Archive for the 'movies' Category

John Waters, Hairspray, Edna Turnblad and so on

Saturday 18 August 2007

Andrew has been desperate to know what John Waters thinks of the casting of Michael Ball as Edna Turnblad in the forthcoming London production of Hairspray.

But his phone calls having been ignored he was forced to drop in to the NFT (the Whingers will refuse to called it the BFI Southbank even until their dying days) last night avec entourage to ambush Waters as he took part in an “in conversation” plus a preview of his new film This Filthy World (confusingly billed as part of “The Stanley Kubrick Masterclass series” whatever that is). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hairspray the movie musical

Sunday 8 July 2007

Off-topic, kind of. But by a combination of divine mix-up and Badedas bath moment, Andrew found himself in Leicester Square on Thursday at the world premiere of Hairspray – the movie based on the Broadway musical based on the John Waters film.

It may not be theatre but it was in the West End and Andrew is intent on sharing his experience on the blog because (a) the London production opens at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 11th October and (b) no-one else will listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Top 10 songs from shows within shows

Saturday 19 May 2007

The pastiche of 1920s musical theatre featured in The Drowsy Chaperone reminded us that there’s a terrific revue waiting to be commissioned (Hey, Mr Producer. We’re talking to you, sir.) based around songs from shows within shows or shows within films. Or films within shows. Or films within films. Or just musical performances portrayed in a naturalistic context.

Anyway, anyway. Here are the Whingers’ Top Ten parodies and pastiches. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Matter of Life and Death, National Theatre

Wednesday 9 May 2007

A Matter of Life and Death masks

First things first; straight to brass tacks. The unsettling tale of the new pricing policy of the National Theatre’s programmes continues to intrigue the luminaries of the Whingers Circle .

Regular readers will recall that the price of a programme on our last visit to the National to see Rafta Rafta had mysteriously dropped to £2 from the customary £3 (the price of the chocolate, the ice cream and the wine sadly remaining unaffected).

Happily the equilibrium of the universe seems to have been restored and the price of the programme last night was again three of your puny earth decimal pounds. And that is the most important thing we have to report. Read the rest of this entry »

And the winner is…

Friday 13 April 2007

Our competition inviting suggestions for the ideal people to play Bette Davis and Joan Crawford produced some interesting results.

Fans have been indulging in frantic activity on their (sadly imaginary) casting couches and coming up with everyone from Gillian Anderson to Bea Arthur (OK, that’s not a very good example because they both begin with “A”) to… Tony Curtis (Damn, only begins with “C”. Oh well, you get the point).

Anyway, today being Friday 13th, we are proud to reveal the judgement of no-less-an-expert than Mr Shaun Considine himself, author of Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud who has generously donated a signed (by him, not by the Whingers) US hardback copy as a prize. Read the rest of this entry »

Last chance to enter our competition

Saturday 31 March 2007

Quick note to say that Bette & Joan – the divine competition will close at noon on Good Friday (6th April 2007) after which we will give Shaun Considine the Easter weekend to contemplate the artistic merit of the entries and cast his judgement. Let’s hope it doesn’t give him resurrection blues.

The winner will be announced on Friday 13th, just for extra resonance.

So if you haven’t already entered and you think you have the perfect idea for casting the roles of Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, get cracking.

Fierstein, Chayefsky, Bette Davis, Considine, SOB

Friday 23 March 2007

Only connect. Now this is complicated, so pay attention.

The eyes and ears of WEW’s favourite Broadway blogger Steve on Broadway report (Note to Andrew – it’s probably the lips or the fingers that actually did the reporting, not the eyes and ears;  I am now the acknowledged expert on writing since – did I already mention this – it was my phrase, not yours, that was quoted on The Guardian’s arts blog – Phil) that Harvey Fierstein (right) is “planning a return to Broadway via a musical version of  Paddy Chayefsky‘s The Catered Affair.” Read the rest of this entry »

Bette & Joan – the divine competition

Sunday 18 March 2007

Who would have thought that the West End Whingers would be running an honest-to-god competition with a real prize? And in association with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford (kind of)?

But it’s true. You could win an original, signed (by the author, not the Whingers) US hardback copy of Shaun Considine’s delicious biography Bette & Joan: The Divine Feud complete with oodles of wonderful photographs thanks to the generosity of the author himself.

