Posts Tagged ‘Michael Grandage’

Review – Photograph 51 with Nicole Kidman, Noel Coward Theatre

Wednesday 9 September 2015

5248-1440598883-photo51encore600x900aug15The first and last time Nicole Kidman appeared on a West End stage one critic got himself into a right old tizzy, probably tenting in his stalls seat before breathlessly describing her as “Pure theatrical Viagra“.

Phil saw that play, The Blue Room, in preview and was met by a US TV crew from Entertainment Tonight as he exited the Donmar wanting to know how she’d acquitted herself. Of course, what they really wanted to know was intimate details of her nude scene, Phil was so discreet in his utterances they no doubt left the footage on the cutting room floor.

17 years on, would Kidman’s appearance in Photograph 51 prove to be theatrical Viagra or theatrical bromide? Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

Review – Henry V, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 28 November 2013

-30539As we rush into winter, the ‘C’ word is on everyone’s lips. Yes, tis the season when The Consumptives return to the theatre.

Turn off your mobile phone, but make sure you bring your cough along and share it with your fellow audience members throughout the play.

But it wasn’t just conspicuous consumption that provided substantial distractions throughout Henry V, the last of Michael Grandage‘s 5 play season at the Noel Coward Theatre; there was also the case of Jude Law‘s trousers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noël Coward Theatre

Friday 13 September 2013

3496-amidsummernightsdreamticketsIn which David Walliams offers us his Bottom and his ass.

The penultimate play in the Michael Grandage season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, comes in niftily, at this early preview, at just over 2 and a quarter hours (including interval). Impressive really since Walliams’ deliberately overdone play-within-a-play death scene seemed to take up almost half of Act 2. Milking it was not the word. The milk was turning to cheese with thick slices of Frankie Howard ham on the side and, depending on your take on Walliams, also very funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Cripple of Inishmaan, Noel Coward Theatre

Friday 21 June 2013

posterIf the Whingers had £50 million or so in the bank they would be taking life easy.

When not idling the hours away in a most dilatory of fashions, they would be jetting off to the far-flung corners of their bucket lists. They would be breaking their principles by occupying Premium Seats in the theatre before indulging in post-show discussions eating fancy chow and drinking fancy wine.

But then the Whingers are not 23 any more than they are not Daniel Radcliffe whose post-Potter life has already seen him throwing himself into the deep end of a stage career by throwing off his clothes on both sides of the Atlantic, taking on the lead in a Broadway musical and now tackling an Irish accent whilst surrounded by bona fide Irish actors. No one can accuse him of ducking a challenge. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Peter and Alice, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 28 March 2013

PETER AND ALICE 560x205With the Whingers barely recovered from seeing Britain’s Second Most Inspirational Woman, Helen Mirren pass herself off as a 25-year-old QEII in The Audience we are now presented with Britain’s Most Inspirational Woman, Judi Dench playing Alice Liddell Hargreaves as a 10-year-old in John Logan’s Peter and Alice. Yikes!

Both Dame-led fantasies are selling out nightly. One can only suppose that a smart producer has spotted this latest theatrical trend and is currently scrabbling round for a script that will entice Dame Maggie Smith to don a baby grow. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Privates on Parade, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 18 December 2012

images-1Yet another production featuring a gay man swishing around the stage. We’ve whinged about the outbreak which started with this went on in that and ended up in Viva Forever! There’s an epidemic in London’s theatreland; the vaccine for theatrical queenitis is presumably in its very early stages of development.

But the big differences in Peter Nichols‘ 1977 Privates on Parade are that (a) camp Captain Terri Dennis’ character is a key and sympathetic central character and (b) he’s utterly, genuinely hilarious. Unlike those other shows the audience are laughing with him and not at him. Well, OK then, we do laugh at him too, but for all the right reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Donmar Warehouse

Monday 21 February 2011

Dear Mister Grandage

Please find enclosed a “Sorry You’re Leaving Card”.

We know that before you go there’s at least another Pinter, a Schiller and a Shakespeare to get through but in case we should somehow not get round to these we just wanted to say ‘sorry’ for missing the point of some of your European dramas and non-comedic musicals over the years.

We know you meant well by them and fully accept that the inadequacy is ours. We were, after all, the only people in the West End or on Broadway to be underwhelmed by Red.

