Posts Tagged ‘New Wimbledon Theatre’

Review – Peter Pan, New Wimbledon Theatre

Friday 11 December 2015

28837_fullIt’s not just us is it?

We think the usher who stopped a man humming along at Sunny Afternoon the other day should be given a promotion.

The man in question stropped out of the Harold Pinter Theatre in a huff. Who was he? Did he attend the Bianca Jagger School of Theatre Etiqutte?

Didn’t they teach him he should have gone to a pantomime. It’s the only time of the year we steel ourselves to be tolerant in the theatre, find our forbearing genes and accept the place will be full of kids and parents, talking, screaming, turning on phones and waving things around that light up. We just have to go with it, even indulge in some of it ourselves. Including the singing. Next year Phil promises to buy Andrew a flashing tiara.

But Peter Pan? Well, in our book it’s not a proper panto. It really should carry the warning that Peter Pan Goes Wrong‘s poster does, “This is not a panto”.  There’s no dame and a story that doesn’t sit well within the panto format. Which was a shame as Phil and Andrew brought along Brent, who is older than both of them (!) and experiencing pantomime for the very first time. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Sound of Music, New Wimbledon Theatre

Tuesday 31 March 2015

22695_fullIt must be a double-edged sword for actors landing the parts of Max Detweiler or Elsa Schraeder in The Sound of Music. On the one hand you’re no longer “resting”, on the other hand you’re saddled with the two songs that were cut when it became the classic 1965 film and you’re faced with an audience scratching their heads and muttering WTF?

Well, maybe that’s not quite true. The crowd at The New Wimbledon Theatre last night probably don’t know that expression. This elderly audience made Phil feel he was a mere slip of a lad. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Calamity Jane, New Wimbledon Theatre

Thursday 19 March 2015

nm-2BgRsWell, of course Andrew came to this one. Why wouldn’t he? It’s based on one of his favourite film musicals, which, as it happens, he muddles up with another of his favourite musicals (unless it’s at the Young Vic with Jane Horrocks), Annie Get Your Gun. But then they both feature rootin’-tootin’ cowgirls as a central character. Phil’s been know to confuse his suede-clad, fringe accessorised heroines too. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cinderella, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 10 December 2014

22614_fullOf course we were there for Sue Ellen.

Even Andrew was there for Sue Ellen. Actually that should probably just read “even Andrew was there”. You see, we’re of an age.

But if Linda Grey had not found her panto legs (she does – expect her in Birmingham, Bristol, Manchester or wherever next Christmas) as a stetson-toting, hip flask-swigging Fairy Godmother there was a very strong pit crew to see her through to the finishing line. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – 20th Century Boy, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 25 June 2014

800x800.fitdownThere was really only one suitable person to accompany Phil to the Marc Bolan musical 20th Century Boy at the New Wimbledon Theatre (actually, Andrew was offered first dibs, but keep that to yourself) and that was one time glamster Paul. Paul’s Bolan fan credentials include a visit to the Barnes tree where the popster met an untimely end and dressing up as him for a fancy dress party to celebrate his own wedding (for the record Phil attended as Mr Spock). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Aladdin with Jo Brand, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 11 December 2013

Aladdin-New-WimbledonWhat ain’t we got? We ain’t got dames apparently.

If you’ve been perturbed by recent news reports that the panto dame is on the endangered species list then head off to the New Wimbledon Theatre for a dose of Aladdin.

Even if the principal boy is no longer played by a woman, we never see a slosh scene, health and safety prevents sweets being thrown into the auditorium and the song sheet seems to be generally lost to the past there is no danger of dame-flatlining here. Tradition is kept gloriously intact with an array of outrageous costumes and wigs inhabited by the wonderful Matthew Kelly, proving that there is nothing quite like a panto dame. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs with Priscilla Presley, New Wimbledon Theatre

Saturday 22 December 2012

Snow_White_And_The_Seven_DwarfsDisney’s animated version celebrated its 75th anniversary on the very day the world was due to end. With apparently only a few days left to fill, Andrew was ratcheting the Whingers up into fully festive panto mode.

Phil declined Andrew’s offer of a flashing fairy wand at the gift shop so Andrew tried to engage with with a little game. “What would your name be if you were one of the seven dwarfs?” he asked. Unsurprisingly it didn’t take long for the Whingers to rechristen themselves with the interchangeable monikers of Sloshed and Tiddly.

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs* had an awful lot to beat, let alone live up to. The New Wimbledon’s last panto starred the irrepressible Dame Edna dipping her heels into the genre for the first time with enormous success. But the theatre that is now celebrated for its splendidly off-the-wall seasonal casting now features someone who is not only making their first panto appearance, but, at the age of 67, her first ever stage appearance to boot. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – 42nd Street, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 12 September 2012

You want the good news or bad news first?

The Good

The classic story of a chorus girl who goes on to become a star when the leading lady breaks her ankle tale is the stuff of musical legend. No complaints there.

Lots and LOTS and LOTS of tap dancing from the off and a hugely satisfying pair of big numbers at the end with a large cast of hoofers banging away like crazy.

The costumes. Lots of them.

The songs lyrics by Al Dubin, and music by Harry Warren.

Marti Webb can sing. So can Dave Willetts (but he sadly gets little opportunity).

The Bad

The book by Michael Stewart and Mark Bramble is a laugh-free zone that makes Top Hat‘s book look like a collaboration between Noel Coward and Oscar Wilde. Was it really that bad when Phil saw the show back in the 80s?

The ‘gags’ (if one can flatter them thusly) are delivered with such over-emphasis they barely produce a titter from the audience. The Whingers couldn’t even raise the enthusiasm to groan.

