Posts Tagged ‘fringe’

Review – Madame Rubinstein, Park Theatre

Wednesday 3 May 2017

You wait a lifetime to see Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden portrayed on stage and then you get two in a row.

Well for Andrew anyhoo. It was just over a week since he saw the musical War Paint (with Patti Lupone as HR and Christine Ebersole as EA) on the actual Broadway. What are the chances?

So this is Jez Bond‘s production of Madame Rubinstein, the almost non-singing, certainly non-dancing account by John Misto with Miriam Margolyes and Frances Barber as the the two grandes dames of cosmetics. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Promises, Promises, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 19 January 2017

cxo6_jfxcae2livWhen The Whingers saw this on the Broadway (with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth) in 2010 they did an unprecedented thing (well, they may have done it other times but they can’t be bothered to check); awarded separate ratings for the first and second acts. If that’s not an argument against interval departures we don’t know what is. Not that it will stop them of course.

Promises, Promises has more promises in its creatives, than even its title. Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics Hal David, book Neil Simon and it’s based on one of Phil’s favourite films; the 1960 Billy Wilder film The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – After October – Finborough Theatre

Wednesday 7 December 2016

after-october-mainPlays with similar themes seem to becoming a bit of a habit with us.

Following on from last week’s Once in a Lifetime which took a pop at playwrights struggling to make sense of being holed up in Hollywood studio basements comes Rodney Ackland‘s possibly semi-autobiographical not-seen-in-London-for-over-eighty-years After October. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Grey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 7 January 2016

aLhIrSaYTwo interdependent, dysfunctional, eccentric old bats who spend their days musing on their lost looks, past talents and opportunities missed. Now residing in whiffy squalor, feeding a menagerie of cats and prone to talking to themselves or passing their peculiar limbo squabbling with each other. One thinks they possess a finely judged sartorial taste, when in reality it could only be described as eclectic.

Remind you of anyone? No, not Andrew and Phil. They were never glamorous in the first place. These are the former socialites and East Hampton residents, mother and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith Bouvier Beale.

If you’ve seen the cult 1975 documentary film Grey Gardens you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. If you haven’t seen it then you’ll definitely want to see it after this musical version (book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie) that was something of a success (10 Tony nominations, 3 wins) on Broadway in 2006. Expect other film documentaries, Super Size Me, Man On Wire and Bowling For Columbine with songs before long. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Xanadu, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 17 November 2015

17993_show_portrait_largeOh how we’ve waited.

Yes, we’ve waited and waited for the Godot that we feared might never arrive. It’s taken a full eight years for Xanadu to come to London; the the highlight of our 2007 sojourn to New York and not just because there was a strike on Broadway and it was one of the few shows still running. We praise the gods it still was.

Andrew even spent a not inconsiderable amount of time bending the ear of a well-known producer trying to convince her (a clue?) that this was the show she absolutely had to bring to London. He even put on his casting director’s hat by suggesting Sheridan Smith in the lead. Sadly bigger fish were in both their frying pans. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Our House, Union Theatre

Monday 7 September 2015

4622614348Back in 2002, a few years before they started Whingeing, Andrew and Phil had the unfamiliar experience of actually enjoying a new musical, Our House at the Cambridge Theatre.

Of course it was doomed. Despite our enthusiasm and the show going on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical it ran for less than 10 months and was consigned to the overstuffed dustbin of flops while lesser shows went on to run forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Gods and Monsters, Southwark Playhouse

Wednesday 11 February 2015

poster-250px_posterImgYears back, before the 1998 film starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser, Andrew, for some reason, was given the task of reading a pile of film scripts. Among the dross only one stood out, it turned out to be Gods and Monsters. Unsurprisingly Andrew accompanied Phil to the Southwark Playhouse for this one.

That Oscar-winning script by Bill Condon was based on Christopher Bram‘s Father of Frankenstein, a novel which is now the basis for Russell Labey’s play concerning the partly fictionalised life and lusts of James Whale, director of the iconic 1931 Frankenstein, not to mention Bride of Frankenstein and the 1936 Showboat.

Set in the 1950s, Whale (Ian Gelder) is now retired and has suffered a series of strokes, spending his days at the easel, convincing attractive young men to drop their pants and pose for his more artistic strokes. Dodgy. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Grand Tour, Finborough Theatre

Friday 9 January 2015

GTThings were not shaping up too well in 2015.

First Phil was going to hand out the much coveted Whingie Awards for 2014, then on reflection realised his short list was very short indeed (or he was just feeling too lazy). So apologies to Imelda Staunton, Tim Pigott-Smith, King Charles III, My Night With Reg, Forbidden Broadway and Assassins. You’d all have featured somewhere, but just think how much more coveted our gongs will be if it isn’t an annual event.

Then on Monday Phil turned up for Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown-The Musical only to be told it was cancelled due to the indisposition of 3 of the leads. Phil adopted on a glass half-full air saying “At least we can go home and watch Broadchurch” at which point two other glass half-full patrons turned round interjecting “That’s exactly what we said too”. Anyhoo, the Playhouse staff were so nice and apologetic about it Phil didn’t have the heart to tell them it wasn’t like the days of Ethel Merman (who never missed a show) as they were all far to young to know who the hell he was talking about it.

