Posts Tagged ‘Simon Russell Beale’

Review – The Lehman Trilogy, National Theatre

Wednesday 11 July 2018

A three and a half hour three-hander where the each of the three hands is a white male? At the National? No doubt apologies will be demanded and made.

A surprising lack of box-ticking here then, but there is an awful lot of box-lifting and box-shifting. But we will return to that in due course. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – Mr Footes’s Other Leg – Theatre Royal Haymarket

Tuesday 10 November 2015

5467-1446458639-mrfooteslegsqGroundhog Day for Phil and Andrew.

Back to reality after travelling in Indochina with the humdrum repetition of daily routines. So what could be more appropriate to add to our Groundhoggishness than revisiting a show that we’d already been thoroughly entertained by at Hampstead? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Mr Foote’s Other Leg, Hampstead Theatre

Friday 18 September 2015

FOOTE_APR15_A3_AW_WEB-1330x590We must declare an interest of sorts.

Ian Kelly, who wrote this play, Mr Foote’s Other Leg, once generously donated two of the drawings that he created live on stage in The Pitman Painters as a charity raffle prize for a The West End Whingers’ party. Remember those days? We do. But only just.

Based on Kelly’s own award-winning biography (which goes by the same name – and why wouldn’t it? It’s a nifty title) of Samuel Foote, 18th century actor, impressionist, comedian, satirist, warm up man, pamphleteer, female impersonator, playwright, theatre manager of The Haymarket and writer of the first true-crime bestseller. He also, rather carelessly lost a leg, but that wasn’t to lead to his downfall. Other events led to that. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Into the Woods, the film

Wednesday 17 December 2014

ITW_1-Sht_v18_LgWho ever thought they’d see a film where Annette Crosbie is eaten alive by Johnny Depp?

Then again who ever thought we’d write about a film? Yes, a bit out of our comfort zone this, reviewing a trip to the flicks. Though the comfort of most picture houses is far greater than almost any theatre seat.

But since this cinematic entertainment is based on the Stephen Sondheim stage musical that Phil has seen about half a dozen times in various forms, including the original Broadway and London productions he just wanted to show off. He saw a preview of Into the Woods a week ago and frustratingly has been sitting on a most uncomfortable embargo ever since. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hothouse, Trafalgar Studios / This House, National Theatre

Thursday 16 May 2013

hothouseWe are of course far too indolent to check, but this is possibly our first conjoined review.

It’s a time thing really. We’re all behind, but in our defence there are parallels between these plays: both are “house”-titled, have on-stage, set-specific audience seating and are boisterously over-the-top comedic satires set in institutions run by dangerously potty people.

The Hothouse features John Simm, Simon Russell Beale, Indira Varma, John Heffernan, Clive Rowe and Christopher Timothy and the aforementioned chance to be up there with them. You’d be forgiven for assuming Andrew would have been there wouldn’t you? Read the rest of this entry »

The 2012 Whingie Awards – the very worst and the not so bad

Monday 31 December 2012

whingieawardInappropriately, since it was the Olympic year, we’re a bit late off the starting blocks with our highly-anticipated annual Whingie Awards.

Frankly we believed we might not need to bother. The world was going to end. Andrew had packed his onesie and headed off to Bugarach. Phil was left sitting around in his meggins self-medicating in preparation musing which shows would be the theatrical cockroaches that might survive the impending apocalypse.

The Mousetrap obviously, Phantom and The Woman in Black no doubt, though perhaps Viva Forever! should hunker in a bunker and pray.

Of course it wasn’t the end after all. The world continues and we must carry on going to the theatre. It’s a bit of a let down. But as we toast the new and possibly unlucky New Year of 2013 we’ve had our hands down the back of the theatrical sofa digging for the occasional treasure, copious amounts of fluff and the occasional best-forgotten unmentionable. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Privates on Parade, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 18 December 2012

images-1Yet another production featuring a gay man swishing around the stage. We’ve whinged about the outbreak which started with this went on in that and ended up in Viva Forever! There’s an epidemic in London’s theatreland; the vaccine for theatrical queenitis is presumably in its very early stages of development.

But the big differences in Peter Nichols‘ 1977 Privates on Parade are that (a) camp Captain Terri Dennis’ character is a key and sympathetic central character and (b) he’s utterly, genuinely hilarious. Unlike those other shows the audience are laughing with him and not at him. Well, OK then, we do laugh at him too, but for all the right reasons. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Timon of Athens, National Theatre

Monday 16 July 2012

So, on vellum then, not looking too promising. 

Rarely performed and generally considered to be one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, Timon of Athens has had just one outing on The Broadway, according to the gospel of St Wiki.

Apparently it was co-authored by Thomas Middleton and is incomplete. Who knows? (Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance probably).

Two of them writing together and they couldn’t finish it? Was there a more pressing stack of ironing? Sounds scarily familiar to us. Unfinished is a bit of a conundrum: might it go on forever or end abruptly in under three hours? TOA sounded a bit of a tease. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Collaborators, National Theatre

Monday 31 October 2011

Well, we never expected to use the words “madcap” and “Stalin” in the same sentence.

It was one of those occasions when it looked as though the Whingers’ theatrical planets were aligning auspiciously but then it turned out that they were actually on a collision course.

Prodding their entrails with a stick (metaphorically) the Whingers had come to the conclusion that all the signs were good: Alex Jennings, Simon Russell BealeMark Addy and Nick Sampson in a play by John Hodge (screenwriter of Trainspotting, Shallow Grave) with Nicholas Hytner at the helm.

Even the less promising portents of the Cottesloe Theatre and a “first play” failed to cast a shadow over the Whingers’ sunny outlooks and our usually voluble inner Cassandras were completely caught napping. Read the rest of this entry »

The Whingers Awards 2010 – the very worst and the not so bad

Friday 31 December 2010

It’s that time of year again when one tries to justify the humongous expense of theatre-going by trying to seize on a few happy memories in the desperate hope that they justify the outlay.

Yes, it’s the Whingies 2010. Read the rest of this entry »

Deathtrap – The Opening Night

Thursday 9 September 2010

[Note: this is really not worth reading unless you were there. Sorry. It’s mainly an aide memoire to ourselves]

Biggins must have had other plans. But gosh – even the Whingers had other plans. But happily the first preview of Blood and Gifts at the National got cancelled enabling the Whingers to sweep back to the Noel Coward Theatre for the opening night of Deathtrap. Happily Sir Nicholas of Hytner could now also attend and he did so with Samuel Barnett in tow.

And it seemed that everyone else in showbizzland had a gaping hole in their diaries too. Andrew’s alleged prosopagnosia was stretched further than some of the more “enhanced” famous faces on display. And his recognitions skills were not aided by the fact that he doesn’t do much in the way of telly so it was left to Phil to peer through his lorgnettes to fill in the blanks. 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 – 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 »

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 – A Slight Ache at the National Theatre

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Q. How do you get Andrew to watch a Pinter play?

A. Advertise the running time as 50 minutes, cast Clare Higgins and Simon Russell Beale and put it on at 6pm so that the whole evening isn’t wasted.

No, it’s not funny. It’s tragic; it’s true. Read the rest of this entry »