Posts Tagged ‘Alan Ayckbourn’

Review – Communicating Doors, Menier Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 12 May 2015

2970C3D50-0BFD-4B3C-3F5D1318A483AFB8In which Sir Alan Ayckbourn finds a Tardis in a hotel room where the tea-making facilities should be.

Strange one this. Communicating Doors is a “comic thriller” set in a hotel suite with a cutaway to the bathroom. It’s not often you see what the back of a bidet looks like, let alone find a broom cupboard that revolves and also turns out to be a time portal. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – A Chorus of Disapproval, Harold Pinter Theatre

Thursday 20 September 2012

Put us on the naughty step, confiscate our refreshments and spank our bottoms with the collected works of Caryl Churchill, why don’t you?

We’ve been a little wayward: we dropped in on the first preview of this revival of Alan Ayckbourn‘s A Chorus of Disapproval. Of course if we like it no one will give two hoots. No-one complained when we raved about One Man, Two Guvnors after the first preview.

Phil has happy memories – the fact he has any memory is something akin to achievement itself – of the National production with the appealing combo platter of Gambon and Staunton (with Bob Peck and a side order of Gemma Craven), but that was many moons ago.

Times change and we haven’t exactly warmed to the proliferation of Ayckbourns of late. But a lack of coinciding diary windows and interesting casting influenced our risk assessment and fortunately neither Whinger has seen Michael Winner’s allegedly dreadful 1988 film version. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – By Jeeves, Landor Theatre

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Some people can be very kind.

When Phil announced to anyone who would listen at the Sunday matinée preview of By Jeeves at the Landor Theatre that he’d seen the original production, the overly generous and perhaps slightly naïve response was “That must be fifteen years ago!”

What of course Phil meant was the pre-London, Bristol Hippodrome tryout of Jeeves (as it was called in those long gone days back when Colin Firth was probably still on the throne).

If the Whingers had been together (in the co-dependent theatregoers sense) then its doubtful they would have made it even to the interval. Early previews apparently ran at four and three-quarter hours. Phil remembers the performance he endured going well beyond three and a half hours. Phil’s family became prototype Whingers unanimously agreeing it wasn’t very good and way too long. If only Sir Trevor Nunn had been brought in to cut it down to size.

Sheared of most of its numbers (only three remain from the original) and reworked in 1996 as By Jeeves it’s now running at an easier to digest two and a half hours (including interval).

But sadly, it felt every minute of it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Season’s Greetings, Lyttelton Theatre

Thursday 9 December 2010

Dear Santa,

Season’s Greetings to you.

We know it’s a long time since either of us popped our Christmas wish lists up the chimney – in Phil’s case so long that he barely remembers how difficult it often was, what with all the young urchins and their brushes obstructing his flue.

But if it’s not too late, please could you add these to our standard wish-list of satsumas, nuts, a complete DVD collection of Miss Marple for Andrew and a year’s supply of Cillit Bang for Phil: Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bedroom Farce, Duke of York’s Theatre

Wednesday 31 March 2010

Some showbiz names are so inextricably linked as to almost be inseparable: Burton and Taylor, Morecambe and Wise, Rogers Rodgers and Hammerstein, Jannette and Ian Krankie, Phil and Andrew. And then there’s Jenny Seagrove and Bill Kenwright.

But creatives providing gainful employment for ‘er indoors is nothing new in showbiz. Think Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter, (more ‘er next door in their case). Think Woody Allen and Mia Farrow (more ‘er across Central Park in theirs).

Having told a friend he was seeing Jenny Seagrove in Bedroom Farce Phil received a rhetorical text to enquire, “Is it a Bill Kenwright production?”. It’s a running gag. Of course it was. And why not? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Woman in Mind, Vaudeville Theatre

Monday 9 February 2009

woman-in-mindAndrew was very, very busy in his garden Saturday morning.* Trimming his vine, to be exact. Thank goodness he didn’t fall on his secateurs or – worse – knock himself out with the rake.

Imagine that he had awoken in some fantasy life of his own making:  sitting all day in a theatre watching his all-time favourite productions on some kind of bizarre cerebral loop: Hairspray, Entertaining Mr Sloane, La Cage aux Folles, things with Jasper Britton (excluding Fram, of course) or perhaps – and more appropriately – constant mental re-runs of The Chalk Garden.

Imagine his whole world viewed through a proscenium arch. Perhaps Maria Friedman would serve him tea at his imagined matinées and a Dame of the British Empire would hook him up to a Merlot drip each evening.

Imagine Andrew’s tailor-made world fashioned to exclude Caryl Churchill, Pinter, Joe Sutton and Polly Stenham. It would be a world without theatrical boredom, restlessness or frustration. A perfect world of complete and utter theatrical Judith Bliss.

Which brings us, and not before time, to Alan Ayckbourn‘s Woman in Mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Push-A-Playwright

Tuesday 14 October 2008

Push-A-Playwright is the new craze that’s sweeping the nation.

It’s a game which was devised by the West End Whingers quite some time ago but we haven’t got around to playing it yet.

It’s a bit like happy-slapping except that it’s funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Living Together (The Norman Conquests) at the Old Vic

Saturday 20 September 2008

Well, let’s look on the bright side (see what a holiday can do for one?).

This was the Whingers’ first theatrical sortie since their expedition to the bush. That’s the African bush if you’re not up to speed (and if not, why not?) not the lauded fringe theatre over a pub half-way to Swindon.

The Old Vic’s new production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Living Together – part of his 70s trilogy of The Norman Conquests – has been directed by the charming and über-prolific Matthew Warchus (who, you may recall, inadvertently gave the Whingers their very first interview).

But the big news is that The Old Vic’s auditorium has been reconfigured and named “The CQS Space”. Apparently that has nothing to do with a TV shopping channel but is connected with something entirely beyond the Whingers’ comprehension: hedge funds and the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.

So at least the Old Vic’s notorious creaking seats have gone and more bar space has been made available by chucking out some of those useless seats at the back of the stalls. Other theatre owners please take note.

Sounds promising doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »