Archive for the 'West End Whingers' Category

Review – The Prince of Egypt, Dominion Theatre

Friday 21 February 2020

We hadn’t planned on seeing The Prince of Egypt at all. The pointer was barely above zero on the interest scale. But then an opportunity arose (way too complicated to explain) to see a preview and in the wake of this week’s floods and with a deadly plague lurking in the wings, all things biblical seemed strangely apposite.

Based on the 1998 Dreamworks animation which is based on the book of Exodus (cue mass exodus gags if it’s crap) and featuring the Academy Award-winning number “When You Believe” (Whitney and Mariah apparently – no, us neither), somehow it had passed us by without even touching the sides. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Visit, National Theatre

Monday 10 February 2020

You wait a lifetime for a play that features a character limp, blind people, prosthetic limbs and some funny business on a step ladder and you get two in a row. Endgame managed to squeeze all those elements into 85 minutes. This one has them too but takes things a little more leisurely.

Four hours. Four flipping hours!! That’s what the National’s website was promising last week when Phil payed a visit to, err, The Visit. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Endgame / Rough For Theatre ll, Old Vic

Thursday 6 February 2020

If Waiting For Godot is known for being the Samuel Beckett play where nothing happens, Endgame is identified as the one with old couple in the dustbins.

But first we must dispose of the amuse-bouche Rough For Theatre ll, which precedes the dustbin play. No, we’d never heard of it either. But we can tell you it’s a play where a man called ‘C’ stands on a windowsill seemingly about to commit suicide.

Impressed We never see his face, but Jackson Milner, in a mini coup de théâtre, stands on that sill like a statue for the whole 25 minutes of the play’s running time. Milner is so convincing that at times Phil suspect he might actually be a very lifelike prop. Did Beckett write plays purely to make his actors suffer? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre

Friday 10 January 2020

Phil thinks he knows a thing or two about magic.

After all it was he who was selected by Paul Daniels to perform alongside him and the lovely Debbie McGee in their Edinburgh show a few years back, taking part in a few tricks and ultimately facing the guillotine. When you’re kneeling with your head trapped in a lunette and staring into a head-catching basket stage nerves are replaced by a certain fear of what happens if something should go wrong.

So Phil has not inconsiderable respect for the sheer technical wizardry involved in Mischief Theatre‘s latest venture Magic Goes Wrong (the second production of their year long residency in the west end), in which the team play a hotchpotch of magicians presenting a charity event that of course goes disastrously wrong. Think Tommy Cooper but with a massive budget. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Goldilocks and the Three Bears, London Palladium

Friday 13 December 2019

Peter Pan and Snow White are not proper pantomimes according to that doyenne of panto dames Clive Rowe in Time Out. Couldn’t agree more.

The latter was last year’s Palladium pantomime. Goodness knows what Mr Rowe will make of this year’s offering, Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

Yet to Phil, this rarely performed story will always be a pantomime. It was the second one he ever saw, his first was, ahem, Little Miss Muffet. This was, naturally, a few years ago and at the Theatre Royal Bath with Sandy (Can you hear me, mother?) Powell as the dame. How he gasped as the bears’ woodland cottage unfolded to reveal the interior of a two-storey house before his very eyes and how the incredible blue of the linings of the chorus’ costumes forever seared his retinas as the story took a diversion onto a Mississippi paddle steamer. Don’t ask. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Boy Friend, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 27 November 2019

If you’re looking for a joyously silly, consciously dated piece of fluff of a musical with instantly hummable tunes with a plot flimsier than an election promise then this might just be the show you’ve been looking for.

The Boy Friend is about as far from Dear Evan Hansen as you can possibly get (chorus boys’ DEH striped T shirts aside).

Sandy Wilson produced the music, lyrics and book for this 1953 show, a pastiche of 1920’s musicals apparently, although as the show is in its seventh decade now it’s easy to miss that it was a spoof. It is so gloriously un-PC that even the colour blind casting of Amara Okereke as Polly Browne is sometimes turned on its head by a script that even seems to send that up. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dear Evan Hansen, Noel Coward Theatre

Wednesday 20 November 2019

You might ask what we were doing there.

This is a show where the main characters are teenagers, who have only known a life where their umbilical is a mobile phone, whose visual focal point is a computer screen and the only social they attend is media. They and their friends – in the unlikely chance they have any – have never not known the internet.  And yes, we get the irony of what we’re using right now. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Lungs, Old Vic

Wednesday 23 October 2019

Lungs A

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Groan Ups, Vaudeville Theatre

Monday 14 October 2019

In the week where a new theatrical comedy, The Man in the White Suit, was met with general critical grumpiness you’d need nerves of steel to be opening another. And let’s face it you’d be hard pressed to come up with something more hilarious than Coleen Rooney being dubbed Wagatha Christie. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Very Expensive Poison, Old Vic

Wednesday 4 September 2019

As Phil joined the queue to get into the Old Vic he engaged in a discussion with two ladies in front of him about whether they were in the queue for the loos or the theatre. We explained it was the correct queue for the stalls.

“Are you regular?” asked one. “That’s a bit personal” replied Phil. “Oh, no” said she, realising the ambiguity “I meant regular theatregoers”. Much hilarity ensued.

A Very Expensive Poison is not about people’s addiction to theatre. But with seats for this production costing up to £150 for the”charitable package”(add your own gag) and a top price of £140 for “standard stalls” without a whiff of a package for the Old Vic’s next production Lungs, it might as well be. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hansard, National Theatre

Friday 30 August 2019

Meet Robin and Diana. They like to argue.

Their bitter and frustrated relationship appears to be nourished by cat and mouse games as they hurl insults at each other and volley them back. In the course of their poisonous disputes long held secrets are about to be revealed. Guests are about to join them and oh, she self-medicates with alcohol.

Mmmm. Sound a little familiar? Sound a bit too Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? All a bit too George and Martha with a soupçon of George and Mildred thrown in? Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

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 »