When we saw Nina Conti in Edinburgh 5 years ago we worried that an hour of ventriloquism might be just a little too much. Now with her show, Nina Conti – In Your Face filling in at The Criterion Theatre while The Comedy About A Bank Robbery takes a holiday* she’s giving us 90 minutes of her time. Plenty to fret about then. Read the rest of this entry »
When Phil told his mother he was going to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour she asked, in all innocence, “What are they sucking?”
Quite a lot as it turned out. Perhaps that’s the gag. Read the rest of this entry »
A Shentonesque week for Phil: a couple of return visits to musicals. Phil had his second coming at Regent’s Park with Jesus Christ Superstar followed the next night with Guys and Dolls: not that he was over-enthused with the latter, he was just shamelessly seduced by the star casting. Obvs.
The JCS run is sold out, so the only option was to go for day ‘seats’ which entails sitting on one of the grassy knolls either side of the stage. They are weather dependent. The show might go ahead in inclement weather but those ‘seats’ may not be on sale. The kindly people at Regent’s Park (and we must mention how especially nice all the theatre staff are at RPOAT) don’t want to risk us getting soggy bottoms. Read the rest of this entry »
Some things you may not know about Jesus Christ Superstar:
It was the first show Phil saw in the West End. He came up from Wiltshire with friends to see the original London cast at the Palace Theatre. A theatre he is now unlikely to ever see the interior of again.
He recorded the original JCS album on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. A microphone placed between the speakers of his friend’s stereo. A household forced into silence for an hour and a half.
He typed out the entire lyrics using his sister’s Brother typewriter, bound the sheets with Sellotape and created a cover reproducing the album artwork using felt tip pens. Quite an achievement for a 25 year-old.
He went to see this revival at Regent’s Park on the night the show was cancelled. Read the rest of this entry »
No, we’re not going to do it. Post the review and repeat it over and over again. The poster’s done it. Everyone will be do it. Heck, we exhausted the gag in the pub before we even got to the Old Vic. Far too obvious. Tempting though.
Tim Minchin‘s long-awaited (by us at least) musical version of the hugely entertaining 1993 film. The one that Mr Sondheim considered and turned down, declaring “to make a musical of Groundhog Day would be to gild the lily. It cannot be improved.” Quite. Read the rest of this entry »
“BEVERLEY KNIGHT IN THE BODYGUARD”
Well, that’s what our only souvenir from the show, a flyer, claims (programmes are a whopping £8, which is more than a mug at a mere £7). But, long-sighted buyers beware, in ant-sized type on the back it states she’s “currently scheduled to appear at Tuesday to Friday evening performances and both performances on Saturday, subject to illness and holidays”.
We’ve been caught that way before. When we saw The Bodyguard in its first run at the Adelphi Theatre, headliner Heather Headley had better things to do and we saw her (albeit very good) stand in.
So second time lucky. Fortunately for us it wasn’t a Monday night or Wednesday matinee and Ms Knight wasn’t suffering croup or lying on a sun lounger with a pina colada somewhere but giving considerable wellie (welly?) on the Dominion stage. Read the rest of this entry »
Now, in Wild, he concentrates on whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked information of US mass surveillance programmes. He’s portrayed here as Andrew (Jack Farthing doing not unreasonable doppelgänger work) who we encounter awaiting an uncertain future holed up in a characterless Moscow hotel room (design Miriam Buether) where he’s visited by two enigmatic people, a man and a woman both claiming to be called “George”. Can he trust them? Are they here to help him, kill him, or just tease the hell out of him? Read the rest of this entry »
People in the UK may have had enough of ghastly people who lie, deceive, betray, plot and do awful things behind so-called friend’s backs. This might make The Truth the worst possible time to pop up in the West End or it may possibly be entirely the opposite. Apposite and timely.
