Archive for the 'West End Whingers' Category

Review – Home, I’m Darling, National Theatre

Friday 27 July 2018

Tricky.

How do you discuss Home, I’m Darling without giving away a key reveal? Well those who reviewed Tamara Harvey’s production when it was at Theatre Clwyd gave it away willy-nilly, but then it is mightily hard to talk of it without doing so. Fortunately we saved reading those reviews until after we’d seen it.

Statistically, of course, most readers won’t ever get to see it anyway so why should one care so much? Despite this, however, we will still endeavour to give away as little away as possible. Which means this will be a faster read for you and you can move on to better things. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Exit the King, National Theatre

Tuesday 24 July 2018

“Stop this infernal pantomime!” shouts one of the Queens in Patrick Marber‘s version of Eugène Ionesco‘s Exit the King.

How many of us in this preview audience must have been thinking exactly the same? Yes, we’re nailing our colours to the mast straight away and saying what a dreadfully dreary evening this is. Even if it’s only 1 hour 40 minutes it feels much, much longer. Still, you can pass the time glancing round the audience and seeing if those on the ends of rows are slipping out discretely. Yes, some did. Lucky bastards. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Allelujah!, Bridge Theatre

Wednesday 18 July 2018

You have to hand it to The Bridge Theatre for jumping the gun. The publicity tells us that “Alan Bennett’s new play Allelujah! is as sharp as The History Boys and as funny as The Lady in the Van“. Err, we’ll get back to you on that.

Notice there’s no mention of Mr Bennett’s last two offerings, The Habit of Art and People. We can’t imagine why. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Lehman Trilogy, National Theatre

Wednesday 11 July 2018

A three and a half hour three-hander where the each of the three hands is a white male? At the National? No doubt apologies will be demanded and made.

A surprising lack of box-ticking here then, but there is an awful lot of box-lifting and box-shifting. But we will return to that in due course. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Inheritance, Young Vic

Thursday 19 April 2018

What can we say about The Inheritance that you might not have already heard?

That the publicity on the tin calls it a “hilarious and profound heartbreaker”.  We are unable to disagree with that even if the contents are in two parts and spread over 7 hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bat Out of Hell – Dominion Theatre

Saturday 14 April 2018

This was the week that probably had you wondering what Olivier Awards host Catherine Tate had done to wrong her stylist that they’d wrought such a terrible revenge. And why the shouty and seemingly underprepared host banged on about Time’s Up and then introduced Ronan Keating in a manner that had it been a man introducing a woman would have seen him booed off the stage. How very dare she. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Fanny & Alexander, Old Vic

Friday 9 March 2018

A front of curtain prologue, performed by a precocious whippersnapper warning us that we are about to see “the longest play ever” was never going to be music to our ears.

But we had been warned. Fanny & Alexander was running close to 4 hours at early previews. Max Webster‘s production is now a tighter Fanny at a relatively sprightly 3 and a half hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Scottish Play, National Theatre

Wednesday 28 February 2018

Phil’s only seen seen The Scottish Play once before. And that was some 30 years ago.

To put that into some kind of a context his tally of other shows runs roughly thus: 42nd Street (5 times), Into the Woods (5), La Cage Aux Folles (5), Follies (8), and Sweeney Todd (8). Shows where his priorities lie. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hamilton Experience, Victoria Palace

Monday 15 January 2018

So what’s Hamilton about?

It’s about finger-wagging bossiness and treating audiences as a slight inconvenience. The theatrical equivalent of restaurants which are happy to profit from big group bookings but can’t cope unless you choose from the menu in advance.

It’s about telling their audience to get to the theatre an hour before the performance and telling them not to try and enter the theatre until their full party has arrived. WTF? We hadn’t been this irritated since we heard our last “See it. Say it. Sorted” tube announcement (let’s not even start on those voiced by children).

