Posts Tagged ‘Bob Crowley’

Review – The Audience, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 22 February 2013

posterWe should probably put SPOILER ALERT in here and have done with it, but judging by the papers in the last week it seems the press were in at its first preview; the spoiling has already been done.

This is not just a play, it’s a news item; so eagerly anticipated that disappointment might almost seem inevitable.

If it initially seemed surprising that Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Helen Mirren would revisit playing HMQ (the part she famously won an Oscar for in The Queen by Peter Morgan of Frost/Nixon etc fame) the reasons soon become evident.

The Audience comes from the pen of that film’s writer with Stephen Daldry returning to directing for the stage after 4 films (“together received 19 Academy Award nominations and 2 wins” according to the programme) and a slew of well-known theatre names portraying British Prime Ministers over the last 61 years on board too. It’s enough to bring back the ticket tout. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – People, National Theatre

Monday 5 November 2012

These days new plays by Alan Bennett are cloaked in the kind of secrecy you might expect from a new Mike Leigh play or the latest Bond film.

But we’re not good at keeping secrets so if you don’t want to know anything about People we’ll just tell you that the running time is 2 hours 20 minutes we returned after the interval (it’s the new Bennett, why wouldn’t we?) and you can leave it at that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Travelling Light, National Theatre

Wednesday 18 January 2012

“Who knew the invention of cinematic grammar could be this dull?” pondered Andrew at the interval of Travelling Light. Indeed, one could almost leave things there and move on. But of course that wouldn’t be very Whingerish would it?

With a big canvas and a big subject the usually very reliable Nicholas Wright sensibly focuses on one aspect of the big screen by telling the tale through the eyes of one of the many Eastern European Jewish émigrés who played such a huge part in the development of motion pictures. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Juno and the Paycock, National Theatre

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Proof, if it indeed needed, that a little learning can be a dangerous thing – especially in the hands of the Whingers.

Or to be more specific in the hands of Phil who “studied” Juno and the Paycock at school. Naturally this was when Sean O’ Casey‘s play was practically a contemporary work so he can recall very little of it. He remembers his copy of the play came in a green cover with a strange texture which made a very agreeable sound as you ran your fingernails over it. How comforting to hear of an education that didn’t go to waste.

And nothing would stop Phil happily entertaining Andrew with his one almost correctly remembered quote “That’s the last time you’ll blow the froth off a pint of mine Joxer Daly” as they arrived at the National Theatre. How apt it should be a line involving alcohol. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Love Never Dies, Adelphi Theatre

Tuesday 2 March 2010

Paint Never DriesThe Whingers could think of many reasons not to see Love Never Dies, the long-awaited (although by whom is unclear) sequel to The Phantom of the Opera.

Phil was impressed with the spectacle of the original when he saw its first preview a zillion years ago but when he when revisited it with Phantom virgin* Andrew years later he was shocked by how, well, tedious it actually is.

On the plus side if you really must do a follow-up then a storyline set in Coney Island sounds just up the Whingers’ alleys. Just think of the visual possibilities! The Whingers’ inner juries were definitely going to examine all the evidence before deciding whether or not another crime against musical theatre had been committed. Phil even admitted to being quite excited about going.

But word-of-mouth from die-hard Phantom wasn’t encouraging: there are 53 pages (and still counting) of largely negative comment on the WhatsOnStage forum, largely from Phantom fans. If they didn’t like it what chance would the Whingers have?

Still, there obviously IS a demand from the press at least because the nice people at Peter Thompson Associates who are handling PR for the show wrote a very nice email back to the Whingers to say that “due to the extremely high demand and a strictly limited ticket allocation we will not be able to provide you with press tickets for this show”.

How cruelly dashed on the rocks of pecking orders were our dreams of endless first nights, unlimited free drink and casual hob-nobbing with celebrities at after-show parties. Bet Biggins got an invite.

So anyway, it was down to the Whingers to fork out their own money like the ordinary theatre-goers they once were, and are apparently again, for £37.50 EACH in the UPPER (oh, the shame of it) Circle of the Adelphi.

So let us examine the case for and against Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber‘s latest opus. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett, National Theatre

Thursday 12 November 2009

The Habit of ArtPoetry not really being his thing, Phil had never, to his knowledge, read any W H Auden. Until last night, that is, when he read one of the celebrated poet’s works in the programme for Alan Bennett‘s new play the The Habit of Art. He’s none the wiser about the poem, poetry or Auden.

Andrew, on the other hand, is far more literary having delivered a triumphant yet moving rendition of Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast as a precocious eight year old to a presumably stunned audience at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts.

Phil’s closest brush with poetry was at the National Gallery’s Sitwell exhibition when he was nearly mown down by Sir Stephen Spender’s wheelchair shortly after which in the gallery’s shop he got the chance to marvel at Lady Spender’s splendid ignorance of the logistics involved in writing a cheque. He did however, once appear in a school production of Benjamin Britten‘s Noye’s Fludde. Playing a wave. And he can still even sing Kyrie Eleison. And if you ask him very nicely he won’t.

All of which preamble brings the Whingers to their Monday night evening out at a preview of the most eagerly anticipated theatrical event of the year: the new Alan Bennett at the National Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Phèdre (or Phedre) with Helen Mirren, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 June 2009

Phedre_1490GadyLPhedre or Phèdre? The National Theatre’s website can’t seem to decide whether to opt for the grave accent or not.

And while we’re talking about the vacillations of the NT, when did The Royal National Theatre revert to being just a plain old National Theatre again? Nobody told us. Has Her Maj stopped popping over to the South Bank to get her fill of the classics or does she feel that with Helen Mirren DBE in residence no one will miss her?

Well it may not be Royal any more but the Whingers were feeling utterly regal and like proverbial pigs in a Caryl Churchill play last night when they arrived to see Ted Hughes’ version of  Jean Racine‘s Greek tragedy. For they found themselves with the prospect of an evening spent in the company of two theatrical Dames of the British Empire and a proscenium arch.

Yes two Dames! One either side of the proscenium! They were in Dame heaven. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Every Good Boy Deserves Favour, National Theatre

Sunday 18 January 2009

every-good-boy_149_224chke7c

A Accurately Advertised running time for once. 65 minutes long.

B Brevity. The Whingers approve.

C Coughing. Had the National imported the audience from Oliver! wholesale?

D Don’t people bother with cough sweets theses days?

E Every Good Boy Deserves Favour is a play for actors and orchestra (Southbank Sinfonia) by Tom Stoppard and André Previn. It’s a rarely performed curiosity. An extravagance. But is it worth the effort? Read the rest of this entry »

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