Posts Tagged ‘Peter McKintosh’

Review – Guys and Dolls, Phoenix Theatre

Tuesday 29 March 2016

photo-7Third in a row of our catching-up-on-shows-we’ve-missed. A sort of theatrical mopping round the surrounds if you please.

So, the seemingly indestructible Guys and Dolls. We didn’t get down to Chichester to see it and well, frankly, it was way too expensive at the Savoy but somehow Phil found a way to the Phoenix.

And if you’ve seen the poster or flyer (which boasts 6 Olivier Awards nominations, though strictly speaking it should be 3 nominations for the show as it now appears) for the Phoenix Theatre you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s the same cast who played the Savoy as their pictures are still on the publicity material. Three of the four leads were nominated, but they’ve all left the show, leaving the one who wasn’t, Siubhan Harrison (shame, we liked her), to carry on. Gavin Spokes, with an Olivier nod for his Nicely Nicely Johnson still appears, but we will return to him later. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Our Country’s Good, National Theatre

Wednesday 26 August 2015

Our_Countrys_Good_notitleCan it be really be 26 years since Phil saw the original Royal Court production of Our Country’s Good after it transferred to the Garrick Theatre? Sadly it is. How time flies.

But time must have stood still for convicts exported to Australia in the 18th century. It took 8 and a half months in those days. Mind you it probably won’t stop Phil whingeing about the food, the lack of space or his fellow passengers next time he takes off on a long haul flight. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, Savoy Theatre

Tuesday 1 April 2014

posterIf you feel the need to say “We had great seats” or “the sets were very good” when you come out of the theatre then there’s a big possibly that something is very wrong with the show itself.

Phil burbled enthusiastically on both these matters when he left Dirty Rotten Scoundrels last night.

Peter McKintosh’s uncluttered, crisp designs slip into the glorious Art Deco interior of the Savoy Theatre like a glove (that would be a glove coated in, ahem, K-Y Jelly. See later). They seem almost an extension of the auditorium itself and with swift, relatively simple, adjustments conjure up all the requisite locations whilst never delaying or distracting from the show.

Now for the bad news. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Sound of Music, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Friday 6 September 2013

1802597838One of Phil’s earliest memories is of being taken to Manchester’s Gaumont Cinema to see the film of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II‘s The Sound of Music (book by Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse) after it had just opened.

This family outing came with the added thrill of knowing that it would probably take up to a year to reach his local, The Vista, Westbury*. He’d never been to such a grand cinema before, tickets had been booked in advance and he recalls being fascinated by a fountain on the staircase up to the circle. As you never needed to book in advance at The Vista and its “circle” was only 2 steps higher than the stalls, it’s hardly surprising he was beside himself with excitement.

But above all he remembers becoming moist around the eyes as Maria got hitched to Captain Von Trapp. The scene came after the intermission (hands up if you’re old enough to remember films with intermissions) but Phil’s tears were of joy for Maria, despite her annexing a Captain with seven children. Now he’d be weeping for other reasons and looking forward to their appearance on The Jeremy Kyle Show. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Turn of the Screw, Almeida Theatre

Thursday 24 January 2013

TOTS_MainThose with no interest in Gothic theatrical hokum which seeks to titillate audiences and make them jump in their seats should look away now.

And those of a more nervous disposition might think about placing a plastic bag between their derrière and velveteen Almeida theatre bench.

This is the turn of Rebecca Lenkiewicz* at Henry James‘ ghost story; the famous novella which has inspired a slew of TV, opera and film versions and comes with no small amount of pedigree and a degree of baggage. Many will already know that The Turn of the Screw is not – as the title might suggest to the uninitiated – set in a prison wing’s shower block. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Viva Forever, Piccadilly Theatre

Sunday 16 December 2012

64675-viva-forever-174px-wWe’ll tell you what we want, what we really, really want is a musical that doesn’t feature a gay character with a strange taste in clothing flouncing around the stage trying to get easy laughs just because he’s a camp queen. Stop right now thank you very much.

It’s currently endemic in London’s theatreland: in The BodyGuard and in Top Hat and now here in Viva Forever! We’re moving backwards faster than Merrily We Roll Along (which also features one).

This isn’t a return to the nineties, we’re back in the seventies. It seems to have become the comedy shorthand du jour in musicals. Maybe it’s time to redress the balance with a musicalisation of Brokeback Mountain? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Doctor’s Dilemma, National Theatre

Friday 20 July 2012

The Whingers have to make big decisions too you know.

Phil was so incandescent when he heard incandescent light bulbs were being phased out that he stocked up forgetting that most of his home was already lit by halogen down lighters anyway, with just one lamp (which he rarely switches on) using the old bulbs.

He never learns (he was the same when gas lighting was phased out). There’s no chance he’ll get through all of them in his lifetime. What should he do with his box of 50 bulbs?

In George Bernard Shaw’s what-it-says-on-the-tin play The Doctor’s Dilemma bachelor and newly-knighted Sir Colenso Ridgeon (Aden Gillett) is also in a quandary. He treats typhoid, the plague and has developed a new treatment for tuberculosis. If only he could find a cure for the highly contagious modern malady Superfluous Like Syndrome which afflicts the younger (and some not so young) generation of today; introducing several unnecessary ‘like’s into every sentence they utter.* Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Butley, Duchess Theatre

Sunday 12 June 2011

For obvious reasons the Whingers aren’t ones to hold mirrors up to themselves. The first time Phil tried it he accidentally cured Tennyson’s writer’s block, the last time Agatha Christie’s.

But watching David Cameron’s Old Etonian mucker Dominic West as the titular Butley should have proved uncomfortable viewing.

Unlike Butley the Whingers have neither wives nor have they spread their seed (but if they did they doubt they’d be able to remember their issue’s name either), they’re not steeped in academia and if they had even a soupçon of his alcohol-marinated, tartly cutting wit we’d they’d be deeply gratified. Low self-esteem? Let’s not go there. But the Whingers have been known to enjoy the odd tincture. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – House of Games, Almeida Theatre (Phil’s review)

Thursday 23 September 2010

Golly gosh. Can it really be a full year since the Whingers’ minds were not as one. Last September two consecutive shows (Talent and Ben Hur Live!) created a gulf wider than the one a freshly-banged-up popster created in Hampstead’s Snappy Snaps.

Andrew was adamant, “I’d sooner sit through Passion again.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Shirley Valentine, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 29 March 2010

Anyone who – like Phil – is easily distracted from their Saturday morning chores by Saturday Kitchen will know the terms “food heaven” and “food hell” and it is thrilling to be able to report that the Whingers experienced the former at Saturday afternoon’s preview performance of Shirley Valentine, part of the Menier Chocolate Factory‘s Willy Russell season.

There was a fully working deep fat fryer! Andrew couldn’t believe his eyes. Was Meera Syal really frying chips live on stage? Well, yes, she was. The smell was permeating the auditorium. In fact the whole of the first scene sees Syal’s titular Shirley peel potatoes, chip them, dry them and pop them in the fryer. And then she fries two eggs in a frying pan! Live! On stage! No trickery, no mirrors, no projections, no miming. Phil could see an entire new chapter emerging for his food-on-stage thesis.

It was of course incredibly distracting – don’t ask us what else happened in Act 1 as we couldn’t tell you – but not quite as distracting as Phil’s personal “food hell” as he became gradually fixated by the kitchen set’s pedal bin. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Serenading Louie, Donmar Warehouse

Tuesday 16 February 2010

The Whingers’ heads have been turned more than a Linda Blair demonic possession in recent weeks. But having spent far more time hob-nobbing than actually watching plays, it was down to earth with a resounding thump last night after all their recent star-schtumphing.

