Archive for the 'West End Whingers' Category

Review – Evita, Regent’s Park

Wednesday 14 August 2019

A jobbing actress who finds global fame and VIP status by marrying a person who holds a position of national significance?

A woman who has special interests in charitable deeds and spouting political thoughts but becomes something of a fashion icon in the process and also the target of accusations of hypocrisy?

If the opportunity had been around there’s no doubt Eva Perón would have opened an Instagram account. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Blues in the Night, Kiln Theatre

Thursday 1 August 2019

Slightly off putting to visit The Kiln in a heatwave but that’s what we did. Yes, that was last week. We’re hardly quick out of the traps here.

This was our first visit since the the theatre’s new look and peculiar re-branding. We had something of a chequered history with it in its Tricycle days, forever banging on about its unreserved seating policy. Now you can reserve a specific seat, though when we booked they still hadn’t worked out a seating plan so the theatre took it upon themselves to select our seats for us at a later stage. A very queer way to operate if you ask us. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jesus Christ Superstar, Barbican Theatre

Friday 26 July 2019

Well yes. Time to fess up. This was our fifth visit to this Regent’s Park production of JesusChrist Superstar. Though only (only?) the third time we actually got to see the show. Our first visit was cancelled due to a power failure and another cancelled due to inclemency. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Present Laughter, Old Vic

Monday 24 June 2019

You wait a lifetime for a frothy wartime comedy by a gay Sir that opens with someone waking up the worse for wear and wondering who the stranger they picked up last night is and you get two in a little over a week. What are the chances?

First there was Sir Terence Rattigan’s 1943 While the Sun Shine‘s now we have Sir Noël Coward‘s 1939 Present Laughter. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Porgy and Bess, Grange Park Opera

Friday 21 June 2019

Ok, so we lied. Well sorta. This isn’t so much a review of George Gershwin‘s Porgy and Bess (libretto by Edwin DuBose Heyward from his 1925 novel, lyrics Ira Gershwin)* as it is a take on the whole experience of visiting Grange Park Opera.

Now this is not the The Grange Festival of opera in Hampshire. This is Grange Park Opera at West Horsley Surrey. The Hampshire location is where Grange Park Opera used to be but The Grange Festival which is now there has used the Grange moniker too. Confusing? Yes of course it is. You might imagine that people turn up at the wrong location on occasion. Of course they do. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – While the Sun Shines, Orange Tree Theatre

Friday 14 June 2019

Like a lot of life, While the Sun Shines had completely passed us by. Which is surprising to us as it initially played over 1,000 performances and was Terence Rattigan‘s greatest hit.

A 1947 filmed version with the likes of Ronald Howard, Brenda Bruce, Margaret Rutherford, Joyce Grenfell and Wilfred Hyde-White sounds like just the sort of thing we should check out on a wet Sunday afternoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Death of a Salesman, Young Vic

Monday 3 June 2019

In which we get to see Meghan Markle’s father’s Willy.

Before we get into trouble we should elucidate. This is Arthur Millers’ 1949 Death of a Salesman with Wendell Pierce giving us his Willy Loman. It was he who played Robert Zane, father of the character played by the then Ms Markle in Suits. Has anyone actually seen Suits? Does anyone know anyone who has actually seen it?* Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Rutherford and Son, National Theatre

Tuesday 28 May 2019

Yes, we know we’ve flogged variations of the following “gag” several times but if we’ve learnt anything it’s that there’s very little that can’t be re-recyled.

Q: What’s Rutherford and Son about?

A: It’s about 3 hours 15 minutes.

Well that was according to the worrying email the National sent us prior to our visit sending us into a right old dither. It sounded as if it would drag on longer than Theresa May’s departure. Talk about managing our expectations. On the night it turned out to be a nippier but still lengthy 2 hours 50 mins. It may well be shorter by the opening. It needs to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre

Friday 10 May 2019

Cor. A rarely performed piece of Ibsen gloom which has been dumped straight into the West End without the usual slew of raves from a previous incarnation at an Almeida or a Royal Court to ignite a buzz. And, come to that, no really big name draws like a Dench or a Smith (that’s Maggie not Sheridan) let alone a Waller-Bridge to get those box office tills overheating.

