Premium

On the radar: Christo's latest plan, The Crown's stars at Charleston, shut out in Theatreland

The Arc de Triomphe
The Arc de Triomphe Credit: Julian Elliott/Getty

Spanning opera, art, history, literature and everything in between – including hot tickets for those in-the-know and the odd snippet of gossip – Rupert Christiansen's Sunday column On the Radar gives you the inside track on all things culture

It's a wrap

The fabled Bulgarian artist Christo became famous in the Eighties for his spectacular installations, based on the concept of wrapping the exteriors of public buildings, bridges and landscapes in translucent fabric. He’s covered everything from the Berlin Reichstag to a mountain in the Rockies and, in 2018, Londoners got to see his astounding work when he floated 7,000 oil barrels on the Serpentine. This autumn Christo has been given the chance to fulfil one of his lifetime ambitions, as the Mayor of Paris has given him permission to address the Arc de Triomphe. According to The Art Newspaper, he will parcel up Napoleon’s monument in “25,000 square metres of silvery blue, recyclable plastic fabric and 7,000 metres of red rope”. What does it mean? Nothing really: it will just look fabulous. And probably stop the traffic up the Champs Elysées, too.

 

Doing the Charleston

Something of a coup for this year’s Charleston Festival, for which booking has just opened. On May 25, Helena Bonham Carter and Tobias Menzies swap their current roles as Princess Margaret and Prince Philip in The Crown 2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appto read the oddly funny and touchingly intimate correspondence between the Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova and her husband, the economist Maynard Keynes. The couple was known at parties to dance a version of the can-can that they christened the Keynes-Keynes. Will Bonham Carter and Menzies oblige us with their own knees-up?

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appI’m a huge and long-serving fan of the Charleston Festival, which is held in the idyllic grounds of the Bloomsbury group’s retreat on the South Downs. As the redoubtable Diana Reich retired last summer after 30 years as its director, Susannah Stevenson is now at the helm and I congratulate her on assembling a terrific programme of speakers including Tom Stoppard, Salman Rushdie, Ai Weiwei, Gloria Steinem and Lady Hale. 

2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围appOK, full disclosure: I am also lending a hand on May 24, chairing a discussion of the life and work of E M Forster – a novelist and thinker whose quiet liberal wisdom is something we need now more than ever.

 

Out in the cold

Another West End grouch: the other night I went to the Wyndham’s Theatre to see Stoppard’s Leopoldstadt2020欧洲杯体育足彩外围app. The weather was freezing and drizzling, but because I was waiting for a friend and therefore classified as neither a ticket holder nor someone collecting tickets, I was asked to wait outside until said friend showed up.  Yes, the Wyndham’s foyer in small and I suppose they sometimes need to keep riff raff at bay. But isn’t this exactly the sort of thing that makes a mockery of Theatreland’s stated desire to be more “welcoming”?