Posts Tagged ‘Menier Chocolate Factory’

Review – Pippin, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 5 December 2011

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Review – Terrible Advice, Menier Chocolate Factory

Friday 30 September 2011

Dear Whingers,

I’ve never written to agony aunts before.

I’m a middle-aged woman who recently became single when I found out my best friend had slept with my boyfriend. I want to go and see something funny at the theatre to cheer myself up. I’m very broad-minded. Indeed, I’ve been around the block a few times but alas not in my car which currently has a flat tyre.

I’m coming to London (by coach) soon, are there any plays running that might make me laugh and also teach me how to change a wheel?

Yours

Aunt Edna Welthorpe-Trellis, North Wales
(name and address supplied) Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Road Show, Menier Chocolate Factory

Friday 1 July 2011

Stephen Sondheim‘s last show (to date) has had more monikers than Puff Daddy.

This artistic enfant terrible was formerly known as Wise Guys, Gold and Bounce.

But no amount of aliases and donning of a false moustaches and dark glasses can prevent it from being recognised everywhere it goes by its giant coxcomb atop its head and the involuntary gobbling sounds, both of which announce “turkey” wherever it raises its head.

Which is now at the Menier Chocolate Factory where it gets its first airing on these shores under a musical witness protection scheme posing as Andrew’s favourite antiques TV programme Road Show.  Cue much moistness from The Stephen Sondheim Society and other liberal arts do-gooders with a touching faith in their hearts that deep down it isn’t really bad, just misunderstood. 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 – The Invisible Man, Menier Chocolate Factory

Thursday 18 November 2010

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Review – Accomplice, Menier Chocolate Factory on the hoof

Monday 13 September 2010

As the Menier’s website explains: “Sending its audience on a trek through the South Bank of London, participants are sent on a mission, aided by clues and mysterious cast members strewn throughout various locations such as street corners, pubs, out of the way shops, and iconic locations. Audiences traverse the city streets in small groups, piecing together clues of a meticulously crafted plot.”

As the programme (which you are handed at the end) says: “If you liked our show and went to spread the word, there’s nothing better you can do than post on Facebook, Twitter etc. Just keep our secrets secret!”

So we will say nothing.

Except that it very happily involves alcohol, a Dame of the British Empire, tap dancing and a proscenium arch. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Aspects of Love, Menier Chocolate Factory

Thursday 15 July 2010

Lordy!

This was the first WEW outing to an Andrew Lloyd Webber musical since that other thing earlier this year, the occasion on which the Whingers finally – after four years of writing – came up with a reasonably funny gag. Monkeys and typewriters and all that.

No wonder another 11 people signed up to come along, all hoping to be around when the Whingers came up with their second apposite aphorism. Needless to say they were disappointed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Paradise Found, Menier Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 25 May 2010

We’re still a wee bit shell-shocked, to be honest. Contrary to early reports, this is NOT car-crash theatre and this is NOT train-wreck theatre. This is the theatre of  two trains colliding on a level crossing on which is stuck a Robin Reliant of orphans on their only day out of the year. With their pets.  Oh, and did we mention there was a big tanker coming in the other direction full of flammable chemicals?

Or to put it another way Paradise Found is Kismet meeting The Great Waltz via A Little Night Music, Carry On Emmannuelle and Up The Chastity Belt. Except, well, again, not so much “meets” as “crashes into”, with the wreckage strewn the length and breadth of Southwark Street.

And yet we couldn’t tear ourselves away from watching.

And we are still very much in a state of shock. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Little Night Music with Catherine Zeta-Jones, Walter Kerr Theatre

Friday 16 April 2010

Yes, A Little Night Music again, but with Catherine Zeta-Jones…

…but without Angela Lansbury.

Oh, how  we agonised over this one. To see or not to see? We’d already loved the Menier production, could  its Broadway incarnation match up? Could we ever get over the fact Ms Lansbury had decided to take her 2 week vacation just as the Whingers arrived in New York?

Well yes and no. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Educating Rita, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 29 March 2010

Who is she? Who is she? This whispered question echoed around the auditorium as the audience filed out of the Sunday matinee preview of Educating Rita, part of the Willy Russell season at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

“She” is Laura Dos Santos. Previous theatre credits include: We Will Be Gone (Camden People’s Theatre), Look Back In Anger (Jermyn Street), Stags And Hens (Royal Court Liverpool), On The Middle Day (Old Vic), In Your Hands (New End Theatre) and The Morris (Liverpool Everyman)*.

