Archive for the 'entertainment' Category

Review – An Ideal Husband, Richmond Theatre

Wednesday 29 October 2008

Such was the allure of the cast of Oscar Wilde‘s An Ideal Husband that the Whingers went to the trouble of trailing all the way out to the Richmond Theatre (Zone 4, since you ask) to see Sir Peter Hall‘s production.

It took Phil back to his days when he’d make a weekly visit to the Theatre Royal Brighton to see whatever stars were gracing its stage that particular week. Ah yes, the stars he saw then….

[Note from Andrew: Dear reader: with your best interests at heart I have here expunged eight paragraphs of Phil’s reminiscences]

Yes, this cast would have done Brighton proud: Kate O’Mara (Triangle), Michael Praed (Dynasty) Carol Royle (Life Without George), Robert Duncan (Drop The Dead Donkey), Tony Britton (Robin’s Nest) and their raison d’être en banlieue Fenella Fielding (Carry On Screaming). Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Oedipus with Ralph Fiennes, National Theatre

Tuesday 14 October 2008

The Whingers love their mothers of course, just not in that way.

But how could they resist the opportunity to take in Ralph Fiennes as that titular and original mother-f**** Oedipus at the National Theatre?

Oedipal themes then; whatever made director Jonathan Kent* think of Fiennes for this? Was he having a larf? Not of course that we’re implying anything Oedipal in Fiennes relationship with Francesca Annis but they were famously coupled after starring together when she played Gertrude to Fiennes’ Hamlet. Read the rest of this entry »

In which The Whingers display amazing largesse…

Monday 13 October 2008

Strange things are going on in the world.

Unforeseen, uncontrollable events are happening all around us. The last two weeks have seen tumultuous developments that even the most cynical pundit could never have anticipated.

Yes, the Whingers have been going to the theatre and actually enjoying themselves. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, Southwark Playhouse

Sunday 12 October 2008

It is rare that upon visiting the theatre the Whingers’ dearest wish is merely not to get punched on the nose.

And on those rare occasions it is rarer still that they end up not only with their noses unbloodied but actually having a good time. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Gielgud Theatre

Saturday 11 October 2008

Do the Whingers exist?

Or are they merely characters created by their own writings?*

And is it inappropriate to use the word “merely”?

Without their incoherent ramblings would the characters of Phil and Andrew exist outside these pages?

Is it only you (yes, we mean you) reading these very words at this very moment that gives the Whingers their existence? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – No Man’s Land by Pinter, Duke of York’s Theatre

Wednesday 8 October 2008

Act 1: An October Night. A rather grand living room in Kentish Town or possibly in Vauxhall.

Two quite old men meet for the first time. Or have they already met? Or do they in fact meet at all?

SCHOONER is standing (albeit somewhat unsteadily).

THIRST sits staring into space enigmatically. The lights come up. There is a long silence.

Then another, longer one.

[At this performance the parts of SCHOONER and THIRST are played by Andrew and Phil respectively]

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Now Or Later, Royal Court

Sunday 5 October 2008

Quick! Wheel out the Bagnold Barometer!

To be honest it’s in need of a bit of attention. We didn’t dream that we would be needing it again so soon hence it has been sitting neglected in Andrew’s attic between the exercise bike and the vegetable steamer and just in front of his last five (still wrapped) Christmas presents from Phil.

But now it’s needed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Waste by Granville Barker at the Almeida

Wednesday 1 October 2008

The credit must be thoroughly crunching.

After rattling around in in the less-than-full Donmar auditorium at Monday night’s Creditors the Whingers witnessed another rare event last night: the Almeida auditorium less-than-packed to the rafters.

Perhaps the theatre-going public just couldn’t get excited about Harley Granville Barker’s Waste. Perhaps, like Phil, they assumed it to be a piece of agitprop about the sin of not recycling.

If they did believe that, many of those who turned up were clearly disappointed as the auditorium displayed even more empty seats after the interval. Perhaps it was due to Phil’s new fragrance.

The Whingers had some sympathy (how often do you hear that?) with them; they were themselves slightly ambivalent about returning for the remainder of the marathon (4 act 3 hour) show.

Return they did. But did they make the right decision? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Creditors by Strindberg, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 30 September 2008

Take two Whingers. Take two Strindberg virgins.

Of course they’re one and the same. Or two and the same.

Incredible isn’t it that the Whingers had never ever seen a play by August Strindberg considering he’s one of those playwrights like Shakespeare, Ibsen, Chekhov and err… Pinter where the Christian name is utterly redundant.