Michel (Alexander Hanson) is married to
Samantha Bond the enigmatic Laurence (Tanya Franks) but he’s having a regular bit on the side with Alice (Frances O’Connor) when he’s not losing a sock or telling porkies to his wife. Trouble is Alice also happens to be the wife of Michel’s best friend Paul (Robert Portal). And that’s about all you really need to know as what follows is a slew of revelations about who knows what, who is lying and who thinks they are in full possession of the facts. Read the rest of this entry »
Phil wasn’t going to bother with Doctor Faustus. He will probably suffer eternal damnation from fans as he only made it through one series of Game of Thrones. So seeing Kit Harington fannying around in his underpants was of no consequence to him and the reviews were what can only kindly be described as “mixed”. But then the offer of a trip to see it came up and, like Faustus, gave in to temptation.
And as Jamie Lloyd‘s throw-in-the-kitchen-sink (then some) drama comes to the end of its run next week he wasn’t going to bother writing about it either. But after witnessing it, that was another temptation he couldn’t quite resist either. Read the rest of this entry »
Ok, so we did emerge talking about the Cave of Wonders, the Genie and the how-did-they-do-that flying carpet. Of course we did. How could we not? At least it made a welcome change from banging on about Brexit.
It was almost enough to convince us we’d been entertained in the two and a half hours of razzle-dazzle spectacle that nearly beat us into submission, choking in a cloud of glitter yet wanting to dig out the harem pants and turbans from the backs of our wardrobes and spend the rest of our lives sewing on sequins. Read the rest of this entry »
Phil saw this the day after The Deep Blue Sea. What are the chances?
Launched on Broadway in 1997 (the same year as that film) the musical Titanic sounded like one of those shows that if it had ended in disaster it would have been morbidly appropriate. Despite huge technical problems during previews – and, if you believe Wikipedia, a model ship onstage that wouldn’t sink – and largely negative reviews it went on to play 804 performances (that’s longer than West Side Story‘s original Broadway run for goodness sake!) and win 5 Tony awards including Best Musical. Read the rest of this entry »
Terrence Rattigan and egg-frying. That’s the double whammy it takes to get Andrew into a theatre these days. Of course we couldn’t have known about the on-stage cookery and (Spoiler Alert) it comes at the end of the play.
But was it real of faked? We weren’t entirely sure. The egg was definitely cracked. The gas appeared to be lit and butter (yes, butter – Andrew was thrilled) was put in the pan. The roar of the grease could be heard sizzling but there was no haze and from our row D stalls seats we could smell nothing. A brief post-show discussion with Circle-seated acquaintances convinced us otherwise. They claimed they got a whiff of Helen McCrory‘s egg. Read the rest of this entry »
Phil was trying to remember other plays he’d seen where the writers also appear in their own efforts. Harold Pinter in No Man’s Land, Ian Kelly in Mr Foote’s Other Leg and Eric Potts in panto. And since he avoided Matthew Perry’s End of Longing, that was as far as he got.
But in The Spoils – which should probably be titled The Spoilt, or even The Soiled (but that would need an appropriate spoiler alert) – Jesse Eisenberg has endowed himself a humungous part as Ben, a privileged, bullying, dope-smoking, needy, self-absorbed, childish, racist monster, probably somewhere on the spectrum, who is also prone to very strange dreams. That we manage care about him at all is something of a miracle, even if he pushes this beyond the limit in Act 2 when he turns being a complete shit into an art form. Read the rest of this entry »
Wasn’t expecting the Drum Revolve.
Phil saw a preview of The Threepenny Opera on the very day he’d received a begging letter from the National’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris asking for contributions to the £350, 000 he’s trying to raise to revitalise the Olivier Theatre’s 40-year-old stage machinery which was then “cutting-edge technology” but is now “literally grinding to a halt”.
He assumed this was irony. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s tale, in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens, has placed the story in pre-coronation London and features a raggle-taggle of beggars. One of the beggars, Rufus Norris, was not on stage, he was seated at the back of the stalls overseeing his production with NT ex-AD Sir Nicholas of Hytner. Read the rest of this entry »
Not us. Though to be entirely honest her casting hadn’t been announced when we booked, but our interest went off the Richter when it was. For younger viewers, Berenson played Natalia Landauer in the film of Cabaret and is in the (to us) classic “This was a cold of the bosom, not of the nose” scene. When we get man colds we have described them thusly ever since and “Ze plegm…zat comes in the tubes.” will forever be pronounced the Berenson way as “pleg-ma”. Read the rest of this entry »