It was a timely offer from Mr Considine; Andrew had been on the verge of selling his shares in Siriami to bankroll his latest get-rich-quick scheme – a premium rate phone-in competition, an idea cruelly undermined by arch-villains Richard & Judy and Blue Peter. Read the rest of this entry »

Hairspray the musical finally to hit London

Saturday 10 March 2007

Hairspray the musicalIt must be difficult for Steve on Broadway to navigate everyday life with his ear so permanently to the ground of the Great White Way.

But thank goodness he does, for he brings the Whingers welcome news that the stage production of Hairspray the musical will finally reach London although rather ominously we hear that it will be staged in the Shaftesbury Theatre (home of the hits).

The show’s transfer from Broadway has been much delayed, probably to avoid conflicts with the forthcoming film which features John Travolta in the role of Edna Turnblad, the role created by Divine in the original John Waters film and on Broadway by Harvey Fierstein. Read the rest of this entry »

Whatever happened to Bette and Joan?

Friday 9 March 2007

62babyjanex1.jpgAfter visiting the Old Vic the other night, among the many important discussions about really important things over a much needed glass of something, the Whingers wondered, Whatever happened to Bette and Joan“?

Malcolm McKay’s play, based on Bette and Joan – The Divine Feud by Shaun Considine, has been whispered about in certain quarters for some time, as it deals with the infamous rivalry between Bette Davis and Joan Crawford. Andrew and Phil, always on the lookout for exciting and dangerous new projects had their appetites well and truly whetted by the prospect.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The BAFTA Film Awards

Tuesday 13 February 2007

_189832_bafta_award_3001.jpgYes the Whingers know that the Orange British Academy Film Awards isn’t exactly theatre, but it did take place at The Royal Opera House (perhaps the only sensible decision of the evening) in the heart of London’s glittering West End.

Unfortunately glitter was thin on the ground. Looking at the audience – which seemed to represent some of the best of Britain’s Theatre talent rather than Hollywood A-listers – the whingers wondered if they hadn’t tuned into the Olivier Awards by mistake. Read the rest of this entry »

Sweeney Todd the movie

Sunday 11 February 2007

News reaches the Whingers that filming started this week on Tim Burton’s film adaptation of Stephen Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring those well known doyennes of musical theatre Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter as Sweeney Todd and Mrs Lovett. Read the rest of this entry »

We see dead people

Saturday 10 February 2007

Bery’s Reid’s benchA conversation about the good old days of British theatre when stars were capable of eight performances a week and the stages weren’t full of people off the telly led the Whingers to pay a visit to St Paul’s Covent Garden (the “actors’ church) recently to hang around with dead people.

Strangely, neither whinger had ever visited this historic place. Although the whingers are often to be seen on their knees, this is usually in the context of crawling out of a bar. Read the rest of this entry »

Dead and buried

Monday 29 January 2007

Today is notable for being the eighth anniversary of the death of stripper and burlesque artist Lily St Cyr (worthy of a national holiday, we feel).

It prompts us to reflect on that feeling we get when we hear that someone famous has died and our first thought is, “Again?”. That was certainly our response to the recent death of Yvonne de Carlo.

The West End Whingers often experience this because so many of their icons are – to put it politely – in the autumn or winter of their years and many of them haven’t been seen in public for years.

That’s why one of our favourite websites is the wonderful Dead or Alive? which helps to settle many an argument. Eve Arden? Died in 1990, apparently. Deanna Durbin? Jane Wyman? Both still going.

Had the internet been invented for just this purpose, it would still have been a worhtwhile invention, in our view.

We often follow up with a look at Find A Grave which tells you where the departed ones are buried. Did you know that Boris Karloff’s last resting place is Guildford Crematorium‘s Garden of Remembrance (his name is on a marker under a rosebush in plot 2, on the left hand side) and that Margaret Lockwood is buried in Putney Vale Cemetery?

Goodbye Yvonne De Carlo

Thursday 11 January 2007

Yvonne De CarloGoodbye, Yvonne De Carlo;

You were in the original production of Follies;

You sang “I’m Still Here”;

But unfortunately you’re not any more.

(with apologies to E.J. Thribb)

Yvonne De Carlo (nee Peggy Yvonne Middleton)
B. 1 September 1922
D. 8 January 2007

And here is the woman herself singing that tune at the Hollywood Bowl. Shame someone accidentally taped over the middle of it…