Posts Tagged ‘off-West End’

Review – Wild, Hampstead Theatre

Wednesday 13 July 2016

x5648-1465806377-solt500x500.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LN4plEMJNjMike Bartlett‘s King Charles III and his telly thingy Doctor Foster amused us so much we’d almost forgotten just how much we also loved his Cock.

Now, in Wild, he concentrates on whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked information of US mass surveillance programmes. He’s portrayed here as Andrew (Jack Farthing doing not unreasonable doppelgänger work) who we encounter awaiting an uncertain future holed up in a characterless Moscow hotel room (design Miriam Buether) where he’s visited by two enigmatic people, a man and a woman both claiming to be called “George”. Can he trust them? Are they here to help him, kill him, or just tease the hell out of him? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Titanic, Charing Cross Theatre

Friday 10 June 2016

titanic1Phil saw this the day after The Deep Blue Sea. What are the chances?

Launched on Broadway in 1997 (the same year as that film) the musical Titanic sounded like one of those shows that if it had ended in disaster it would have been morbidly appropriate. Despite huge technical problems during previews – and, if you believe Wikipedia, a model ship onstage that wouldn’t sink – and largely negative reviews it went on to play 804 performances (that’s longer than West Side Story‘s original Broadway run for goodness sake!) and win 5 Tony awards including Best Musical. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – David Baddiel – My Family: Not the Sitcom, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 16 May 2016

21334_show_portrait_large

Good title. You really would want to make the distinction that you really were nothing to do with that sitcom.

But you might ask what first attracted Phil to David Baddiel My Family: Not the Sitcom which is basically a stand up show?

Phil read David Baddiel‘s funny and moving account of his father’s dementia in the Sunday Times Magazine. And Phil saw parallels; both his parents have dementia, Dad in a nursing home (when he’s not effecting an escape), Mum still in her own home but needs attention.

As upsetting as dementia is, it’s certainly released an otherwise untapped and unrestrained sense of humour in Phil’s dad. Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

Review – Funny Girl, Menier Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 8 December 2015

funny-girl200aYes, we were the luckiest people in the world. We got tickets!

This was the Menier‘s fastest-selling production (entire run sold out in a few hours) and an announcement of a transfer to the West End well before Funny Girl – the story of Broadway star Fanny Brice – had even started previews. People who need tickets needn’t panic.

Andrew was fastest finger first and nabbed some for the last preview (yes, we are a bit behind). So expectations were absurdly high. Would we be drooling over Sheridan Smith‘s Fanny? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Mr Foote’s Other Leg, Hampstead Theatre

Friday 18 September 2015

FOOTE_APR15_A3_AW_WEB-1330x590We must declare an interest of sorts.

Ian Kelly, who wrote this play, Mr Foote’s Other Leg, once generously donated two of the drawings that he created live on stage in The Pitman Painters as a charity raffle prize for a The West End Whingers’ party. Remember those days? We do. But only just.

Based on Kelly’s own award-winning biography (which goes by the same name – and why wouldn’t it? It’s a nifty title) of Samuel Foote, 18th century actor, impressionist, comedian, satirist, warm up man, pamphleteer, female impersonator, playwright, theatre manager of The Haymarket and writer of the first true-crime bestseller. He also, rather carelessly lost a leg, but that wasn’t to lead to his downfall. Other events led to that. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Casa Valentina, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 15 September 2015

CMxQTjgW8AAlHAxIt’s Harvey Fierstein week at Whinger’s Towers. Hot on the, err, heels of Kinky Boots comes his new play Casa Valentina.

It didn’t get much of a run on Broadway, which is a shame, because his familiar themes of overcoming prejudice and being true to yourself are explored with much more subtlety and wit (and just as much drag) than his musical, even if the wigs do leave a little to be desired. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Our House, Union Theatre

Monday 7 September 2015

4622614348Back in 2002, a few years before they started Whingeing, Andrew and Phil had the unfamiliar experience of actually enjoying a new musical, Our House at the Cambridge Theatre.

