Posts Tagged ‘Dave Willetts’

Review – 42nd Street, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 12 September 2012

You want the good news or bad news first?

The Good

The classic story of a chorus girl who goes on to become a star when the leading lady breaks her ankle tale is the stuff of musical legend. No complaints there.

Lots and LOTS and LOTS of tap dancing from the off and a hugely satisfying pair of big numbers at the end with a large cast of hoofers banging away like crazy.

The costumes. Lots of them.

The songs lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren.

Marti Webb can sing. So can Dave Willetts (but he sadly gets little opportunity).

The Bad

The book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble is a laugh-free zone that makes Top Hat‘s book look like a collaboration between Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Was it really that bad when Phil saw the show back in the 80s?

The ‘gags’ (if one can flatter them thusly) are delivered with such over-emphasis they barely produce a titter from the audience. The Whingers couldn’t even raise the enthusiasm to groan.

…and the Ugly

The sets. Oh dear, even by touring standards these must be pretty poor. What Phil remembers from the original Broadway and West End productions was the spectacle. Here, as so much has been spent on a large cast economics have presumably reduced them to a series of drops. One didn’t make sense at all, some sort of geometric floral motif vaguely reminiscent of the terrible London 2012 logo.

Dorothy Brock’s dressing room was very battered around the edges but perhaps this was a metaphor. And while we’re on the subject, there was a working door into it so why do some of the cast enter and exit her room from the sides? Rather ill-mannered of them in our view.

Act 2 sees a slight improvement with a big light-up staircase and a 3Dish version of a Philadelphia station.

The terribly flat lighting.

The audience. Yup, chatting again throughout the overtures, repeating what passed for jokes at full volume and the woman behind us who appeared to be practising ballon sculpting with her plastic bag.

Footnote

We must end on some good news. This was the first time we’d been in the New Wimbledon‘s revamped circle bar now known as the Piano Bar. It’s been given a spanking make-over with such a lovely wooden floor Andrew and Phil were tempted to put on their tap shoes and try it out. More good news; they resisted.

Rating

Two out of Five: slightly corked or vinegary

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Review – Aspects of Love, Menier Chocolate Factory

Thursday 15 July 2010

Lordy!

This was the first WEW outing to an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical since that other thing earlier this year, the occasion on which the Whingers finally – after four years of writing – came up with a reasonably funny gag. Monkeys and typewriters and all that.

No wonder another 11 people signed up to come along, all hoping to be around when the Whingers came up with their second apposite aphorism. Needless to say they were disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Sunset Boulevard, Comedy Theatre

Tuesday 9 December 2008

sunsetboulevard“You can’t write a musical about Sunset Boulevard,” Billy Wilder is said to have told Stephen Sondheim. “It has to be an opera. After all, it’s about a dethroned queen” (We’re not going to insult your intelligence with links to SB, BW or SS – you know what/who they are).

Sondheim got the message but if Andrew Lloyd Webber had any qualms he overcame them and – unhappily – another hit was born, Patti LuPone, Glenn Close, Betty Buckley, Petula Clark and Rita Moreno (ditto) being among the luminaries who have given their close-up, Mr De Mille.

Now, cards on the table. The Whingers have never been struck by Mr Lloyd Webber’s work and they tend to steer well-clear of sung-through musicals. They also believe that Sunset Boulevard is a classic film that no-one has any right to mess with (for heaven’s sake; at this rate they’ll be staging All About Eve next!) but they gallantly overcame all these prejudices and more in order to take a trip down Sunset Boulevard at the Comedy Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »