Things to do in London this week
LIST: The best things to do in London this week February 11 - February 18: from essential tickets (National Theatre) to Caitlin Moran (Southbank Centre).
The National Theatre's new season opens to the public at 8.30am on Thursday 12th February – as ever they're offering £15 tickets at all the shows, but they will sell out in seconds so grab them while they're there. With 12 Years a Slave actor Chiwetel Ejiofor heading up Carol Ann Duffy's adaptation of The Everyman no doubt they'll go in record time.
POWER PORTRAITS: John Singer Sargent
The National Portrait Gallery's exhibit on the master of portraiture is a sumptuous stroll through twentieth-century high society. The prolific painter's evocative brush strokes are definitely worth catching – and attempt to pick out the famous faces.
FILM FIX: Love is Strange
This sweet indie film comes just in time for Valentine's day – it's carried entirely by John Lithgow and Alfred Molina's on-screen chemistry and earnest performances as the ageing gay couple dealing with life's uncertainties.
TOP CHEF: Ben Spalding at the Laundry
Chef Ben Spalding's unpretentious cuisine is being served up at The Laundry in London Fields all month. The ex Fat Duck and Le Manoir gastro-talent is serving up innovative four- and seven-course menus. Alternatively you can also choose à la carte, and there's a hearty Sunday Roast, so no excuse not to pop in.
FOR KIDS: Russell Brand
Catch the master of controversy reading from his hare-brained adaptation of the Pied Piper of Hamlin at the Southbank's Imagine Children's Festival. We expect curiosity will bring even the most ardent Brand-haters out of the woodwork for a peek.
VOICE OF REASON: Caitlin Moran
The Southbank Centre welcomes the queen of candour in conversation with as yet un-named 'friends' on the 16th. Given her known pallyness with the likes of Lena Dunham and Lady Gaga, we're hoping someone good might pop in. Caitlin's sturdy cult following means it'll probably book up in double-time.
TOP REVIVAL: How I Learned to Drive
Paula Vogel's Pulitzer Prize-winning play gets its first London revival at Southwark Playhouse this February. An exploration of adolescence starring Olivia Poulet of The Thick of It and Sherlock, this Fringe theatre pick looks likely to become a hidden gem.
GET READY: The Young Vic
Booking opens on the Friday 13th for the Young Vic's new season – set a loud reminder for 10am as this one's going to sell out. Rory Kinnear in Kafka's 'The Trial' is our hot ticket.
Sadler's Wells' annual festival appeals far and wide – now in its twelfth year – get ready for lots of flounces and floor-stamping in this two week takeover by the passionate and sensual Andalusian art form.
PAGE TO STAGE: Drama and Literary Festival
Kate Mosse, Anthony Horowitz, Fiona Bruce, David Walliams are a few of the big names taking part in this year's 'Page to Stage' Festival, at Hampstead Theatre. Abundant talks and workshops on the dramatic transformation of the written word – all dished out by theatre insiders and industry pros.