World Cup alternatives: what to watch instead of football

Jun 18, 2014

Top ten things to do this week if you want to avoid the World Cup fever sweeping the globe

Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Football fever has taken hold across the globe, but with the World Cup in full swing not everybody is cheering. In the UK most of the games are taking place in the evenings, and if you want to escape the wall-to-wall football, here are our top ten entertainment alternatives...

Cinema: Of Horses and Men

Critics have been heaping praise on this Icelandic black comedy since it was released in cinemas last week. Benedikt Erlingsson makes his debut as director with this unusual film about wild horse tamers in a remote Icelandic valley. "I urge you to seek out this unexpected movie," says Kate Muir in The Times.

Stage: West End Live 2014

Avoid this weekend's afternoon games at the World Cup by singing along to hits from shows including Billy Elliot, Bodyguard, Wicked, Phantom of the Opera and the Lion King. London's most famous West End theatre acts will be offering free live stage performances at Trafalgar Square on Saturday and Sunday.

Exhibitions: The Fashion World of Jean Paul Gaultier From the Sidewalk to the Catwalk

There is still time to catch the Barbican exhibition devoted to French designer Jean Paul Gaultier. Described as "sensational" by the Evening Standard, it is filled with photographs and garments from different eras of his career. The Barbican is also open late on Thursday evenings, enabling you to avoid the entire England match against Uruguay.

Stage: Penn and Teller

The kings of alternative magic are performing at the Hammersmith Apollo until Sunday 22 June as part of their first ever UK tour. With 13 Emmy nominations, they have produced some of the most mind-baffling tricks ever created. The first night of the UK tour received five stars from the Manchester Evening News, which described the pair as "the perfect comedy magic double-act conjuring up a mixture of laughs and gasps".

Television: Hannibal

Dr Hannibal Lecter has returned to television screens in a blood-drenched new series, with Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen in the starring role. On at 10pm on Tuesday nights on Sky Living, the latest series is described by The Guardian as a "deliciously disgusting alternative to gorging on the World Cup".

Theatre: Fathers and Sons

Brian Friel's play, loosely based on Ivan Turgenev's 1862 masterpiece, has been "beautifully staged" at the Donmar Warehouse in London, says The Times. Directed by Lyndsey Turner, it explores the predicaments of parenting and growing up. 

Television: True Detective

For those who missed it and for those who want to experience it all over again, True Detective has finally been released on DVD. One of the most acclaimed TV shows of the year, it stars Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey as two Louisiana cops hunting for a serial killer. A moveable feast that will let you miss any match of your choice.

Cinema: Oculus

What better way to avoid all thoughts of football than by scaring yourself silly? Oculus is out in cinemas now and described by IndieWire as "one of the scariest American horror movies in years". Mike Flanagan's psychological horror stars Karen Gillan as a woman who is convinced that an antique mirror is responsible for the misfortunes of her family.

Music: Hampton Court Palace Festival

As the first match of the World Cup kicked off last week, Jools Holland and his Rhythm & Blues Orchestra were opening the Hampton Court Palace Festival in London. The festival goes on for two weeks, with the Beach Boys playing next Tuesday and Wednesday.

Theatre: Intimate apparel

Intimate Apparel, the British premiere of Lynn Nottage's play about a seamstress in 1905 New York, is on at Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal in Bath until 28 June. Laurence Boswell's "first-rate" production is given five-stars by The Guardian.

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