaeology. A gripping tale of betrayal, desire, deceit and disguise set in Andalusia, it is now in repertory at the Swan Theatre as part of the RSC's 50th birthday season (until 6 October). The theatre opened 25 years ago with a production of another collaboration between Shakespeare and Fletcher, The Two Noble Kinsmen.


Australia Landscape

As part of its Australian Season supported by Rio Tinto, the British Museum is giving over the West Lawn of its forecourt to a display of unique and rare plants (until 16 October). These take visitors on a journey across Australia and showcase the rich biodiversity of a continent where about 90 per cent of the flora can be found nowhere else. The landscape, the fourth in a five-year partnership between the British Museum and the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, leads from the vegetation of eastern Australia's coastal habitat, through the arid desert of the centre to the granite outcrops of Western Australia. There will also be a focus on how plants have been used by indigenous peoples for making paintings, baskets, blankets, medicines and oils.


Age of the Dinosaur

Whether flesh-eating or plant-munching, dinosaurs ruled the world for 250 million years. This new exhibition at the Natural History Museum (22 April-11 September) will offer enthusiasts of every age a rare opportunity to "journey back more than 65 million years to meet some of these giants". An unprecedented immersive experience, making use of the latest animatronic technology, will allow visitors to walk through a swamp-like Jurassic lagoon and Cretaceous desert, sample the sounds and smells of prehistoric lands and glimpse many extinct animals and plants, as life-size dinosaurs - including Gallimimus, Protoceratops, Camarasaurus, Oviraptor, Velociraptor and Tarbosaurus - emerge from the rocks, water and trees.


Manifold Greatness: Oxford and the Making of the King James Bible

It was an Oxford man - John Rainolds, president of Corpus Christi College - who suggested to King James I the idea of a new translation of the Bible. And two of the six committees involved met in Oxford to carry out the work. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Authorised Version, the Bodleian Library has joined forces with the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington DC for a major exhibition in Oxford (22 April-4 September) before moving to the US. Items on display include the only surviving copy of the Elizabethan Bishops' Bible used by the translators; notes that reveal how the famous magisterial tone was achieved; Anne Boleyn's velvet-bound copy of William Tyndale's New Testament; and Handel's conducting score for the Messiah, whose libretto was based on the King James Bible.

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