Old Vic roundup: Gaslight, All About My Mother and why today is a very special day…

Saturday 26 May 2007

Today is a very special day and one which the West End Whingers are going to celebrate by opening a bottle of wine as soon as the sun is over the yardarm horizon. For 26th May is the anniversary of the birth of French mathematician Abraham de Moivre (1667 – 1754) and the death of Augustine of Canterbury in the year 604 – two reasons quite sufficient to warrant cracking open a claret.

But – even better – it is also the day on which the curtain finally falls on that most tiresome of revivals: The Entertainer at the Old Vic.

We found it disagreeable enough at the time, but we hadn’t counted on that irritation developing into a nasty and chronic rash that has lingered in the form of a seemingly endless stream of comments – 29 at the last count – added by ordinary members of the public to the Whingers’ review.

As neither Phil nor Andrew has the technical nous to disable that particularly intrusive piece of functionality the debate has run on and on ad nauseum. The opinions expressed have been fairly evenly spread ranging from “The Whingers Are Right” to “The Whingers Are Wrong”.

Well, to settle the argument, The Whingers Are Right and it’s over so can everyone please move on.


So next up at the Old Vic is another museum piece, Gaslight. This is a wonderful creaky old melodrama by Patrick Hamilton and has twice been filmed – once with Ingrid Bergman, Dame May Whitty and Angela Lansbury (those were the days) – and supposedly a further movie version is on the cards although news on that has gone very quiet.

Gaslight explores the psychological trauma of a woman convinced that she is going round the bend so expect Phil to be squirming in his seat as art imitates his life yet again.

Peter Gill directs Rosamund Pike and Kenneth Cranham who – Phil is keen to point out – played Ray Harrison, one of the hippies who took over Dennis Tanner’s living room at No 11 Coronation Street in 1968.

Actually, the Whingers have quite high hopes for this production, so you can be sure it will be disappointing.

Update 13/06/07: we saw it. This is what we thought.


Which brings us to the stage adaptation of the Pedro Almodóvar film All About My Mother which is due to occupy the Old Vic in September. The Whingers’ daily check on the latest news from HispanicBusiness.com reveals that Almodóvar will be dropping in at the Old Vic next month “to finalize the script and oversee the casting for the production”:

Speaking at the Cannes Film Festival, Almodóvar says, “I wrote the film, it came out of me. I want to attend to its progress – but not to get in the way of what the writer Samuel Adamson [who wrote Southwark Fair] is shaping it for, for the theatre.

Casting a stage version of an Almodóvar film is one of the few jobs in the theatre that the Whingers would actually entertain due to the prevalence of interesting roles for strong females – often of a certain age. WhatsOnStage.Com in its so-called “gossip” section has an intriguingly titled article called Actresses Queue up for Almodovar’s Mother at Old Vic?? but if “likely to feature some big names in the cast” is their idea of gossip the Whingers are praying that they don’t find themselves sitting next to anyone from there at a party.

Incidentally, HispanicBusiness.com says it’s a musical, but that’s the first the Whingers have heard of it.

Update 29 Aug 07: We saw it. This is what we thought


Finally, to return to the first item in our update, the Whingers are pleased to be able to thumb their noses at the people who were so indignant at their extremely negative review of The Hound of the Baskervilles and positively crowing at the fact that The 39 Steps has been extended (again) while Baskervilles is to close early. And that is how it should be.

4 Responses to “Old Vic roundup: Gaslight, All About My Mother and why today is a very special day…”

  1. Samuel Adamson’s Southwark Fair was for me one of the two or three worst plays of 2006. I walked out at halftime which is not something I normally do. God help the Old Vic is all I can say if he is in charge of writing the play.

  2. westendwhinger Says:

    I concur on that, can’t work up much ensthusiasm for it with Adamson writing. Though Lesley Manville is apparently to play the mother which does offer a ray of hope.

  3. Sally Howell Says:

    Was it a bottle of Blue Nun that you opened?

  4. Oh, very good Sally! Or are you casting aspersions on our tastes in wine?

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