Archive for the 'musicals' Category

Review: Sunset Boulevard, Comedy Theatre

Tuesday 9 December 2008

sunsetboulevard“You can’t write a musical about Sunset Boulevard,” Billy Wilder is said to have told Stephen Sondheim. “It has to be an opera. After all, it’s about a dethroned queen” (We’re not going to insult your intelligence with links to SB, BW or SS – you know what/who they are).

Sondheim got the message but if Andrew Lloyd Webber had any qualms he overcame them and – unhappily – another hit was born, Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Betty Buckley, Petula Clark and Rita Moreno (ditto) being among the luminaries who have given their close-up, Mr De Mille.

Now, cards on the table. The Whingers have never been struck by Mr Lloyd Webber’s work and they tend to steer well-clear of sung-through musicals. They also believe that Sunset Boulevard is a classic film that no-one has any right to mess with (for heaven’s sake; at this rate they’ll be staging All About Eve next!) but they gallantly overcame all these prejudices and more in order to take a trip down Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: A Little Night Music, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 1 December 2008

8ebff51a6e8e3f904c2c4e6e4667b3e4_poster-alnmThis was the show the Whingers had been waiting for.

Not because the Whingers love Sondheim (they do). Not because they wanted to see if Trevor Nunn could atone for the terrible sins he committed with Gone With the Wind – The Musical! (he has). Or to see if, at 34, Hannah Waddingham would convince as the youngest ever DesirĂ©e Armfeldt (she did).

No, rising like a shining beacon of common sense and democracy above all of this was the news that A Little Night Music was to be the first production at the Menier Chocolate Factory where they dropped their absurd and unpopular unreserved seating policy*. Yeah! Good old Menier, the Whingers hoops had never been so cocked (or should that be the other way round?). Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Calendar Girls, Richmond Theatre

Sunday 30 November 2008

p4701_m1

Sometimes the Whingers leave the theatre inspired.

Braving the rugby fans heading for Twickenham yesterday they trailed out to the Richmond Theatre through the Simon Callow and Bonnie Langford themed ticket barriers at the station to see the stage adaptation of Calendar Girls.

Yes, with New Year just around the corner they’re left themselves with a matter of weeks to bring out their own charity calendar. Read the rest of this entry »

(Re)Review – La Cage aux Folles – Playhouse Theatre

Wednesday 19 November 2008

wew-la-cageThe Whingers are not known for generosity, fairness or giving things second chances.

But having been rather disappointed by La Cage Aux Folles at the Menier (it was the first preview and Douglas Hodge was indisposed) it was with a quite uncharacteristic dollop of largesse that they decided to take in the show’s West End transfer. Taking a lesson from the show’s lyrics the Whingers trotted off to its new home at the Playhouse Theatre hoping to see things from a different angle.

They had been encouraged by terrific reviews* (particularly for Hodge) such as:

“HODGE REVELS WITH SEDUCTIVE ELAN”
Evening Standard

“AS AN ANTIDOTE TO THE CREDIT-CRUNCH BLUES, LA CAGE AUX FOLLES IS UNBEATABLE”
Daily Telegraph

“SEW ON A SEQUIN, SLIP INTO SOME HEELS AND GO”
The Times

“THERE’S NO BETTER WAY TO CHASE AWAY RECESSION BLUES”
Time Out

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 – Jersey Boys, Prince Edward Theatre, London

Monday 18 August 2008

Musical theatre die-hard Steve on Broadway had warned the Whingers off it.

But Paul in London was pretty impressed.

On the other hand Lyn Gardner awarded it a paltry 2 stars.

But then again Daily Telegraph critic Charles Spencer is splashed over the top of the posters dubbing it “Phenomenal” (but then the Telegraph are “proud media partners of Jersey Boys. Not, of course, that the Whingers are suggesting any partisanship).

Anyway, all very confusing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Gigi, Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park

Thursday 14 August 2008

There are some things in the theatre that hack the Whingers off even more than everything else: the lack of a DBE, the absence of a proscenium arch, anything in the round, square or traverse staging.

But to be fair there are some things over which producers and directors have no control: the weather.

Well, we assume they have no control although the Whingers are convinced that Nicholas Hytner or Kevin Spacey might have some sway and they are entirely certain that Dame Judi Dench could help them forget it, whatever it was.