No, we were none the wiser either but it’s extremely unlikely anyone will be asking “Who is she?” for long. For Miss Dos Santos has seized the part of Rita from our memory of Julie Walters’ grasp and inhabited it so completely and confidently and with such comic and dramatic aplomb that no-one in the auditorium could do much more than ask to each other blankly “Who is she?” in disbelief that she isn’t already a household name. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Shirley Valentine, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 29 March 2010

Anyone who – like Phil – is easily distracted from their Saturday morning chores by Saturday Kitchen will know the terms “food heaven” and “food hell” and it is thrilling to be able to report that the Whingers experienced the former at Saturday afternoon’s preview performance of Shirley Valentine, part of the Menier Chocolate Factory‘s Willy Russell season.

There was a fully working deep fat fryer! Andrew couldn’t believe his eyes. Was Meera Syal really frying chips live on stage? Well, yes, she was. The smell was permeating the auditorium. In fact the whole of the first scene sees Syal’s titular Shirley peel potatoes, chip them, dry them and pop them in the fryer. And then she fries two eggs in a frying pan! Live! On stage! No trickery, no mirrors, no projections, no miming. Phil could see an entire new chapter emerging for his food-on-stage thesis.

It was of course incredibly distracting – don’t ask us what else happened in Act 1 as we couldn’t tell you – but not quite as distracting as Phil’s personal “food hell” as he became gradually fixated by the kitchen set’s pedal bin. Read the rest of this entry »

The Whingers Awards 2009 – the very worst and the not so bad

Tuesday 29 December 2009

With another year rapidly drawing to a close it is time for the Whingers to reflect and indulge themselves in a little more navel gazing – not our own navels, as that would be even duller than usual for you – but the innies and outies of the sometimes fluffy navels of London’s artistic directors, producers, players and theatres and award The Whingies to the most outstanding ones.

But first our own navels: 2009 has been a year of heady excitement for the Whingers. It was a year that saw them inadvertently whip up controversy and heated debate again and again and again.

It was also a year in which artistic differences reared their ugly heads threatening the very fabric of the West End Whingers, a tear in the polyester bed-sheet of their existence so delicate that a clumsily clipped toenail might have been all it took to rent it from headboard to toe straight down the middle.

The Whingers were courted by the British Broadcasting Company, libelled as “muckrakers” in the National Press, lampooned in song and Phil had his pithiest aphorism to date quoted (yet mainly without attribution) by national critics. There was an evening of confusion in which Phil was mistaken for Michael Grandage and the Whingers finally received an award for their artistic endeavours.

And we finally got the opportunity to choose between the Merlot and the Marlowe.

So, without further do, here are the results of the Kentish Town and Vauxhall juries: Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Sweet Charity, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 23 November 2009

Regular readers of the Whingers’ comments sections may have noticed Sir Andrew Lloyds Credit Crunch complaint that “I pay you to WHINGE, not CRAWL.”

Perhaps this will at least, in part, justify the regular charitable direct debit paid into the Whingers’ joint bank account (Andrew to Phil – what bank account? Do we have a bank account?). But, Sir Andrew, before you withdraw your generous remunerations entirely, you should know that what follows is a perfectly balanced combination of both the W word and the C word. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Talent by Victoria Wood, Menier Chocolate Factory

Friday 18 September 2009

Talent at Menier Chocolate Factory

“Course you can, Malcolm”, Kiku, Mike & Bernie Winters, Norman Vaughan, Lena Zavaroni, Stars on Sunday, Hughie Green, Wagon Wheels. Goodness knows what anyone under a certain age or not of these isles will make of Victoria Wood’s Talent at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

The Whingers (who sadly are of a certain age, possibly a bit older) had popped along to last night’s first preview on the off-chance that they might receive another name check.

Instead, they found themselves thrown back in time to a backstage Wheeltappers and Shunters Social Club drama. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Forbidden Broadway, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 1 July 2009

fb_poster_2502If for some degenerate reason you want to find out how to have The Whingers©™®* eating out of your hand then toddle off to the Menier Chocolate Factory for a case study.

Those clever people behind  Forbidden Broadway have discovered the secret. We predict producers, writers and directors will be flocking to see this somewhat Anglicised version of the long running American spoof of Broadway shows to find out how it’s done. Read the rest of this entry »