Posts Tagged ‘Gielgud Theatre’

Review – The Ferryman, Royal Court

Monday 1 May 2017

Having barely recovered from the 11.45pm curtain of Angels in America Part 2, Phil arrived at The Ferryman to discover a running time of 3 hours 20 minutes.

Playwrights seem to have an awful lot to say for themselves.

This is Jez Butterworth‘s latest epic. The fastest-selling play in Royal Court Theatre history apparently. A June transfer to The Gielgud was announced well ahead of any previews. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Blithe Spirit starring Dame Angela Lansbury, Gielgud Theatre

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Perhaps that should be Dame-elect.poster

As far as we know Angela Lansbury‘s still waiting to pick up her gong. But it’s well-timed. Charity gigs aside (Phil once saw her perform ‘Bosom Buddies’ with Bea Arthur), she’s not appeared on the London stage for almost 40 years. How canny of Palace officials to catch her while they can.

And gosh, we hadn’t seen post-show crowds outside a stage door like these for years. Presumably most are familiar with her from constant reruns of Murder, She Wrote rather than Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate or her record number of Tony Award acting wins.

We watched it in mild amazement from the safety of The White Horse upstairs bar as a Mark Shenton look-alike tried to corral the throng seeping out from behind the crash barriers, to allow access for her car. Which, when it came, she entered, wound down the window and threw cheery waves on departing.

Let’s hope when she goes to the Palace she gets HMQ and not one of the second-stringers. They can have a wave-off.

Now, unless you’re connected to someone in the show or Biggins and get invited to the opening, there’s two ways for ordinary members of the public to get tickets for Blithe Spirit. You can either forgo a few luxuries and fork out up to £92.25, or you can do as we did and enjoy a morning sojourn playing Scrabble on the pavement outside the Gielgud Theatre and get one of the day seats for £10*. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Private Lives, Gielgud Theatre

Wednesday 3 July 2013

privatelives-gielgudIt seems no time at all since the last West End production of Noël Coward‘s Private Lives. Turns out it’s just over 3 years. If it hadn’t been for that production (starring Kim Cattrall) the Whingers would probably never have seen Love Never Dies – well not in preview at least – and look what that led to. It’s a long story, you should ask us about it one day… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Audience, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 22 February 2013

posterWe should probably put SPOILER ALERT in here and have done with it, but judging by the papers in the last week it seems the press were in at its first preview; the spoiling has already been done.

This is not just a play, it’s a news item; so eagerly anticipated that disappointment might almost seem inevitable.

If it initially seemed surprising that Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire Helen Mirren would revisit playing HMQ (the part she famously won an Oscar for in The Queen by Peter Morgan of Frost/Nixon etc fame) the reasons soon become evident.

The Audience comes from the pen of that film’s writer with Stephen Daldry returning to directing for the stage after 4 films (“together received 19 Academy Award nominations and 2 wins” according to the programme) and a slew of well-known theatre names portraying British Prime Ministers over the last 61 years on board too. It’s enough to bring back the ticket tout. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Chariots of Fire, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 3 August 2012

A bit slow off the starting blocks with this one.

Anyway, a tip: don’t ask the ushers at Chariots of Fire if Mr Bean is appearing. At the first post-opening ceremony performance Phil checked but they had apparently been asked several times already.

Failing to obtain tickets for any Olympic events, this seemed the nearest alternative to try and get into the spirit of the games and Phil was intrigued: he’d been having a drink outside a hostelry near the Gielgud Theatre a few days earlier when a complete stranger came up and congratulated him on his performance in COF. Who could she mean? Most of the cast weren’t even born when that strangely over-awarded 1981 film came out which left a few of the more senior cast members. So Nicholas Grace or Simon Williams perhaps? Bizarre.

This West End transfer from the Hampstead Theatre was announced before it even opened there; so in some ways swifter than Mark Cavendish Lizzie Armitstead Wiggo. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Ladykillers, Gielgud Theatre

Wednesday 7 December 2011

Best to sidestep this intro if you find it too distressing to discover (or have no interest in and why would you?) what goes on in a Whinger’s mystifying unconscious.

People who insist on relating their dreams are about as enthralling as those who share their travel nightmares. But occasionally a Whinger will seek to inflict a condensed version of a previous night’s fancies on the other in the interests of seeking insight, analysis or at least a dribble of interest.

The last one Phil bestowed on Andrew went thus: “I was re-recording my album in a hotel room and Sir Bob Geldof asked if he could come and watch. I couldn’t sing, I couldn’t remember the words and the reel-to-reel tape recorder got tangled up and was spewing out tape all over the room. Bob was very nice about it.” Mmmm.

An article in the programme for The Ladykillers reveals the QI origins of the classic 1955 Ealing comedy. William Rose came up with the idea “five criminals were living in a little house with a charming little old lady” in a dream, woke up, told the entire plot and concept to his wife and promptly fell back to sleep. His wife was so struck by the idea that she stayed awake all night and asked him if he could remember it in the morning. He remembered nothing but went on to write the original screenplay from her retelling. How easily The Ladykillers might never have existed.

The next time Andrew nods off in a theatre Phil intends to interrogate him post-slumber to see if he has come up with such a brilliant conceit. What are the chances? 

The Ladykillers now comes to the Gielgud Theatre with what can only be described by us as a dream cast in a version by Father Ted and The IT Crowd writer Graham Lineham. Expectations were absurdly high. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Yes, Prime Minister, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 23 September 2011

The Whingers can be notoriously fickle.

