Review – Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 1 July 2009

fb_poster_2502If 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 in Forbidden Broadway at Menier Chocolate Factory

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.

Footnotes

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.

13 Responses to “Review – Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory”


  1. Another hoot of a review! I wish I went with you guys.

  2. Phil (a west end whinger) Says:

    Thanks Simone better get along to the Menier before The Whingers©™®* get the snip.

    Ooops sorry! Still thought I was in the Naked Boys Singing post.


  3. LOL @ Phil! You just made me spit my tea!

  4. Chris Says:

    Sounds magnificent! Our Row A seats are already purchased. And to think I was uncertain about seeing this one.

    So if they mention “EP”, is there a bit of the Drowsy Chaperone in this? We loved that!

  5. Phaeton Says:

    Great review as ever – am off to see this tonight. Actually weeing with excitement a little bit.

  6. J.A. Says:

    Bad luck Chris, they’ve added Row AA (in honour of the whingers).

  7. Susan P Says:

    Fame at last lads, only 1 of our party didn’t get the WEW joke so think youre read more than you think. Would be surprised if they cut it, could suggest a couple that should go before. Fun show,great length, had me smiling,(botox top up maybe needed) some fine singing and great piano mounts.Dont sit in Row AA unless you’re under 4 ft 6 or very flexible ,but doubt you’ll get tixs anyway. Agree, unreserved seating is a drag, hope it never returns to the Menier, remember when they had it in the Pit and the Cottesloe, ugh
    I’m so old

  8. webcowgirl Says:

    It was really SUCH a fun evening. Let’s hope they add in some new stuff before the end of the run so we can justify going back.

  9. Erik Says:

    I saw the performance on Saturday – the WEW reference was still in! I laughed at the reference, but unfortunately very few around got the joke… And I got the look… The one you usually get!

    BTW, a really funny show, brilliant performances all around.

    I just hope they will get rid of the Sondhein sequence, that did not really work in this context. Get soem new material instaed of that and I will be back!

  10. J.A. Says:

    The Sondheim material is more modern than most of the show.

  11. Jon Says:

    Whinger reference intact last night, I guess it’s staying. Miss Elaine Paige was in the audience, she seemed to like it a lot, even the EP spoof!

  12. JKH Says:

    The catchy tune is now. we’ll stop the plot to have a sing-along.
    They’ve got a point

  13. Chris Says:

    Saw yesterday’s matinee and the Whingers are still getting their mention and an appreciative laugh from about 10% of the audience! Totally fantastic show, one and three quarter hours of non-stop laughter. I’m pleased to say the AA seats didn’t really get in the way of our A seats… and looking at them I don’t think we’d choose to sit in AA in the future!!


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