All of which is, of course, a pointless preamble to the fact that for many weeks the Whingers have – through their weatherproof wallets – been clutching tickets for Gigi at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre (or, as the publicity insists on having it: Lerner and Loewe’s Gigi). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Swell Party, Cadogan Hall

Sunday 10 August 2008

Showtunes fans only need read on… Nothing for anyone else here. Move along now…

The problem with owning an Ethel Merman’s Greatest Hits CD is that whenever you hear anyone else sing “Throwing a Ball Tonight” or “Make It Another Old Fashioned Please” you just think, “That’s not right”.

That was the main lesson taken away from last night’s A Swell Party at the Cadogan Hall. Of course, you can’t un-buy a CD and there is no known medical intervention which can remove Merman memories from the brain so think carefully before you purchase such a thing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Zorro the Musical, Garrick Theatre

Friday 8 August 2008

Gasp! The mark of the Whingers!

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – David McAlmont at the Clore Ballroom, Royal Festival Hall

Saturday 26 July 2008

Well, not a review really. More of a “heads up”.

The Whingers are almost certainly not going to see The Wizard of Oz at the Royal Festival Hall because it isn’t Christmas. Even the lure of the legendary Roy Hudd was not quite enough to overcome their seasonal prejudices.

Still, the Royal Festival Hall has a series of free Dorothy-related events running over the summer and if last night you missed David McAlmont singing the Harold Arlen songbook in the Clore Ballroom, make sure you catch it tonight (Saturday) at 6pm.

He’s accompanied by the fantastic Natasha Panas on the piano and together they deliver a top class appraisal of classics such as “Ac-cent-tchu-ate the Positive”, “Ding-Dong! The Witch Is Dead”, “One for My Baby (and One More for the Road)”, “Over the Rainbow” and “The Man That Got Away”.

Unmissable stuff for lovers of show tunes and the great American songbook.

David McAlmont and Natasha Panas

David McAlmont and Natasha Panas

Here’s McAlmont at his very campest:

The Very Worst Musicals – No 1. Carrie (an appreciation)

Tuesday 29 April 2008

With Andrew traipsing round former Yugoslavia (getting himself in the mood for another Eastern European Eurovision Song Contest victory), the Whingers are on a much needed break from bad theatre. This leaves Phil free to mull (inspired by the satisfying panning of Gone With the Wind) over the very worst shows he’s had the pleasure to experience.

It’s a long list, among the mouth-watering contenders: Jean Seberg, Leonardo the Musical: A Portrait of Love, Metropolis and Jeeves (the original 1975 version), but standing like a beacon of kitsch above the rest is that now legendary spectacle of Carrie – The Musical. (Dubiously ambiguous poster right) Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Gone With The Wind – The Musical! (Act 2) at the New London Theatre

Thursday 10 April 2008

Now, do you promise that you’ve ploughed your way through our account of Act 1? Then you may proceed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Gone With The Wind – The Musical! (Act 1) at the New London Theatre

Thursday 10 April 2008

The London Marathon arrived a few days early for the Whingers. Standing in freezing weather watching people run past dressed as rhinos would have been a doddle compared to this.

Thankfully the Whingers and their plus-eight (remember that – it is important later) had come prepared: thermos flasks of coffee, energy drinks, sports chocolate, pillows and hot water bottles were all smuggled into the auditorium. Beneath his smart evening-wear Andrew was sporting a natty and almost fresh set of his favourite jim-jams.

Most shockingly of all, Phil had broken his “no caffeine after 5pm” rule (one of the conditions of his ASBO) in a determined effort to make it through to the very end of the four-hour (but getting shorter) marathon that is a preview of Gone With The Wind – The Musical!

The big question on everyone’s lips, of course, was: “How can they possibly squeeze the thousand-odd pages of Margaret Mitchell’s epic novel into “just” four hours? The answer is simple… Read the rest of this entry »

In which The Whingers put their money where their big mouths are..

Tuesday 1 April 2008

Quilting beeThe Whingers have oft complained that there’s not enough theatre out there that really amuses them.

Andrew’s sartorial choices often elicit huge guffaws from Phil, but he doesn’t need to sit through a couple of hours of dross to derive such pleasure. It’s often the high point of an otherwise turgid theatre evening.

So, a few years back, the Whingers (over a bottle or two of oh-be-joyful of course) threw down the gauntlet (Hello Kitty glove in Andrew’s case) to each other and decided that they could write something better. Read the rest of this entry »

Nancy notes

Monday 31 March 2008

Yes, well, the Whingers were a bit sniffy about the search for a Joseph. In fact we ignored it altogether. Who cares who plays Joseph? And apparently there was another show where they cast the leads for a West End production of Grease. Who knew? Read the rest of this entry »