Posts Tagged ‘Noël Coward’

Review – Present Laughter, Old Vic

Monday 24 June 2019

You wait a lifetime for a frothy wartime comedy by a gay Sir that opens with someone waking up the worse for wear and wondering who the stranger they picked up last night is and you get two in a little over a week. What are the chances?

First there was Sir Terence Rattigan’s 1943 While the Sun Shine‘s now we have Sir Noël Coward‘s 1939 Present Laughter. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Relative Values, Harold Pinter Theatre

Monday 31 March 2014

relativevaluesJust like buses. Two Trevor Nunns in a row.

Not intentional. Just the way it happened. But if Fatal Attraction is his (probably) doomed bendy bus of directorial offerings, Relative Values (which has been knocking around since kicking off the Theatre Royal Bath’s summer season last year) is his Routemaster; vintage and offering a far more agreeable ride.

Hard to say too much about Noël Coward‘s 1951 whimsy without giving too much of the endearingly implausible plot away. Phil isn’t sure if he’s seen it on stage before though he saw the 2000 film starring Julie Andrews, yet can remember little of it except that it concerns – particularly in this production – the unlikeliest pair of siblings since De Vito and Schwarzenegger in Twins.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Blithe Spirit starring Dame Angela Lansbury, Gielgud Theatre

Tuesday 4 March 2014

Perhaps that should be Dame-elect.poster

As far as we know Angela Lansbury‘s still waiting to pick up her gong. But it’s well-timed. Charity gigs aside (Phil once saw her perform ‘Bosom Buddies’ with Bea Arthur), she’s not appeared on the London stage for almost 40 years. How canny of Palace officials to catch her while they can.

And gosh, we hadn’t seen post-show crowds outside a stage door like these for years. Presumably most are familiar with her from constant reruns of Murder, She Wrote rather than Gaslight, The Manchurian Candidate or her record number of Tony Award acting wins.

We watched it in mild amazement from the safety of The White Horse upstairs bar as a Mark Shenton look-alike tried to corral the throng seeping out from behind the crash barriers, to allow access for her car. Which, when it came, she entered, wound down the window and threw cheery waves on departing.

Let’s hope when she goes to the Palace she gets HMQ and not one of the second-stringers. They can have a wave-off.

Now, unless you’re connected to someone in the show or Biggins and get invited to the opening, there’s two ways for ordinary members of the public to get tickets for Blithe Spirit. You can either forgo a few luxuries and fork out up to £92.25, or you can do as we did and enjoy a morning sojourn playing Scrabble on the pavement outside the Gielgud Theatre and get one of the day seats for £10*. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Private Lives, Gielgud Theatre

Wednesday 3 July 2013

privatelives-gielgudIt seems no time at all since the last West End production of Noël Coward‘s Private Lives. Turns out it’s just over 3 years. If it hadn’t been for that production (starring Kim Cattrall) the Whingers would probably never have seen Love Never Dies – well not in preview at least – and look what that led to. It’s a long story, you should ask us about it one day… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Volcano, Vaudeville Theatre

Wednesday 26 September 2012

Nearly at the end of its run so really this is just to remind ourselves in future years that we were there because it is unlikely we shall remember otherwise.

The twin-piqued interests of Volcano at the Vaudeville were that (a) it is Noel Coward‘s rediscovered, previously un-produced 1956 play and (b) Andrew has a geophys fascination with volcanoes and so it just had to be squeezed in before it lies undiscovered for few more generations. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Blithe Spirit, Apollo Theatre

Wednesday 9 March 2011

There’s nothing the Whingers like more than having the willies put up them.

With Ghost Stories under their belts and Ghost The Musical coming up in the outside lane the Whingers found themselves again taking stock of their relationship with the supernatural in the form of Noël Coward‘s Blithe Spirit.

And despite a cynical take on all things ectoplasmic Phil had a peculiar, nay spooky, experience at the Apollo Theatre. Only a few hours earlier he’d be musing not only about the last time he saw the play on stage (with “sock it to me!” Judy Carne as Elvira) but also about an old friend he’d lost touch with and hadn’t seen for many years. A dry, deeply cynical but solid fellow, definitely not prone to flights of fantasy, he had once told Phil a pretty convincing tale, witnessed by many others at the same moment, of seeing a ghost (a floating head if you please) in a Spanish monastery many years ago.* And there he was (the teller of the tale, not the ghost) standing in the bar at the interval of Monday’s preview, imbibing his own choice of spirits!

All very peculiar and unsettling. Call for Derek Acorah. Even better, call Shirley Ghostman! Read the rest of this entry »

Review- Design For Living, Old Vic

Sunday 12 September 2010

Dear Phil.

I understand that you are not a fan of nightwear but I urge you to go and see the revival of Noel Coward’s Design For Living at the Old Vic as I am certain that if anything can sway you, this will.

Then should an Icelandic volcano ever again force us into closer-than-natural nocturnal proximity I shall at least be spared the sight of your knees as they clatter to the bathroom and back every two hours at the behest of your (in my admittedly non-medical opinion) AD/HD bladder. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Private Lives, Vaudeville theatre

Monday 8 March 2010

The Whingers were a bit slow off the mark with this Private LivesThey saw the excellent production at Hampstead last year and weren’t sure they had the puissance for yet another PL, this despite Phil being quite a fan of Kim Cattrall in Sex and the City* – the TV series of course, not the disappointing, past its sell-by date film.

Andrew of course knows nothing of such televisual things and only warms up his valves if there is the promise of a Time Lord, a Marple or a bonnet. And it wasn’t even the glowing 4 and 5 star reviews that really lured them in to the Vaudeville Theatre. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Private Lives, Hampstead Theatre

Thursday 5 February 2009

private-lives

The Whingers are très farouche when it comes to their private lives.

In Andrew’s case this is because he has no life to speak of.

In Phil’s case it’s because he lives in a complete fantasy world.

Yet although their lives are so dramatically different it is often only a stalls seat armrest that separates them (unless – as is often the case – they are reduced to sitting in the cheap seats in the front few rows of the Olivier or Lyttelton theatres where armrests are just a dream).

Yet watching Amanda and Elyot in Noël Peirce Coward‘s Private Lives constantly putting each other down and bickering in the most childish manner resonated for some reason. Read the rest of this entry »