Posts Tagged ‘London’

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 2: Perestroika

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What to add to our pontifications on Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America Part 1 that we haven’t already mentioned?

That there was a long line to collect tickets as they wouldn’t issue Part 2 tickets when we collected our Part 1 ones (are they doing a Hamilton thing?). That we queued to get into the auditorium as they didn’t open the doors until 7pm for our 7pm performance. That (apart from two intervals) we were in our cheap 4th row cramped budget airline seats for much of the 4 and three-quarter hours. That’s the flying time to Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, National Theatre

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Over 7 hours, 2 nights and at least 3 intervals (we do not yet know how many Part 2 holds). How terribly indulgent. It’s almost as long as its title. Phil saw the original production of Angels in America at the National back in 1992, yet, still he came back for more.

25 years ago Henry Goodman played closeted Roy Cohn, Trump and McCarthyite attorney, Nixon advisor, Rosenberg prosecutor, and all round shyster-meister. Here the casting coup is Nathan Lane. Mildly ironic that Lane should be taking the Goodman role since Goodman infamously (and briefly) took over from Lane when he left the Broadway run of The Producers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – 42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Thursday 13 April 2017

Some believe that size isn’t everything. Clearly not the producers of this revival of 42nd Street. They measure in feet rather than inches.

It arrives with a cast of 55 for goodness sake. 42 of them tapping at once. That’s 84 feet (should your maths not be up to it). When did you last, or ever, see that? They are spoiling us for other shows. It might be time to invest in a Covent Garden cobblers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre

Friday 17 March 2017

In which Phil thinks he may have seen one of the best looking shows ever (and thinks he must be going soft in his old age too).

Just about filling the vast stage of the newly-refurbished Dominion Theatre, An American in Paris is based on the 1951 movie, with music and lyrics from George and Ira Gershwin respectively. It’s a big, splashy, very old-fashioned romance. If it were a stick of rock, the word “BROADWAY” would run through it.

Thankfully the two Tony-nominated New York leads, British ballerina Leanne Cope and New York City Ballet dancer Robert Fairchild have travelled with it. And travelled well. Though not at every performance. Caveat Emptor. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Harold Pinter Theatre

Friday 3 March 2017

mobile-header4Give Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? an award now (correct envelope please). Audiences have been banned from eating in the auditorium. The West End might be coming to its senses at last. Hurrah!

It seems like yesterday, although it is 11 years, since we saw Edward Albee‘s 1962 Tony Award-winning play (Best play, actor and actress) on the Shaftesbury Avenue with Kathleen Turner being both brilliantly hilarious and pathetic as the vitriol-and-booze-fueled, husband-baiting Martha. It’s one of the most perfect pieces of casting Phil’s ever witnessed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Wednesday 22 February 2017

imagesHope you didn’t mind the gap.

Phil felt unmoved to bother writing about his last few theatrical disappointments, he’d been catching up on shows in the last weeks of their runs anyway. Also he’s been going to the pictures. A lot. And by avoiding the disappointments of theatre he’s been able to enjoy being disappointed by some over-praised films. 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 – The Kite Runner, Wyndham’s Theatre

Thursday 12 January 2017

the-kite-runnerKites on stage! Might Phil put them up there with balloons, one of his other theatrical bêtes noires?

There are a few fluttering about, but not as many as you might expect given the title. And they’re a little disappointingly realised. Things on the end of bendy sticks. Not high fliers or not there at all (mimed). You may be reminded of the birds in the opening sequence of the stage version of The Lion King. Thankfully they’re not used as metaphors. Well, they probably are, but it went right over Phil’s head. If only the kites had too.

Khaled Hosseini‘s novel The Kite Runner sold millions. Phil hadn’t read it or seen the film which probably helped considerably. So the story of a deep friendship between two boys (one a servant to the other) in a tribally conflicted Seventies Afghanistan which also covers the Soviet invasion, the Taliban surge and 9/11 took him completely by surprise. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hedda Gabler, National Theatre

Friday 9 December 2016

nt-live-hedda-gabler-portrait-listings-image-uk-722x1024A few weeks ago, on the Nothern Line, while Phil was running his fingers along the lines of type in the Metro he noticed he was sitting next to a woman concentrating on a script with all the “Mrs Elvsted” parts underlined. Suspecting it might be for the National’s Hedda Gabler he went off and did a bit of internet stalking and discovered that it was Sinéad Matthews who takes that role in the this production.

Perhaps Phil should have torn her manuscript into pieces, scribbled notes all over it so that she could piece it back together again to get a better understanding of her role. To explain that would need a SPOILER ALERT. Of course if it had been Ruth Wilson (who plays this Hedda) next to him he’d have torched it for her. 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 – Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

Tuesday 6 December 2016

furthercastingannouncedfordreamgirlsatthesavoytheatreThe was an incident during the extended interval of last night’s preview performance of Dreamgirls.

Police swooped into the Savoy’s gorgeous auditorium creating a fine old brouhaha. It can’t have been good for bar takings. Punters lurked in the stalls craning their necks to see what all the fuss was about.

Had the rozzers been called in to stop the unnecessary and deeply annoying X Factor whooping, applauding and ovating that had been going on mid-songs? We could only live in hope. Couldn’t agree more with Mr Shenton. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Once in a Lifetime, Young Vic

Friday 2 December 2016

oial_326If you’re waiting for a review of Nice Fish you’ll have a jolly long wait. Phil was away and sold his tickets to Andrew (What? Did you expect Phil to give them away?) who went with Katy. Both were underwhelmed. The best he could say about it was it was 90 minutes with no interval though even that was too much for people behind him who departed before the end. Bullet dodged.

But, with a busy theatre period ahead (5 shows in 9 days, and Andrew coming along to all but one) what were the chances of being entertained for the second of them, Once in a Lifetime, after the charms of She Loves Me ? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Half a Sixpence, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 15 November 2016

half-a-sixpence-noel-coward-theatre-posterNot a glass-half-full version of The Threepenny OperaHalf a Sixpence brings good old-fashioned pleasures, two dazzlingly show-stopping numbers, gorgeous designs, nifty millinery, a musical first for us: a number set in a woodworking class and a gravity-defying new musical star to town. And we haven’t even got to the banjos and spoon-playing. Yet.

The original production was way back in 1963 and it’s not been seen in the West End since. Clearly there was a reason. Now its been revised restructured and tickled into shape at Chichester. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Apollo Theatre

Thursday 10 November 2016

cdnIt’s very rare that people ever take Phil’s advice. But after visiting Peter Pan Goes Wrong last year he declared grandly, “If Mischief Theatre don’t revive this every Christmas then something really has gone wrong.”

Rather unusually someone must have been awake, for here it is, inflicting itself on the same theatre for the seasonal period. Same show, new cast and still as energetically mad as a President-elect hairdo. Phew. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Side Show, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 25 October 2016

side-show-artwork-image-700x455It’s a rum old world sometimes.

Two consecutive off-West End shows featuring poisonous homosexualists (Kenny Morgan, The Boys In The Band), then two in a row featuring a hostess trolley (The Red BarnThe Grinning Man). The latter a musical about a carnival attraction “freak show”. This one is too. What are the chances?

This is the 1997 Broadway flop Side Show (31 previews and 91 regular performances) which was revived and revised in 2014 only to flop again after a seven week run. Is someone trying to tell them something? Read the rest of this entry »