The novelty of not being pestered by celebrities (well, almost*) almost made the prospect of sitting with ordinary members of the public at the  Donmar Warehouse seem attractive. And Lanford Wilson‘s Serenading Louie, about which the Whingers knew next to nothing, seemed an ideal way to re-enter their normal, everyday, humdrum lives. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Prick Up Your Ears, Richmond Theatre (en route to the Comedy)

Tuesday 1 September 2009

puye_poster_4849With their own diaries groaning and a deluge of theatrical openings looming the Whingers found the only way they could possibly fit everything promising in was to trek off to the Richmond Theatre to catch the appropriately monikered Simon Bent‘s stage adaptation of John Lahr‘s biography and Joe Orton‘s diaries, Prick Up Your Ears.

Chronicling playwright Orton’s rise to fame and his volatile relationship with Kenneth Halliwell Phil found distressing parallels not only with the Gallagher brothers but with the Whingers whose own meteoric ascent (albeit to nowhere and even then only in their heads) and similarly symbiotic alliance suggested some worrying parallels. Let’s just say Phil came out of the theatre and headed straight to Franchi’s to get a lock for his tool box and leave it at that, shall we? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hello, Dolly! at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Tuesday 11 August 2009

Hello Dolly Regents Park Open Air Theatre posterWith the predicted barbecue summer on and off faster than a Hemingway musical it looked as if the Whingers’ 2009 visit to Regent’s Park might end up as a reprise of last year’s somewhat waterlogged outing.

But with the sudden return of good weather over the weekend the Whingers had been optimistically talking again of sizzling their sausages. It seemed that the plastic ponchos which stood them in such good stead at last year’s delightful Gigi might remain packed away and that they would be able to appreciate Jerry Herman‘s Hello, Dolly! by putting on their sunny day clothes.

But Andrew – thrilled by the meticulous punctuation of the title – had been impatiently tapping his barometer and keeping a beady eye on the forecast and in his practised Cassandra voice was warning that  things weren’t looking too good for Dolly‘s press night (Yes, press night! How grand is that? See what you can achieve when one of you dons a prosthetic Ian Shuttleworth suit and the other simply claims to be new boy Henry Hitchings? The people at the press desk didn’t suspect a thing).

But we digress. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Entertaining Mr Sloane, Trafalgar Studios

Wednesday 28 January 2009

entertaining-mr-sloaneAn awful lot was riding on this. Too much. It really wasn’t fair.

There was the disappointing (but now legendary) trip to see Joe Orton‘s Loot at the Tricycle Theatre in December which led the Whingers to wonder whether Orton’s work might have passed its perform-by date.

And then since the last strains of Auld Lang Syne died away the Whingers have endured a miserable January with too much talk of recession and a slew of largely quite terrible trips to the theatre .

So, yes. it was not only the rehabilitation of Orton’s reputation that was at stake: it was nothing less than the Whingers faith in West End theatre that was riding on the new production of Entertaining Mr Sloane at the Trafalgar Studios: their very raison d’être. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Waste by Granville Barker at the Almeida

Wednesday 1 October 2008

The credit must be thoroughly crunching.

After rattling around in in the less-than-full Donmar auditorium at Monday night’s Creditors the Whingers witnessed another rare event last night: the Almeida auditorium less-than-packed to the rafters.

Perhaps the theatre-going public just couldn’t get excited about Harley Granville Barker’s Waste. Perhaps, like Phil, they assumed it to be a piece of agitprop about the sin of not recycling.

If they did believe that, many of those who turned up were clearly disappointed as the auditorium displayed even more empty seats after the interval. Perhaps it was due to Phil’s new fragrance.

The Whingers had some sympathy (how often do you hear that?) with them; they were themselves slightly ambivalent about returning for the remainder of the marathon (4 act 3 hour) show.

Return they did. But did they make the right decision? Read the rest of this entry »