Posts Tagged ‘play’

Review – Madame Rubinstein, Park Theatre

Wednesday 3 May 2017

You wait a lifetime to see Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden portrayed on stage and then you get two in a row.

Well for Andrew anyhoo. It was just over a week since he saw the musical War Paint (with Patti Lupone as HR and Christine Ebersole as EA) on the actual Broadway. What are the chances?

So this is Jez Bond‘s production of Madame Rubinstein, the almost non-singing, certainly non-dancing account by John Misto with Miriam Margolyes and Frances Barber as the the two grandes dames of cosmetics. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Ferryman, Royal Court

Monday 1 May 2017

Having barely recovered from the 11.45pm curtain of Angels in America Part 2, Phil arrived at The Ferryman to discover a running time of 3 hours 20 minutes.

Playwrights seem to have an awful lot to say for themselves.

This is Jez Butterworth‘s latest epic. The fastest-selling play in Royal Court Theatre history apparently. A June transfer to The Gielgud was announced well ahead of any previews. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 2: Perestroika

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What to add to our pontifications on Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America Part 1 that we haven’t already mentioned?

That there was a long line to collect tickets as they wouldn’t issue Part 2 tickets when we collected our Part 1 ones (are they doing a Hamilton thing?). That we queued to get into the auditorium as they didn’t open the doors until 7pm for our 7pm performance. That (apart from two intervals) we were in our cheap 4th row cramped budget airline seats for much of the 4 and three-quarter hours. That’s the flying time to Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, National Theatre

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Over 7 hours, 2 nights and at least 3 intervals (we do not yet know how many Part 2 holds). How terribly indulgent. It’s almost as long as its title. Phil saw the original production of Angels in America at the National back in 1992, yet, still he came back for more.

25 years ago Henry Goodman played closeted Roy Cohn, Trump and McCarthyite attorney, Nixon advisor, Rosenberg prosecutor, and all round shyster-meister. Here the casting coup is Nathan Lane. Mildly ironic that Lane should be taking the Goodman role since Goodman infamously (and briefly) took over from Lane when he left the Broadway run of The Producers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Harold Pinter Theatre

Friday 3 March 2017

mobile-header4Give Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? an award now (correct envelope please). Audiences have been banned from eating in the auditorium. The West End might be coming to its senses at last. Hurrah!

It seems like yesterday, although it is 11 years, since we saw Edward Albee‘s 1962 Tony Award-winning play (Best play, actor and actress) on the Shaftesbury Avenue with Kathleen Turner being both brilliantly hilarious and pathetic as the vitriol-and-booze-fueled, husband-baiting Martha. It’s one of the most perfect pieces of casting Phil’s ever witnessed. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Wednesday 22 February 2017

imagesHope you didn’t mind the gap.

Phil felt unmoved to bother writing about his last few theatrical disappointments, he’d been catching up on shows in the last weeks of their runs anyway. Also he’s been going to the pictures. A lot. And by avoiding the disappointments of theatre he’s been able to enjoy being disappointed by some over-praised films. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Promises, Promises, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 19 January 2017

cxo6_jfxcae2livWhen The Whingers saw this on the Broadway (with Sean Hayes and Kristin Chenoweth) in 2010 they did an unprecedented thing (well, they may have done it other times but they can’t be bothered to check); awarded separate ratings for the first and second acts. If that’s not an argument against interval departures we don’t know what is. Not that it will stop them of course.

Promises, Promises has more promises in its creatives, than even its title. Music by Burt Bacharach, lyrics Hal David, book Neil Simon and it’s based on one of Phil’s favourite films; the 1960 Billy Wilder film The Apartment starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Kite Runner, Wyndham’s Theatre

Thursday 12 January 2017

the-kite-runnerKites on stage! Might Phil put them up there with balloons, one of his other theatrical bêtes noires?

There are a few fluttering about, but not as many as you might expect given the title. And they’re a little disappointingly realised. Things on the end of bendy sticks. Not high fliers or not there at all (mimed). You may be reminded of the birds in the opening sequence of the stage version of The Lion King. Thankfully they’re not used as metaphors. Well, they probably are, but it went right over Phil’s head. If only the kites had too.

