Posts Tagged ‘Old Vic’

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 – All My Sons, Old Vic

Friday 19 April 2019

Whisper it. This is really rather good but let’s not make a big song and dance about it, say it ever so quietly so no one can hear you.

For this is the 1947 All My Sons by Marilyn Monroe’s ex husband starring former Flying Nun and double Academy Award-winner Sally (you like me, right now, you like me!) Field, and the go-to for cinematic and television POTUSes Bill Pullman. How Hollywood is that? Come see them bucking that hoary old stereotype of the loud American. They’re oh so quiet. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Fanny & Alexander, Old Vic

Friday 9 March 2018

A front of curtain prologue, performed by a precocious whippersnapper warning us that we are about to see “the longest play ever” was never going to be music to our ears.

But we had been warned. Fanny & Alexander was running close to 4 hours at early previews. Max Webster‘s production is now a tighter Fanny at a relatively sprightly 3 and a half hours. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Girl from the North Country, Old Vic

Wednesday 12 July 2017

For a musical it wasn’t looking good.

Now in early previews at The Vic, Girl from the North Country has a pretty nondescript title and it plunders Bob Dylan’s back catalogue (ooo err, missus), an artist Phil has never truly embraced. Rae Smith’s set is of the minimal, deconstructed variety (musical instruments scattered around an empty stage with only a handful of backdrops popping in and out) and Mark Henderson’s lighting suggests someone has forgotten to put a shilling in the meter. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Groundhog Day, Old Vic

Friday 5 August 2016

4180No, we’re not going to do it. Post the review and repeat it over and over again. The poster’s done it. Everyone will be do it. Heck, we exhausted the gag in the pub before we even got to the Old Vic. Far too obvious. Tempting though.

Tim Minchin‘s long-awaited (by us at least) musical version of the hugely entertaining 1993 film. The one that Mr Sondheim considered and turned down, declaring “to make a musical of Groundhog Day would be to gild the lily. It cannot be improved.” Quite. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Much Ado About Nothing, Old Vic

Tuesday 17 September 2013

muchadoaboutnothing-oldvicGosh, how unwhingerish. Two Shakespeares in one week and on consecutive days no less.

A rare group outing and appropriately there was much ado about Much Ado About Nothing too. People were dropping out like all over the place. There were more withdrawals than a Roman orgy. 50% of the group fell by the wayside to be replaced by members on the waiting list. One person dropped out, dropped back in, then irritatingly dropped out again. Andrew never dropped in in the first place. Do we know a lot of people who possess the gift of foresight ? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hedda Gabler, Old Vic

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Mark Shenton must been wearing a turban and fingering his crystal ball when he wrote in his Stage blog on Monday “I always say there is no true objectivity in reviewing; we inevitably bring who we are to what we write and it is sometimes (though we try to make adjustments for personal circumstances) dictated by just how we are feeling that day. You’re not always in the mood for Chekhovian or Ibsenite misery.” Indeed.

Poor Mr Ibsen didn’t really stand much of a chance coming the night after the Whingers had been so overly-entertained at the Hackney Empire’s Golden Years of Variety.

As Andrew had mused “If only all theatre could be like this; I’d be there every night”.

What was not to like? Roy Hudd, Melvyn Hayes, Tony Hatch on the old joanna with his ‘Downtown’ and ‘Messing About on the River’ by way of his Crossroads/Neighbours/Emmerdale themes, Barry Cryer, Sharon D Clarke, Paul Zerdin’s brilliant vent act, Clive Rowe and a stage crammed with pantomime Dames, Rick Wakeman playing nursery rhymes in the style of classical composers (and Les Dawson), the hilarious – it’s a live thing, trust us on this – Joe Pasquale, 89 year-old bird song impersonating legend Ronnie Ronalde and plate-spinners Andy Van Buren and Allyson to name but a few. Yes, plate-spinning! Now that’s what we call entertainment. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cause Célèbre, Old Vic

Monday 28 March 2011

Tuesday 22nd March 2011: Stephen Sondheim’s 81st birthday (and by an ironic coincidence also Andrew Lloyd Webber’s 63rd).

What a relief. We can relax again knowing we no longer need to assist Mr Sondheim in celebrating his 8oth. It has been a too, too exhausting year.

But now Mr Rattigan is making similar demands on us from beyond the grave in commemoration of what would be his 100th.

We had already tooted into our party blowers for his Flare Path a few days earlier. Now we were required to quaff bubbly again at the Old Vic for his last play (originally for radio), written in 1977, Cause Célèbre. 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 – Six Degrees of Separation, Old Vic

Monday 18 January 2010

The idea that everyone in the world is separated from everyone else by no more than six people must send extra winter chills to the readers of these pages. Imagine being that close to the Whingers.

