Posts Tagged ‘Alan Bennett’

Review – Untold Stories, Duchess Theatre

Thursday 18 April 2013

untoldstories2013180There were uncomfortable shards of recognition at Alan Bennett‘s autobiographical Untold Stories.

Phil discovered that the contents of his kitchen cupboard are not dissimilar to those of Bennett’s parents: the long-forgotten ground white pepper, the glacé cherries (though not sitting in an egg cup), the container of cocktail sticks, and the stubborn dried up dribbles of food that need chipping at to remove, all lurking with other long-past-their-sell-by-date items way back behind more pressingly urgent comestibles.

And Phil’s mother is from Yorkshire too. Not that he’s suggesting his mother’s kitchen cupboards are anything other than immaculate. At last, here’s a show that gives you something to take away with you; that it’s time to consider a spring clean.*

The parallels in Cocktail Sticks, the second of this double bill of recollections, were sometimes a little too close to home and not just in the kitchen department. Read the rest of this entry »

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The 2012 Whingie Awards – the very worst and the not so bad

Monday 31 December 2012

whingieawardInappropriately, since it was the Olympic year, we’re a bit late off the starting blocks with our highly-anticipated annual Whingie Awards.

Frankly we believed we might not need to bother. The world was going to end. Andrew had packed his onesie and headed off to Bugarach. Phil was left sitting around in his meggins self-medicating in preparation musing which shows would be the theatrical cockroaches that might survive the impending apocalypse.

The Mousetrap obviously, Phantom and The Woman in Black no doubt, though perhaps Viva Forever! should hunker in a bunker and pray.

Of course it wasn’t the end after all. The world continues and we must carry on going to the theatre. It’s a bit of a let down. But as we toast the new and possibly unlucky New Year of 2013 we’ve had our hands down the back of the theatrical sofa digging for the occasional treasure, copious amounts of fluff and the occasional best-forgotten unmentionable. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – People, National Theatre

Monday 5 November 2012

These days new plays by Alan Bennett are cloaked in the kind of secrecy you might expect from a new Mike Leigh play or the latest Bond film.

But we’re not good at keeping secrets so if you don’t want to know anything about People we’ll just tell you that the running time is 2 hours 20 minutes we returned after the interval (it’s the new Bennett, why wouldn’t we?) and you can leave it at that.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Betty Blue Eyes, Novello Theatre

Monday 11 April 2011

You may wonder, should you luxuriate in having too much time on your hands and nothing better to do with it, what the Whingers have in common.

Andrew tries manfully to do his bit to save the planet. Phil finds it a bit of a chore but does find the recycling bin a useful over-flow receptacle for his umpteen empty wine bottles.

Andrew is vegetarian. Phil regards a bacon sandwich as the perfect hangover cure believing Andrew would cope better if he just got some meat inside him.

There you are, very little congruity between the Whingers really. Andrew would of course be on the side of the pig, Betty Blue Eyes, while Phil would be imagining the smell of bacon sizzling over his ring. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Habit of Art by Alan Bennett, National Theatre

Thursday 12 November 2009

The Habit of ArtPoetry not really being his thing, Phil had never, to his knowledge, read any W H Auden. Until last night, that is, when he read one of the celebrated poet’s works in the programme for Alan Bennett‘s new play the The Habit of Art. He’s none the wiser about the poem, poetry or Auden.

Andrew, on the other hand, is far more literary having delivered a triumphant yet moving rendition of Colonel Fazackerley Butterworth-Toast as a precocious eight year old to a presumably stunned audience at the Cheltenham Festival of Performing Arts.

Phil’s closest brush with poetry was at the National Gallery’s Sitwell exhibition when he was nearly mown down by Sir Stephen Spender’s wheelchair shortly after which in the gallery’s shop he got the chance to marvel at Lady Spender’s splendid ignorance of the logistics involved in writing a cheque. He did however, once appear in a school production of Benjamin Britten‘s Noye’s Fludde. Playing a wave. And he can still even sing Kyrie Eleison. And if you ask him very nicely he won’t.

All of which preamble brings the Whingers to their Monday night evening out at a preview of the most eagerly anticipated theatrical event of the year: the new Alan Bennett at the National Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Enjoy, Gielgud Theatre

Monday 9 March 2009

enjoyIt has taken rather a long time for the Whingers to make their way round to the Gielgud Theatre to take in Enjoy.

Which is odd, really, when you think about it: the combination of a play by national treasure Alan Bennett with Alison Steadman and the son of a Doctor Who (David Troughton) leading the cast would seem to be irresistible fodder to the average Whinger.

What took them so long? Was it the subject matter? Would watching an ageing partnership (one slipping into senility, the other infirm) prove uncomfortable viewing? Did Andrew sense that it might be depressing rather than entertaining to witness a possible future tending to Phil’s needs by massaging immobile limbs and reminding him when to pee. Read the rest of this entry »