Khaled Hosseini‘s novel The Kite Runner sold millions. Phil hadn’t read it or seen the film which probably helped considerably. So the story of a deep friendship between two boys (one a servant to the other) in a tribally conflicted Seventies Afghanistan which also covers the Soviet invasion, the Taliban surge and 9/11 took him completely by surprise. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hedda Gabler, National Theatre

Friday 9 December 2016

nt-live-hedda-gabler-portrait-listings-image-uk-722x1024A few weeks ago, on the Nothern Line, while Phil was running his fingers along the lines of type in the Metro he noticed he was sitting next to a woman concentrating on a script with all the “Mrs Elvsted” parts underlined. Suspecting it might be for the National’s Hedda Gabler he went off and did a bit of internet stalking and discovered that it was Sinéad Matthews who takes that role in the this production.

Perhaps Phil should have torn her manuscript into pieces, scribbled notes all over it so that she could piece it back together again to get a better understanding of her role. To explain that would need a SPOILER ALERT. Of course if it had been Ruth Wilson (who plays this Hedda) next to him he’d have torched it for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – After October – Finborough Theatre

Wednesday 7 December 2016

after-october-mainPlays with similar themes seem to becoming a bit of a habit with us.

Following on from last week’s Once in a Lifetime which took a pop at playwrights struggling to make sense of being holed up in Hollywood studio basements comes Rodney Ackland‘s possibly semi-autobiographical not-seen-in-London-for-over-eighty-years After October. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Once in a Lifetime, Young Vic

Friday 2 December 2016

oial_326If you’re waiting for a review of Nice Fish you’ll have a jolly long wait. Phil was away and sold his tickets to Andrew (What? Did you expect Phil to give them away?) who went with Katy. Both were underwhelmed. The best he could say about it was it was 90 minutes with no interval though even that was too much for people behind him who departed before the end. Bullet dodged.

But, with a busy theatre period ahead (5 shows in 9 days, and Andrew coming along to all but one) what were the chances of being entertained for the second of them, Once in a Lifetime, after the charms of She Loves Me ? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Amadeus, National Theatre

Wednesday 9 November 2016

798954Well, we went in humming Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” and we were still humming it on the way out.

This despite the 20 pieces of the Southbank Sinfonia who bang out Mozart’s music throughout the three long hours of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, interact with the actors, occasionally having a stab at acting themselves, ripple like waves on the stairs of what constitutes a set and donning party hats to become part of the action.

If you don’t have a ticket you’re unlikely to get one for its current booking period now. It was practically sold out before the fairly spectacular reviews were delivered. But don’t despair, you need some good news this morning, it didn’t quite work its magic on us. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Boys In The Band, Park Theatre

Tuesday 18 October 2016

thumbnail_boys-in-the-band_a5-e1464015375465Second in a row of our series of plays featuring a splendid central performance by an actor as a blisteringly vile gay in a period drama at a north London fringe theatre.

Amazingly first time at the Park Theatre for Phil. And first time for The Boys In The Band too. No, Phil had never seen William (director of The French Connection and The Exorcist and once married to Lesley-Anne Down) Friedkin‘s 1970 film either. Andrew had. So when Phil suggested a trip to Mart Crowley‘s 1968 play Andrew replied, “I’m up for an evening of self-loathing”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Kenny Morgan, Arcola Theatre

Wednesday 5 October 2016

kenny-morgan-arcola-george-irvingWe’re very slow off the starting blocks with Kenny Morgan, a timely companion to The Deep Blue Sea recently at the National, as it concerns events in Terrence Rattigan‘s life that inspired that play. So, if we’re a tad late to the table we would have to say it’s a separate table.

Like TDBS, Mike Poulton (Wolf Hall, Bring Up The Bodies)’s version begins with a body slumped in front of a gas fire; a failed suicide because someone’s forgotten to put a shilling in the meter. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jesus Christ Superstar, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre

Tuesday 9 August 2016

18842_show_portrait_largeSome things you may not know about Jesus Christ Superstar:

It was the first show Phil saw in the West End. He came up from Wiltshire with friends to see the original London cast at the Palace Theatre. A theatre he is now unlikely to ever see the interior of again.

He recorded the original JCS album on his reel-to-reel tape recorder. A microphone placed between the speakers of his friend’s stereo. A household forced into silence for an hour and a half.

He typed out the entire lyrics using his sister’s Brother typewriter, bound the sheets with Sellotape and created a cover reproducing the album artwork using felt tip pens. Quite an achievement for a 25 year-old.

He went to see this revival at Regent’s Park on the night the show was cancelled. Read the rest of this entry »