Archive for the 'National Theatre' Category

Review – Major Barbara, National Theatre

Thursday 28 February 2008

“Alcohol is a very necessary article. It heals the sick… It assists the doctor – that is perhaps a less questionable way of putting it. It makes life bearable to millions of people who could not endure their existence if they were quite sober. It enables Parliament to do things at eleven at night that no sane person would do at eleven in the morning.”

Who would have thought that of all the playwrights in all the world the Whingers would finally discover that their kindred spirit was George Bernard Shaw?

Having been taken completely taken by surprise at the excellence of Saint Joan in the same space last year, it seemed unlikely that lightning (or perhaps an earthquake) could possibly strike twice. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other, National Theatre

Tuesday 12 February 2008
  • 27 actors
  • 450 characters
  • No dialogue

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Happy Now? National Theatre

Tuesday 22 January 2008

Happy NowAnd so it was that the Whingers set out on what has officially (by a man in Cardiff, no less) been declared the most depressing day of the year in pursuit of an uplifting evening in the hallowed auditorium which is the Cottesloe “Theatre”.

And how appropriate (or ironic, depending on your take) that the piece in question should bear the title Happy Now?

But even with WEW fave Anne Reid in the cast, it would take some pretty deft writing on the part of playwright Lucinda Coxon (or more likely a bottle or two of red) to shake off the Whingers’ winter blues (not to mention the day’s hit on Andrew’s already pathetic pension fund). Read the rest of this entry »

Guest review – Much Ado About Nothing, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 December 2007

Due to our general aversion to Shakespeare, we delegated this one to Channel 4 News presenter Samira Ahmed. Thanks, Sam. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Women of Troy, National Theatre

Monday 26 November 2007

Graham Norton interviewed Zandra Rhodes (right) on one of his many television shows and asked her something along the lines of: “When you’re getting dressed in the morning, is there no point at which you think ‘Right, I’ve put enough things on now. I’ll stop’?”

For some reason, Katie Mitchell’s production of Euripides’ Women of Troy at the National Theatre put Andrew in mind of this question. Read the rest of this entry »

In which Nicholas Hytner is too modest about his achievements to date

Saturday 17 November 2007

From Hugo Rifkind’s People section in yesterday’s The Times:

When you’re responsible for your country’s flagship theatre, aren’t you supposed to convince the public to swing by occasionally? Not, apparently, when you are Nicholas Hytner, director of the National Theatre on the South Bank in London. “I would seriously like to feel that somebody would deliver me a play that will really get up your noses,” he told an audience at the Soho Theatre last week.

Review – Present Laughter, National Theatre

Saturday 20 October 2007

[Note from Andrew: Apologies. There are quite a few blah-blah-blah-type golden oldie reminiscences coming up courtesy of Phil. Thought I should warn you.]

Phil had seen Present Laughter in Bournemouth in the days when Andrew was still playing with his conkers. Peter Wyngarde had taken the lead (see bottom of post if this name means nothing to you).

This turned out to be a most happy serendipity as Helen Smith had brought along a new Would-Be-Whinger called Richard who is a real live actor.

At the mention of the name “Peter Wyngarde” Richard turned grey. It emerged that Richard once played opposite Mr Wyngarde in a disastrous theatrical production at Liverpool Playhouse and he regaled the ultra-attentive Whingers with a marvellously amusing and deliciously scandalous theatrical anecdote…. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – War Horse, National Theatre

Thursday 11 October 2007

Maybe it was jet-lag, but suddenly the Whingers’ 11+ hour flight from Peru seemed like a breeze compared with the 80-minute first act of War Horse at the National Theatre.

At least KLM provided the Whingers with some in-flight entertainment. Perhaps the National might follow suit and introduce seat-back systems featuring a massive menu of plays from which to choose? And maybe some games. Think about it, Nick. After all, the NFT (we still refuse to call it the BFI Southbank) seems to have thrown the towel in regarding its programming and now lets you watch what you want from 600 titles in its “mediatheque”.

Yet the evening had begun so promisingly. Read the rest of this entry »

Name that theatre

Thursday 20 September 2007

Courtesy of London Open House:

It’s as if [the architect] is evoking some archetypal architectural experience: a ruined castle, where you clamber around, discovering new spaces and places, or a bombed building, its exterior blown away but its staircases intact. You can stand, deep in shadow but looking toward the light, or move from level to level on enclosed staircases broken here and there by views out. It’s a sensual, playful and almost abstract architectural aesthetic underscored everywhere by the use of concrete. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Masque of the Red Death (Punchdrunk, National Theatre) at Battersea Arts Centre

Wednesday 19 September 2007

Thank you, Punchdrunk, for saving the West End Whingers the bother of writing a review. What a lot of people don’t realise is that whinging is a very time-consuming business: crafting and honing our reviews can take anywhere up to 9 minutes. But this was much faster.

Punchdrunk, you may recall, put together Faust last year in conjunction with the National Theatre. On that occasion it took place in an archive warehouse in the East End. Now they have taken over Battersea Arts Centre to present Edgar Allen Poe‘s The Masque of the Red Death.

Thankfully, it’s basically the same thing, so we can just repeat repeat the Faust review with some amendments and some deletions:

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Emperor Jones, National Theatre

Monday 10 September 2007

p60jones_468x466.jpgAndrew would have loved this one.

The play that launched Eugene O’Neill’s career The Emperor Jones turned into a music and dance spectacle with a multi-cultural cast and all over without an interval in a mere 70 minutes.

Where could Andrew have been? Well, as regular readers will know, since seeing the abysmal Take Flight at the Menier Chocolate Factory Andrew’s been inspired to do a little of his own flying solo. Only last Thursday he inveigled himself to join a posse of fellow theatrical bloggers at The Bacchae without so much as a nod to poor Phil who was desperate to see Alan Cumming’s bottom for the nth time. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Chatroom/Citizenship, National Theatre

Wednesday 5 September 2007

The Whingers felt very old last night.

Of course, Phil is very old; at least according to Andrew who is still living the fantasy that he’s in the first flush of his youth and parries all enquiries about his age with just five words: “I am in my prime”.

So it was that Andrew dragged Phil off to the National Theatre last night to see Chatroom and Citizenship a dose of yoof theatre, insisting that he would relate to the teenagers’ issues portrayed on the stage. How Phil laughed. Read the rest of this entry »

Enter own lame pun headline around “goat” here

Tuesday 7 August 2007

Bruce the goat is not turning up for work at the National Theatre at the moment. Read the rest of this entry »

The National Theatre – when stars were stars

Monday 6 August 2007

Hush, hush, whisper who dares, Phil is having one of his “À la recherche du temps perdu” days again.

Heaven knows, it doesn’t take much to set him ambling off down Memory Lane of late.

This time it was simply an innocent footnote in the latest mailing from the National Theatre that pushed him over the edge and set him off. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Enchantment, National Theatre

Wednesday 25 July 2007

Zubin Varla and Nancy Carroll in The Enchantment

After a string of disappointments the big question hovering over this evening was: would the West End Whingers finally finish something they started?

Andrew had been fortunate enough to enjoy both acts of Lady Be Good last week, but poor Phil has seen only half of each of the last three plays he’s attended.

So the stakes were high for the National’s production of The Enchantment by Victoria Benedictsson in a new version by Clare Bayley. Read the rest of this entry »