If for some degenerate reason you want to find out how to have The Whingers©™®* eating out of your hand then toddle off to the Menier Chocolate Factory for a case study.
Those clever people behind Forbidden Broadway have discovered the secret. We predict producers, writers and directors will be flocking to see this somewhat Anglicised version of the long running American spoof of Broadway shows to find out how it’s done.
Actually, they don’t need to because the answer is simple: give the Whingers©™®* a name check. That’s right, the Whingers©™®* got a mention as part of the intro to a song about online theatre conversations – “All That Chat”.
Understandably it wasn’t met with much of a reaction from the audience (apart from the Whingers’©™®* party who howled) so don’t be surprised if it gets cut. You’ll just have to believe us. Anyway we were cock-a-hoop with the attention and after that it was plain sailing all the way for this zappy, sharply observed musical revue of the West End’s shortcomings: Cameron Macintosh’s merchandising, the trends for puppets and for projected scenery, Daniel Radcliffe as a reluctant stripper. It was all very funny indeed.
There was – perhaps surprisingly – quite a lot of specifically West End material: Elaine Paige’s radio show, The King and I in the Royal Albert Hall, Susan Boyle, Charlie Spencer and – with prescience and/or unfortunate timing – a wonderfully funny piece featuring an Amazonian Hannah Waddingham singing “Send In The Crowds” (in the Menier’s very own production of A Little Night Music) to a half empty auditorium.
You don’t have to be familiar with all the shows running on Broadway and the West End (which are pretty much the same anyway) but it obviously helps. Even if you’ve never seen the shows you can appreciate the gags (It’s a well known fact that Andrew has never seen Les Miserables and it didn’t seem to confuse him any more than usual).
Steven Kynman, Sophie Louise Dann, Alasdair Harvey and Anna-Jane Casey are all top notch singers with a gift for comedy and quick costume changes. The costumes (by legend Alvin Colt who sadly died last year) are funny in their own right by the way. The set (Morgan Large) is suitably crisp and tinselly. Musical director Joel Fram bangs the keys like there is no tomorrow. It’s all very slick and fast.
The Whingers©™®* caught up with director Phillip George and creator/writer Gerard Alessandrini after the show and (much as they gave unwanted advice to Mel Brooks on Young Frankenstein) were again happy to pass on their thoughts (without charge) about the production which were much more positive than the notes we gave to Mel. Everyone was very polite.
Phil was trying to persuade the other Phil to include Thriller – Live in the jolly spoofery. But Phil 2 seemed to think it might be a little bit too soon. Ripe for parody surely, despite the producers being “deeply saddened and shocked” the show is unsurprisingly selling out.
But getting back to the use of our name in the show: it has made the Whingers aware of the need to protect their assets and they have been talking to intellectual copyright lawyers all morning hence all the ©™®*
Regular readers may recall that the Whingers©™®* caught the New York version, Forbidden Broadway – Rude Awakening, a couple of years ago, only because most productions on Broadway were closed due to a strike. They had more fun than they probably would have at a “legitimate” show, and if you want an illustration of how prejudiced and just plain silly The Whingers©™®* can be as they were then prompted to write:
Even without having seen Jersey Boys, The Whingers©™®* had no difficulty relishing the awfulness of it. Why that pile of crap is coming to London we have no idea.
Whereas when they actually went to see it in London this is what they wrote. Which just goes to show why you shouldn’t believe everything you read or anything you read here. But you knew that anyway.
Phil also forced himself upon the rather lovely Anna-Jane Casey in the bar after the show. She proved generous with her bag of crisps and since he’s currently having his shower retiled wished he’d read this article first.
* “The Whingers” and “West End Whingers” are registered trademarks belonging to West End Whingers Enterprises Worldwide plc. All rights reserved. Professor Pat Pending.