Posts Tagged ‘Duchess Theatre’

Review – The Play That Goes Wrong, Duchess Theatre

Monday 15 September 2014

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Phil once had the thrill of witnessing a sofa collapsing during Shaw’s yeast infection play Candida.

He can’t remember which of the cast members proved too heavy a burden for said furniture, it could have been Deborah Kerr, Denis Quilley or Patrick Ryecart. Unlikely that it was Maureen Lipman as she played the maid and hired help generally do not get to enjoy the furnishings. It must have been a gloriously accident prone run as apparently her skirt fell off on another occasion.

But at Phil’s performance the sounds of urgent carpentry emanated through the interval curtain which rose to reveal a hastily found piece of wood replacing the missing sofa leg and a cast gingerly lowering their derrières every time they needed to perch upon it. How we giggled. 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 – Butley, Duchess Theatre

Sunday 12 June 2011

For obvious reasons the Whingers aren’t ones to hold mirrors up to themselves. The first time Phil tried it he accidentally cured Tennyson’s writer’s block, the last time Agatha Christie’s.

But watching David Cameron’s Old Etonian mucker Dominic West as the titular Butley should have proved uncomfortable viewing.

Unlike Butley the Whingers have neither wives nor have they spread their seed (but if they did they doubt they’d be able to remember their issue’s name either), they’re not steeped in academia and if they had even a soupçon of his alcohol-marinated, tartly cutting wit we’d they’d be deeply gratified. Low self-esteem? Let’s not go there. But the Whingers have been known to enjoy the odd tincture. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Sign of the Times, Duchess Theatre

Thursday 17 March 2011

Two peculiar, ill-matched fellows. One old and past it with delusions of being a writer. One younger, seemingly in a world of his own with artistic aspirations. Both creatively frustrated and arguably work-shy.

And your point is? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Michael Gambon in Krapp’s Last Tape, Duchess Theatre

Saturday 2 October 2010

Right well let’s get the obvious, inevitable, childish gags out of the way so we can move on.

This was the first time the Whingers had seen Krapp in the theatre.

And could Michael Gambon ever be Krapp? Unthinkable. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Fantasticks, Duchess Theatre

Wednesday 26 May 2010

There was a horrible inevitability that the Whingers would eventually make their West End stage debuts.

We are not counting our curtain call at Hair where we elbowed less able-bodied patrons out of the way to be first on the stage.

No, this was a more considered performance involving preparation: warm ups, vocal exercises and the necessity to eschew alcohol. Almost. Actually we did neck a pre-show glass of wine (strictly for Dutch Courage you understand) but you are not allowed take your drinks with you if you elect to purchase an on-stage seat at the Duchess Theatre.

No wine! Being a performer in the heady world of the West End doesn’t seem so glamorous now does it? How committed must we have been? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Endgame, Duchess Theatre

Wednesday 7 October 2009

endgamePhil is taking to religion, believing there could possibly be a God.

Even stranger, Phil has another new perspective on the universe: that Andrew is a star twinkling brighter than any luminary treading the West End stage. Yes, it’s too much to take in, won’t last very long and you can be certain Andrew will milk this one.

The reason for this curious state of mind? Andrew rang Phil on Tuesday morning sounding as if something very, very terrible had happened. Was Too Close To The Sun being revived? No. Andrew was mumbling in a quite unnecessarily apologetic tone, “It turns out I didn’t book the tickets for the interminably long and almost  universally derided pig’s ear that is Mother Courage at the National Theatre after all.”

Having thought themselves doomed to seeing at least the first act that evening, the effect was quite astonishing. Phew! Phil’s mood lifted instantly. His metaphorical sun came out as he experienced more relief than a Swedish massage parlour. It turned out that both Whingers had been dreading it. Phil wondered why he’d agreed in the first place and Andrew had even been trying to give the (non existent) tickets away. Unsurprisingly there were no takers.

Hence they ended up at the Duchess Theatre watching Endgame instead. But to replace an evening’s Brecht with an evening’s Beckett is surely an Olympian Whingerian jump out of the frying pan and into the proverbial? Read the rest of this entry »