Particularly incredible since Andrew and Strindberg have something in common, both being named after a month of the year. Andrew was originally given the name”June”, but dropped that notable moniker a few years ago as it didn’t suit him.

Anyway, off the Whingers trudged to Creditors at the Donmar Warehouse with their usual open minds but not sure quite what to expect.

And clearly they weren’t the only ones who felt a bit out of their depth because – unusually for a Monday night – the Donmar Warehouse wasn’t packed to the rafters. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – De Profundis, National Theatre

Friday 26 September 2008

A glimpse behind the scenes of the West End Whingers’ workflow:

In order to save the time and bother involved thinking about things, the Whingers hit on the idea very early on of writing the bulk of the review before actually seeing the play.

So weeks before seeing Corin Redgrave’s reading of Oscar WIlde’s De Profundis at the National Theatre one of the Whingers had already penned a few distinctly sub-Wildean aphorisms: Read the rest of this entry »

Reserved seating at the Menier – another victory for the Whingers!

Thursday 25 September 2008

The Whingers are just giddy with excitement. Giddy, we say.

This just out from a source close to the Menier Chocolate Factory:

For the first time at the Chocolate Factory all seating for A Little Night Music will be numbered – audience members will be allocated the best available seat when they book.

Read the rest of this entry »

Zero Stars Hall of Fame update: Flamen’ka

Wednesday 24 September 2008

Exciting news. A zero stars review for Flamen’ka at the Apollo by Sarah Frater of whom we have never heard but we like her already.

Ms Frater is actually a dance critic for the Evening Standard so it’s debatable whether or not she should be inducted into the WEW Zero Stars Hall of Fame, but we’ll let it pass as it’s on at the Apollo.

Here’s a snippet:

“The acting was universally woeful, and the two brothers looked more like EastEnders’ Grant and Phil Mitchell than the erotic heroes they wanted to be. Worse still was Karen Ruimy, who devised the show. She mooches around narrating the action and wishing she looked like Penelope Cruz (she doesn’t). What she does do is sing very, very badly.”

Full review here.

Review – The Walworth Farce, National Theatre

Wednesday 24 September 2008

A major drama was played out at the National Monday evening.

In all the Whingers’ many years of theatre-going, never have they experienced  anything so tense, so immediate and so personally relevant.

There were moments of despair so profound they numbed the Whingers’ senses; and urgencies so imperative that adrenalin pumped through their veins.

Happily there was also hope, elation, redemption and a happy denouement which restored their faith in humanity.

Amazing stuff.

And once Andrew’s lost wallet had been recovered they went to see The Walworth Farce. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Living Together (The Norman Conquests) at the Old Vic

Saturday 20 September 2008

Well, let’s look on the bright side (see what a holiday can do for one?).

This was the Whingers’ first theatrical sortie since their expedition to the bush. That’s the African bush if you’re not up to speed (and if not, why not?) not the lauded fringe theatre over a pub half-way to Swindon.

The Old Vic’s new production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Living Together – part of his 70s trilogy of The Norman Conquests – has been directed by the charming and über-prolific Matthew Warchus (who, you may recall, inadvertently gave the Whingers their very first interview).

But the big news is that The Old Vic’s auditorium has been reconfigured and named “The CQS Space”. Apparently that has nothing to do with a TV shopping channel but is connected with something entirely beyond the Whingers’ comprehension: hedge funds and the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.

So at least the Old Vic’s notorious creaking seats have gone and more bar space has been made available by chucking out some of those useless seats at the back of the stalls. Other theatre owners please take note.

Sounds promising doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hamlet with David Tennant, RSC, Stratford-upon-Avon

Thursday 28 August 2008

Yes, yes, we know it’s not the West End and that it’s Shakespeare, but it had to be done.

Done by Andrew, anyway. Phil refused to be dragged away from his metropolitan “lifestyle” (Let us hope that involved him doing something about the state of his fridge for there is surely something rotten in it) for a trip to Stratford-upon-Avon.

Even now Phil insists that it is necessary to change trains to get there and refuses to listen to Andrew’s account of the contemporary transport arrangements. He utterly refutes Andrew’s report that there are no longer such things as third class carriages. Andrew has held his tongue.

Oh well, every dog has his day and so, it was that Sue K (Clarification: Andrew is the dog in this analogy, not Sue) stepped into Phil’s fill-in mode. And the first thing to report is that an evening at the theatre apparently does not necessarily involve bickering. This was something of revelation to Andrew who found the entire outing both intellectually stimulating and emotionally restful. Read the rest of this entry »