Posts Tagged ‘Royal Court’

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 »

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Review – Posh, Duke of York’s Theatre

Tuesday 3 July 2012

Poshness is relative.

Since Victoria Beckham usefully redefined the word posh for us, what’s posh and what is not is a little random these days. Phil’s poshness is merely aspirational. He asks for a ‘Portillo’ when he has his hair cut, which is then teased on his bonce with limited success. As his bouffant gets bouffier it’s not quite up to the required heady height yet. Let’s be kind and call it a work in progress, a bit like Laura Wade‘s play Posh.

Andrew saw it when it premiered at the Royal Court 2 years ago. Phil didn’t for reasons he cannot remember. It’s now in the West End with some recasting and rewriting (references to the coalition, the Greek economy and the summer riots). Phil is forced to concur with pretty much everything Andrew said about it then. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Love, Love, Love, Royal Court

Monday 11 June 2012

How to put this delicately?

The Whingers occasionally wonder who will wear the mantles of our great acting dames when the more senior ones exchange waiting in the wings for wearing them.

So there was almost spontaneous combustion during Love, Love, Love when the Whingers simultaneously realised they had identified one. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Haunted Child, Royal Court

Tuesday 20 December 2011

The Royal Court have missed a trick with their marketing for Joe Penhall‘s Haunted Child. Given the tepid reviews the marquee outside should simply scream “See Ben Daniels drink a whole bucket of salt water live on stage!”

Well that’s what he appears to do. You see him fill the bucket from the sink, pour “salt” into it, drink the lot, then rush (disappointingly) off stage to vomit leaving only his bare feet visible as he retches. Yes, there are rather a lot of unclad feet on display here too.

But you have to feel for Ben Daniels (and it’s the only moment you do) having to perform the stunt. It’s a big ask of any performer. Calling it beyond the “pail” would only provide another disappointing gag. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jumpy, Royal Court

Monday 14 November 2011

Hard to believe, but even the Whingers were young once.

Then we took our eyes off the road and somehow time sneaked up from behind, overtaking recklessly, driving off the highway of life and leaving us temporarily stranded in the lay-by of middle age. Happily we are fully equipped with spare tyres to enable our journeys to continue.

Hilary (Tamsin Greig) is having a mid-life crisis. She’s 50 and suffering panic attacks; presumably the Jumpy of the title (another titular reference is revealed at the end). Her job’s in danger and her marriage to a relentlessly dull husband Mark (Ewan Stewart) has become little more than friendship, the aridness of her partnership only hydrated by frequent glasses of wine. Could this be the reason for the Whingers’ drinking too? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Tribes, Royal Court Theatre

Sunday 7 November 2010

To paraphrase Lloyd Grossman,”Who’d want to live in a house like this?”

Unsurprisingly some of the Royal Court audience had taken a break from their middle class, liberal-minded domiciles to recognise themselves on stage, laughing appreciatively when ghastly, opinionated academic pater Christopher (Stanley Townsend) asks his returned-to-nesters when they were going to f*ck off. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Posh, Royal Court

Monday 10 May 2010

Just a quickie or we’ll never catch up: Laura Wade’s Posh at the Royal Court is about a group of implausibly over-privileged Oxford students with an implausibly universal disdain for poor people. They are all members of The Riot Club, an exclusive dining club which habitually destroys dining rooms but pays for the damage so that’s OK.

Posh has had lots of coverage because The Riot Club is based on the notorious Bullingdon Club whose alumni include David Cameron, George Osborne and, umm, according to Wikipedia, Daily Telegraph theatre critic Charles Spencer, a charge which sadly he refutes.

That everyone in this milieux should be so utterly horrid as portrayed here seems as implausible as Wade’s conclusion which is that the Hooray Henry who goes too far and kicks a publican half to death will be seen by the Tory party machine to be just the sort of chap they are looking for once they have got him off the charges and all the nonsense dies down.

Yet in spite of all this and in spite of the fact that much of the first act deals only with the club’s rules, traditions and prospective leadership, the combination of sparkling dialogue, a superbly cast, top-drawer ensemble (including WEW-approved David Dawson and Henry Hadden Paton) playing with utter conviction and fine direction from Lyndsey Turner transforms this slightly rickety play transformed into a theatrical delight.

Rating

Rating score 4-5 full-bodied

Review – London Assurance, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 March 2010

As Phil arrived at the National Theatre for the preview of London Assurance on Monday night Andrew appeared to be intoning a new mantra. “Boo-see-co, boo-see-co, boo-see-co,” he muttered smugly, trying each permutation on for size to see which would sound most impressive.

It transpired that Andrew had for once been swatting up: delving into the programme notes to gen up on Irish actor, playwright, adaptor, stage director, manager, producer and innovator Dion Boucicault and – in particularly – learning how that intimidating looking surname should be pronounced. Suddenly Phil was at it too, pursing his lips contorting his facial muscles and rolling it round his tongue. All that was missing was a mouth full of marbles. Anyone passing would have rightly supposed the Whingers had lost theirs.