It’s about telling us to bring “photographic ID” (according to Ticketmaster’s missives) or “government issued photo ID” (according to the Hamilton website) – so which is it to be? Phil, who confused the government with TFL was only allowed to enter by one of the Victoria Palace wardens as he “looked honest” (note to ticket touts, model yourselves on Phil). Andrew was taking no chances; fearing he might be mistaken for a tout and not allowed to finger the ticket he forked out for a year ago (despite Phil having dealt with the traumas of booking) he promised to turn up with his passport, a utility bill and a letter signed by two Justices of the Peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Mischief Movie Night, Arts Theatre

Thursday 11 January 2018

If you pick up a copy of Mischief Movie Night‘s “Special Rehearsal Edition Script” (Bloomsbury) in the Arts Theatre foyer you’ll find it’s blank.

Of course it is. This is Mischief Theatre‘s (AKA The Play That Goes Wrong team) latest foray onto the West End stage. A show starring most of TPTGW‘s original cast (Bryony Corrigan, Dave HearnCharlie Russell, Jonathan Sayer and the Henrys Shields and Lewis etc)  returning to their improv comedy roots in a show “starring them, directed by you!” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dick Whittington, London Palladium

Thursday 21 December 2017

If we say Andrew can’t get enough Dick (he’s off for more Dick with The Krankies in Manchester this weekend) you get a measure of the entendre to expect in this year’s Palladium panto.

You’d expect Dick Whittington starring Julian Clary as The Spirit of the Bells to have more dick gags than you can shake an, obviously very large, stick at. What we didn’t expect were so many references to musical theatre; FolliesElaine Paige‘s radio show and her back catalogue of most famous show tunes, Half A Sixpence (Charlie Stemp and Emma Williams from that show play Dick and Alice Fitzwarren respectively), Hello Dolly! (Stemp is heading to Broadway shortly to appear in it) and even the mega-hyped Hamilton are all referencedYou may wonder exactly who the show is aimed at. Not kiddies at all, but musical people of a certain age. Not that we complain. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Pinocchio, National Theatre

Thursday 14 December 2017

You can’t say the National’s not hell-bent on success with Pinocchio.

Disney have offered up the stage rights of the Oscar-winning score from their 1940 classic animation and promised they won’t interfere. The songs are arranged by Tony/Grammy/Olivier Award-winning musical director Martin Lowe. The book’s by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Dennis (Matilda) Kelly and it’s directed by Tony Award-winner John (Once and the Harry Potter plays) Tiffany. The design team of Bob Crowley (set/costume/puppet co-designer) and Paule Constable (lighting) have 4 Oliviers and 9 Tony Awards between them. Goodness.

The creative table is positively groaning with talent and awards, so how come the National are serving up turkey again this Christmas? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Twilight Zone, Almeida Theatre

Friday 8 December 2017

You are about to enter another dimension. A dimension of not only bad sightlines and the sound of coughing and rustling sweet wrappers but of the mindless thoughts of Phil’s ramblings. It is the middle ground between success and failure, the dimension of the very first preview and the first time Phil has entered the shadowy world of theatre with only Andrew in tow for quite some time. You have crossed over into an area we call The Twilight Zone. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre

Thursday 30 November 2017

Everybody has been talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and dusting it with the glitter of 4 and 5 star reviews as though glitter were about to be banned.

Trouble is we’ve seen this sort of brouhaha before. And you don’t have to go back too far to look at the West End’s ever-expanding graveyard of British Musicals that were garlanded with superlatives at the time but were either near misses (Bend it Like Beckham) or totally lame misfires (cf. Mrs Henderson Presents, The Girls, Made in Dagenham). Critics are all too ready to big up the latest crock. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre

Thursday 23 November 2017

In which Phil acts as advisor to Mel Brooks.

Phil’s having a half-arsed catch up of shows he missed during his confinement. Or you could say a catch up on the seventies since this is his third in a row that steals from classic movies from that decade (Network, The Exorcist). Though this is less of a catch up than a revisiting. Of sorts. Read the rest of this entry »