Posts Tagged ‘Christopher Oram’

Review _ Romeo and Juliet, Garrick Theatre

Friday 20 May 2016

romeo-and-juliet-quoteMarisa Berenson!

Many will have been attracted to this Kenneth Branagh/Rob Ashford directed, rather starrily cast Romeo and Juliet, by the other names: Richard MaddenLily JamesDerek Jacobi and Meera Syal.

Not us. Though to be entirely honest her casting hadn’t been announced when we booked, but our interest went off the Richter when it was. For younger viewers, Berenson played Natalia Landauer in the film of Cabaret and is in the (to us) classic “This was a cold of the bosom, not of the nose” scene. When we get man colds we have described them thusly ever since and “Ze plegm…zat comes in the tubes.” will forever be pronounced the Berenson way as “pleg-ma”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Photograph 51 with Nicole Kidman, Noel Coward Theatre

Wednesday 9 September 2015

5248-1440598883-photo51encore600x900aug15The first and last time Nicole Kidman appeared on a West End stage one critic got himself into a right old tizzy, probably tenting in his stalls seat before breathlessly describing her as “Pure theatrical Viagra“.

Phil saw that play, The Blue Room, in preview and was met by a US TV crew from Entertainment Tonight as he exited the Donmar wanting to know how she’d acquitted herself. Of course, what they really wanted to know was intimate details of her nude scene, Phil was so discreet in his utterances they no doubt left the footage on the cutting room floor.

17 years on, would Kidman’s appearance in Photograph 51 prove to be theatrical Viagra or theatrical bromide? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Man and Superman, National Theatre

Friday 20 February 2015

Man-and-superman-web

Long, long ago, way back in 1977, before Andrew and Phil met, and “fiery philosophical debates” asking “fundamental questions about how we live” (oh dear) could still occupy the glittering West End rather than film-to-play adaptations or jukebox musicals, Phil saw the RSC production of  Man and Superman at the Savoy Theatre starring Richard Pasco, Susan Hampshire, Nigel Havers and a vintage car.

Coincidentally, Andrew (who must have been struggling through puberty at the time) saw the same production in Malvern. Ain’t life strange? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Henry V, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 28 November 2013

-30539As we rush into winter, the ‘C’ word is on everyone’s lips. Yes, tis the season when The Consumptives return to the theatre.

Turn off your mobile phone, but make sure you bring your cough along and share it with your fellow audience members throughout the play.

But it wasn’t just conspicuous consumption that provided substantial distractions throughout Henry V, the last of Michael Grandage‘s 5 play season at the Noel Coward Theatre; there was also the case of Jude Law‘s trousers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noël Coward Theatre

Friday 13 September 2013

3496-amidsummernightsdreamticketsIn which David Walliams offers us his Bottom and his ass.

The penultimate play in the Michael Grandage season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, comes in niftily, at this early preview, at just over 2 and a quarter hours (including interval). Impressive really since Walliams’ deliberately overdone play-within-a-play death scene seemed to take up almost half of Act 2. Milking it was not the word. The milk was turning to cheese with thick slices of Frankie Howard ham on the side and, depending on your take on Walliams, also very funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward Theatre

Friday 21 June 2013

posterIf the Whingers had £50 million or so in the bank they would be taking life easy.

When not idling the hours away in a most dilatory of fashions, they would be jetting off to the far-flung corners of their bucket lists. They would be breaking their principles by occupying Premium Seats in the theatre before indulging in post-show discussions eating fancy chow and drinking fancy wine.

But then the Whingers are not 23 any more than they are not Daniel Radcliffe whose post-Potter life has already seen him throwing himself into the deep end of a stage career by throwing off his clothes on both sides of the Atlantic, taking on the lead in a Broadway musical and now tackling an Irish accent whilst surrounded by bona fide Irish actors. No one can accuse him of ducking a challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Peter and Alice, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 28 March 2013

PETER AND ALICE 560x205With the Whingers barely recovered from seeing Britain’s Second Most Inspirational Woman, Helen Mirren pass herself off as a 25-year-old QEII in The Audience we are now presented with Britain’s Most Inspirational Woman, Judi Dench playing Alice Liddell Hargreaves as a 10-year-old in John Logan’s Peter and Alice. Yikes!

Both Dame-led fantasies are selling out nightly. One can only suppose that a smart producer has spotted this latest theatrical trend and is currently scrabbling round for a script that will entice Dame Maggie Smith to don a baby grow. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Privates on Parade, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 18 December 2012

images-1Yet another production featuring a gay man swishing around the stage. We’ve whinged about the outbreak which started with this went on in that and ended up in Viva Forever! There’s an epidemic in London’s theatreland; the vaccine for theatrical queenitis is presumably in its very early stages of development.

But the big differences in Peter Nichols‘ 1977 Privates on Parade are that (a) camp Captain Terri Dennis’ character is a key and sympathetic central character and (b) he’s utterly, genuinely hilarious. Unlike those other shows the audience are laughing with him and not at him. Well, OK then, we do laugh at him too, but for all the right reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Uncle Vanya, Vaudeville Theatre

Monday 10 December 2012

2FD3906FA-A79B-C40C-94BEB5689D5F33BBOh dear, oh dear. We shouldn’t really be surprised but the Whingers seem to be of an age.

We had always taken Uncle Vanya to be a character for the almost-elderly –  one of the last big actorly stops before King Lear.

But Vanya is practically a child. In Lindsay Posner‘s new production (translation by Christopher Hampton) they have even aged him up six years (to edge a little closer to the actor Ken Stott‘s actual age). This is what you get for reading up on things. It was all a bit traumatic and without being too specific, let’s just say that it won’t be long before the Whingers are perceiving Lear as some kind of callow youth too. It’s all rather depressing. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Backbeat, Duke of York’s Theatre

Tuesday 18 October 2011

Is it a play or is a musical? Perhaps it’s a bird or a plane? This could make the Whingers’ annual game of Charades very tricky.

Especially since Iain Softley and Stephen Jeffreys’ Backbeat is based on the 1994 film (which Softley also co-wrote) about The Beatles and joins the tsunami of film-to-stage adaptations flooding the West End at the moment.

With a new book and film (3 hours 28 minutes!) about George Harrison just out and a Beatles’ wedding in the week of its official opening it is somewhat timely.

But what is it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Donmar Warehouse

Monday 21 February 2011

Dear Mister Grandage

Please find enclosed a “Sorry You’re Leaving Card”.

We know that before you go there’s at least another Pinter, a Schiller and a Shakespeare to get through but in case we should somehow not get round to these we just wanted to say ‘sorry’ for missing the point of some of your European dramas and non-comedic musicals over the years.

We know you meant well by them and fully accept that the inadequacy is ours. We were, after all, the only people in the West End or on Broadway to be underwhelmed by Red.

Does that sound a bit negative? It’s not meant to. We really, really enjoyed many of the things you put on (Streetcar for instance) and are eternally in your debt for introducing us to the world of Enid Bagnold.

And now you have thrown us a delicious parting crumb in the form of a frothy American musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Music & Lyrics by William Finn. Book by Rachel Sheinkin), which we saw in New York and thought would work well here. And it does. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Danton’s Life / Danton’s Death, National Theatre

Thursday 5 August 2010

For reasons even less interesting than the average WEW blog post the Whingers were forced to sell their preview tickets for Danton’s Death (by Georg Büchner in a new version by Howard Brenton directed by Michael Grandage at the National Theatre)

The show opened,  the critics gave it four stars and everyone else gave it two. Reading between the lines of the critics (and the actual lines of everyone else), Danton’s Death was dull, dull, dull…

…except for a quite audacious, unmissable, coup de theatre at the very end of the play [SPOILER ALERT]. Read the rest of this entry »

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009

Thursday 28 January 2010

Well, the fire door had been carelessly left open so like model citizens we went in and pulled it firmly shut behind us and then it turned out we were in the Price of Wales Theatre and there was free drink and Rachel Weisz and Jude Law were and so we thought, what the hell, and stayed for The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009.

Of course, it’s pretty much the definition of “yesterday’s news”* (well, you try filing a blog post when they’ve been topping up your wine glass not stop for for three hours and to be fair Andrew was tweeting it live) and so you know that Weisz and Law were among the winners. We sort of guessed that when we saw them there. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Red, Donmar Theatre

Tuesday 8 December 2009

“Can you tell what it is yet?”

That iconic phrase always flashes through Phil’s mind when he stares at a painting by Mark Rothko. But never more so than last night as the Whingers watched Rothko and his studio assistant Ken attack a blank canvas with a pot of red paint. It’s a bit of a coup de théâtre, brilliantly choreographed as you would expect from director Michael Grandage – but the Whingers couldn’t help thinking of Rolf Harris. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Streetcar Named Desire, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 28 July 2009

SCNDThe happiness of the Whingers depends on a lot of things when they visit a theatre: good sightlines, brevity, amusement and a competitively priced bar. But unlike Blanche Dubois they do not seek or expect kindness from strangers (or friends for that matter). Indeed, it is a word that rarely features in their limited vocabularies.

Brevity may also have been in somewhat short supply at the Donmar Warehouse on Monday when we dropped in to see Rob Ashford‘s production of Tennessee Williams‘s Pulitzer Prize winning classic A Streetcar Named Desire: it lumbers in at at a massive three hours. But for once the Whingers had struck lucky in the advance booking ticket lottery that the Donmar organises for its “friends” and for the first time in yonks we weren’t sitting to the side of the thrust stage but at the front, where the critics get to sit (in fact Mark Lawson or his Doppelgänger was in front of us). And boy what a difference it made! Read the rest of this entry »