Posts Tagged ‘Mark Bramble’

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 »

Advertisements

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 – 42nd Street, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 12 September 2012

You want the good news or bad news first?

The Good

The classic story of a chorus girl who goes on to become a star when the leading lady breaks her ankle tale is the stuff of musical legend. No complaints there.

Lots and LOTS and LOTS of tap dancing from the off and a hugely satisfying pair of big numbers at the end with a large cast of hoofers banging away like crazy.

The costumes. Lots of them.

The songs lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren.

Marti Webb can sing. So can Dave Willetts (but he sadly gets little opportunity).

The Bad

The book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble is a laugh-free zone that makes Top Hat‘s book look like a collaboration between Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Was it really that bad when Phil saw the show back in the 80s?

The ‘gags’ (if one can flatter them thusly) are delivered with such over-emphasis they barely produce a titter from the audience. The Whingers couldn’t even raise the enthusiasm to groan.

…and the Ugly

The sets. Oh dear, even by touring standards these must be pretty poor. What Phil remembers from the original Broadway and West End productions was the spectacle. Here, as so much has been spent on a large cast economics have presumably reduced them to a series of drops. One didn’t make sense at all, some sort of geometric floral motif vaguely reminiscent of the terrible London 2012 logo.

Dorothy Brock’s dressing room was very battered around the edges but perhaps this was a metaphor. And while we’re on the subject, there was a working door into it so why do some of the cast enter and exit her room from the sides? Rather ill-mannered of them in our view.

Act 2 sees a slight improvement with a big light-up staircase and a 3Dish version of a Philadelphia station.

The terribly flat lighting.

The audience. Yup, chatting again throughout the overtures, repeating what passed for jokes at full volume and the woman behind us who appeared to be practising ballon sculpting with her plastic bag.

Footnote

We must end on some good news. This was the first time we’d been in the New Wimbledon‘s revamped circle bar now known as the Piano Bar. It’s been given a spanking make-over with such a lovely wooden floor Andrew and Phil were tempted to put on their tap shoes and try it out. More good news; they resisted.

Rating

Two out of Five: slightly corked or vinegary