28 plays in 21 days

Wednesday 18 July 2007

Spare a thought for the New York Times chief theater (sic) critic Ben Brantley (right).

The man is currently in London on a 21 day marathon in which he will see 28 plays in 21 days.

Quite why is not explained on his London Theatre Journal so the Whingers have done some deep (these things are relative) thinking and come up with some possible explanations:

  1. Brantley is the US equivalent of those British adventurers who trek to the North Pole and lose several toes to frostbite so that, umm.
  2. It’s for charity.
  3. It’s an elaborate Treasure Hunt and Brantley’s aim is to find the two worthwhile shows currently hidden in the West End.
  4. It’s part of the surreal criminal justice system in the US and Brantley has done something worse than whatever Boy George, Naomi Campbell and Paris Hilton did.

If you know any better, please let us know.

7 Responses to “28 plays in 21 days”


  1. He’s obviously doing it because he hasn’t got the stomach to do the real thing and take the test of the Edinburgh Fringe. Lets face it, the risks of seeing shows in London doesn’t remotely compare with the russian roulette of the Fringe – if it’s on in a sizeable London theatre *someone* *somewhere* must have thought it worthwhile, and even the most uncomfortable seats in London can’t compare to some of the temporary seating at ‘venues’ in Edinburgh (note that they can’t even loosely be described as ‘theatres’).

    Hell, even I’m doing 16 shows over 5 days for View From The Stalls and you should see the schedule Sean at Sean in the Stalls has planned

    28 plays in 21 days? Amateur. Now if he was doing Musicals that would be an achievement…

  2. Jim Carpenter Says:

    I guess you haven’t spent any time in NYC seeing Broadway plays.


  3. He’s clearly over there because it’s very, very quiet on Broadway this summer, and you have someone treading your boards who we don’t: Orlando Bloom. Still, I had anxiously awaited his review of “Xanadu,” but had to settle for one by his second fiddle.


  4. View From the Stalls has it pinned. I don’t plan in advance, but in a similar 21-day period in Edinburgh I expect I’ll see 80 or so shows – the last few years I’ve broken the century during 26-day stays, and that’s been AFTER I pretty much gave up the boys’ game of comparing size. It’s also probably only around 70-75% of what Lyn Gardner will see in the same period.

  5. Sean Says:

    28 plays in 21 days is not at all taxing! I have often done the same or more myself; it’s just a show a day and two or three matinees a week. You can generally get a Sunday evening show somewhere in London (usually on the fringe), sometimes even catch Sunday afternoon and eve performances (like seing a mat at Sadler’s Wells and the early eve show at the Old Red Lion). Add to that Mon -Sat eves, Sat mats and matinees on Wed and Thurs (maybe even the occassional Tuesday), and you’re well away.

    In Edinburgh, 5 shows is a daily minumum for me!

    P.S: I’ve done 3 shows in London in one day too. Early Matinee, late mainee (4ish) and evening performance.

  6. Mikey Says:

    Methinks thou brags too much. It’s not a competition, it’s not rushing around Asda to see how much you can pile into your trolley! Never mind the width, feel the quality. OK, you don’t know until you try, but there’s a difference between informed selection (healthy) and total obsession (gross). The best way to see Ed’s Fringe is to wait until the hits are brought back home to London, as they surely will be. Let the worker ants get busy up there, then they can return with their choice cuts for the Queens down here.
    But getting back to Brantley, of course he wants to feast himself while in London as obviously he is undernourished by his Broadway diet. And he wants to maximise his chances of sharing a bottle with the Whingers.

  7. Sean Says:

    Most of the great things in Edinburgh don’t get transfers actually Mike! A small minority go for tiny transfers on the regional or London fringe, one or two might be commercially sucessful and transfer to bigger LOndon venues. But the vast majority of thing that I have adored in Ed never saw the light of day elsewhere. In a way that is the beauty of the festival (which you really need to have attended to properly comment upon).

    And you say feel the quality, well it is actually possible to see a quality show nightly! But being risk adverse and sticking only to London transfers, hits and the West End is not what I would want to be about!

    P.S: I didn’t say I was seing that much stuff now in London, only that I had done. This was a post about numbers dear chap.


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