The next day, Phil was due to interview Rob Marshall and Marc Platt, director and producer respectively of Into the Woods, but this was cancelled too. Phil had previously puffed himself up at this inexplicable invitation and prepared, with due diligence, his list of probing questions, “Did they know that James Corden was probably only in the film due to the Whingers, since we were the first to rave about him in One Man, Two Guvnors, leading to its West End and Broadway transfers, Corden’s Tony Award and his international recognition?” and “Why wasn’t Meryl Streep given a big prosthetic hooter for her witch?” and “How much wine was downed at the film’s wrap party?” Sadly we will never know.

So what chance for Jerry Herman’s The Grand Tour? Andrew (who dragged himself up out of the house for this one) was anticipating a third cancellation. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jack and the Beanstalk, Southwark Playhouse

Saturday 21 December 2013

Southwark-Playhouse“Have you ever seen Puss in Boots?” Andrew asked Phil recently.

We probably don’t have the kind of conversations typical chaps might have in or out of the boozer. We do not discuss, football, rugby, cricket or golf and we cannot compare the relative acceleration of our cars as we do not possess one between us.

For instance our Stephen Ward post-show conversation – once we had done a bit of necessary fact-checking on the Profumo Affair – somehow led us on to the cast lists of films including On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and almost as inexplicably Disney’s Lt. Robinson Crusoe and the difference between the acting Nancys (or is that Nancies?) Kwan and Kulp. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Desperately Seeking The Exit, Leicester Square Theatre

Friday 3 May 2013

2DEB571D0-91CF-31F3-D6FD5E46F5DF1292We have observed before how carefully one must choose the title of one’s show lest critics, sub-editors or even pesky bloggers get their hands on it and turn it on its head and here is Peter Michael Marino doing it to himself, sort of, with a bit of help from Charlie Spencer.

Having eventually recovered from a year long bout of depression and a severe case of haemorrhoids the writer of the 2007 West End flop musical Desperately Seeking Susan has nicked a quote from Charles Spencer’s review and used it for his one man piece Desperately Seeking the Exit (director John Clancy) which explains what went wrong.

The Whingers never saw DSS and we’re not even sure why. We’re both very partial to The Blondie, whose songs were purloined to musicalise the plot from the 1985 film (memorable because (a) it featured Madonna and (b) she wasn’t terrible in it).

How bad could the musical version have been? As bad as Paradise Found? Viva Forever! (which has just announced it is not quite forever)? Or the so-bad-it-was-(almost)-good Too Close to the Sun? Surely not. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Merrily We Roll Along, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Rating

Confused?

Not if you’re familiar with Merrily We Roll Along which starts in 1976 and moves back through the years to 1957 and inspired Phil to write the review in reverse.

But unlike Stephen Sondheim, his book writer George Furth or Pinter or George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart who wrote the original play on which it’s based he’s not sharp enough for that. So he’ll leave it there. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Victor/Victoria, Southwark Playhouse

Friday 2 November 2012

A long while before she generously offered her Gift of Music, Julie Andrews was the subject of a Guardian interview at the NFT (now BFI).

Phil was in the audience and after furiously waving his arm in a “Me sir! Me sir!” kind of way, was given the chance to ask his killer question:

“Do you ever watch your old films and if you do which one do you watch most often?”

A hushed audience (including a complete stranger called Andrew – this was pre-Whinger days) leaned forward as one in anticipation of the answer (that’s how Phil remembers it, anyway).

Julie paused thoughtfully before replying “I don’t watch my films, but if I did it would be Victor/VictoriaRead the rest of this entry »

Review – Taboo, Brixton Club House

Monday 1 October 2012

Can it really be ten years since “The Boy George Musical” flounced onto the London stage?

Can it really be over 30 years since the New Romantic movement kicked off?

Why does time contract as you get older? Except when you sit through over-protracted shows like Taboo, obviously.
Read the rest of this entry »

Review – It’s All True, White Bear Theatre

Tuesday 28 August 2012

Yes, it’s been a while.

We’ve been busy. Wallowing in everthing from the perky and quirky opening ceremony to the bit iffy closing ceremony and an awful lot of greedy medalling inbetween.

So after all that real drama (not to mention a pesky burglary) there was little rush to return to theatre. But then Andrew drew Phil’s attention to Jason Sherman‘s It’s All True which is also real drama in as much as it is  based on real events.

Strangely this was Phil’s first visit to the White Bear Theatre in the badlands of Kennington so he was understandably a little taken aback to find himself in a pub surrounded not by shiftless middle class arty types but by people in t-shirts watching football on multiple telly screens.

The White Bear is a strange place. Certainly the Whingers can not think of any other pub in London where the wine comes in individual mini-bottles of the kind you get on aeroplanes. We can only imagine that demand for vino is so low that they got fed up of having to throw away the rest of the full sized bottles on the rare occasion that some outsider asked for a glass.

Anyhoo, it was in this unusal setting that the Whingers discovered they shared a few things in common with Orson Welles and not just a love of sweet sherry. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Outward Bound, Finborough Theatre

Tuesday 14 February 2012

Can’t say much about Outward Bound really without giving things away. Marvel at the uncharacteristically tight Whinger lips here although it is only a slight variation on their signature pursed configuration.

Can say that one shouldn’t be misled by the title: it is not about aiming to foster personal growth and social skills using challenging expeditions in the outdoors. Can say it doesn’t involve canoeing, abseiling or hillwalking. Can say it’s not set in Wales and that it is a great relief to say there is not a backpack or damp chunky knit sock in sight. And before the lawyers write in, yes, ® Outward Bound is a registered trade mark of The Outward Bound Trust  Read the rest of this entry »