But for the Whingers it’s a concept that has gained appeal since they started blogging. If you’ve ever had the misfortune to meet a Whinger you can now swank to your friends that you’re only one person away from Mel Brooks, Pamela Anderson, Britt Ekland and Lionel Blair. Imagine how close that puts the Whingers to the movers and shakers of this planet – one away from Megan Mullally, Brian Blessed, Christopher Lee and Sammy Davis Junior (although he’s dead, sadly) and just twice removed from Debbie Reynolds, Topol and President Nixon. And obviously Three Degrees from Prince Charles.

Even for the Whingers it’s a sobering thought. Read the rest of this entry »

The Whingers Awards 2009 – the very worst and the not so bad

Tuesday 29 December 2009

With another year rapidly drawing to a close it is time for the Whingers to reflect and indulge themselves in a little more navel gazing – not our own navels, as that would be even duller than usual for you – but the innies and outies of the sometimes fluffy navels of London’s artistic directors, producers, players and theatres and award The Whingies to the most outstanding ones.

But first our own navels: 2009 has been a year of heady excitement for the Whingers. It was a year that saw them inadvertently whip up controversy and heated debate again and again and again.

It was also a year in which artistic differences reared their ugly heads threatening the very fabric of the West End Whingers, a tear in the polyester bed-sheet of their existence so delicate that a clumsily clipped toenail might have been all it took to rent it from headboard to toe straight down the middle.

The Whingers were courted by the British Broadcasting Company, libelled as “muckrakers” in the National Press, lampooned in song and Phil had his pithiest aphorism to date quoted (yet mainly without attribution) by national critics. There was an evening of confusion in which Phil was mistaken for Michael Grandage and the Whingers finally received an award for their artistic endeavours.

And we finally got the opportunity to choose between the Merlot and the Marlowe.

So, without further do, here are the results of the Kentish Town and Vauxhall juries: Read the rest of this entry »

In which Phil uses his loaf for once

Friday 30 October 2009

Time Out Letter of the Week As readers of Time Out magazine will already know, Phil has been very busy of late. The listings magazine had (foolishly, as they no doubt now realise) challenged readers to send in pictures of London landmarks rendered in food.

The prospect of winning a bottle of Tattinger Champagne meant that Phil didn’t need asking twice and immediately set to work representing the National Theatre in bread (with an appropriate sliver of ham), that institution having swallowed quite a bit of the Whingers’ dough over the years (geddit?).

Three days of industry and this is what emerged: Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Inherit the Wind, Old Vic

Thursday 24 September 2009

inheritthewind

A good, old fashioned courtroom drama, Kevin Spacey in a white wig, a couple of lines from Janine Duvitski, a cast of 41 and a performing rhesus monkey – what more could any sane theatregoer possibly ask for?

Well, the Whingers would obviously want a running time which left open the window of opportunity to a post-show drink or three, of course. But listen to this: even with Trevor Nunn at the helm Inherit the Wind is all over in about two and a half hours.  And, goodness, is it slickly done for the most part. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Cherry Orchard, Old Vic

Monday 1 June 2009

the bridge projectThe Bridge Project. What’s that all about then?* It’s an unprecedented three-year, transatlantic partnership uniting The Old Vic with Brooklyn Academy of Music, and Neal Street Productions which turns out not to be where Andrew buys his cheese, as he thought, but director Sam Mendes‘ production company (Shrek the Musical etc).

What it really means is we get to see cheese and chalk Simon Russell Beale and Ethan Hawke on stage together Tom Stoppard‘s new adaptation of Ibsen’s The Cherry Orchard (they’re also doing The Winter’s Tale but one unprecedented transatlantic production is enough for the Whingers). Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Tunnel 228 (Punchdrunk)

Saturday 9 May 2009

Tunnel 228 Punchdrunk Tunnel 228 is said to have been inspired by Fritz Lang’s 1927 movie Metropolis but under the inspiration of Kevin Spacey‘s Old Vic and Punchdrunk the result owes more to Ripley’s Believe It Or Not Odditorium on Blackpool’s Golden Mile and Mouse Trap Game

It’s free and you get a very big and glossy brochure at the end of it. The railway arch location is very atmospheric.

But because it’s free, the run has already sold out. Most of the tickets will have gone to Punchdrunk fanatics which is a shame because if you’ve never seen a Punchdrunk production before this would be an amazing experience.

But if you did see Faust and/or Masque of the Red Death then you may feel that the laws of diminishing returns have set in. It’s smaller in scale, there’s more art than performance and – worst of all – there’s no bar.

As you can’t see it there’s no point telling you much about it really.