Posts Tagged ‘Alex Jennings’

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 »

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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 »

Review – Collaborators, National Theatre

Monday 31 October 2011

Well, we never expected to use the words “madcap” and “Stalin” in the same sentence.

It was one of those occasions when it looked as though the Whingers’ theatrical planets were aligning auspiciously but then it turned out that they were actually on a collision course.

Prodding their entrails with a stick (metaphorically) the Whingers had come to the conclusion that all the signs were good: Alex Jennings, Simon Russell BealeMark Addy and Nick Sampson in a play by John Hodge (screenwriter of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) with Nicholas Hytner at the helm.

Even the less promising portents of the Cottesloe Theatre and a “first play” failed to cast a shadow over the Whingers’ sunny outlooks and our usually voluble inner Cassandras were completely caught napping. 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 – Candide, ENO at the Coliseum

Sunday 6 July 2008

Candide at the English National Opera

“Dear ENO. The West End Whingers would love to see Candide but their policy of paying to see West End shows has reduced them almost to penury and an ENO ticket might well push them over the edge. As both are adamant that they never want to shop at Lidl, they are reduced to begging for two excellent press seats. Andrew has two cats to support and Phil has a very expensive Night Nurse habit.”

Yes, it’s pathetic, but that’s the credit crunch for you. And with stalls seats at £83.00, what can you do?

Fortunately the ENO came up trumps and offered the Whingers FREE seats – “on this occasion”.

Unfortunately the reviews came out the very next day:

  • “Loud, brash, heavy-handed and leaving little to the imagination” Evening Standard
  • “What a load of camp old cobblers” The Times

Too late. The trap had snapped shut. Read the rest of this entry »