Posts Tagged ‘Mark Thompson’

Review – Three Days in the Country, National Theatre

Friday 24 July 2015

three-days-in-the-country-national-theatre-with-john-simm-300h The play formerly known as a A Month in the Country by Turgenev now arrives dragged up as Three Days in the Country by Patrick Albert Crispin Marber which teasingly suggests it might be about a tenth the length of the original version.

Sadly it’s not of course. Though this pared down version does come in at a mere 2 hours 15 minutes which is one of the more positive things Phil has to say about it. But that’s slightly more than he can say about Mr Turgid-enough’s original which he saw over 20 years ago and suffered substantial ennui even though it featured the rather starry line up of Helen Mirren, John Hurt and Joseph Fiennes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Friday 21 June 2013

charlie2013With so much riding on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory it’s a wonder it doesn’t buckle under the weight of expectation and disappear through the Drury Lane stage. No wonder the little Oompa-Loompas have such tiny bent legs. Perhaps it’s them carrying the show?

With Roald Dahl‘s Matilda doing well on both sides of the Atlantic, another children’s classic from the same man takes to the stage in musical form. And this is a story that most people know from the famous film adaptations, plus music and lyrics from Hairspray collaborators Scott Whitman and Marc Shaiman and all under the directorship of Sam Mendes who must be glowing still from the success of making the Bond franchise watchable again.

We must cut to the chase. This was a preview but only a couple of nights away from the press being allowed in over five rather bizarrely non-consecutive performances. We had heard reports from early previews that there were problems with Act 1 but now it seems there is now only one problem with Act 1 – Act 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – She Stoops to Conquer, National Theatre

Tuesday 31 January 2012

Another Whingers’ first; one which left Andrew to reflect on genetic instruction.

You may recall that Phil’s sister Elizabeth was once reduced to contributing to this site, penning a review of the 8 hour Oberammergau Passion Play so that we need never trouble ourselves with it.

Anyway, the poor woman undertook her inaugural Whingers’ trip last night, forced to accompany the Whingers because she’d read She Stoops to Conquer at school, really liked it and so was – relatively speaking – an expert.

Not only an expert, but one who could sit still for eight hours. Andrew tried to imagine Phil sitting still that long, or reading a text or liking anything and concluded that they could not possibly share the same DNA.

On the other hand there was clearly a bond at work for both Liz and Phil were equally thrilled that Katherine Kelly was making her National Theatre début. Who? As they impatiently explained to Andrew, Ms Kelly was until only last week the hugely popular Becky McDonald in the “serial drama” Coronation Street. Apparently one of the best characters of recent years, she left the cobbles, not looking over her shoulder in the back of a Street Cars cab, but whisked off to Barbados by a new love, conveniently freeing her up just in time for to begin Stooping at the National.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre

Thursday 19 May 2011

In which James Corden appears to redeem himself with aplomb and the Whingers laugh at a Richard Bean comedy – and quite a lot.

Due to an administrative error the Whingers had a couple of spare tickets for Tuesday night’s first preview of One Man, Two Guvnors at the National Theatre – Richard Bean’s rewriting of Carlo Goldoni’s 1743 quasi -commedia dell’arte Arlecchino servitore di due padroni (as we like to call it) aka The Servant of Two Masters.

An appeal on Facebook to all 11 of the Whingers’ friends produced a flurry of messages citing the usual implausibly high incidences of hair-washing and sick dogs. But in between those messsages were a high number of declined invitations seemingly based an antipathy to James Corden.

It seems that some time since his History Boys/Gavin & Stacey days and yesterday, Mister Corden (channelling Harry Worth on the poster) seems to have rubbed some people up the wrong way.

But here, once more directed (or reined in) by Mister Nicholas Hytner, Mister Corden turns in a hardworking, confident – yet not cocky – and rather likeable performance. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Tribes, Royal Court Theatre

Sunday 7 November 2010

To paraphrase Lloyd Grossman,”Who’d want to live in a house like this?”

Unsurprisingly some of the Royal Court audience had taken a break from their middle class, liberal-minded domiciles to recognise themselves on stage, laughing appreciatively when ghastly, opinionated academic pater Christopher (Stanley Townsend) asks his returned-to-nesters when they were going to f*ck off. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – London Assurance, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 March 2010

As Phil arrived at the National Theatre for the preview of London Assurance on Monday night Andrew appeared to be intoning a new mantra. “Boo-see-co, boo-see-co, boo-see-co,” he muttered smugly, trying each permutation on for size to see which would sound most impressive.

It transpired that Andrew had for once been swatting up: delving into the programme notes to gen up on Irish actor, playwright, adaptor, stage director, manager, producer and innovator Dion Boucicault and – in particularly – learning how that intimidating looking surname should be pronounced. Suddenly Phil was at it too, pursing his lips contorting his facial muscles and rolling it round his tongue. All that was missing was a mouth full of marbles. Anyone passing would have rightly supposed the Whingers had lost theirs.

If they got nothing else out of the evening at least these wannabe Liza Doolittles might, at last, be able to impress someone at a party (if Sonia Friedman ever invites them to aonther) with their ability to pronounce Boucicault.

They need not have worried about reclaiming something from the evening. It gives us great pleasure to announce that the National Theatre has climbed out of the very deep pit it dug for itself with all the Really Old, Like Forty Fives, the Nations and (dare we bring it up again) the Frams and is back on form, doing what it does best. And how. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Rope, Almeida Theatre

Sunday 20 December 2009

Picture it. Two handsome young men – one urbane, the other highly-strung – commit an unspeakable act as a supposedly intellectual exercise, then contrive to shamelessly flaunt their terrible undertaking before an unwitting audience.

But that’s quite enough about the Whingers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Fastest Clock in the Universe, Hampstead Theatre

Sunday 11 October 2009

Fastest+ClockDear Andrew,

It’s been a while since I’ve felt moved to write, but I know you need something to lift you out of your grump.

I know you feel unfairly robbed of the Nobel Peace Prize despite your exhaustive efforts in the Middle East, but the good news is the Whingers are in line for an Olivier Award for the play we’re yet to write, so thanks for displaying surprising largesse and unclipping my lead for a rare solo visit to the theatre.

Can it really be that long since you allowed me out alone?  The event seems to come round faster than Christmas or our interval exits from the Cottesloe, so appropriately my trip was to the Hampstead Theatre‘s revival of Philip Ridley‘s The Fastest Clock in the Universe. Read the rest of this entry »