Review – The Whingers have a bit of a do

Wednesday 9 May 2007

Sorry, this is boring, and OK so perhaps the Whingers shouldn’t be the ones to review their own efforts (well, Andrew’s efforts actually, although Phil did bring the Blu-Tack ) but let’s face it, no one else is going to bother.

So after months of careful preparation, Phil sourcing the best possible Blu-Tack and Andrew pretending he was terribly busy being busy, the evening arrived. Andrew would love to tell everyone about the evening, but he’s struggling to remember anything that happened after about 7.45, but is convinced it all went awfully well.

Phil was busy all night talking about himself, but Andrew was focused on his role as host and his recall of who turned up goes something like this:

  • Paul in London turned up supportively (or sadly, depending on your point of view) early and Andrew was unusually coherent if a bit thrown by the fact that anyone would willingly turn up to a party knowing that Phil would be there.
  • Lance “new in London” Woodman and his wife Pat turned up slightly later and Andrew played the host with aplomb.
  • Natasha of Interval Drinks and her boyfriend turned up and Andrew made a few stabs at creating new Wildean aphorisms while they looked on aghast.
  • John Morrison arrived and humoured Andrew’s deteriorating conversational skills with the politeness of a true gentleman.
  • Theatrical blogosphere poster boy Fin Kennedy turned up and Andrew perked up a bit (he got his second wind) and talked almost intelligently about blogging for over three whole minutes.
  • Ben Yeoh arrived and – even though he had a play to hand in the next day (“It’s OK. I’ve got a good idea for it”) – showed amazing tolerance at Andrew’s pathetic attempts to remember very simple words such as “element” and “footstool”.
  • Ben Ellis turned up and Andrew waved at him, grinning stupidly under the delusion that he was behaving normally.
  • Stephen Sharkey made his entrance fashionably late and looked alarmed at Andrew’s swaying, but recovered rapidly and admirably.
  • DogJMC had presumably been skulking outside until everyone else had arrived so he could top the bill, a strategy that was wasted on Andrew who by this time was telling Fin Kennedy that he was his best friend in the whole world before slumping onto a nearby banquette, missing Sheridan Smith’s little dog (right) by just a matter of inches.

The luckiest people were probably City Slicker who had the best excuse for not attending, claiming to be running the London Marathon the next day. That nice Mr Eldridge also had a good excuse having spent the afternoon at the Royal Court which is enough to dampen the spirits of anyone. Thanks for the apologies, guys. We gracefully accept them.

Anyway, the purpose of this post is really to issue some thanks.

West End Whingers T shirt

Mr Ellison did sterling work selling tickets for the raffle. Thank you Michael. Guests were anxious to hear what charity it was in aid of. Most hadn’t heard of the Royal Society for the Protection of Andrew’s Pension. The unique West End Whingers t-shirt (left) attracted a lot of interest but it was the actual Y-fronts Phil wore in 1979 when he saw Ingrid Bergman in Waters of the Moon at the Theatre Royal Brighton that assured that tickets were going like Anya Hindmarch bags.

Adèle Anderson made a fine job of drawing the raffle and convincing the punters they wre receiving something well worth owning which helped the enterprise raise the princely sum of £14.66 which will be distributed amongst begging people in London’s theatreland, particularly the ones who have taken the trouble to research interval times and engineer their diaries to be outside the theatre when audiences have escaped from the “air cooled” theatres for a quick fag for 20 minutes.

When some of the principals from the Little Shop of Horrors arrived the fracas to greet and seat them was akin to the first day of the Kate Moss Topshop range.

Paul Keating Andrew sat there like he’d been stuck to his seat with Phil’s Blu-Tack while Phil bored them all with his memories of the golden days of theatre and his evenings out with Dame Edith Evans whom he increasingly resembles. Sadly, Phil now has a photograph on his bedside table of Paul Keating which appears to portray him laughing at one of Phil’s jokes (right). Paul Keating is a remarkably adroit actor.

Thanks also to would-be-whingers Mark (photography and music) and David (original artwork, below). Their extraordinary works were not only creative but gave partygoers something to contemplate while Phil was regaling them with his memories of Sir Herbert Beerbohm-Tree.

Andrew was rather flattered by David’s Andy Warhol-style portrait of him as Liz Taylor. Phil, however, was so incensed by the depiction of him as Marilyn Monroe that Mark and David felt it safest to flee the country and are currently hiding away in China/Australia. Thanks anyway.

Party decor 2

Party decor 1

West End Whingers wine

But the big question of the evening was “what the hell were we drinking?”

In fact, this was the Whingers’ very own wine (left). Unfortunately Phil could not be restrained from keeping his hands off the dustbin for the full two weeks as recommended in the instructions. Whether his tactic of replacing the missing wine with water from his fish tank was successful or not will have to remain a matter for debate.

If you were there (or even if you weren’t) and you still haven’t viewed some highlights from the evening, here they are again, or here they are for the first time. That’s it really.

Except to say that Andrew has already planned the themes for the 2008 and 2009 parties. It’s all hush-hush, but Andrew reveals there will certainly be less Blu-Tack involved.

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