After initial flickers of interest in seeing the Chichester transfer Yes, Prime Minister in its earlier incarnation, well you know how it is, other shows fluttered their seductive eyelids at us, dragged us knee-tremblingly up the West End back alleys and somehow it just dropped off our rather slipshod radar.

So it came and went and toured and came back again. Then it got shunted a couple of doors up Shaftesbury Avenue, presumably to fill the void left when Lend Me A Tenor took an early bath (hark at us using sporting metaphors!) and an opportunity presented itself, well to Phil at least as Andrew was experiencing other behind-the-scenes power shenanigans by Tinker Tailor Soldier Spying. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Lend Me A Tenor – The Musical, Gielgud Theatre

Monday 13 June 2011

Cast your minds back. Did we not suffer last year when we visited Ken Ludwig‘s original play on which Lend Me A Tenor – The Musical is based? The Whingers are nothing if not slow learners.

But in our defence it was simply too intriguing:  what could the addition of songs contribute – apart from making it longer and even more draining? Can one really make a musical out of a farce? Wouldn’t those ditties slow down and undermine the whole door-slamming raison d’être of the genre?

And coming hot on the heels of the early demises of Hair and the lamented (by us, and almost us alone) loss of The Umbrellas of Cherbourg another failure could the Gielgud Theatre be seeking to snatch the Shaftesbury (Home of the Flops until Hairspray came along) Theatre’s crown?

But the Gods of Optimism had been working overtime, casting two Whinger’s favourite folk: Matthew Kelly and Joanna Riding (Ms Riding presumably was presumably not even required to move out of the dressing room she occupied when appearing in Umbrellas) and the trap sprang shut.

Would hilarity ensue when the world’s greatest tenor Tito Merelli (Michael Matus) came to 1934’s Cleveland to save the ailing Grand Opera Company by giving his Otello,  suddenly becoming  indisposed requiring the director’s geeky assistant Max (Damian Humbley) to step in? Or would it be about as much fun as the Go Compare ads? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Umbrellas of Cherbourg, Gielgud Theatre

Tuesday 15 March 2011

For reasons quite unfathomable to Andrew, Phil is rather proud of the fact that he’s un peu francais.

Despite having a soupçon of French in him (on his father’s side) he displays no natural propensity for that tongue or any other come to that (indeed he frequently grapples with la langue maternelle).

Yes even he, with his Huguenot heritage, finds a little French schtick goes an awful long way.

A couple of excerpts from The Umbrellas of Cherbourg performed at the What’s On Stage Awards were enough to persuade the Whingers to give the Gielgud Theatre une très large couchette indeed. It just looked as if it might be too flippin’ French. Or, less insensitively, too flippin’ faux French – like being forced into a beret and tricolour culottes for a meal of horse meat in snail sauce while watching a Jerry Lewis movie.

And to be honest, it looked a bit, well, merde. And then we read this.

So unlike Baz Bamigboye (who according to the adverts is “dying to see it”) the Whingers had found themselves bearing a certain froideur vis-à-vis The Umbrellas of Cherbourg.

But tickets presented themselves and never being ones to look un cadeau cheval dans la bouche we thought, “Qui ne risque rien n’a rien”… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hair, Gielgud Theatre

Thursday 15 April 2010

The Whingers finally made their stage debuts! Dancing in a musical! Wearing flowers in their hair! Tripping! (Over the carpet)

And we can truthfully tell you: we were utterly fabulous! And you missed it.

Yes, you read that correctly. The Gielgud Theatre London. Not The Al Hirschfeld Theatre on The Broadway where Hair is still playing. And there was yet another first. This is the full original cast brought over from the Broadway revival and yes, we’re still here in New York. Got that? Confused? We are.

And you know what? It’s so hot on a West End stage we were tempted to strip (they’ve even installed extra generators in the street for some reason). Not that the heat stopped us gyrating wildly, giving our all like the troupers we are. We won’t need understudies. You won’t find a slip in your programme or hear groans from the audience as an announcement just before the curtain rises intones “Due to their indisposition The Whingers will not be appearing”. We’ll do 8 shows a week quite happily. And we promise to keep our clothes on. Yes, we were first on stage as the cast invited the audience to join them on stage at the end of the show (about 200 apparently counted by ushers with clickers, it’s a health and safety thing) and we were the last off. They even extended the curtain call at last Saturday night’s preview so impressive were our performances. See, we told you we were fabulous. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Enjoy, Gielgud Theatre

Monday 9 March 2009

enjoyIt has taken rather a long time for the Whingers to make their way round to the Gielgud Theatre to take in Enjoy.

Which is odd, really, when you think about it: the combination of a play by national treasure Alan Bennett with Alison Steadman and the son of a Doctor Who (David Troughton) leading the cast would seem to be irresistible fodder to the average Whinger.

What took them so long? Was it the subject matter? Would watching an ageing partnership (one slipping into senility, the other infirm) prove uncomfortable viewing? Did Andrew sense that it might be depressing rather than entertaining to witness a possible future tending to Phil’s needs by massaging immobile limbs and reminding him when to pee. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Pirandello’s Six Characters in Search of an Author, Gielgud Theatre

Saturday 11 October 2008

Do the Whingers exist?

Or are they merely characters created by their own writings?*

And is it inappropriate to use the word “merely”?

Without their incoherent ramblings would the characters of Phil and Andrew exist outside these pages?

Is it only you (yes, we mean you) reading these very words at this very moment that gives the Whingers their existence? Read the rest of this entry »