Posts Tagged ‘Simon Stephens’

Review – The Threepenny Opera, National Theatre

Friday 27 May 2016

CcsbDaMXEAAsGf5Wasn’t expecting the Drum Revolve.

Phil saw a preview of The Threepenny Opera on the very day he’d received a begging letter from the National’s Artistic Director, Rufus Norris asking for contributions to the £350, 000 he’s trying to raise to revitalise the Olivier Theatre’s 40-year-old stage machinery which was then “cutting-edge technology” but is now “literally grinding to a halt”.

He assumed this was irony. Bertolt Brecht and Kurt Weill’s tale, in a new adaptation by Simon Stephens, has placed the story in pre-coronation London and features a raggle-taggle of beggars. One of the beggars, Rufus Norris, was not on stage, he was seated at the back of the stalls overseeing his production with NT ex-AD Sir Nicholas of Hytner. Read the rest of this entry »

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Review – The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, National Theatre

Thursday 2 August 2012

You wouldn’t, of course. But in the unlikely chance you should ever pause to wonder how Phil behaves in a train toilet* then hasten yourself along to see the The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

This is not intended to put you off booking a ticket for Simon Stephens‘ adaptation of Mark Haddon‘s novel about Christopher (Luke Treadaway) a 15-year-old mathematics wiz occupying a position somewhere on the autism/aspergers spectrum.

Christopher discovers his neighbour’s dog dead (Ken Dodd’s dog died. Did he? No, Doddy), impaled by a garden fork. Initially under suspicion himself, his enthusiasm for Sherlock Holmes inspires him to embark on his own investigation but he uncovers more than he bargains for.

Andrew had read the book and liked it very much. Phil had heard of it. But it really shouldn’t have worked for the Whingers. TCIOTDITNT is presented with the unfortunate double handicap of: 1. in-the-round staging and 2. at the Cottesloe, eek. Yet, and it sticks in our throats to say, it’s seems the ideal location and the one occasion where a perch in one of the theatre’s upper levels affords a terrific overview of the frequently stunning visuals. The graph-paper stage by the prolific Bunny Christie (need we say more?), lighting by Paule Constable and video design by Finn Ross all but threaten to steal the show. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Thousand Stars Explode in the Sky, Lyric Hammersmith

Thursday 13 May 2010

Take three highly regarded playwrights. One play. A live poodle (subject to availability, it’s different dogs on different nights), a penny-farthing, scones and cream noshing and on-stage washing that goes way beyond the hair. Even Phil wasn’t around to see Mary Martin wash that man right out of her hair and he happily marked up yet another first: Naked Man Is Flannelled Down In Tin Bath By His Mother. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Punk Rock, Lyric Hammersmith

Tuesday 22 September 2009

Harmony.2punkrock

All’s right with the world again.

After disagreements over their last two sorties, Talent and Ben Hur Live, the Whinger’s schism has – for the moment – healed. Amelioration was achieved by a theatrical band-aid applied last night at the Lyric Hammersmith: the far from harmonious Punk Rock.

Who said school days are the happiest of your life? Presumably not playwright Simon Stephens. Yes, that’s him, the same writer who had the Whingers in such complete unison with his last effort Harper Regan that they left at the interval in synchronised steps.

But there was to be no scurrying off during the interval of Punk Rock. With the attention-challenged in mind Mr Stephens cunningly has his latest effort whistled through in a very Whinger-friendly 1 hour 50 minutes with no break.

A good start, but it wasn’t the only thing to have the Whingers nodding in approval. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Harper Regan at the National Theatre

Thursday 24 April 2008

As the Whingers snook out of the Cottesloe the other night Andrew – for once – raised an interesting point: “Perhaps we don’t really like theatre” he mused.

Things are certainly looking rocky. The love-hate relationship with the West End which characterised the Whingers’ giddy heydays seems now to be more like simple bitter enmity.

Perhaps the relationship analogy is the wrong one; maybe it is more like a sport. In which case the score over the last few weeks now stands at Theatre: 4 Whingers: 0. With a record like this, wouldn’t your morale be low?

In fact, Andrew proposed that the review for Harper Regan at the National Theatre should simply read: “Move along, folks. Nothing to see here.”

Read the rest of this entry »