Review – Terrible Advice, Menier Chocolate Factory

Friday 30 September 2011

Dear Whingers,

I’ve never written to agony aunts before.

I’m a middle-aged woman who recently became single when I found out my best friend had slept with my boyfriend. I want to go and see something funny at the theatre to cheer myself up. I’m very broad-minded. Indeed, I’ve been around the block a few times but alas not in my car which currently has a flat tyre.

I’m coming to London (by coach) soon, are there any plays running that might make me laugh and also teach me how to change a wheel?


Aunt Edna Welthorpe-Trellis, North Wales
(name and address supplied)

Dear Edna,

Goodness, that’s one of the trickiest questions we’ve pulled out of our groaning sacks for some time. Rather surprisingly there IS something which might meet some of your requirements.

Billed as “A dark, dirty and dangerous play” Terrible Advice does indeed feature an impressive full wheel change performed on stage by an otherwise mis-cast Caroline Quentin which presumably furnishes the “dirty” part of the play’s billing (although it’s the cleanest wheel change we’ve ever witnessed although we haven’t witnessed that many). The car too, is an expensive looking piece of scenery even though it does appear to have passed through a rather large egg slicer. We were at a preview performance so please note that the actress will no doubt have got the hang of which direction to screw her nuts by the time the play opens.

It’s an American play written by Saul Rubinek (Daphne’s fiancé Donny in Frasier) and directed by no less than Muppet man Frank Oz. Most of the casts are Brits struggling with American accents apart, that is, from Scott Bakula (rhymes with Dracula apparently) who is unashamedly American and appears in various stages of undress and wetness in Act 1.

He also offers the titular (and rather rude, but you say you’re broad-minded) terrible advice to his best mate Stinky (Andy Nyman) on the subject of women. This may be a little too close to home for you but we would hate to spoil the plot.

You may find this play as funny as is presumably intended to be; some people in the audience were laughing out loud and the woman behind us was howling in a most irritating fashion. Mr Bakula’s advice also features a masterclass in discrete finger-sniffing, a subject on which we have no propensity to dwell. But along with the wheel-changing it could, we suppose, be deemed educational.

For all we know Act Two may well feature a full oil or spark plug change to enhance your car maintenance prowess still further, but we didn’t stick around. Dipping our metaphorical fingers into Mr Rubinek’s charmless writing for one Act was long enough to contaminate them with a smell of bad theatre and rotten values which still lingers.

The spy we left in the auditorium reports that the play did not improve although it did boast the appearance of Miss Quentin in a Baby Doll nightie.


The West End Whingers


Two out of Five: slightly corked or vinegary

4 Responses to “Review – Terrible Advice, Menier Chocolate Factory”

  1. grove Says:

    go and see one man two guvnors. avoid this

  2. Brain Tree Says:

    Is it wrong I want to this flop as punishment for employing Caroline Quentin?

  3. David Rogers Says:

    Erm, I agree totally with the review and we could not face the second half of the play as it would have been my second real disappointment of the day, the first being England being knocked out of the Rugby World Cup

  4. Michael Says:

    Without a doubt the WORST play I have ever seen. Good actors, let down by a terrible script. The story is crass, unfunny and distasteful without any characters in the play coming across as likeable in any form. Quite a few people left halfway through. I stayed on, much to my regret, and it descended into a tired performance from the actors who felt weary. A short quiet applause with most people on the way out commenting on just how dreadful the play was. Avoid at all costs !!

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