Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre’

Review – Here Lies Love, National Theatre

Thursday 9 October 2014

here+lies+love+posterSo, to the new Dorfman Theatre (née Cottesloe) for its opening show.

We oft whinged about its previous incarnation, but we are happy to report that the foyer is more spacious and though there’s a sense of déjà vu in the auditorium – which seems only slightly different – the seating is more comfortable, but there are still some fairly crap sightlines.

Too be fair, our seats were sold and marked as “Semi Restricted View”. We’re cheap and weren’t prepared to pay a load more money to stand and be herded around the unseated area below, or as the website off-puttingly states, “Dress comfortably, and come ready to dance!” Oh no, not us. You wouldn’t want to see us busting our grooves.

For this was The Public Theater’s Here Lies Love, a hit rock musical from New York; the glittering love child of David Byrne*, Fatboy Slim and Evita which tells “the astonishing journey of Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, from her meteoric rise to power to descent into infamy and disgrace” in an auditorium reconfigured as a “pulsating club”. Why? Byrne’s inspiration came when he found out that Imelda loved the night life, she got to boogie on the disco ’round, oh yeah. Apparently. A regular at Studio 54, she installed a disco ball in her New York apartment and built a dance floor on the roof of her palace in Manila. Who knew? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ballyturk, National Theatre

Tuesday 16 September 2014

488363953_640It was only yesterday that Phil was reminiscing about theatrical mishaps and already he has another to add to his list.

In Enda Walsh‘s strange and possibly existential (if Phil really understood the word) Ballyturk (also directed by Walsh) Cillian Murphy* has a scene where he energetically smashes vinyl singles by hurling them against the back wall of the set (brilliantly choreographed to the tune of each record). One hit at such a perfect angle that instead of shattering it ricocheted and flew like a sharp-edged Frisbee the depth of the Lyttelton stage and out into the auditorium over the ducking heads of patrons in about six rows of the stalls. Since Health and Safety no longer allow sweets to be thrown to kiddies at a panto these days we feel they must be informed immediately.

As they took their seats in the stalls, Phil’s companion for the evening muttered “I have no idea what this play is about”. Ninety minutes later neither he nor Phil were much wiser.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Great Britain National Theatre

Monday 4 August 2014

image+(36)“OZZY’S SNAKE ATE MY PUSSY” screams a tabloid headline on stage as you take your seat in the Lyttleton Theatre, pretty much setting the tone for the almost three hours of Richard Bean‘s new comedy Great Britain, about hacking scandals, the press and how it links to politics and police.

The production was unveiled at the eleventh hour once the phone hacking trials were concluded and opened to the critics without previews. You could say the press verdicts had to wait for the verdicts on the press. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Emil and the Detectives, National Theatre

Monday 2 December 2013

emilIf you feel like watching the detectives you’d better find your inner child and take it along with you.

Or better yet, if you accidentally happen to possess some of your own, or nephews or nieces, or perhaps even a godchild of a certain age then take them. For this is the way forward to really enjoy Emil and the Detectives.

Be warned, there are an awful lot of children in this Christmas show at the National. It’s not at all Christmassy thankfully, but if you’ve ever entered a seemingly empty tube carriage only to find a huge school party suddenly jump aboard to disturb your peaceful meditations this is how you may feel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Light Princess, National Theatre

Monday 7 October 2013

light-princess” I don’t fly, I float” says Althea, The Light Princess of Tori Amos‘ new musical.

And indeed she does. Constantly.

You can’t say that Rosalie Craig‘s princess is barely off the stage as she’s barely on it. Wafting about all over the place, upright, horizontally, upside down and all points inbetween. And singing in those positions too. Impressive. She’s trussed and extremely trusting. Craig’s tightly harnessed up up to achieve these effects and must also have huge faith in those who ‘operate’ her. One also hopes there’s a good physio waiting backstage. The flying floating is brilliantly done, in all sorts of imaginative ways, but since it has been so cloaked in secrecy it would be churlish to reveal more.

And Rae Smith’s design, a happy clash of Moominland and silhouette illustrations is sumptuously pretty too. All stops have been pulled out here. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Drowned Man, National Theatre at Temple Studios

Friday 28 June 2013

the-drowned-man-punchdrunk-posterIt’s been three years since the Whingers tramped out to God-knows-where to see the site-specific, promenady Punchdrunk production The Duchess of Malfi where Andrew sighed,“It’s more of the same, really”. You would think we would learn. But it seems Andrew did learn something; he was having none of it this time round. And, of course, The Drowned Man is more of the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Amen Corner, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 June 2013

3941-amencornersqNo sign of Simon Cowell around but anyway it wasn’t the eggs broken on stage at the National Theatre that stole the show. These eggs (Three. Phil counted), unlike those in Children of the Sun, were at least cracked into a bowl and whisked.

Nor was it the convincingly realised period carton from which the eggs were produced that most impressed, although the attention to detail was most agreeable (along with the C & H sugar packet in the kitchen cupboard – check it out if you’re sitting near the front), but it was a almost a photo-finish. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Strange Interlude, National Theatre

Monday 3 June 2013

imageWhat are the chances?

You wait an eternity for an infidelity tragi-comedy in which the audience are party to the characters’ innermost thoughts and then you are afforded two in a row.

Just days after visiting Passion Play, where actors play the two main characters’ alter egos, comes Eugene O’Neill‘s 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winner Strange Interlude in which every character makes asides to the audience revealing what they’re really thinking. It’s the Shakespearean device by way of TV’s Peep Show.

