Posts Tagged ‘Mike Robertson’

Review – Dear World, Charing Cross Theatre

Monday 11 February 2013

It’s potty time for the Whingers.Dear+World

In the whiffy wake of The Captain of Köpenick and its distinctive USP (a woman performing her number twos into a chamberpot live on the Olivier stage) we are now granted another form of potty: madness.

Dear World, falls between two, err, stools with its lunacy. On the one hand there is the cuckoo Countess Aurelia (AKA Jean Giraudoux‘s The Madwoman of Chaillot) and on the other the brave decision to stage Jerry Herman‘s decidedly barmy 1969 “musical fable” (original book by Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee, new version by David Thompson) at all. This is a show that flopped badly on Broadway despite a Tony Award-winning turn from Angela Lansbury. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Oedipus, Pleasance Courtyard Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe

Monday 15 August 2011

“Sh*t” moaned the woman heading the queue at the Pleasance Courtyard.

“He’s the reason we booked,” the He being Steven Berkoff, who would not be offering his Creon at Saturday afternoon’s performance.

But she needn’t have worried. Mr Matthew Cullum covered the indisposition splendidly and since this is Oedipus by Steven Berkoff (after Sophocles) the auteur’s presence could be felt throughout it like the letters running through a stick of (Sisyphean?) rock.

We need not concern you overly with the plot. Oedipus married his mother Jocasta (“Where he exits he enters”) which of course leads to..well that would need a spoiler alert.

Simon Merrells who so impressed the Whingers in Berkoff’s On the Waterfront does so again in the title role. Anita Dobson as his mother/wife is strangely mesmerising as she wafts through the proceedings done up like a sixties cocktail party hostess wiggling her fingers constantly as though she’s having trouble getting her nails to dry.

It’s all stunningly staged and lit (Mike Robertson) with the excellent Greek chorus forming typically Berkoffian Last Supper style tableaux against a Dali-esque background (Design by Michael Vale). If it goes on just a little longer than necessary there’s a bit of traditional Greek dancing to help you through. Less Greek chorus, more chorus boys.

Note to the producers: Get Miss Dobson some quick-drying nail varnish so she can stop waving her hands about for the hour and 40 minutes.

Rating

Review – By Jeeves, Landor Theatre

Wednesday 9 February 2011

Some people can be very kind.

When Phil announced to anyone who would listen at the Sunday matinée preview of By Jeeves at the Landor Theatre that he’d seen the original production, the overly generous and perhaps slightly naïve response was “That must be fifteen years ago!”

What of course Phil meant was the pre-London, Bristol Hippodrome tryout of Jeeves (as it was called in those long gone days back when Colin Firth was probably still on the throne).

If the Whingers had been together (in the co-dependent theatregoers sense) then its doubtful they would have made it even to the interval. Early previews apparently ran at four and three-quarter hours. Phil remembers the performance he endured going well beyond three and a half hours. Phil’s family became prototype Whingers unanimously agreeing it wasn’t very good and way too long. If only Sir Trevor Nunn had been brought in to cut it down to size.

Sheared of most of its numbers (only three remain from the original) and reworked in 1996 as By Jeeves it’s now running at an easier to digest two and a half hours (including interval).

But sadly, it felt every minute of it. Read the rest of this entry »