Archive for the 'opera' Category

Review – Candide, ENO at the Coliseum

Sunday 6 July 2008

Candide at the English National Opera

“Dear ENO. The West End Whingers would love to see Candide but their policy of paying to see West End shows has reduced them almost to penury and an ENO ticket might well push them over the edge. As both are adamant that they never want to shop at Lidl, they are reduced to begging for two excellent press seats. Andrew has two cats to support and Phil has a very expensive Night Nurse habit.”

Yes, it’s pathetic, but that’s the credit crunch for you. And with stalls seats at £83.00, what can you do?

Fortunately the ENO came up trumps and offered the Whingers FREE seats – “on this occasion”.

Unfortunately the reviews came out the very next day:

  • “Loud, brash, heavy-handed and leaving little to the imagination” Evening Standard
  • “What a load of camp old cobblers” The Times

Too late. The trap had snapped shut. Read the rest of this entry »

Backstage tour of the Royal Opera House

Sunday 29 April 2007

Say what you like about the West End Whingers, but when they get an idea into their heads (thankfully a rare occurrence) they will not be swayed from their aim. 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 »

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…

Review – Porgy and Bess

Thursday 21 December 2006

Porgy and BessIn the interests of their personal safety, the West End Whingers normally hunt as a pair (you never know around which corner WEW stalker Liliane Montevecchi might be lurking).

But this weekend Phil was partly working and – still not having completely recovered from the Daddy Cool experience a month ago – was spending the rest of his time lying down in a darkened room.

Opera consultant AndersSo Andrew decided it was an opportunity for the whingers to branch out of their comfort zone. So, at great personal expense he flew in his Finnish opera buff friend Anders (right) from Zurich (yes we know Zurich isn’t in Finland) to accompany him to two pieces of vaguely opera-related entertainment – Made Up (see separate review) at the Jermyn Street Theatre and Porgy and Bess at the Savoy.

Now, neither whinger really does opera, so having a serious opera lover on hand was vital to the success of this radical departure.

Being an equal-opportunities reviewer, Andrew was naturally excited about the prospect of seeing the new production of what is certainly the world’s leading negro cripple opera (I’m quoting from the text here). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Impropera – Made Up

Tuesday 19 December 2006

indexfile_r5_c9.jpgHonestly, whatever next? Andrew is used to “making do” at the theatre but Impropera‘s show Made Up at the Jermyn Street Theatre really did take the biscuit.

For a start, the performers didn’t seem to have bothered finding a script of any kind, let alone learning it.

Not only that, but they really hadn’t thought about what they were going to do very much at all. And then they had the nerve to ask the audience to shout out things for them to use to improvise an opera “on the hoof” as it were.

Andrew was appalled. I mean, really you do expect a bit more from a show than that, even when you’re lurking on the fringe.

They sort of managed to cobble something together and many of the people in the  audience seemed to be having a good time, but really. Whatever next? Unallocated seating?