Posts Tagged ‘National Theatre’

Review – The Motherf**ker with the Hat, National Theatre

Tuesday 16 June 2015

B9od3chIAAAe9gq“Why are you going to see that?” asked a nonplussed Andrew when Phil mentioned he was off to see The Motherf**ker with the Hat.

“I’d heard of it. They did it on the Broadway with somebody famous” was Phil’s rather lame response.

Anyhoo, Phil did a little research, found out the star name he couldn’t remember was Chris Rock and then discovered that the National’s version featured Ricardo Chavira who was Carlos Solis in Desperate Housewives (Mr Eva Longoria in the show, for the uninitiated) and someone from Broadway recreating their Tony-nominated performance.

With Phil’s interest sufficiently piqued he then found himself on the horns of a dilemma. Would he throw caution to the wind and do The Full Shenton, putting the title in without the asterisks or go down the TFL advertising route and blank out the offending word entirely. Rather cowardly he opted for he National’s poster/programme/cast list version. He has Andrew to consider don’t ya know. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bend It Like Beckham, Phoenix Theatre

Thursday 11 June 2015

imagesTwo football-themed shows in two days, this despite Phil’s relationship to football being not unlike Andrew’s to Pinter (he’s dabbled with it now and again but generally eschews it).

Phil can raise a modicum of interest, once every four years, though he’ll be boycotting watching the next two World Cups if the host nations aren’t changed.

And if you’re wondering where the review of the other one – Patrick Marber’s The Red Lion – is, forget it. Phil and Andrew took a dive at the interval. It was so slow and uneventful he can only be bothered to mention that it begins with a rather protracted scene of a man ironing football shirts when he really should have been pressing the tablecloth from The Beaux Stratagem in the Olivier theatre next door. So you’ll have to make do with Andrew’s summary, “I can’t believe this was from the man who wrote Dealer’s Choice. Was it something he had lying around in the back of a drawer?”.

With football dominating the headlines for the last few weeks both shows have rather timely openings.

Anyhoo, if like Phil, you’re not overly familiar with footie here’s a glossary of terms to help you along. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Beaux’ Stratagem, National Theatre

Tuesday 26 May 2015

BeauxStratagem-400x255

When the Whingers went to see  Dion Boucicault‘s London Assurance Andrew had done a little swatting up on how to pronounce Boucicault and had great fun intoning the playwright’s name ‘Boo-see-co’ ad nauseam. Similarly Phil discovered endless pleasure in rolling ‘Farquhar’ around his tongue.

For this was George Farquhar‘s “fabulous carnal comedy” The Beaux’ Stratagem with not inconsiderable help (we suspect) from dramaturgs Simon Godwin (who also directs) and Patrick Marber. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Everyman, National Theatre

Tuesday 28 April 2015

Everyman_title-333x500Phil conducted an experiment last night.

He was wired up to a blood pressure monitor for 12 hours yesterday. It’s something they do when you get old. This meant he was wearing it throughout the full 1 hour and 40 minutes of Everyman last night.

He hadn’t realised the machine would make a slight noise. So he piled up coats over the cumbersome device to muffle the sound, which made a low whirring sound every half hour as it kicked into action. Phil’s companion for the evening said he didn’t hear it at all. Of course, despite a lot of noise on stage, it only seemed to go off during the quietest moments.

Not really recommended. Worrying about it probably raised Phil’s BP even higher.

But does going to the theatre raise or lower your blood pressure? The results aren’t in yet but Phil has speculated on how the play may have affected his results:
Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, National Theatre

Thursday 23 April 2015

Light_Shining_in_Buckinghamshire_poster_notitle_1We should have known better.

Andrew was keen to see Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, not for its obvious significance – that it heralds Rufus Norris’ takeover at the National Theatre – but because a) it’s about the English Civil War, b) features one of his favourite actresses, Amanda Lawrence and c) he thought it only fair to give playwright Caryl Churchill a second chance.

The thing is, he had completely forgotten he’d already given Ms Churchill a second chance. He could only remember “the one with the floating sofas” as he succinctly encapsulated Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?  Andrew had clearly expunged The Union’s Cloud Nine from his memory bank with no inconsiderable success. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Man and Superman, National Theatre

Friday 20 February 2015

Man-and-superman-web

Long, long ago, way back in 1977, before Andrew and Phil met, and “fiery philosophical debates” asking “fundamental questions about how we live” (oh dear) could still occupy the glittering West End rather than film-to-play adaptations or jukebox musicals, Phil saw the RSC production of  Man and Superman at the Savoy Theatre starring Richard Pasco, Susan Hampshire, Nigel Havers and a vintage car.

Coincidentally, Andrew (who must have been struggling through puberty at the time) saw the same production in Malvern. Ain’t life strange? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Treasure Island, National Theatre

Wednesday 10 December 2014

treasureisland_200x300There’s a wonderful moment – a maritime take on Hitchcock’s Rear Window – in Treasure Island where a cross section of the Hispaniola rises up through the stage revealing various rooms and cabins of the ship. It’s a wonder the audience didn’t applaud.

Money has been splurged on this year’s Christmas show at the National. Lizzie Clachan’s deliciously complicated designs require full use of the Olivier’s drum revolve and there’s an clever take on Long John Silver’s leg, plus an impressive animatronic parrot. But that’s pretty much all the good news from Phil. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Behind the Beautiful Forevers / John, National Theatre

Saturday 22 November 2014

GE DIGITAL CAMERAMisery time at the National.