If they got nothing else out of the evening at least these wannabe Liza Doolittles might, at last, be able to impress someone at a party (if Sonia Friedman ever invites them to aonther) with their ability to pronounce Boucicault.

They need not have worried about reclaiming something from the evening. It gives us great pleasure to announce that the National Theatre has climbed out of the very deep pit it dug for itself with all the Really Old, Like Forty Fives, the Nations and (dare we bring it up again) the Frams and is back on form, doing what it does best. And how. Read the rest of this entry »

The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009

Thursday 28 January 2010

Well, the fire door had been carelessly left open so like model citizens we went in and pulled it firmly shut behind us and then it turned out we were in the Price of Wales Theatre and there was free drink and Rachel Weisz and Jude Law were and so we thought, what the hell, and stayed for The Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards 2009.

Of course, it’s pretty much the definition of “yesterday’s news”* (well, you try filing a blog post when they’ve been topping up your wine glass not stop for for three hours and to be fair Andrew was tweeting it live) and so you know that Weisz and Law were among the winners. We sort of guessed that when we saw them there. 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 »

Review – Cock, Royal Court

Thursday 3 December 2009

Things weren’t looking good as the Whingers entered the Royal Court‘s upstairs auditorium. The Court was very much in officiousness overdrive up there.

It’s all so very, very strict. Greeted by a humourless usher who makes an airport security official look like Pollyanna, instructions come thick and fast: you may take one small bag in if you rest it on your lap; “double check your phone is off” (a good thing, granted); only bottled water is allowed. Yes water! No wine, how on earth were the Whingers going to last one and three quarter hours without sustenance?

Yes, there are many hoops to be jumped through if you wish to see Mike Bartlett‘s Cock. Read the rest of this entry »

In which the Whingers spend some not-so-happy hours in the Royal Court Bar

Sunday 29 November 2009

It’s a scandal we tell you! An outrage!

No secret is made of the fact that a hefty part of a Whinger’s theatrical outing involves civilized time spent in the bar before and after the performance. And during the interval if there is one. And during the show if drinks are permitted in the auditorium.

But there seemed a particular perversity in the Royal Court Theatre sending Phil a flyer for a play called The Priory offering Happy Hour at the Royal Court Bar”.

Of course The Priory isn’t about anything to do with that Priory, rehab home to Susan Boyle and the stars, but Phil didn’t know that at the time and as ever, with an eye for a bargain, he filed it away in his cabinet in his “Very Important Flyers” folder (cross-referenced under “Cheaper ways to drink” and eagerly awaited his next trip to The Court. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Priory, Royal Court Theatre

Thursday 26 November 2009

New Year’s Eve: the night of the year everyone wants to have a good time but nobody does.

Andrew is already preparing for his own unique celebrations by folding his Winceyette jim-jams, tucking them under his pillow and fretting about whether he will have cocoa or Horlicks. He will of course then, as ever, retire to bed at 9.30pm knowing that this time he’ll wake up in a year in which he’ll get to see Debbie Reynolds and possibly Dame Julie Andrews and be happily oblivious by the time the rest of the country is trilling Auld Lang Syne.

But unlike Andrew, some people never learn. Certainly not the characters in Michael Wynne‘s seasonal comedy The Priory who have been gathered together by Kate (Jessica Hynes) to see in the new year in, er, The Priory. Sadly it is not set in the Whingers favourite rehab retreat but a country house that’s so the middle of nowhere there isn’t even a mobile signal for the thirtysomething media types (writer, “resting” actor, TV producer etc). Yes there is no escape. And a mysterious hooded figure is glimpsed outside the window. The Agatha Christie set-up (updated to cope with plot-sapping cell phones) looked rather promising. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Enron, Royal Court

Friday 16 October 2009

enron10Like Andrew on a weekend break, Enron comes with an absurd amount of baggage: it picked up suitcases full of rave reviews at The Chichester Festival Theatre and hat-boxes full of predictions that it will scoop Best Play in the awards season.

Its West End transfer was announced before the sold-out Royal Court season even opened. Everyone’s talking about it.

But sadly for the Whingers that pesky old Black Watch effect is back. How can anything possibly be as good as all those critics said it was? It just can’t. And so it proved to be with Enron, the story of the energy company that fooled everyone into thinking it was better than it was. Read the rest of this entry »

Review: Jerusalem by Jez Butterworth, Royal Court

Wednesday 15 July 2009

JerusalemSix hours of theatre? Three intervals? Have the Whingers lost the plot, or just watched so much theatre they can’t keep up with it?

OK so we’re conflating a little having sat through a matinée of Carrie’s War before heading trepidatiously to The Royal Court to see the epic Jerusalem.

We had been tipped off by some Good Samaritans beforehand that Jez Butterworth‘s play comes in at a staggering 3 hours 20 minutes with two intervals. Christ! We could have flown to the holy city in less time. To be honest the runes were not looking auspicious and the Whingers were on their knees praying to the God of theatre (why has he foresaken us?) to intervene with some technical problem which would necessitate the whole thing being called off and refunds given. Read the rest of this entry »