Posts Tagged ‘musical’

Review – Hadestown, National Theatre

Friday 9 November 2018

The last time Phil remembers a subsidised Royal theatre company being used as a laboratory for a musical on its way to Broadway was when the RSC road tested Carrie. Look how that turned out

Phil trailed up to Stratford for that one and picked up a distinct tang of major stinker early in the opening number. If Hadestown (music, lyrics and book Anaïs Mitchell, developed and directed by Rachel Chavkin) turned out to be more musical theatre hell producing sulphurous pongs at least he only had to travel as far as the National Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Company, Gielgud Theatre

Friday 12 October 2018

Gender-swapped roles? Aren’t we not just a teensey-weensy bit over them by now?

This is the week that saw our first female Doctor Who. The National Theatre drops the willies willy-nilly, just because it can. Now Stephanie Sondheim has been thrown the ball, dropped it (or them) and has been persuaded to sanction a change for the central character of Bobby to Bobbie in his 1970 musical Company. If it’s to give actresses (at Whingers’ Towers we still like to call them actresses) more work it’s counter-productive, as three of the lady roles in the show are now played by men. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The King and I, London Palladium

Tuesday 18 September 2018

In a relatively theatre-free summer Phil’s last two and a half theatre outings have been to revivals of popular musicals which were turned into successful films starring the original stage star. Rather scarily Phil saw both these stage productions with the aforementioned stars. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bat Out of Hell – Dominion Theatre

Saturday 14 April 2018

This was the week that probably had you wondering what Olivier Awards host Catherine Tate had done to wrong her stylist that they’d wrought such a terrible revenge. And why the shouty and seemingly underprepared host banged on about Time’s Up and then introduced Ronan Keating in a manner that had it been a man introducing a woman would have seen him booed off the stage. How very dare she. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hamilton Experience, Victoria Palace

Monday 15 January 2018

So what’s Hamilton about?

It’s about finger-wagging bossiness and treating audiences as a slight inconvenience. The theatrical equivalent of restaurants which are happy to profit from big group bookings but can’t cope unless you choose from the menu in advance.

It’s about telling their audience to get to the theatre an hour before the performance and telling them not to try and enter the theatre until their full party has arrived. WTF? We hadn’t been this irritated since we heard our last “See it. Say it. Sorted” tube announcement (let’s not even start on those voiced by children).

It’s about telling us to bring “photographic ID” (according to Ticketmaster’s missives) or “government issued photo ID” (according to the Hamilton website) – so which is it to be? Phil, who confused the government with TFL was only allowed to enter by one of the Victoria Palace wardens as he “looked honest” (note to ticket touts, model yourselves on Phil). Andrew was taking no chances; fearing he might be mistaken for a tout and not allowed to finger the ticket he forked out for a year ago (despite Phil having dealt with the traumas of booking) he promised to turn up with his passport, a utility bill and a letter signed by two Justices of the Peace. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Pinocchio, National Theatre

Thursday 14 December 2017

You can’t say the National’s not hell-bent on success with Pinocchio.

Disney have offered up the stage rights of the Oscar-winning score from their 1940 classic animation and promised they won’t interfere. The songs are arranged by Tony/Grammy/Olivier Award-winning musical director Martin Lowe. The book’s by Tony and Olivier Award-winner Dennis (Matilda) Kelly and it’s directed by Tony Award-winner John (Once and the Harry Potter plays) Tiffany. The design team of Bob Crowley (set/costume/puppet co-designer) and Paule Constable (lighting) have 4 Oliviers and 9 Tony Awards between them. Goodness.

The creative table is positively groaning with talent and awards, so how come the National are serving up turkey again this Christmas? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Apollo Theatre

Thursday 30 November 2017

Everybody has been talking about Everybody’s Talking About Jamie and dusting it with the glitter of 4 and 5 star reviews as though glitter were about to be banned.

Trouble is we’ve seen this sort of brouhaha before. And you don’t have to go back too far to look at the West End’s ever-expanding graveyard of British Musicals that were garlanded with superlatives at the time but were either near misses (Bend it Like Beckham) or totally lame misfires (cf. Mrs Henderson Presents, The Girls, Made in Dagenham). Critics are all too ready to big up the latest crock. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Young Frankenstein, Garrick Theatre

Thursday 23 November 2017

In which Phil acts as advisor to Mel Brooks.

Phil’s having a half-arsed catch up of shows he missed during his confinement. Or you could say a catch up on the seventies since this is his third in a row that steals from classic movies from that decade (Network, The Exorcist). Though this is less of a catch up than a revisiting. Of sorts. Read the rest of this entry »

Some mopping up – Hot Tin/ Slaves of Solitude / Young Marx

Monday 6 November 2017

For those kind folk (that should probably read as singular rather than plural) who have been interested enough to ask where Phil’s been, here lies the answer. Hip replacement don’t you know, beating Patti LuPone to the crutches by a matter of weeks. He feels Patti’s pain. And he’s just beginning to dip the toe on the end of his newly bionic leg back into the world of theatre that doesn’t come with a surgeon and anaesthetist. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Follies, National Theatre

Friday 1 September 2017

Earlier in the year we were invited to join the Follies production syndicate.

“Your support is crucial to ensure the play is successfully brought to the stage. We would love you to make this happen. As a thank you we will keep you up to date with the production as it progresses

How inordinately generous of them. If we were to fumble around in our pockets we’d expect a meet and greet with Stephen Sondheim or a glass of fizz with Imelda Staunton to say the least. Read the rest of this entry »

Theatrical Catch Up: From On the Town to The Mentor

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s been a while.

Phil’s been busy having a bit of work done. At home. Not on his face. Yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Saggy, baggy, in need of trimming and tightening up and decidedly over-exposed.

No we’re not talking about the women d’ un certain age disrobing on stage. As if we would be so unkind. We’re talking about the show.

Having been underwhelmed by Tim Firth‘s Calendar Girls both on film (2003) and even more so on stage (2008), Phil had given his latest musical version, rebranded (rather clumsily) as The Girls, a very wide berth indeed.

Then out trotted the five-star reviews from newspapers (about 8 of them) which suggested he was missing something. In fact one threw down the bold gauntlet of promise that it would make him “cry with laughter”. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Review – An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre

Friday 17 March 2017

In which Phil thinks he may have seen one of the best looking shows ever (and thinks he must be going soft in his old age too).

Just about filling the vast stage of the newly-refurbished Dominion Theatre, An American in Paris is based on the 1951 movie, with music and lyrics from George and Ira Gershwin respectively. It’s a big, splashy, very old-fashioned romance. If it were a stick of rock, the word “BROADWAY” would run through it.

Thankfully the two Tony-nominated New York leads, British ballerina Leanne Cope and New York City Ballet dancer Robert Fairchild have travelled with it. And travelled well. Though not at every performance. Caveat Emptor. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Promises, Promises, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 19 January 2017

cxo6_jfxcae2livWhen The Whingers saw this on the Broadway (with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth) in 2010 they did an unprecedented thing (well, they may have done it other times but they can’t be bothered to check); awarded separate ratings for the first and second acts. If that’s not an argument against interval departures we don’t know what is. Not that it will stop them of course.

Promises, Promises has more promises in its creatives, than even its title. Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics Hal David, book Neil Simon and it’s based on one of Phil’s favourite films; the 1960 Billy Wilder film The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Read the rest of this entry »