Reports of the West End Whingers’ deaths have been grossly exaggerated

Sunday 26 August 2007

The West End Whingers have been inundated with a comment from Steve On Broadway wondering if we were, in fact, dead.

The short answer is “No, Phil always looks like that” but we do feel that Steve‘s question deserves a fuller response.
What he’s alluding to is that instead of publishing our usual measured, insightful reviews, the West End Whingers have for several weeks broadcast measured, insightful comment and analysis. Or – as Andrew’s second best friend Mark insists on calling them – puff pieces.

Have we forsesaken the theatre? Can Messrs Hytner, Spacey et al finally breathe a sigh of relief?

Our self-imposed cultural fast can be attributed to a number of factors:

1. That August thing – the fact that everyone who matters except us either has a show on at Edinburgh or is watching shows at Edinburgh or is busy blogging about what other people thought of the shows they watched in Edinburgh or talking about Edinburgh as though they were there.

And we’re sulking because we don’t have anything to say on the matter except for the fact that we are very proud that  Helen Smith and Andrew Field had shows in Edinburgh (and that because we know them we must have made some contribution to their achievements; to know us is to owe us).

2. The fact that there’s nothing new on in the West End that’s even remotely interesting. Who in their right minds would go and see Grease and Joseph for goodness sake?

3. Admittedly, we did lose the will to visit the theatre for a while after sitting through the first acts of a string of a whole string of crap.

4. And then the problem was compounded by the fact that Andrew decided to eschew alcohol for August and Phil couldn’t think of anything to say to him.

5. And then, ever since we granted The Londonist an exclusive interview (purely in order to stop them doorstepping us), Andrew has become rather grand and reclusive, sporting a large pair of sunglasses and a headscarf in what he imagines to be the manner of Greta Garbo during her later New York days.

Anyway, Steve On Broadway will be thrilled to learn that the Whingers will be resuming normal service this week when they and a group of 8 WEW stalwarts including City Slicker, Helen Smith, man-eater Shaz and several of Andrew’s second-best friends will be descending on the Old Vic to debate the shortcomings of All About My Mother (the first preview of which was cancelled and there have also been some last minute shenanigans to rearrange people’s seats in order to accommodate some unanticipated sight-line problems. All sounds very promising.)

On the topic of which, check out this  interview with Diana Rigg in The Times which is truly fabulous. The woman smokes and drinks in Kevin Spacey’s office. The interviewer is clearly terrified of her. We love her.

9 Responses to “Reports of the West End Whingers’ deaths have been grossly exaggerated”

  1. josh Says:

    When are you going to All About My Mother, my dear whingies?? Monday? If you’re at the same performance as me, I might weep with excitement.

    P.S. I love your interview in the Londonist. Have you got tickets to see Masque of the Red Death yet?

  2. Tim Watson Says:

    Will the stalwarts be at All About My Mother to drag the Whingers, kicking and screaming, back to their seats after the interval?


  3. ‘View From The Stalls’ is honoured to be considered part of “everyone who matters” by the Whingers – even more so than when Natasha kindly gave us a mention in her Guardian blog piece last week.

    But don’t worry about not going to Edinburgh – you won’t have to wait too long until Edinburgh will come to you. Quick transfers to London of shows we enjoyed include “Ballad of James II” and “Venus as a Boy” at the start of September with several others sure to follow.

    If it’s good enough it will make it to London… oh, yeah, right, sorry – my mistake… it’s probably not the *good* stuff you wanted to see… was it?

    (Un)fortunately all the real dross should have received so much critical abuse that it will never again see the light of day.


  4. Whingers, I’m thrilled beyond belief. I only wish I could join you at the Old Vic.

    Toasting you from the other side of the pond! Cheers!


  5. Thank you all for your kind words. We’re deeply touched.

    @ Josh – sorry to dash your hopes you but we are not going on Monday and clearly we would be putting the cast and crew under unfair pressure if we were to be specific about dates. And yes, we have booked for Masque of the Red Death.

    @ Tim – actually, it’s the other way round. If we demand that the entire party leave at the interval there will be 10 very conspicuous empty seats during Act 2. Imagine!

    @ View from the Stalls – of course you matter. Someone has to cover the regions for heaven’s sake. We do pick up what we can from your blog although we struggle with the Scotch accent.

    @ SOB – we will raise a glass of wine in your honour and toast absent friends.

    @ All of you – Can we just settle this thing once and for all. We do NOT seek out bad shows. We want to see GOOD shows (although writing about bad ones is infinitely more enjoyable).

  6. Paul Says:

    Alas I won’t be joining you to whinge about the old vic… Will be at the national instead!

  7. Sean Says:

    I may well be out of my right mind, as I too saw Joseph and Grease. I often seen Lord Archer at the theatre, he seems to like everything. Maybe prison made him value things more?

    OT: Simon Russell Beal was wearing exactly the same outfit when I saw him at the Traverse in Edinburgh last week, as at the National Theatre tonight (The Emperor Jones is well worth the trip btw, only 70 mins, NO INTERVAL!). All in black he was. I imagine him with a wardrobe full of black costumes, like the Milk Tray Man.

    As for death in theatre, I’ve often see actors die onstage (genuinely in one case, seriously). But I have sometimes looked up at the chandelier and thought about it falling on our heads, usually the show has to be pretty bad though (and the National doesn’t have chandeliers unfortunately. Couldn’t they get modern ones like at the Met in NY?).

    http://www.seaninthestalls.blogspot.com


  8. Thanks Andrew. I need all the help I can get in forgetting the bad revival of “Grease” on this side of the Atlantic. I should have taken a cue from you.


  9. In their search for good shows will the Whingers be attending The Bacchae? I’d reckon there are sufficient flaws to make writing about it enjoyable, while Alan Cumming’s performance is truly electric. A couple of the set pieces will be burned in my memory for years to come (literally in one case) and have to be seen to be believed.

    I should also mention as it took me by surprise having avoided reading reviews, that it’s actually a semi-musical rather than the staright play I was expecting.

    If it’s not in your plans, it really should be – book quickly before tickets disappear.


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