Peter Hoskin

What to do this weekend

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In London, the biggest draw of the weekend may well be the production of King Lear at the New London Theatre (which is receiving some enthusiastic and some not-so-enthusiastic notices).  However, what you really should go and see – even though it has already been around for a few weeks – is the Walter Sickert exhibition at the Courtauld Gallery (the subject of a glowing review in the latest Spectator).  This show dwells upon Sickert's nudes, and cements the artist's position as one of the most influential artists of the Twentieth Century (Sickert's harsh brand of impressionism is echoed in everything from the work of Lucien Freud and Francis Bacon to the films of the Free Cinema movement).  In short: unmissable.

Mancunians can enjoy A Conversation at the Royal Exchange Theatre.  Written by the Australian playwright David Williamson, this starkly humanist production revolves around a meeting between the family of a murder victim and the family of the killer.  Both sides are treated – and acted – with compassion, as the play investigates how terrible wounds can be healed by collective action.

In honour of St Andrew's Day, there are a number of attractive events taking place in Scotland this weekend.   At the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, the "multimedia experience" Our Scotland appears to successfully avoid Braveheart-style jingoism in favour of a more rounded celebration of cosmopolitan Scotland.  Whilst those who can't get tickets for that event might be better served by the weekend-long St Andrew's Festival in Glasgow, which – oddly enough – incorporates a rendition of Handel's Messiah on Sunday.