Style, politics, war, and all that jazz

4th April 2003 at 01:00
Art Deco, protest theatre and a Home Front musical headthis week's selection from Heather Neill

Discover deco

A splendid, canopied silver bed made for a Maharaja, grainy film of Josephine Baker dancing bare-breasted and crossing her eyes alarmingly, Leger's Cubist-influenced paintings, the Manhattan skyline and the gleaming glass-and-light 1930s foyer of the Strand Palace Hotel - these are some of the memorable images visitors will take away from Art Deco 1910-1939 at London's Victoria and Albert Museum.

The term was coined as late as the 1960s; although the style was ubiquitous and self-conscious, it acquired unity only in retrospect. Its origins were eclectic - from ancient Egypt to Japan, Art Nouveau to the avant garde - and its worldwide influence, in an age combining the end of colonialism and the beginnings of popular travel, phenomenal.

Domestic interiors, fashion, public architecture, travel posters, jewellery and elegant cruise liners all bore testimony to its success. Talks and events include Eating Art Deco Style (May 6) and Art Deco Fashion (July 3).

Tel: 020 7942 2529; www.vam.ac.uk.

Theatre of war

Political theatre is alive and kicking at Liverpool Hope University, where students are presenting 1441 (which takes its name from the crucial UN resolution on Iraq) on April 7, 8 and 10. Participants promise "hard-hitting, edge-of-your-seat" stuff, using political cabaret and abstract theatre. Tickets: 07762 662033.

Forties musical

The Myriad Theatre Company (members aged 11-18) is singing Second World War favourites in Vackees at the Neptune Theatre in Liverpool today and tomorrow. The performance should be authentic - the cast have been sharing stories with 50 real evacuees. Tickets: 0151 7246715; www.myriadtheatre.com.

Gloriana

It is 400 years since the death of Elizabeth I. The Public Record Office in Kew holds the official archive on her reign and is presenting a series of events between now and June 11 including, on June 5, a talk on John Dee, the astrologer who cast horoscopes for the Queen. An exhibition of letters and portraits relating to Elizabeth is on display at the PRO and at www.national archives.gov.uk. Tel: 020 8392 5277.

Warhol wonders

Political works by the painter best known for his Marilyn Monroe prints are among rare Warhol pieces on show at Millfield school's Atkinson Gallery in Street, Somerset, until April 19. See "Mao" and "Lenin" as well as "Moonwalk", the only print from the painter's projected History of TV series. Information: 01580 893176.

Joyful blues

Forget the war and all your other problems at Simply Heavenly, the Young Vic's exuberant production (by Josette Bushell-Mingo) of Langston Hughes's musical play set in 1950s Harlem. The plot is simple - would-be divorce Jesse B Semple almost loses the sweetly upright girl he loves, then wins her in style - but there is a believable community on stage, with sadness, mischievous humour and several fabulous voices singing soul and blues. Watch bosomy Ruby Turner dance with equally bosomy Clive Rowe, and try not to smile. Until April 19. Tickets: 020 7928 6363.

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