Posts Tagged ‘Old Vic’

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.

Review – Complicit with Richard Dreyfuss and an earpiece, Old Vic

Wednesday 21 January 2009

complicit at the Old VicWhat a shambles. What a complete and utter shambles. And how entertaining.

Hang on, scrub that last sentence. Complicit wasn’t in the least bit entertaining.

The only entertaining aspect to the evening was the discreet yet mesmerising, scandalous earpiece which Richard Dreyfuss was sporting because – so rumour has it – he does not know all of his lines.

Hard to believe? You can read about it here, here and here and a million other places.

Indeed, according to one source (who, of course, can not be named) a highlight of at least one early preview was the sound of David Suchet loudly calling “prompt” on Dreyfuss’ behalf which – as our Deep Throat conjectured – surely can’t have done much for dressing room bonhomie.

But the West End Whingers are proud to report that they can now reveal that there is in fact a wholly legitimate reason for Dreyfuss’ inability to remember his lines. Read the rest of this entry »

In which Andrew blames himself and Phil tests the patience of the Ambassadors Theatre Group

Wednesday 21 January 2009

complicit-ticketWhat a shambles. What a complete and utter shambles. And how entertaining.

Hang on – are you having a sense of déjà vu? Didn’t the Whingers open with that same line when they tripped off to The Tricycle Theatre only last month? And what a delightful brouhaha that triggered.

But by comparison with recent sagas, The Tricycle is beginning to look as organised as a Cage Aux Folles’ wardrobe mistress.

Yes, the run-up to seeing Complicit at the Old Vic There was more drama than they could possibly ever hope to see on the stage.

Indeed, it was possibly even more dramatic than the occasion when Andrew lost his purse shortly before  The Walworth Farce.

Farce it proved to be. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Living Together (The Norman Conquests) at the Old Vic

Saturday 20 September 2008

Well, let’s look on the bright side (see what a holiday can do for one?).

This was the Whingers’ first theatrical sortie since their expedition to the bush. That’s the African bush if you’re not up to speed (and if not, why not?) not the lauded fringe theatre over a pub half-way to Swindon.

The Old Vic’s new production of Alan Ayckbourn’s Living Together – part of his 70s trilogy of The Norman Conquests – has been directed by the charming and über-prolific Matthew Warchus (who, you may recall, inadvertently gave the Whingers their very first interview).

But the big news is that The Old Vic’s auditorium has been reconfigured and named “The CQS Space”. Apparently that has nothing to do with a TV shopping channel but is connected with something entirely beyond the Whingers’ comprehension: hedge funds and the Hintze Family Charitable Foundation.

So at least the Old Vic’s notorious creaking seats have gone and more bar space has been made available by chucking out some of those useless seats at the back of the stalls. Other theatre owners please take note.

Sounds promising doesn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »