London scene: best comedies, films, theaters and exhibitions in the capital this week


The five-year commitment

Jason Segel stars in and co-writes this comedy-drama, or rom-com, about a strained relationship. It’s the honesty of two people in love struggling to make it work, however, that’s the film’s strongest asset. Segel, in similar territory to both his character and his storyline for Forgetting Sarah Marshall, is Tom, a talented young chef who proposes to his loving and devoted girlfriend Violet. With their different professional ambitions – he to have his own restaurant, she to follow her academic path – the nuptials are put on hold, indefinitely, but as the sacrifices are made, their relationship is put to the test.

The sincerity with which the situation is handled is sincere and recognizable: Tom’s good intentions crushed by disappointment in his career as he watches Violet blossom, the new circles she moves by leaving him, and their relationship behind them. . In Tom, Segel wrote a beta-male that is impossible not to root for; stripped of the more silly, geeky quirks of his other on-screen alter-egos, he’s a more mature creation. There are also plenty of eccentric supporting characters – Brian Posehn’s ‘recovering’ alcoholic relentlessly steals scenes, alongside a handful of crude gags. As with many films born from Segel’s pen, it’s too long and loses its spark en route to its predictable conclusion, but the chemistry of the two central performances elevates it above standard romantic comedy fare. Funny and sincere.

In general distribution from June 22

Movie: Chernobyl Diaries

Paranormal Activity creator Oren Peli directs this new horror with the haunted house of the old replaced here by Pripyat – the deserted town on the outskirts of the titular nuclear power plant, which, as a group of holidaymakers discover of thrills, just isn’t so deserted after all.

In general distribution from June 22

Movie: Lay the Favorite

Bruce Willis stars as a career gambler who chooses stripper-turned-fortune-seeker Rebecca Hall in Vegas as his lucky charm. Add in Joshua Jackson’s undercover reporter, a host of eccentric hangers, high stakes as the bets go south and disgruntled people get stuck, and a fiery, throwaway wit, it could be a guilty treat. Or, it could just be disposable.

In general distribution from June 22

Comedy: Michael Winslow – The man with 1000 voices

In town for just three one-off shows, Michael Winslow descends on London to show exactly how one man can make so much noise – 10,000 voices too, and probably a whole lot more – all by himself. It’s a one-of-a-kind comedy. If you like Police Academy movies or just like a laugh, you’d be a fool to miss them.

Stomach
Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX.
June 20-22. £15
tube | waterloo | udderbelly.co.uk

Theatre: Antigone

Greek tragedy can sometimes be a pretty far-flung affair, but director Polly Findlay’s urgent take on Sophocles’ 2,500-year-old work (using a 1986 version by the late Don Taylor) takes place in a more or less central modern day of political activity and catches from start to finish.

Olivier at the National
SE1 9PX. Until July 21. £12 to £32
tube | waterloo | nationaltheatre.org

Theatre: Ragtime

A concept is fine, as long as it serves the game, rather than the other way around. While 21st century multicultural America is a contrasting backdrop to the early 20th century aspirations of the characters in EL Doctorow’s 1975 novel, this revival – a tale of American dreams shattered and fulfilled – of the adaptation musical of 1998 does not always satisfy.

open air theater
Regent’s Park, NW1 4NR.
Until Sep 8 £22.50+
tube | Baker Street | openairtheatre.org

Exhibition: Invisibles

This exhibition, featuring Yoko Ono, Chris Burden and Andy Warhol, looks at art that explores the invisible and the hidden. So if that looks like weird plinths with nothing on top, then you’re on the right track (a display is exactly that). There is also a “haunted” dark tunnel and Jeppe Hein’s invisible Labrinth.

Hayward Gallery
Southbank Centre, SE1 8XX.
June 12-August 5. £8
tube | waterloo | southbankcentre.co.uk


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