…and the Ugly

The sets. Oh dear, even by touring standards these must be pretty poor. What Phil remembers from the original Broadway and West End productions was the spectacle. Here, as so much has been spent on a large cast economics have presumably reduced them to a series of drops. One didn’t make sense at all, some sort of geometric floral motif vaguely reminiscent of the terrible London 2012 logo.

Dorothy Brock’s dressing room was very battered around the edges but perhaps this was a metaphor. And while we’re on the subject, there was a working door into it so why do some of the cast enter and exit her room from the sides? Rather ill-mannered of them in our view.

Act 2 sees a slight improvement with a big light-up staircase and a 3Dish version of a Philadelphia station.

The terribly flat lighting.

The audience. Yup, chatting again throughout the overtures, repeating what passed for jokes at full volume and the woman behind us who appeared to be practising ballon sculpting with her plastic bag.

Footnote

We must end on some good news. This was the first time we’d been in the New Wimbledon‘s revamped circle bar now known as the Piano Bar. It’s been given a spanking make-over with such a lovely wooden floor Andrew and Phil were tempted to put on their tap shoes and try it out. More good news; they resisted.

Rating

Two out of Five: slightly corked or vinegary

Review – South Pacific, New Wimbledon Theatre

Friday 23 March 2012

Phil tried to break the news to Andrew as gently as possible. But there was no other way but to simply blurt it out.

“It’s 3 hours long. Act 1 is 1 hour 37 minutes”.

The corners of Andrew’s mouth turned due south as his eyebrows shot off in entirely the opposite direction; you’d think he’d just heard that Carol Channing had announced her retirement.

The problem with Rodgers and Hammerstein is they just didn’t know when to stop. Many musicals are lucky to produce any, let alone one or two memorable numbers. They should heed South Pacific and weep: it has over a dozen of them plus the reprises. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dame Edna in Dick Whittington, New Wimbledon Theatre

Thursday 15 December 2011

The Whingers were faced with a tough decision this Christmas. Phil’s sister thought that given this blog’s occasional reference to the imaginary Dilton Marsh Players the least the Whingers could do was drop by Wiltshire to take in their seasonal offering.

For although originally believed to exist only in the Whingers’ imagination it turns out they are as real as you and us although actually called the Dilton Players. This dedicated troupe of dedicated players numbers more than 40 and they DO present an annual panto*. Apologies due. Read the rest of this entry »

One Party, Two Whingers: The 5th Annual West End Whingers Party 2011

Monday 7 November 2011

Ooops. This had fallen down the back of the Whingers’ metaphorical sofa and now seems – strikingly like the Whingers themselves – almost ancient history.

But we were brought up in the distant days when writing thank-you letters was basic manners and although in our defence there has been much thanks given privately, the wonderful people who supported us must be publicly recognised. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Oliver Meech: Live Brain Surgery, New Wimbledon Studio Theatre

Tuesday 11 October 2011

Ah, the Edinburgh Fringe. Where with gay abandon the Whingers sprinkled 4 and 5 glass ratings around as though they were soon to be put on the ration.

London theatre has never quite lived up to Edinburgh since. And in an effort to recreate some of that August euphoria the Whingers have paid a couple of visits to the  New Wimbledon Studio for their ‘Postcards From The Fringe’ season.

Phil drew a long straw Oliver Meech: Live Brain Surgery where “magic meets neuropsychology” apparently. The Whingers make no secret of the fact they love having their brains boggled.

The amiable Oliver Meech (a 28-year old Oxford University Psychology graduate) kicks off by being his own warm-up man (ah the economics of the fringe), inviting his audience to put on hospital identification wrist bands to establish the theme before popping off to change into his surgeons garb.

Now this was a neat move because Phil was was instantly discombobulated and it took him no little time to fathom how to get it on his wrist.

Meech returned to perform a slew of largely themed tricks with lots of audience participation. Almost everyone in the small auditorium was selected at some point. But not Phil. We’re not in Edinburgh any more, Toto.

A few tricks impressively involved the entire audience (though it was a shame that only the victim/patient saw inside the box through which he performed “brain surgery”). There are some Derren-Brownish mind-tricks but the set ups for each of Meech’s bogglements are much faster which means that he rips through an extraordinary number within the hour’s running time. It all proved rather satisfying.

His variation on “memorising” a whole deck of cards proved especially effective. The finale involving the audience’s wristbands was quite astonishing.

When Phil arrived home he realised he was still wearing his wristband and it was some time before he was able to remove it. It is not meant as an insult of Meech’s skills to say that in spite of everything Phil had seen, it was this apparently simplest of tasks that truly baffled him.

Rating

Review – Peter Pan, New Wimbledon Theatre

Monday 20 December 2010

To say that to die seemed an awfully big adventure might have been overstating things but by the interval of  Peter Pan it was certainly beginning to feel preferable to sitting through any more of the New Wimbledon Theatre‘s panto.

Well, it’s panto, but not as we know it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Aladdin, with Pamela Anderson, New Wimbledon Theatre

Wednesday 16 December 2009

Goodness! Two pantos in 11 days? You might be forgiven for thinking that the Whingers are full of uncharacteristic festive cheer.

Don’t worry, these two miserable Scrooges hate the season as much as ever. The only Christmas spirit they’ll be displaying will be served in a tumbler over ice. So why another panto?

Well it’s pretty obvious isn’t it? There were two humongous reasons for trailing out to the New Wimbledon Theatre, Pamela Anderson and err…….Pamela Anderson Brian Blessed. Read the rest of this entry »