Andrew had chickened out of this one on the grounds of life being too short but Phil gamely picked up the cudgel or something and as he occasionally has thoughts in his heads too, has been inspired to go with the zeitgeist and opening up the peculiar workings of his own psyche. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bullet Catch, National Theatre

Saturday 25 May 2013

Rob-Drummond-Bullet-Catch-World-Tour-webRisk-averse? Us? No, no no. As recently as a few years ago the Whingers went white water rafting (well, brown water rafting, really) and only weeks ago went on Stealth at Thorpe Park (although Andrew did have to exercise a little last minute cajoling to get Phil on board). Obviously they survived to tell the tale, though had Phil not plumped for quad-biking in the dunes over Andrew’s suggestion of skydiving in Namibia it may well have been an entirely different story. Perhaps the Whingers have Phil’s fumbling in the recesses of cautiousness to thank for their longevity.

Generally though the Whingers’ risk-taking is limited to parting with money for untried, untested shows or, ipso facto, anything at the now defunct Cottesloe Theatre. But since its temporary replacement, The Shed, was offering “a unique theatrical experience featuring mind reading, levitation and, if you’re brave enough to stay for it, the most notorious finale in show business.” they just had to be there.

And when Rob Drummond asked for volunteers for his entertainment both waved their hands eagerly – like swots at the back of the class wishing to impress Sir – hoping it might be one of their fingers on the trigger in “a stunt so dangerous Houdini refused to attempt it, the Bullet Catch has claimed the lives of at least 12 people since its conception in 1613.” Oh yes, we both reached for The gun, the gun, the gun, the gun.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hothouse, Trafalgar Studios / This House, National Theatre

Thursday 16 May 2013

hothouseWe are of course far too indolent to check, but this is possibly our first conjoined review.

It’s a time thing really. We’re all behind, but in our defence there are parallels between these plays: both are “house”-titled, have on-stage, set-specific audience seating and are boisterously over-the-top comedic satires set in institutions run by dangerously potty people.

The Hothouse features John Simm, Simon Russell Beale, Indira Varma, John Heffernan, Clive Rowe and Christopher Timothy and the aforementioned chance to be up there with them. You’d be forgiven for assuming Andrew would have been there wouldn’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Othello National Theatre

Monday 22 April 2013

othello_250_1We are not in the habit of issuing public service announcements but…

Check your tickets. Emily Mackay-ishly thinking to intimidate us by the use of quarter-hours, evening performances of Othello start at 7.15pm. Arrive on time so you won’t have to be guided to your seat in crepuscular gloom at the first suitable break in the proceedings. Goodness knows what it’ll be like at the upcoming Strange Interlude which starts at the even more intimidating 6.30pm. Just how long is it going to be? Anyone need a pair of tickets?

Anyhoo, as we departed the theatre (again the quarter, but this the one before 11pm) thoughts turned to the question of Adrian Lester‘s age and “Are Othellos – like policeman – getting younger?” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Untold Stories, Duchess Theatre

Thursday 18 April 2013

untoldstories2013180There were uncomfortable shards of recognition at Alan Bennett‘s autobiographical Untold Stories.

Phil discovered that the contents of his kitchen cupboard are not dissimilar to those of Bennett’s parents: the long-forgotten ground white pepper, the glacé cherries (though not sitting in an egg cup), the container of cocktail sticks, and the stubborn dried up dribbles of food that need chipping at to remove, all lurking with other long-past-their-sell-by-date items way back behind more pressingly urgent comestibles.

And Phil’s mother is from Yorkshire too. Not that he’s suggesting his mother’s kitchen cupboards are anything other than immaculate. At last, here’s a show that gives you something to take away with you; that it’s time to consider a spring clean.*

The parallels in Cocktail Sticks, the second of this double bill of recollections, were sometimes a little too close to home and not just in the kitchen department. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Children of the Sun, National Theatre

Friday 12 April 2013

Thrilling!rep_images_children-212x300

Now here’s a first and a SPOILER ALERT but as this was a first preview we cannnot guarantee it will happen again.* Pity.

Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun** may have begun with a whimper but it certainly ended with a bang: a stage explosion so intense it probably finished off a few senior members of the audience (obviously we survived to tell the tale). The heat could be felt several rows back in the stalls. The shock was so great, Phil let out an involuntary “Jesus!” and possibly a little wee. But even more excitingly – such was its impact – it set off the Lyttleton’s fire alarm.

Theatre doesn’t get much better than this.

This is what the audience left the theatre talking about. What more does one need to say? It’s tempting to stop here. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Captain of Köpenick, National Theatre

Tuesday 5 February 2013

The_Captain_of_K_p_2441817kThere are very occasional trips to the theatre which create a real frisson of excitement, when you can feel your adrenalin flowing, your heart pounding and your moist palms gripping the edges of the seat as you lean forward with such tension that it’s almost impossible to breathe.

In truth, probably the last time that happened for the Whingers was when Neve Campbell fluffed her lines so spectacularly in Love Song. In those days we were ungentlemanly enough to mention it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Effect, National Theatre

Monday 3 December 2012

People ask us why we go to the theatre so much. Often we ask ourselves why we go at all.

Lucy Prebble‘s first post-ENRON play The Effect provides an answer: it’s a distraction from the fact that we’re all going to die. Everything is. Read the rest of this entry »

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