Memo to Phil (confidential) re: Closing West End Whingers

Friday 23 February 2007

To: Phil
From: Andrew
Date: 23 February 2007
Subject: Fun

Dear Phil

Don’t get me wrong, West End Whingers has been great. I’ll never forget the evening we sat down in a Soho pub after watching the execrable (our favourite epithet?) Fool for Love, and devised our strategy for exorcising from the West End the bad value, bad entertainment and the just plain bad. But I wonder if it’s time to call it a day?

It’s true that we’ve had some marvellous material to work with. Neve Campbell has been a gift, bless her, and we’ve sat through some appalling drivel (Resurrection Blues – how we laughed). Even the merely pointless-and-overpriced productions (Evita) have provided us with plenty of material on which to pour our vitriol. And it’s been fun.

But it’s all gone sour recently. It seems like almost everything we go and see is either entertaining (Boeing, Boeing), absorbing (The Reporter) or at the very least a laudable effort (The Man of Mode).

I know that we do occasionally endure unbearable productions (or the first half of them in the case of The Seagull) and these evenings are a welcome relief to me. But to be honest, I’m getting bored with seeing interesting and/or good and/or funny things – well, not bored with seeing them, but having to write about them afterwards. It’s much more fun when there’s something to whinge about.

I know that going to the theatre has always been something of a chore for us, but now the blogging is becoming so too. Where’s the enjoyment in writing nice things?

Do you think it is time to call it a day? Do let me know what you think when you sober up.


PS: Late news. All may not be lost. Have just been reading about the musical stage version of The Lord of the Rings which is coming to London from Toronto. Apparently The Toronto Globe and Mail said it was “a pale imitation of the books, the films and, tragically, theatre itself”. Of the Toronto version the New York Times critic Ben Brantley said it was “largely incomprehensible” and that “for all the technology, the show’s look is often reminiscent of an arts and crafts fair.”The Daily Telegraph called it “insufferably twee”. The Associated Press said it’s “a case of imagination overwhelmed by complexity.”. I don’t know what that means really, but it sounds execrable. But it gets better: the producers’ market research found “a 95% approval rating among non-regular theatregoers.” Sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. And it cost $27 million Canadian dollars!!!

Please book tickets. I think the Whingers may be saved.

6 Responses to “Memo to Phil (confidential) re: Closing West End Whingers”

  1. biped Says:

    Don’t stop whinging now – I’ve only just started reading your blog. Perhaps I should get a friend of mine to recommend shows for you. She knows how to unearth the most horrific plays in London.

  2. Biped – please do. Things have come to a pretty pass. If the quality of the west end theatre continues to improve at this rate we will be obsolete before you can say “knife”.

  3. […] Of course there’s a booking fee of £1.50 per ticket and additional seats (to your four) can be bought for £32.50. But this whinger believes this is a very good offer. So Andrew, just relax into your stalls seat and let the whinging commence. […]

  4. Just when I was starting to enjoy regular perusals of your site. Please don’t let it end now! We need your voice for shows like “Lord Of The Rings” and beyond! And even when you actually like the productions, your wit and wisdom and whinging is still highly entertaining!

  5. James Says:

    Go and see The Entertainer…plenty to winge about. Only the Truncbull turns in a good performance!

  6. Ooooh. Thanks for the tip, James. We will go on Monday.

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