Archive for the 'fringe' Category

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 – Unstated: Stories of Refuge, Southwark Playhouse

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Oh dear. How did we come to get so utterly out of our depth?

It seems that only yesterday the Whingers were paddling about on the comforting, crumbling shores of London’s famous West End Theatreland, waving happily at the occasional Dame of the British Empire through a proscenium arch and squealing with delight.

But on Monday night they found themselves sucked by the fierce undertow of the blogosphere into altogether choppier waters – the fringe. More fearsomely, into a storm of political fringe theatre: Unstated: Stories of Refuge at the Southwark Playhouse.

The security of their fourth-wall water-wings were torn violently from their scrawny arms even before it started… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – 2,000 Feet Away, Bush Theatre

Wednesday 18 June 2008

Well, what kind of review can a production expect when it is advertised to start at 8pm, has unreserved seating requiring you start queueing at 7.45pm and finally admits you into the auditorium at 8.25pm without apology or explanation.

And  – even though it is only 90 minutes long – you get out at 10pm and have to find your way home from Shephards Bush.

It also features Ian Hart whose interview in The Times this week started thus:

Theatre fans, Ian Hart has something to tell you. “I hate theatre. I hate doing it. And it’s not the medium I wish to work in.” It gets worse. The 43-year-old firebrand actor, who is midway through rehearsals on Anthony Weigh’s controversial paedophile drama 2,000 Feet Away, hates you, too. “I hate the audience,” he says, over chicken Caesar salad in a South London café.

“I have a big problem with the audience. I don’t feel the desire to engage them. Which is what theatre is all about.”

So, it’s written by Anthony Weigh, directed by Josie Rourke and also stars Joseph Fiennes. Some people are quite good in it and the play’s OK in some ways. But it’s sold out anyway.

Queueing at The Bush

Half an hour of standing in this, then a play.

Review – Rock – Oval House Theatre

Friday 30 May 2008

Rock is a play of two halves.

It has an interval.

But that’s rather too simplistic. It’s much more profound than that. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – F***ing Men by Joe DiPietro, Finborough Theatre

Tuesday 27 May 2008

That Mark R****hill has a lot to answer for. Once he unleashed the title of S****ing and F***ing on the world there was no **ing back.

So now US playwright Joe DiP****o picks up the b**** with this take on Schnitzler’s La Ronde at the F**borough Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Fascinating Aida, Jermyn Street Theatre

Thursday 22 May 2008

Fascinating Aida flyerPhil was having one of his republican days.

No, not that kind of Republican: say “McCain” and Phil thinks “oven chips”; say “Bush” and Phil thinks, well, not much really.

No, “republican” as in “not that struck on the monarchy”.

Now do not be dismayed at this rather late excursion into anarchy: it will all be over by tomorrow. Sharper-eyed denizens of Kentish Town may catch him fishing his collection of Princess Anne & Captain Mark Phillips wedding knick-knacks out of his dustbin in order to restore them to their pride of place on his mantelpiece. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Natural Selection at Theatre 503

Saturday 10 May 2008

“Dear Blogger, Here at Theatre503 and Whippet Productions, we’re big fans of internet blogging and really value the opinions of people, like yourself, on plays, musicals and other theatre in London. In light of this fact, we’d like to try something new. We’d like to invite YOU to come and see our latest production – Natural Selection at Theatre503 – on Press Night: Friday 9 May, 8pm.”

Clearly the email was intended for some other London theatre bloggers as no-one values the opinions of the West End Whingers, not even the West End Whingers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Tinderbox, Bush Theatre

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Why, oh why, oh why don’t people just ask us before they go around putting on plays willy nilly?

It would save an awful lot of strife, time, expense, trouble and suffering in the long run. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Plague Over England by Nicholas de Jongh, Finborough Theatre

Wednesday 5 March 2008

Well, what a disappointment.

Not the play. That was fine.

But the critical reception? Very disappointing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cloudcuckooland, Riverside Studios

Monday 25 February 2008

“Please don’t write about it.”

Why not, Stephen? It was fun. It’s not every day that a Whinger goes to see a piece of children’s theatre.

Nor is it every day that a Whingers gets to contribute to the performance by blowing up a balloon (although it’s an excellent idea for next time an evening is dragging – and a timely one too as the Whingers are off to see Major Barbara at the National on Tuesday). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – No Entry, King’s Head, Islington

Sunday 24 February 2008

No EntryIt’s a little known fact (possibly because it’s not true) that Andrew hails from a showbusiness family. Phil is rather skeptical about the claim (possibly because it’s not true).

So Andrew was delighted to vindicate himself on Saturday himself by witnessing the fringe debut of his god-daughter’s sister. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Helter Skelter / Land of the Dead by Neil LaBute, Bush Theatre, London

Tuesday 5 February 2008

The West End Whingers pride themselves on their metropolitanism so it’s always worth of comment when the journey to a theatre is considerably longer than the play.

Unaware that Shepherds Bush tube station was closed and engrossed in his reading material (Andrew’s well thumbed copy of Quiltmaker magazine) Phil suddenly found himself in the wilds of White City. Not for the first time he really had no idea where he was. Thinking that Emerald City conventions might apply he clicked his heels together and uttering “There’s no place like The Bush” but to no avail. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Annie Get Your Gun, Union Theatre, London

Saturday 2 February 2008

Please During The Show. DO NOT FLUSHPhil didn’t make it to this one. He has issues. He insists that there is no sun in the morning (in Kentish Town, in February), that you can get a man with a gun and that there are plenty of businesses like show business. There’s no talking to him when he’s in one of these moods.

Plus Andrew knows the toilet situation at the Union Theatre and Snack Bar where a Dyson Airblade will never be anything more than a pipedream. And now that most days are Howard Hughes days for Phil, it was all destined to end in tears if not a complete breakdown.

And this is how Andrew came to drag the much lower maintenance Mark 1 and Oliver along to the Union Theatre and Snack Bar to see Annie Get Your Gun last night. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Assassins by Stephen Sondheim, Landor Theatre

Monday 28 January 2008

“Yes – but apart from that – how did you enjoy the play, Mrs Lincoln?”

Right, that’s got that old gag out of the way.


Andrew was rather touched and slightly bewildered when Phil turned up at his door on Saturday with a full motorcade to drive them to the Landor Theatre to see Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins (book by John Weidman).

Why the open-top limo on such a cool January evening? Was that a maniacal grin playing across Phil’s mouth? What was with the pink pillbox hat?

And why the elaborate detour taking in the grassy knoll at Larkhall Park fields and Lambeth education department’s book depositary? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Walking on Water, White Bear

Saturday 19 January 2008

What someone ought to do is to write a play which is set in a really naff pub – one with multiple television screens showing Manchester City playing West Ham, Phil Collins videos and miscellaneous TV programmes (all at the same time).  One where a request for a glass of red wine is met with a raised eyebrow and delivered in the form of a screwtop bottle of the kind embraced by in-flight caterers.

It would feature clichéd pub characters straight out of Central Casting – the garrulous, drunken-yet-harmless Irishman who is a friend to everyone, a couple of local salesmen getting rowdier by the minute in their cheap suits, the over-done blousy matron perched atop her bar stool. Read the rest of this entry »