Of course it was doomed. Despite our enthusiasm and the show going on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical it ran for less than 10 months and was consigned to the overstuffed dustbin of flops while lesser shows went on to run forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Trial, Young Vic

Wednesday 24 June 2015

photo-1Oh for a fondue set and a cuddly toy…

And on the conveyor belt tonight; a television set, a gramophone, a lifetime’s supply of yellow stationery, an animal print duvet, 3 ceramic Alsatian dog ornaments with matching standard lamp, a John Pasche/Rolling Stones lampshade, a set of photographs of celebrity criminals, 3 toilets, and a generously busy cast of 17 actors including Rory Kinnear, Siân Thomas, Sarah Crowden, Kate O’Flynn and the lovely Will from W1A.

For this is Franz Kafka‘s The Trial reinvented by Nick Gill (adapting) and Richard Jones (directing) as The Generation Game with a little bit of Through the Keyhole thrown in for good measure. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Communicating Doors, Menier Chocolate Factory

Tuesday 12 May 2015

2970C3D50-0BFD-4B3C-3F5D1318A483AFB8In which Sir Alan Ayckbourn finds a Tardis in a hotel room where the tea-making facilities should be.

Strange one this. Communicating Doors is a “comic thriller” set in a hotel suite with a cutaway to the bathroom. It’s not often you see what the back of a bidet looks like, let alone find a broom cupboard that revolves and also turns out to be a time portal. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Carrie The Musical , Southwark Playhouse

Friday 8 May 2015

CarrieHow could we resist?

One of the most famous musical flops of all time is getting its London premiere 27 years after it first aired at the RSC’s Stratford home. Yes, Carrie The Musical. The one that moved on to Broadway, was swiftly felled and and also went down in another way; in theatrical history.

Phil saw it, so he won’t write about that experience in detail as he’s already recorded it here. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – UNWRAPPED: May Contain Strallens & Musical Nuts, Leicester Square Theatre

Wednesday 22 April 2015

359544941We must declare an interest.

UNWRAPPED: May Contain Strallens & Musical Nuts came to us not just with Strallens and nuts but contained the Whingers’ patented “Strallometer” (see below) which we created to grade any show containing one of the ubiquitous Strallen clan. It was used with our full permission and cleverly animated using technology way beyond our technical wherewithal.

For this was a one-off Sunday evening cabaret produced by Strallen père, Sandy Strallen* to show off the not inconsiderable talents of 2 of his seed (Summer and Zizi), with the “Musical Nuts” coming in the form of the Casey sisters (Natalie and Anna-Jane). One might be tempted to call them “nut Caseys”. Read the rest of this entry »

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 – Buyer & Cellar, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 16 March 2015

buyer-and-cellar-at-the-menier-chocolate-factory-fa81fd7fbd0f45714127953e51189d31If, like us, you’re of a certain age and/or have a cultural consciousness that includes the likes of David Geffen, Cloris Leachman, Doris Roberts, Mildred Pierce, Irene Sharaff and a working knowledge of Barbra Streisand this may be the show for you.

Buyer & Cellar (incidentally yesterday’s Sunday Times crossword used the same play on the word ‘cellar’ in one of its answers. Heard publican’s role in basement bar (4, 6)* ) stars Ugly Betty‘s Michael Urie as a struggling actor, Alex More, who is sacked from Disneyland for threatening to do something unspeakable with a churro to a rude child and finds employment working in Ms Streisand’s basement shopping mall. In fact he’s the only employee there, serving frozen yoghurt and selling her own extensive collection of collectables back to her as she haggles with him over the price.

Will he form a bond with her when she comes down to ‘play’ and will he ever be invited upstairs to her Malibu mansion? Sounds bizarre and crazy? It is. Read the rest of this entry »

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