Posts Tagged ‘Bunny Christie’

Review – Ink, Almeida Theatre

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s not everyday you see Christopher Timothy portrayed on stage. Or Larry Lamb come to that.

Though whilst the latter is actually the first editor of The Sun newspaper (as we know it) Mr Timothy’s connection will be remembered by those of us old enough to remember him as the voice of their TV ads.

Ink is James (This House, The Vote) Graham‘s latest foray into the world of what we call recent history. The creation of The Sun newspaper as a tabloid. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Red Barn, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 October 2016

xtheredbarnw300h200-jpgqitokypwyklne-pagespeed-ic-nxppd-1b7fThree characters stranded in a county house while a blizzard rages. One of the group is lost in the storm outside. Might he have done himself in or been murdered? The phone lines are down and a clock ticks ominously…

Has the National seen sense and finally put on an Agatha Christie? Might that same clock tick for another 64 years and counting? Sadly not.

A pre-show discussion heard Andrew suggesting it might be based on the notorious red barn murder in Suffolk where Maria Marten was shot dead by her lover. Phil was blissfully unaware of that case, “Well if it’s a whodunnit that’s ruined it for me” grumped Phil.

Phew, Andrew was off the hook. Not that red barn thankfully. This is David Hare‘s The Red Barn based on George (Maigret) Simenon‘s La Main. Though there is still an element of whodunnit and whydunnit and more than an touch of whydoitlikethis? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – People, Places & Things, Wyndham’s Theatre

Friday 8 April 2016

5478-1458211495-peopleplacesthingssqIn days of yore we would go to see practically anything at the National Theatre, even at the Dorfman (née Cottesloe), but we are getting more risk-averse as we grow older, so this becomes the fourth in our series of hoovering up the shows we’d missed first time around.

People, Places & Things comes with breathless rave reviews for Denise Gough, a recent Olivier gong for her and another for the Sound Design, whispers of a Broadway transfer, plus a title that has not only punctuation, but an ampersand, which could only raise our expectations to such absurdly vertiginous heights it could only prove a let down, couldn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Made in Dagenham, Adelphi Theatre

Tuesday 4 November 2014

made-in-dagenham-poster-largeThe signs were so enormously encouraging.

A new (very) British musical with a crack team behind it. Music by James Bond film composer David Arnold, lyrics by Richard Thomas (Jerry Springer: the Opera), a book by Richard Bean (One Man, Two Governors) and helmed by Rupert Goold, AD at the Almeida who also delivered in spades (and axes) with the musical version of American Psycho.

On the downside Made in Dagenham is yet another film-to-stage adaptation. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Children of the Sun, National Theatre

Friday 12 April 2013

Thrilling!rep_images_children-212x300

Now here’s a first and a SPOILER ALERT but as this was a first preview we cannnot guarantee it will happen again.* Pity.

Maxim Gorky’s Children of the Sun** may have begun with a whimper but it certainly ended with a bang: a stage explosion so intense it probably finished off a few senior members of the audience (obviously we survived to tell the tale). The heat could be felt several rows back in the stalls. The shock was so great, Phil let out an involuntary “Jesus!” and possibly a little wee. But even more excitingly – such was its impact – it set off the Lyttleton’s fire alarm.

Theatre doesn’t get much better than this.

This is what the audience left the theatre talking about. What more does one need to say? It’s tempting to stop here. Read the rest of this entry »

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 – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, National Theatre

Thursday 2 August 2012

You wouldn’t, of course. But in the unlikely chance you should ever pause to wonder how Phil behaves in a train toilet* then hasten yourself along to see the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

This is not intended to put you off booking a ticket for Simon Stephens‘ adaptation of Mark Haddon‘s novel about Christopher (Luke Treadaway) a 15-year-old mathematics wiz occupying a position somewhere on the autism/aspergers spectrum.

Christopher discovers his neighbour’s dog dead (Ken Dodd’s dog died. Did he? No, Doddy), impaled by a garden fork. Initially under suspicion himself, his enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes inspires him to embark on his own investigation but he uncovers more than he bargains for.

Andrew had read the book and liked it very much. Phil had heard of it. But it really shouldn’t have worked for the Whingers. TCIOTDITNT is presented with the unfortunate double handicap of: 1. in-the-round staging and 2. at the Cottesloe, eek. Yet, and it sticks in our throats to say, it’s seems the ideal location and the one occasion where a perch in one of the theatre’s upper levels affords a terrific overview of the frequently stunning visuals. The graph-paper stage by the prolific Bunny Christie (need we say more?), lighting by Paule Constable and video design by Finn Ross all but threaten to steal the show. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The House of Bernarda Alba, Almeida Theatre

Tuesday 24 January 2012

“I wanted to rewind the first couple of minutes and see them again,” Andrew whined at the end of The House of Bernarda Alba. Not for the first time Phil wished Andrew would pay more attention to things.

But on this occasion, to be fair, THOBA does open with something of an unexpected coup de théâtre – a promising start indeed. Not only did it introduce the clever conceit that Bijan Sheibani‘s production has adopted but it grabbed the Whingers’ limited attentions instantly making them wonder if this brilliantly timed stunt was the work of theatrical illusionist Paul Kieve.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Haunted Child, Royal Court

Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Royal Court have missed a trick with their marketing for Joe Penhall‘s Haunted Child. Given the tepid reviews the marquee outside should simply scream “See Ben Daniels drink a whole bucket of salt water live on stage!”

