Review – The Twilight Zone, Almeida Theatre

Friday 8 December 2017

You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension of not only bad sightlines and the sound of coughing and rustling sweet wrappers but of the mindless thoughts of Phil’s ramblings. It is the middle ground between success and failure, the dimension of the very first preview and the first time Phil has entered the shadowy world of theatre with only Andrew in tow for quite some time. You have crossed over into an area we call The Twilight Zone. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre

Thursday 30 November 2017

Everybody has been talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and dusting it with the glitter of 4 and 5 star reviews as though glitter were about to be banned.

Trouble is we’ve seen this sort of brouhaha before. And you don’t have to go back too far to look at the West End’s ever-expanding graveyard of British Musicals that were garlanded with superlatives at the time but were either near misses (Bend it Like Beckham) or totally lame misfires (cf. Mrs Henderson Presents, The Girls, Made in Dagenham). Critics are all too ready to big up the latest crock. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre

Thursday 23 November 2017

In which Phil acts as advisor to Mel Brooks.

Phil’s having a half-arsed catch up of shows he missed during his confinement. Or you could say a catch up on the seventies since this is his third in a row that steals from classic movies from that decade (Network, The Exorcist). Though this is less of a catch up than a revisiting. Of sorts. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – The Exorcist, Phoenix Theatre

Friday 17 November 2017

“This production contains material which may shock and offend” boasts The Exorcist. Here’s 10 reasons why you may be shocked or offended but perhaps not in the way that’s intended: Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Network, National Theatre

Thursday 9 November 2017

Questioner:  Network was a brilliant seventies satire about American television. It won a slew of Academy Awards, including one for Beatrice Straight who had the shortest screen time of any acting winner and Peter Finch won the first ever posthumous acting Oscar. It also proved incredibly prophetic about a lot of things including the medium of TV. What did you think you could possibly add by putting it onto a stage?

Ivo Van Hove:  I thought I could add a restaurant. It’s called Foodwork, geddit? I also thought I could add a real bar and a vorking kitchen, all on the stage before your very eyes. You can vatch ordinary members of the public having the Portland crabs vhilst vatching the show. Read the rest of this entry »


Some mopping up – Hot Tin/ Slaves of Solitude / Young Marx

Monday 6 November 2017

For those kind folk (that should probably read as singular rather than plural) who have been interested enough to ask where Phil’s been, here lies the answer. Hip replacement don’t you know, beating Patti LuPone to the crutches by a matter of weeks. He feels Patti’s pain. And he’s just beginning to dip the toe on the end of his newly bionic leg back into the world of theatre that doesn’t come with a surgeon and anaesthetist. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Follies, National Theatre

Friday 1 September 2017

Earlier in the year we were invited to join the Follies production syndicate.

“Your support is crucial to ensure the play is successfully brought to the stage. We would love you to make this happen. As a thank you we will keep you up to date with the production as it progresses

How inordinately generous of them. If we were to fumble around in our pockets we’d expect a meet and greet with Stephen Sondheim or a glass of fizz with Imelda Staunton to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Loot, Park Theatre

Wednesday 30 August 2017

We’ve been scratching our heads recently, not just each others, but our own.

When Andrew booked for this production of Joe Orton’s Loot (1965) it was because someone – we know not who –  promised that we needed to book early because it would sell out when an an all-star cast was announced.

So, we waited, and waited, and waited for names we knew and possibly loved to be announced. Nada. Names trickled out and not one we recognised, that was until Phil somehow remembered sitting next to Sinéad Matthews on the tube last year as she studied her Hedda Gabler script. Both Phil and Andrew are convinced they had read the announcement, yet we have no proof. We’ve trawled our emails but can find nothing. Did we both share the same dream one night? Spooky. Heck, our own entourage was more starry than this lot. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Yerma, Young Vic

Thursday 24 August 2017

We’re very late to the Yerma table. It wowed the critics last year, won Billie Piper a slew of awards including the Big One and now returns intactus to the Young Vic for a brief sold out run with only a week to go.

So if you’ve not see it yet and don’t have a ticket you probably don’t want us to tell you it lives up to the accolades. And you probably don’t want us to tell you that Andrew emerged at the end fluttering his fan saying he couldn’t think of anything wrong with it and that it was possibly the best thing he’d seen since Jerusalem. Phil found his enthusiasm more shocking than the play’s ending. Had Andrew not noticed it was performed on a traverse stage and completely forgotten about 42nd Street? Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Mosquitoes, National Theatre

Tuesday 25 July 2017

In which the National explores the nature of the BOGOF offer.

Though in this instance it is a case of Buy Olivia Get Olivia Free. The Olivias Colman and Williams to be precise.

They star as sisters Alice and Jenny. O1 Williams is a scientist working in Switzerland on the launch of the Large Hadron Collider, O2 Colman is the less academically-gifted, more emotional (or “stupid” as she’s often referred to) sis residing in Luton. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Girl from the North Country, Old Vic

Wednesday 12 July 2017

For a musical it wasn’t looking good.

Now in early previews at The Vic, Girl from the North Country has a pretty nondescript title and it plunders Bob Dylan’s back catalogue (ooo err, missus), an artist Phil has never truly embraced. Rae Smith’s set is of the minimal, deconstructed variety (musical instruments scattered around an empty stage with only a handful of backdrops popping in and out) and Mark Henderson’s lighting suggests someone has forgotten to put a shilling in the meter. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Ink, Almeida Theatre

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s not everyday you see Christopher Timothy portrayed on stage. Or Larry Lamb come to that.

Though whilst the latter is actually the first editor of The Sun newspaper (as we know it) Mr Timothy’s connection will be remembered by those of us old enough to remember him as the voice of their TV ads.

Ink is James (This House, The Vote) Graham‘s latest foray into the world of what we call recent history. The creation of The Sun newspaper as a tabloid. Read the rest of this entry »


Theatrical Catch Up: From On the Town to The Mentor

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s been a while.

Phil’s been busy having a bit of work done. At home. Not on his face. Yet. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Saggy, baggy, in need of trimming and tightening up and decidedly over-exposed.

No we’re not talking about the women d’ un certain age disrobing on stage. As if we would be so unkind. We’re talking about the show.

Having been underwhelmed by Tim Firth‘s Calendar Girls both on film (2003) and even more so on stage (2008), Phil had given his latest musical version, rebranded (rather clumsily) as The Girls, a very wide berth indeed.

Then out trotted the five-star reviews from newspapers (about 8 of them) which suggested he was missing something. In fact one threw down the bold gauntlet of promise that it would make him “cry with laughter”. Read the rest of this entry »


Review – Madame Rubinstein, Park Theatre

Wednesday 3 May 2017

You wait a lifetime to see Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden portrayed on stage and then you get two in a row.

Well for Andrew anyhoo. It was just over a week since he saw the musical War Paint (with Patti Lupone as HR and Christine Ebersole as EA) on the actual Broadway. What are the chances?

So this is Jez Bond‘s production of Madame Rubinstein, the almost non-singing, certainly non-dancing account by John Misto with Miriam Margolyes and Frances Barber as the the two grandes dames of cosmetics. Read the rest of this entry »