Archive for the 'West End Whingers' Category

Review – Snow White, The London Palladium

Wednesday 12 December 2018

Snow White? Not a proper panto is it really? Well not in our dusty old panto inventory.

But then this is the Palladium panto, now in its third year since being reinvented for this venue, and it is (of course) bigger than ever, and has expanded its repertory company of Julian ClaryGary WilmotNigel HaversPaul ZerdinCharlie Stemp with the USP of Dawn French in her first ever panto and for those interested in such things dance duo Vincent & Flavia. Plus – quite rightly – seven people of restricted euphemism. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Hadestown, National Theatre

Friday 9 November 2018

The last time Phil remembers a subsidised Royal theatre company being used as a laboratory for a musical on its way to Broadway was when the RSC road tested Carrie. Look how that turned out

Phil trailed up to Stratford for that one and picked up a distinct tang of major stinker early in the opening number. If Hadestown (music, lyrics and book Anaïs Mitchell, developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin) turned out to be more musical theatre hell producing sulphurous pongs at least he only had to travel as far as the National Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Very Very Very Dark Matter, The Bridge Theatre

Friday 19 October 2018

A Very Very Very Dark Matter certainly is what it says on the tin. But in opening that grubby little tin be warned, we might spoil the contents for you. Continue at your peril. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Company, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 12 October 2018

Gender-swapped roles? Aren’t we not just a teensey-weensy bit over them by now?

This is the week that saw our first female Doctor Who. The National Theatre drops the willies willy-nilly, just because it can. Now Stephanie Sondheim has been thrown the ball, dropped it (or them) and has been persuaded to sanction a change for the central character of Bobby to Bobbie in his 1970 musical Company. If it’s to give actresses (at Whingers’ Towers we still like to call them actresses) more work it’s counter-productive, as three of the lady roles in the show are now played by men. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Antony & Cleopatra, National Theatre

Friday 21 September 2018

We will assume you know enough about the story of Mr Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra (or Antony ampersand Cleopatra as the National is naming it) that you will not be offended by the spoliers that appear here. After all it’s hardly Bodyguard don’t you know.

So what’s it about?

It’s about 3 hours 30 minutes. Yes, we’ve used this gag before but we’re assuming that our demographic are of an age (or drink so much) that they won’t remember such things. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The King and I, London Palladium

Tuesday 18 September 2018

In a relatively theatre-free summer Phil’s last two and a half theatre outings have been to revivals of popular musicals which were turned into successful films starring the original stage star. Rather scarily Phil saw both these stage productions with the aforementioned stars. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »