Archive for the 'musicals' Category

Review – Maria Friedman “Re-Arranged”, Menier Chocolate Factory

Friday 21 March 2008

For some reason Phil turned up his proboscis at the opportunity to see Maria Friedman’s new concert show Re-Arranged at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

Heaven knows why. Her shows are always first rate. Unlike some other musical theatre divas, Ms Friedman clearly loves music and arrangements rather than just the sound of her own voice and her shows are always a cut above.

And how many times do you get to experience a 11 piece orchestra (playing 40-odd instruments)? Top notch players too. On violin was Oliver Lewis whose “phenomenal world record breaking speed in The Flight of the Bumble Bee is unmatched by any other violinist”.

In short: it’s real class. Perhaps that’s what didn’t appeal to Phil. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Chita Rivera, Shaw Theatre, London

Sunday 10 February 2008

“Universally regarded as an American national treasure, Chita Rivera is Broadway’s most accomplished and versatile dancer/actress/singer,” begins the blurb on the Shaw Theatre‘s website which is an astonishing coincidence as this would be exactly the tone the Whingers would use in their own biographical notes. 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 of the Year 2007 – the worst and the less so

Saturday 29 December 2007

Whingie Award

The general busyness of Christmas is at last on the wane – Phil has finally delivered his yule log and Andrew has put all his gifts onto ebay.

So now at last the Whingers have the time to look back over some of the horrors they’ve had the misfortune to witness during 2007 and – on the rare occasions on which praise is due – to hand out a few Whingies.

Read the rest of this entry »

Height restrictions for Broadway audiences – whatever next?

Monday 3 December 2007

33781781.jpgThe Whingers received some disturbing but equally exciting news yesterday afternoon.

Andrew made an unusual decision to attend the rather wonderful Ben Yeoh’s birthday celebrations in the National Film Theatre BFI Southbank bar. Unusual for Andrew as he usually prefers to curl up in a ball under a manky duvet with his cats, than attend anything with the word “party” attached. Yes it’s all very Grey Gardens.

Phil of course loves parties being much more socially adept than his fellow Whinger. So while Andrew sat nursing his bottle of Côtes du Rhône in a corner hoping no one would would bother him, Phil was working the room. Read the rest of this entry »

Guess who we saw today?

Sunday 18 November 2007

So, anyway, there we were having a quiet drink with Mel Brooks and Roger Bart when who should drop into the bar but Baz Bamigboye, the Daily Mail’s chief show-business reporter. Imagine the Whingers’ excitement. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

Thursday 15 November 2007

Hoorah for Local One!

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee was way down the Whingers’ list of shows to see while they were in New York but thanks to the stage hands strike, it crept up onto their list.

And they are dead chuffed that it did. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Young Frankenstein,

Wednesday 14 November 2007

Well, nothing could live up to what came before it, could it?

And we aren’t just talking about The Producers.

Young Frankenstein ain’t The Producers, but it ain’t Xanadu either.

Two nights ago the Whingers came out of Xanadu with mixed feelings – euphoric, but knowing in their hearts (sic) that their Broadway adventure had unexpectedly peaked too early.

They had mulled over what star rating they would have given Xanadu if they weren’t too lazy to have a star rating system. The Whingers love star ratings. They know where they are with a star rating; so much more useful than having things located in the wider discourse for you when it comes to deciding what to see.

So they and decided that on a six star Time Out rating, it would get a five.

On a standard five star rating such as The Guardian‘s (which actually has now been thrown into confusion having been exposed as a six level rating thanks to Gardner’s no-star rating for Menopause the Musical) they decided that to give Xanadu anything less than a five would be churlish.

Read the rest of this entry »

Guest review – Young Frankenstein on Broadway

Sunday 28 October 2007

The West End Whingers greatly enjoyed The Producers so when they heard that Mel Brooks was to follow up his tour de theatre with a musical version of Young Frankenstein they acted without hesitation and sent a reconnaissance team to New York City to check it out and report back on whether it was worth going or not.

Choosing the team was easy. Andrew had been so impressed with the critical faculties that Stanley (11), Delilah (16) and Mathilda (18) had exhibited at Gilgamesh that he shipped them off steerage class with their drowsy chaperones Allan and Helen.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hairspray the musical, Shaftesbury Theatre, London

Thursday 18 October 2007

West End Whingers Hairspray logoPhil had been waiting a long time for this. Not because the Whingers are fans of the original John Waters film (although they are), nor because they enjoyed the new film version of the musical (although they did), nor even because the Broadway production with Harvey Fierstein [CLUNK] delighted them so much four years ago.

No, it’s a much longer story than that. Andrew – in a peculiar and rate act of largesse – was very quick off the mark many months ago to do his biggest block booking yet: 19 tickets (which Andrew considers a “round number” but Phil thinks it was intended to be 20 but that Andrew had one of his Russ Conway moments and ran out of fingers to count on).

Whatever. It was undoubtedly the single most complicated feat of Whinger logistics ever.

And Phil, of course, just couldn’t wait for the big night.

So that he could witness Andrew’s efforts go all pear-shaped and end in tears.

Read the rest of this entry »

No people like show people

Wednesday 10 October 2007

A fabulous “story” on the Daily Mail website today courtesy of the West End Whingers’ very own stalker Baz Bamigboye (who seems to pop up at the theatre on the same evenings as the Whingers far more frequently than can be attributed to the laws of random probability). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Parade, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 18 September 2007

A tragedy surrounding a young girl? A grieving parent? A suspect damned by circumstantial evidence created by police anxious for a conviction in a high profile case? A woman crusading for justice? The media whipping up public opinion to a frenzy of hatred? No, the Whingers weren’t flicking through one of this mornings tabloids, (they are all tabloids aren’t they these days?) but sitting watching a musical: Parade at the Donmar Warehouse. Read the rest of this entry »

Michael Ball: from zero to hero

Friday 24 August 2007

He may offer a very nice line in cork-backed coasters (right) and car tax disc holders but otherwise we have to say that the West End Whingers have never really got the point of Michael Ball.

We’re not against him, particularly, it’s just that we’re not really for him either which has left us in an unusually neutral position over him being cast as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray.

But now that we know that he is a man who really doesn’t know or care which side his bread is buttered and is more than happy to bite the hand that feeds him, we’re rather warming to the man. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »