Posts Tagged ‘Donmar Warehouse’

Review – Sweet Charity, Donmar Warehouse

Wednesday 10 April 2019

Hurrah. At last. A proper musical.

Some of us are old enough to remember that 1966 was not only the year of a particular World Cup but also when Sweet Charity emerged. Those were the days, when people really knew what a hummable tune was.

Can you imagine Come From Away or especially Fun Home winning Olivier Awards and Tony Awards five decades ago? No, we can’t either. And Dear Evan Hansen may be fabulously tune-filled but at the prices it’s charging we will probably never know. Don’t be fooled that the “Dear” of the title is just a form of address. We’d welcome a little less ambiguity and suggest they call it Expensive Evan Hansen.

But we digress. This is a show which positively aches with catchy numbers in Cy Coleman‘s music (enhanced by and Dorothy Fields‘ lyrics) – “Big Spender”, “If My Friends Could See Me Now”, “There’s Gotta Be Something Better Than This”, “I’m A Brass Band” and “I Love To Cry At Weddings”. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Vote, Donmar Warehouse

Saturday 25 April 2015

Goodness. We were there.Screen Shot 2015-04-24 at 09.18.21

No, we hadn’t expected to be either.

Phil won tickets for an “unprecedented experiment and a major innovation in theatre and television”, The Vote in (appropriately enough) a ballot.

We say “won”, he was aware he had to pay for them of course. Yet it still felt like one of those “competitions” where you think you’ve won a free holiday then find you have to pay for your flights and accommodation at absurdly inflated rates after making a long premium rate phone call. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – My Night With Reg, Donmar

Tuesday 5 August 2014

My-Night-with-RegPhil feared that – like himself – My Night With Reg might not have worn too well.

He saw it at the Royal Court Upstairs when it opened twenty years ago and was something of a success, moving to the West End, winning both the Standard and Olivier best comedy awards and was subsequently turned into a TV film.

You can’t help but wonder if Kevin Elyot wanted to write a gay Abigail’s Party of sorts. It’s a tragi-comedy of manners and morals set partially at an intimate party complete with bowls of nibbles, copious drinking and smoking, an awkwardly uncomfortable character, sexual frustration, a chokingly funny fumbled seduction and all wrapped up in a (now) distinctly period setting (mid to late eighties) with glimpses of vinyl LPs and their sounds, plus like Abigail, we never get to see its titular character. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Weir, Donmar Warehouse

Thursday 25 April 2013

8082_fullAnother week, another theatrical first.* Well, a first for us. Though sadly what led to this first is becoming a norm.

Barely two weeks after leaving Children of the Sun with a fire alarm – triggered by a stage effect – ringing in our ears, still more ringing dominates the punters’ leaving-the-theatre discussions.

The Donmar didn’t have a pre-show announcement to switch off mobiles (not that some people take any notice). And, of course, one went off. Someone had to take action. That someone was Brian Cox (the actor, not the particle physicist with the 90s rock band hair). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Trelawny of the Wells, Donmar

Monday 8 April 2013

Trelawny_Of_The_Wells-1-200-200-100-cropBit late in the day with this one and frankly we weren’t going to bother writing it up as it closes on Saturday. But we’ll forget that we saw it otherwise. That’s not to say it’s forgettable. It’s just us.

Andrew was a Trelawny of the Wells virgin. Phil saw the starry Helena Bonham Carter version at the then Comedy Theatre 20-odd years ago; rather unfortunately the National also staged it around the same time. Oops. Phil remembered that it featured Michael Hordern, Jason Connery and Margaret Courtenay but had completely forgotten that cosmonaut-in-waiting Sarah Brightman also starred. How could he forget that? It seemed necessary to record our visit, if only for ourselves. You should feel no obligation to read any further. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Recruiting Officer, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 21 February 2012

60 years on the throne. Andrew is laying odds that the Queen will still be around to get that telegram off to Phil should he hang on a few more years. But what does the Jubilee really mean to the Whingers?

Royal cupcakes? Cliff, Elton and Shirley on a traffic island in the Mall? Huge anticipation that Princess Beatrice might turn up in a new hat? The Whingers’ preferred Jubilee line is that it’s an excuse (should we need one) for a few tinctures.

But before we unravel our bunting there is a coronation to celebrate. King Michael (Grandage) has abdicated after his ten-year reign – topically eschewing male primogeniture – leaving theatrically-minded eyes agog to see how comfortably the jewel-laden Donmar crown balances on the head on his successor Queen Josie (O’Rourke). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Anna Christie, Donmar Warehouse

Friday 12 August 2011

Dear Andrew,

They say you can’t be in two places at the same time, but obviously the Whingers can. You swanned off to the Edinburgh Festival and unlike last year, you haven’t even had the courtesy to send even a postcard.

Your departing instructions were to “mop the surrounds”: take in the Pinter you suggested or perhaps the Caryl Churchill. Thanks a bundle.

Then you handed me the much sought-after tickets for Anna Christie – hot presumably because Jude Law is in it and not because you’ve been holding them in clammy palms. And it is a Eugene O’Neill to boot (not a master of the art of  brevity) while you’ll be seeing shows in Edinburgh that last what –  an hour or less?

But what would you have made of it? In a Being John Malkovich sort of way I’m going to try the unthinkable and get inside your head and imaginge what you’d have made of it. 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 »

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 »

In which the Whingers invoice Mr Grandage

Sunday 14 November 2010

It has been a draining week for the Whingers thanks to the Donmar Warehouse’s new improved priority booking which is no longer conducted by mail but on the telephone.

Apparently there are advantages to the new system:

  • KNOW YOUR SEATS RIGHT AWAY (The ones that the higher priority members such as “Wigs” didn’t want)
  • FASTER TURNAROUND (“ensuring faster delivery of your tickets to your home”)

and our favourite:

  • NO BOOKING FEE. “As a membership benefit, the normal ATG booking fee of £2.50 will be waived during this period. Should you wish, however, to make a donation to the Donmar to the value of the booking fee the sales representative will collect it at the time of your call.”

Since there wasn’t a booking fee under the previous system this hardly warrants the term “benefit” and anyway the cost of the 0844 telephone call to get the tickets was £6.

Review – Passion, Donmar Warehouse

Friday 17 September 2010

The scene: a luxurious apartment in BA (that’s Buenos Aries). Argentina’s foremost musical theatre actress Elena Roger is luxuriating on a chaise longue, probably eating a steak, humming a tango and idly toying with her boleadoras (That’s the sum of our knowledge about the Argentine, sorry. You’ll have to add your own colour to the picture). A telephone rings. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Prince of Homburg, Donmar Warehouse

Thursday 29 July 2010

Like The Railway Children, which is currently flaunting its loco at Waterloo station, Heinrich von Kleist‘s The Prince of Homburg comes with its own Unique Selling Point having had conferred upon it the somewhat loco accolade: “Hitler’s favourite play”.

Yes, the Whingers were obviously never quite going to be able to overlook such an epithet and as soon as the Donmar announcement was made the Whingers were straight on the phone for tickets.

After all, it’s only a few months since they saw Stalin’s favourite play and their theatre-going activities have been given a new impetus by the desire to tick off the favourite plays of all of the 20th Century’s top dictators (and their wives). The Whingers are given to understand that Elena Ceauşescu* adored The Prisoner of Second Avenue (and was the only person on the planet to find it the slightest bit amusing) so it was worth sitting through that after all. Now we are willing someone – anyone –  to revive Idi Amin’s favourite musical, No, No Nanette. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Late Middle Classes, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 1 June 2010

In the unlikely event that they ever get around to writing their play the Whingers will be sure to follow the classic advice to “write about what you know”. This will engender a refreshingly brief night at the theatre.

In The Late Middle Classes Simon Gray has written about what he knows. The late Mr Gray knew more than we ever will and hence has much more to say. And so it was heavy hearts all round when the Whingers found a slip in their Donmar programmes imparting the news that “The performance lasts approximately 2 hours and 45 minutes including an interval” in contradiction of the programme which admits to a mere “2 hours”. How did they get it so wrong? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Polar Bears, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 6 April 2010

Who knew that at one stage of its decomposition a corpse smells like parmesan cheese?

It’s enough to put the Whingers off their penne arrabiata.

But the Donmar‘s latest production, Polar Bears, the first stage play by acclaimed The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time author Mark Haddon, rather put them off something else altogether: going to the theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 16 February 2010

The Whingers’ heads have been turned more than a Linda Blair demonic possession in recent weeks. But having spent far more time hob-nobbing than actually watching plays, it was down to earth with a resounding thump last night after all their recent star-schtumphing.

The novelty of not being pestered by celebrities (well, almost*) almost made the prospect of sitting with ordinary members of the public at the  Donmar Warehouse seem attractive. And Lanford Wilson‘s Serenading Louie, about which the Whingers knew next to nothing, seemed an ideal way to re-enter their normal, everyday, humdrum lives. Read the rest of this entry »