Just think, you could go and see a matinee of Behind the Beautiful Forevers and John in the evening and come out feeling thoroughly depressed. For that would be the better way round; the latter is shorter than the former’s Act 1. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Here Lies Love, National Theatre

Thursday 9 October 2014

here+lies+love+posterSo, to the new Dorfman Theatre (née Cottesloe) for its opening show.

We oft whinged about its previous incarnation, but we are happy to report that the foyer is more spacious and though there’s a sense of déjà vu in the auditorium – which seems only slightly different – the seating is more comfortable, but there are still some fairly crap sightlines.

Too be fair, our seats were sold and marked as “Semi Restricted View”. We’re cheap and weren’t prepared to pay a load more money to stand and be herded around the unseated area below, or as the website off-puttingly states, “Dress comfortably, and come ready to dance!” Oh no, not us. You wouldn’t want to see us busting our grooves.

For this was The Public Theater’s Here Lies Love, a hit rock musical from New York; the glittering love child of David Byrne*, Fatboy Slim and Evita which tells “the astonishing journey of Imelda Marcos, First Lady of the Philippines, from her meteoric rise to power to descent into infamy and disgrace” in an auditorium reconfigured as a “pulsating club”. Why? Byrne’s inspiration came when he found out that Imelda loved the night life, she got to boogie on the disco ’round, oh yeah. Apparently. A regular at Studio 54, she installed a disco ball in her New York apartment and built a dance floor on the roof of her palace in Manila. Who knew? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ballyturk, National Theatre

Tuesday 16 September 2014

488363953_640It was only yesterday that Phil was reminiscing about theatrical mishaps and already he has another to add to his list.

In Enda Walsh‘s strange and possibly existential (if Phil really understood the word) Ballyturk (also directed by Walsh) Cillian Murphy* has a scene where he energetically smashes vinyl singles by hurling them against the back wall of the set (brilliantly choreographed to the tune of each record). One hit at such a perfect angle that instead of shattering it ricocheted and flew like a sharp-edged Frisbee the depth of the Lyttelton stage and out into the auditorium over the ducking heads of patrons in about six rows of the stalls. Since Health and Safety no longer allow sweets to be thrown to kiddies at a panto these days we feel they must be informed immediately.

As they took their seats in the stalls, Phil’s companion for the evening muttered “I have no idea what this play is about”. Ninety minutes later neither he nor Phil were much wiser.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Great Britain National Theatre

Monday 4 August 2014

image+(36)“OZZY’S SNAKE ATE MY PUSSY” screams a tabloid headline on stage as you take your seat in the Lyttleton Theatre, pretty much setting the tone for the almost three hours of Richard Bean‘s new comedy Great Britain, about hacking scandals, the press and how it links to politics and police.

The production was unveiled at the eleventh hour once the phone hacking trials were concluded and opened to the critics without previews. You could say the press verdicts had to wait for the verdicts on the press. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Emil and the Detectives, National Theatre

Monday 2 December 2013

emilIf you feel like watching the detectives you’d better find your inner child and take it along with you.

Or better yet, if you accidentally happen to possess some of your own, or nephews or nieces, or perhaps even a godchild of a certain age then take them. For this is the way forward to really enjoy Emil and the Detectives.

Be warned, there are an awful lot of children in this Christmas show at the National. It’s not at all Christmassy thankfully, but if you’ve ever entered a seemingly empty tube carriage only to find a huge school party suddenly jump aboard to disturb your peaceful meditations this is how you may feel.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Light Princess, National Theatre

Monday 7 October 2013

light-princess” I don’t fly, I float” says Althea, The Light Princess of Tori Amos‘ new musical.

And indeed she does. Constantly.

You can’t say that Rosalie Craig‘s princess is barely off the stage as she’s barely on it. Wafting about all over the place, upright, horizontally, upside down and all points inbetween. And singing in those positions too. Impressive. She’s trussed and extremely trusting. Craig’s tightly harnessed up up to achieve these effects and must also have huge faith in those who ‘operate’ her. One also hopes there’s a good physio waiting backstage. The flying floating is brilliantly done, in all sorts of imaginative ways, but since it has been so cloaked in secrecy it would be churlish to reveal more.

And Rae Smith’s design, a happy clash of Moominland and silhouette illustrations is sumptuously pretty too. All stops have been pulled out here. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Drowned Man, National Theatre at Temple Studios

Friday 28 June 2013

the-drowned-man-punchdrunk-posterIt’s been three years since the Whingers tramped out to God-knows-where to see the site-specific, promenady Punchdrunk production The Duchess of Malfi where Andrew sighed,“It’s more of the same, really”. You would think we would learn. But it seems Andrew did learn something; he was having none of it this time round. And, of course, The Drowned Man is more of the same. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Amen Corner, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 June 2013

3941-amencornersqNo sign of Simon Cowell around but anyway it wasn’t the eggs broken on stage at the National Theatre that stole the show. These eggs (Three. Phil counted), unlike those in Children of the Sun, were at least cracked into a bowl and whisked.

Nor was it the convincingly realised period carton from which the eggs were produced that most impressed, although the attention to detail was most agreeable (along with the C & H sugar packet in the kitchen cupboard – check it out if you’re sitting near the front), but it was a almost a photo-finish. Read the rest of this entry »

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