Posts Tagged ‘theatre’

Review – King Charles III, Almeida Theatre

Tuesday 15 April 2014

_Charles_image_260_x_356_pxNaughty Mike Bartlett.

This of course the same Mike Bartlett who once presented us with his Cock. Naturally we had a lot of fun with that title at the time and like childish schoolboys will always whip it out to play around with when the opportunity arises.

But it seems Bartlett is having even more fun with his “future history play”, King Charles III.

His playwriting credits are going to have to be very carefully organised in the future to avoid them being listed as Love, Love Love, King Charles III, Cock. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Finian’s Rainbow, Charing Cross Theatre

Tuesday 8 April 2014

iconsquareFinian'sRainbowmainimage-2“Merciful heaven it’s a crock!”

It’s a brave show that risks a line that. And yes, of course, we tittered inappropriately. But Finian’s Rainbow is in some ways brave. It’s certainly utterly bonkers.

Not seen in the West End since its 1947 UK debut at the Palace where it ran for only 55 performances. What audiences made of it 67 years ago is anyone’s guess. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Let the Right One In, Apollo Theatre

Friday 4 April 2014

gI_120388_Screen Shot 2014-02-25 at 10.49.01A few things you may not know about Let the Right One In.

Let the Right One In is not a UKIP immigration policy.

Nor is Let the Right One Nigel Farage’s new campaign slogan. Well, not yet anyway.

Phil can’t think of the title, Let the Right One without humming “The Hokey Cokey”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Savoy Theatre

Tuesday 1 April 2014

posterIf you feel the need to say “We had great seats” or “the sets were very good” when you come out of the theatre then there’s a big possibly that something is very wrong with the show itself.

Phil burbled enthusiastically on both these matters when he left Dirty Rotten Scoundrels last night.

Peter McKintosh’s uncluttered, crisp designs slip into the glorious Art Deco interior of the Savoy Theatre like a glove (that would be a glove coated in, ahem, K-Y Jelly. See later). They seem almost an extension of the auditorium itself and with swift, relatively simple, adjustments conjure up all the requisite locations whilst never delaying or distracting from the show.

Now for the bad news. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Relative Values, Harold Pinter Theatre

Monday 31 March 2014

relativevaluesJust like buses. Two Trevor Nunns in a row.

Not intentional. Just the way it happened. But if Fatal Attraction is his (probably) doomed bendy bus of directorial offerings, Relative Values (which has been knocking around since kicking off the Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season last year) is his Routemaster; vintage and offering a far more agreeable ride.

Hard to say too much about Noël Coward‘s 1951 whimsy without giving too much of the endearingly implausible plot away. Phil isn’t sure if he’s seen it on stage before though he saw the 2000 film starring Julie Andrews, yet can remember little of it except that it concerns – particularly in this production – the unlikeliest pair of siblings since De Vito and Schwarzenegger in Twins.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Fatal Attraction, Theatre Royal Haymarket

Tuesday 25 March 2014

FA_015_M2S-PROMO-WEB-IMAGES_246pxw_x_379pxhIt’s all about the bunny, bunny, bunny…

Hard to believe it’s 27 years since the film Fatal Attraction left its indelible stamp in life’s lexicon with the term ‘bunny boiler’. And, unlike this story which dispatches the rabbit in Act 2, we shall dispense with it straight away.

Yes, we do see a live one. Cue cooing “Ahhhs” from the audience. A change from the occasional gasps as audience members who presumably hadn’t seen (or couldn’t remember) the film reacted to plot points. Then there was the rather inappropriate wolf-whistle when Mark Bazeley‘s errant husband Dan Gallagher appeared in his Calvins. Tsk. Couldn’t he/she get a seat for The Full Monty?

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical in 3 Acts, London Palladium

Friday 21 March 2014

icantsingPreamble

Something of surprise that the well-received The Full Monty (you know the one; men lose their jobs and take their clothes off as a result. Critic Mark Shenton’s life back to front if you think about it) has posted closing notices so soon. We may not have been especially impressed with Monty yet it still looked like a sure-fire hen party hit to us. Clothes were shed but more than than shirts have been lost.

So, even if it does match Hello, Dolly! for the amount of punctuation employed in a musical’s title, what hope then for the Harry Hill/Steve Brown show I Can’t Sing! The X Factor Musical ? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Blithe Spirit starring Dame Angela Lansbury, Gielgud Theatre

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Perhaps that should be Dame-elect.poster

As far as we know Angela Lansbury‘s still waiting to pick up her gong. But it’s well-timed. Charity gigs aside (Phil once saw her perform ‘Bosom Buddies’ with Bea Arthur), she’s not appeared on the London stage for almost 40 years. How canny of Palace officials to catch her while they can.

And gosh, we hadn’t seen post-show crowds outside a stage door like these for years. Presumably most are familiar with her from constant reruns of Murder, She Wrote rather than Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate or her record number of Tony Award acting wins.

We watched it in mild amazement from the safety of The White Horse upstairs bar as a Mark Shenton look-alike tried to corral the throng seeping out from behind the crash barriers, to allow access for her car. Which, when it came, she entered, wound down the window and threw cheery waves on departing.

Let’s hope when she goes to the Palace she gets HMQ and not one of the second-stringers. They can have a wave-off.

Now, unless you’re connected to someone in the show or Biggins and get invited to the opening, there’s two ways for ordinary members of the public to get tickets for Blithe Spirit. You can either forgo a few luxuries and fork out up to £92.25, or you can do as we did and enjoy a morning sojourn playing Scrabble on the pavement outside the Gielgud Theatre and get one of the day seats for £10*. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Full Monty, Noel Coward Theatre

Saturday 1 March 2014

There’s a branch of Blockbusters that’s still open and it’s called the West End.