But then this comes from that spunkiest of producers, Sonia Friedman, who rarely seems to put a foot wrong. Just as well really with this tightrope she’s strung herself across St Martin’s Lane. Thank goodness for her Harry Potter safety net.

This production of Rosmerholm claims to be a new adaptation by Duncan Macmillan but we think it’s actually been given a light fingering by Anna Soubry and Chuka Umunna. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – All My Sons, Old Vic

Friday 19 April 2019

Whisper it. This is really rather good but let’s not make a big song and dance about it, say it ever so quietly so no one can hear you.

For this is the 1947 All My Sons by Marilyn Monroe’s ex husband starring former Flying Nun and double Academy Award-winner Sally (you like me, right now, you like me!) Field, and the go-to for cinematic and television POTUSes Bill Pullman. How Hollywood is that? Come see them bucking that hoary old stereotype of the loud American. They’re oh so quiet. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Sweet Charity, Donmar Warehouse

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Hurrah. At last. A proper musical.

Some of us are old enough to remember that 1966 was not only the year of a particular World Cup but also when Sweet Charity emerged. Those were the days, when people really knew what a hummable tune was.

Can you imagine Come From Away or especially Fun Home winning Olivier Awards and Tony Awards five decades ago? No, we can’t either. And Dear Evan Hansen may be fabulously tune-filled but at the prices it’s charging we will probably never know. Don’t be fooled that the “Dear” of the title is just a form of address. We’d welcome a little less ambiguity and suggest they call it Expensive Evan Hansen.

But we digress. This is a show which positively aches with catchy numbers in Cy Coleman‘s music (enhanced by and Dorothy Fields‘ lyrics) – “Big Spender”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This”, “I’m A Brass Band” and “I Love To Cry At Weddings”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Downstate, National Theatre

Monday 25 March 2019

When a play is described as provocative, thought-provoking, challenging, shocking and in the Dorfman auditorium you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’ve gone completely doolally taken to self-harming and revisited that steaming pile of When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other.

But no. We can now (almost) completely forgive the National for that egregious horror as it has given way to Downstate which comes from the provoking pen of Bruce Norris who previously stepped onto the Whinger podium of greatness when he delivered his brilliant Clybourne Park. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Come From Away, Phoenix Theatre

Tuesday 19 March 2019

When Phil mentioned – to those without a soupçon of musical theatre knowledge – that he was going to this Broadway import, Come From Away most asked “what’s that?” (marketing department take note). His reply, “It’s the 9/11 musical” drew comments of “seriously?” or “you’re kidding” or the kind of incredulous expression that at best implied “too soon”.

Of course it’s not really about 9/11. That event just facilitated the story. It’s about niceness. The niceness of a Canadian town Gander (population 10,000) that for six days accommodated, fed, entertained and medicated (in both senses) over 6,600 passengers plus a cargo of animals – which included a pregnant ape – from the 38 passenger aircraft that were diverted there after the attacks. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – All About Eve, Noel Coward Theatre

Friday 8 March 2019

There’s a cheeky story about the making of the 195O film classic All About Eve. Phil’s tried to find it on t’internet but all he could come up with was this 14 bumpy facts about All About Eve page. Worth-reading though.

Anyhoo he’ll deliver the story from his rather shaky memory as best he can. George Sanders (Addison deWitt in the film) was married to Zsa Zsa Gabor at the time and his newish wife was constantly turning up on the San Francisco film set to check up on him (well he was filming with Marilyn Monroe) and wanting Sanders to take her out shopping, to which the film’s writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz allegedly snapped “Fuck off Zsa Zsa we’re trying to make a movie here”. We’d love to believe it’s true. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cate Blanchett in When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other, Dorfman Theatre

Tuesday 22 January 2019

Oh my word. You’d think by now we would know better. Read the rest of this entry »