Posts Tagged ‘Rob Howell’

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 »

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 – Stephen Ward, Aldwych Theatre

Tuesday 17 December 2013

00713940 - 250x346When Phil asked Andrew if he fancied trailing along with him to the new “PG advised” Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “play with songs”, Stephen Ward, he replied, “I hope I’m not too Stephen”.

Phil, unusually, understood Andrew instantly. New cockney rhyming slang for ennui. It will no doubt form a regular part of our lexicon.

Hard to believe it’s getting on for 4 years since the Whingers visited the composer’s last show and inadvertently caused something akin to a minor rumpus.

But this in not the behemoth of Love Never Dies. This take on the Profumo Affair – following Stephen Ward’s part in the scandal and the common consent that the establishment used him a scapegoat – is a decidedly small scale offering by comparison. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Matilda, Cambridge Theatre

Tuesday 22 November 2011

Well you don’t have to be Mystic Meg (whatever happened to her?*) to predict the Olivier Award winners at next year’s ceremony.

We’ve dusted off our crystal balls and see the Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical Award forcing either Nigel Harman (Shrek) or Sharon D Clarke (Ghost) to clear a space on the mantlepiece for the trophy.

Now we’re adjusting our bespoke turbans to say the Best Actor in a Musical award is in the bag: one Bertie Carvel for his Miss Trunchbull. Likewise the Best Musical Award, which should go the way of The Evening Standard Awards earlier this week. And who knows, the final musical category could well be filled by the young gals who take the titular role in Matilda The Musical. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ghost the Musical, Piccadilly Theatre

Thursday 7 July 2011

Love can be a tricky and messy business. Particularly if your mother-in-law-to-be has access to the internet or your bride-to-be has to be (allegedly) intercepted at Nice airport.

Yet these must be but small concerns compared with having a girlfriend who keeps a potter’s wheel in her apartment.

Yes, pot-throwing!

After all these years there are few on-stage experiences that can be deemed firsts for the Whingers but this surely would be one. Forget whether the hit 1990 film Ghost could be successfully adapted for the stage as a musical, what the Whingers were most eagerly anticipating Ghost the Musical  was just how would they handle that iconic scene?

Not that the Whingers have any proficiency to judge her skills at the wheel, Phil hasn’t tossed a pot since school and those results wouldn’t even give Deirdre Barlow’s new-found potting skills a run for their money. But Caissie Levy’s Molly centres her clay very well and gets stuck in sloshing water liberally. The not-so-metaphorical (but endearingly small) phallus she wistfully fingers tells us all we need to know about how much she’s missing her recently deceased boyfriend Sam (Richard Fleeshman), if not why.

Andrew was shaking with dry laughter from the moment her wheel trundled on. Phil came over all nostalgic for the Potter’s Wheel TV interludes*. Expect Grayson Perry to turn up for the official opening night.

But let us crack on before you glaze over. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Matilda, RSC Courtyard Theatre, Stratford upon Avon

Sunday 5 December 2010

The Whingers were brought up on a diet of Enid Blyton and The Water Babies so there were mixed feelings about trailing all the way to Stratford Upon Avon to see the RSC’s new musical Matilda, based on the Roald Dahl story. So mixed, in fact, that Phil ended up not going. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Deathtrap, Noël Coward Theatre

Wednesday 25 August 2010

Co-operating, or possibly competing, cross-generational writers. One or the other or both may have murderous intentions towards the other. But who is the cat and who is the mouse? Can writers ever be friends? Or is death only ever a disagreement about prepositions away?

Violent thoughts are rarely very far from the surface when the Whingers are working on a “project” so Deathtrap turned out, yet again, to be a bit close to home one way and another. And what inspiration there was to be found in Rob Howell’s impressive hammer-beam roofed set which is littered with weapons galore – all calling out to be used. At least in our heads. Phil is toying with taking up the crossbow as a hobby. 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 – 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 »

Review – Her Naked Skin, National Theatre

Wednesday 30 July 2008

There really are some rather spooky coincidences connecting the Whingers to the National’s new lesbian prison drama set against the backdrop of the fight for votes for women in Edwardian England.

Phil – who is very emancipated – feels a particular affinity with the movement: his grandmother was a suffragette; his uncle was governor of Strangeways Prison where suffragette Derby Day martyr Emily Wilding Davison was detained; Phil himself was hooked on the seventies suffragette TV drama Shoulder to Shoulder; and in the days when he cycled (before Dave and Boris made it unfashionable) he used to chain his bike to railings.

And Andrew is a Lesbian. Well, he isn’t actually one at the moment, but he hopes one day to become part of the Lesbian community once he has saved up enough to buy the little Greek hideaway he’s always hankered after. Read the rest of this entry »