We’ve already got (or recently had), to name but a few, Dirty Dancing, The Lion King, Strangers on a Train, The Bodyguard, Billy Elliot, Once, From Here to Eternity, and The Commitments and with Fatal Attraction, Back to the Future, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and Let the Right One In, yet to come. Adaptations of popular films seem to be the only way to secure an audience.

We were at the opening night of The Full Monty so you’d expect the audience to be wildly enthusiastic, the cast and people behind the show have their chums in after all. But one woman in a stage side box got up and danced along, not just at the obligatory standing ovation curtain call, but during the show. Perhaps she was trying to attract the eye of one of the many celebrities present. But which one? Richard Wilson? Sir Derek Jacobi? Mark Almond? Biggins? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Urinetown, St James Theatre

Friday 28 February 2014

e522d54d86cbbcd822cee9332597f35240b47b9aFrom the moment Phil first saw the St James Theatre’s urinals he has considered them the most stylish of any theatrical gentlemen’s powder rooms in London.

He is so impressed by the venue’s porcelain he once dragged a well known lady actor in with him for a peep, (after checking they were empty first of course). It’s a wonder that the theatre doesn’t take a tip from the show’s plot and charge for their use. Imagine the outrage and free publicity that would attract.

Urinetown is a “hilarious satirical comedy” Broadway musical (music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, book by Kotis) set in a drought, which gets its British premiere after the wettest British winter since our last wettest British winter. The producers probably can’t believe their luck. Let’s hope they’re thanking the gay marriage bill. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Duke of York’s Theatre

Wednesday 26 February 2014

08910_show_portrait_largeInclement weather, a flurry of Oscar-nominated films to see, a nasty bug, seasons 5 of both Mad Men and Breaking Bad to plough through and vague attemps to understand the hammer rule in the curling. It seemed Phil could think of plenty of excuses not to go to the theatre over the last few weeks.

Somehow he just hadn’t got around to Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, so the announcement that there was to be a cast change (Mark Heap and Robert Webb from 7th of April) galvanised him into doing something about it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Putting It Together, St James Theatre

Friday 24 January 2014

puttingittogetherBrave to stage the London premiere of Putting It Together just after Christmas when telly’s just served countless cobbled together compilation shows, reviews of the year and list shows. And, of course, we hold our hands up, the Whinger’s last post was listing considerably too.

Do we need another Sondheim compilation show? What could possibly be new after Side by Side by Sondheim or Sondheim on Sondheim? Perhaps in the not-too-distant future some bright spark will put together a compilation show of Sondheim compilation shows. Read the rest of this entry »

The 2013 Whingie Awards – the very worst and the not so bad

Monday 6 January 2014

whingieawardA bit late getting around to this. But since it’s probably your first day back at work, let’s face it you’re not really intending to do any real work are you? Isn’t that why you’re here?

Anyhoo, a year ago we speculated that 2013 might be an unlucky year for some.

The unfortunate roof collapse at the Apollo Theatre proved this both true and untrue. Unlucky for anyone involved, but lucky in the sense that it could easily have been so much worse.

When Phil discussed the incident with his sister they realised they’d been to the Apollo together only once, ironically to the musical Up On the Roof.

But, as Phil watched events unfold on BBC News that night, there was a rather flattering moment for London Theatre audiences. Returning to the studio, after watching people describe what they’d seen inside the Apollo, the news anchor remarked that he’d never heard such articulate eyewitness reports before.

Unlucky for theatre critics too as they were picked off one by one. Who wasn’t reminded of the Vincent Price film Theatre of Blood? It seemed newspapers either didn’t want arts critics any more, or didn’t want the one they already had. And in one case, apparently found the spurious excuse of pants-dropping for dropping their scribe.

But it seems the critics are finding other outlets. The Telegraph’s Tim Walker is expanding on his appearance in Top Hat to play God in Spamalot. How long before we get to see Libby Purves’ Grizabella the glamour theatreCat, Mark Shenton disrobing in Hair or theatregoers saying “Hello” to Tim Walker’s Dolly! ?

It was also the year Andrew decided he didn’t want to write for the Whingers anymore. For the record, he went of his own accord, quashing the scurrilous rumours that Phil staged a coup after finding a rather inappropriate image of Andrew in his jim jams on the internet.

So without further ado, here are Phil’s choices for the year, just so he can use the word ‘actress’ again and not group everyone together as ‘actors’… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jack and the Beanstalk, Southwark Playhouse

Saturday 21 December 2013

Southwark-Playhouse“Have you ever seen Puss in Boots?” Andrew asked Phil recently.

We probably don’t have the kind of conversations typical chaps might have in or out of the boozer. We do not discuss, football, rugby, cricket or golf and we cannot compare the relative acceleration of our cars as we do not possess one between us.

For instance our Stephen Ward post-show conversation – once we had done a bit of necessary fact-checking on the Profumo Affair – somehow led us on to the cast lists of films including On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and almost as inexplicably Disney’s Lt. Robinson Crusoe and the difference between the acting Nancys (or is that Nancies?) Kwan and Kulp. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Stephen Ward, Aldwych Theatre

Tuesday 17 December 2013

00713940 - 250x346When Phil asked Andrew if he fancied trailing along with him to the new “PG advised” Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “play with songs”, Stephen Ward, he replied, “I hope I’m not too Stephen”.

Phil, unusually, understood Andrew instantly. New cockney rhyming slang for ennui. It will no doubt form a regular part of our lexicon.

Hard to believe it’s getting on for 4 years since the Whingers visited the composer’s last show and inadvertently caused something akin to a minor rumpus.

But this in not the behemoth of Love Never Dies. This take on the Profumo Affair – following Stephen Ward’s part in the scandal and the common consent that the establishment used him a scapegoat – is a decidedly small scale offering by comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

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