Does that sound a bit negative? It’s not meant to. We really, really enjoyed many of the things you put on (Streetcar for instance) and are eternally in your debt for introducing us to the world of Enid Bagnold.

And now you have thrown us a delicious parting crumb in the form of a frothy American musical comedy, The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Music & Lyrics by William Finn. Book by Rachel Sheinkin), which we saw in New York and thought would work well here. And it does. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Danton’s Life / Danton’s Death, National Theatre

Thursday 5 August 2010

For reasons even less interesting than the average WEW blog post the Whingers were forced to sell their preview tickets for Danton’s Death (by Georg Büchner in a new version by Howard Brenton directed by Michael Grandage at the National Theatre)

The show opened,  the critics gave it four stars and everyone else gave it two. Reading between the lines of the critics (and the actual lines of everyone else), Danton’s Death was dull, dull, dull…

…except for a quite audacious, unmissable, coup de theatre at the very end of the play [SPOILER ALERT]. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 16 February 2010

The Whingers’ heads have been turned more than a Linda Blair demonic possession in recent weeks. But having spent far more time hob-nobbing than actually watching plays, it was down to earth with a resounding thump last night after all their recent star-schtumphing.

The novelty of not being pestered by celebrities (well, almost*) almost made the prospect of sitting with ordinary members of the public at the  Donmar Warehouse seem attractive. And Lanford Wilson‘s Serenading Louie, about which the Whingers knew next to nothing, seemed an ideal way to re-enter their normal, everyday, humdrum lives. Read the rest of this entry »

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009

Thursday 28 January 2010

Well, the fire door had been carelessly left open so like model citizens we went in and pulled it firmly shut behind us and then it turned out we were in the Price of Wales Theatre and there was free drink and Rachel Weisz and Jude Law were and so we thought, what the hell, and stayed for The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009.

Of course, it’s pretty much the definition of “yesterday’s news”* (well, you try filing a blog post when they’ve been topping up your wine glass not stop for for three hours and to be fair Andrew was tweeting it live) and so you know that Weisz and Law were among the winners. We sort of guessed that when we saw them there. 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 – Red, Donmar Theatre

Tuesday 8 December 2009

“Can you tell what it is yet?”

That iconic phrase always flashes through Phil’s mind when he stares at a painting by Mark Rothko. But never more so than last night as the Whingers watched Rothko and his studio assistant Ken attack a blank canvas with a pot of red paint. It’s a bit of a coup de théâtre, brilliantly choreographed as you would expect from director Michael Grandage – but the Whingers couldn’t help thinking of Rolf Harris. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hamlet with Jude Law, Donmar at the Wyndham’s Theatre

Thursday 4 June 2009

jude law hamletWho could have envisaged that Phil would get to direct Mr Jude Law in Mr Shakespeare‘s Hamlet in the auspicious Donmar West End season?

For in an implausible and rather Shakespearean case of mistaken identity that’s how it seemed on Tuesday night.* During the interval Phil bumped into someone he’d met on a work trip a couple of years ago who turned to her companion and introduced Phil with the words “This is Michael Grandage, the director”.

How Phil wished he had carried on the conceit but Andrew was laughing at the idea too much. The woman was quite insistent “But you look just like him.”

Ah well, put it down to it being the hottest night of the year or perhaps the fact that Phil had walked head first into a plate glass window in Spain a few days earlier and radically altered his facial features (considerably for the better, clearly). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Madame de Sade, Donmar at the Wyndham’s Theatre

Wednesday 18 March 2009

madame-de-sade-donmar-west-endOh dear. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Twelfth Night, Donmar West End

Thursday 11 December 2008

twelfth_nightOk, sit down. Take a deep breath, take a Valium and take the day off. The Whingers are about to start chucking a few superlatives around.

You may well think you’ve come to the wrong place (indeed you almost certainly have) as it’s well documented that the Whingers don’t really do Shakespeare, especially the comedies as they’re usually even less comic than My Family.

But director Michael Grandage (named Best Director at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Othello / The Chalk Garden / Ivanov) can do little wrong at the moment in the Whingers’ eyes.

And last night he caused the Whingers actually to laugh. Not once, but over and over again. Out loud. At a Shakespeare play. Read the rest of this entry »