Well that’s what he appears to do. You see him fill the bucket from the sink, pour “salt” into it, drink the lot, then rush (disappointingly) off stage to vomit leaving only his bare feet visible as he retches. Yes, there are rather a lot of unclad feet on display here too.

But you have to feel for Ben Daniels (and it’s the only moment you do) having to perform the stunt. It’s a big ask of any performer. Calling it beyond the “pail” would only provide another disappointing gag. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Comedy of Errors, National Theatre

Tuesday 29 November 2011

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE WROTE A DECENT JOKE – WHINGERS IN SHOCK.

The Whingers make no secret of the fact that they usually find the the comedy in his plays and the wordplay in his comedies deeply unfunny. Yes, they sometimes laugh thanks to an actor’s delivery or a bit of business injected by a director aware that the text will not supply sufficient giggles for a modern audience. But at The Comedy of Errors they actually laughed at a line written by the Bard himself.

Just the once, you understand, but it’s a start. For the record it was in one of the Dromio’s “I could find out countries in her” speech referencing Belgium and the Netherlands. Shakespeare of course invented everything. Was he the first to discover the intrinsic comic value in Belgium too? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Cherry Orchard, National Theatre

Friday 20 May 2011

“You’ll get in a right mess listening to words” says the all-knowing elderly butler Firs in Andrew Upton‘s version of The Cherry Orchard. And he’s quite right, Chekhov produced an awful lot of them and then adaptor Andrew Upton threw in a few of his own.

But unlike the critics who have gotten themselves into a real old tizzy about it the Whingers were in an unusually forgiving disposition.

It is true that “bozo” and a few other anachronisms occasionally jarred, as did “crap” and “bollocks”. But Andrew was quite happy when Upton pushed the anachronisms as far as taking a swipe at Phil’s favourite TV show with the line, “There’s nothing more repulsive than Loose Women.”

But it was when landowner Ranyevskaya drawled “Don’t waste your time watching plays – I bet it wasn’t funny at all,” that the Whingers realised that Upton was inviting them into bed with him. Let’s hope his wife Cate Blanchett rolls over and is happy to spoon. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Moonlight, Donmar

Wednesday 13 April 2011

Sorry. We’ve only just troubled you with some of the differences between the Whinger but here’s another one, as though you cared.

Some years back Andrew swore that he would never permit Harold Pinter to darken his theatregoing door again.

Phil, on the other hand, had been put off Pinter when he studied The Caretaker at school (Andrew expresses surprise at this, surely a more contemporary playwright for Phil would have been, say, Congreve?) but was understandably converted by seeing Dora Bryan in a NT production of The Birthday Party many, many moons ago.

Andrew should have known better. But even Phil really should have known to draw the line at the Donmar’s Moonlight, having yawned through the original, rather starry (Ian Holm, Anna Massey, Douglas Hodge, Michael Sheen, Claire Skinner, Edward de Souza) production at the Almeida in 1993.

But whether the result of a gluttony for punishment or optimism wrestling experience to the floor and sitting on its chest, the Whingers gamely trotted off to the Donmar to – it turns out – stick proverbial pins in their eyes yet again. Read the rest of this entry »

The Whingers Awards 2010 – the very worst and the not so bad

Friday 31 December 2010

It’s that time of year again when one tries to justify the humongous expense of theatre-going by trying to seize on a few happy memories in the desperate hope that they justify the outlay.

Yes, it’s the Whingies 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Men Should Weep, National Theatre

Saturday 23 October 2010

Och, if only the Whingers hudnae been gigglin’ at the back of the class like the auld bufter dafties they are and had paid more attention when they attended Stanley Baxter‘s School of Glaswegian Language (see instructional videos below) they might have grasped what Men Should Weep at the National Theatre was al aboot.

But, mibbe, some of Baxter’s lessons did sink in all those years ago when wee bits came back tae them and they began tae get their heids roon Ena Lamont Stewart‘s dialogue about halfway through the first act. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The White Guard, National Theatre

Wednesday 17 March 2010

To be perfectly honest the Whingers really weren’t looking forward to Mikhail Bulgakov‘s The White Guard which doesn’t really support our claim to approach every theatrical sortie with an open mind. Actually, “blank” mind is probably closer to the truth.

So why did we book tickets for it then, you might ask? To which our response would be: “mind your beeswax” or, if  we were in a better mood, “because if we only went to see things we knew we’d like we’d hardly go at all”.

We go to the theatre because we want to be surprised and the bigger the surprise the better. We want to enter a 3 hours plus (with two intervals) play with heavy hearts and come out raving about Jerusalem. And we want to drag our feet into the Lyttelton for yet another adaptation of an old Russian play and come out saying, “The National Theatre has come up trumps again! Hoorah for the National Theatre!”

Of course, these things don’t usually happen. Such occasions are rarer than hen’s teeth. But sometimes… Read the rest of this entry »