Posts Tagged ‘Southwark Playhouse’

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 »

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Review – Side Show, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 25 October 2016

side-show-artwork-image-700x455It’s a rum old world sometimes.

Two consecutive off-West End shows featuring poisonous homosexualists (Kenny Morgan, The Boys In The Band), then two in a row featuring a hostess trolley (The Red BarnThe Grinning Man). The latter a musical about a carnival attraction “freak show”. This one is too. What are the chances?

This is the 1997 Broadway flop Side Show (31 previews and 91 regular performances) which was revived and revised in 2014 only to flop again after a seven week run. Is someone trying to tell them something? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Grey Gardens, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 7 January 2016

aLhIrSaYTwo interdependent, dysfunctional, eccentric old bats who spend their days musing on their lost looks, past talents and opportunities missed. Now residing in whiffy squalor, feeding a menagerie of cats and prone to talking to themselves or passing their peculiar limbo squabbling with each other. One thinks they possess a finely judged sartorial taste, when in reality it could only be described as eclectic.

Remind you of anyone? No, not Andrew and Phil. They were never glamorous in the first place. These are the former socialites and East Hampton residents, mother and daughter Edith Bouvier Beale and Edith Bouvier Beale.

If you’ve seen the cult 1975 documentary film Grey Gardens you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. If you haven’t seen it then you’ll definitely want to see it after this musical version (book by Doug Wright, music by Scott Frankel, and lyrics by Michael Korie) that was something of a success (10 Tony nominations, 3 wins) on Broadway in 2006. Expect other film documentaries, Super Size Me, Man On Wire and Bowling For Columbine with songs before long. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Xanadu, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 17 November 2015

17993_show_portrait_largeOh how we’ve waited.

Yes, we’ve waited and waited for the Godot that we feared might never arrive. It’s taken a full eight years for Xanadu to come to London; the the highlight of our 2007 sojourn to New York and not just because there was a strike on Broadway and it was one of the few shows still running. We praise the gods it still was.

Andrew even spent a not inconsiderable amount of time bending the ear of a well-known producer trying to convince her (a clue?) that this was the show she absolutely had to bring to London. He even put on his casting director’s hat by suggesting Sheridan Smith in the lead. Sadly bigger fish were in both their frying pans. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Casa Valentina, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 15 September 2015

CMxQTjgW8AAlHAxIt’s Harvey Fierstein week at Whinger’s Towers. Hot on the, err, heels of Kinky Boots comes his new play Casa Valentina.

It didn’t get much of a run on Broadway, which is a shame, because his familiar themes of overcoming prejudice and being true to yourself are explored with much more subtlety and wit (and just as much drag) than his musical, even if the wigs do leave a little to be desired. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Carrie The Musical , Southwark Playhouse

Friday 8 May 2015

CarrieHow could we resist?

One of the most famous musical flops of all time is getting its London premiere 27 years after it first aired at the RSC’s Stratford home. Yes, Carrie The Musical. The one that moved on to Broadway, was swiftly felled and and also went down in another way; in theatrical history.

Phil saw it, so he won’t write about that experience in detail as he’s already recorded it here. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Gods and Monsters, Southwark Playhouse

Wednesday 11 February 2015

poster-250px_posterImgYears back, before the 1998 film starring Ian McKellen and Brendan Fraser, Andrew, for some reason, was given the task of reading a pile of film scripts. Among the dross only one stood out, it turned out to be Gods and Monsters. Unsurprisingly Andrew accompanied Phil to the Southwark Playhouse for this one.

That Oscar-winning script by Bill Condon was based on Christopher Bram‘s Father of Frankenstein, a novel which is now the basis for Russell Labey’s play concerning the partly fictionalised life and lusts of James Whale, director of the iconic 1931 Frankenstein, not to mention Bride of Frankenstein and the 1936 Showboat.

Set in the 1950s, Whale (Ian Gelder) is now retired and has suffered a series of strokes, spending his days at the easel, convincing attractive young men to drop their pants and pose for his more artistic strokes. Dodgy. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Jack and the Beanstalk, Southwark Playhouse

Saturday 21 December 2013

Southwark-Playhouse“Have you ever seen Puss in Boots?” Andrew asked Phil recently.

We probably don’t have the kind of conversations typical chaps might have in or out of the boozer. We do not discuss, football, rugby, cricket or golf and we cannot compare the relative acceleration of our cars as we do not possess one between us.

For instance our Stephen Ward post-show conversation – once we had done a bit of necessary fact-checking on the Profumo Affair – somehow led us on to the cast lists of films including On a Clear Day You Can See Forever and almost as inexplicably Disney’s Lt. Robinson Crusoe and the difference between the acting Nancys (or is that Nancies?) Kwan and Kulp. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Victor/Victoria, Southwark Playhouse

Friday 2 November 2012

A long while before she generously offered her Gift of Music, Julie Andrews was the subject of a Guardian interview at the NFT (now BFI).

Phil was in the audience and after furiously waving his arm in a “Me sir! Me sir!” kind of way, was given the chance to ask his killer question:

“Do you ever watch your old films and if you do which one do you watch most often?”

A hushed audience (including a complete stranger called Andrew – this was pre-Whinger days) leaned forward as one in anticipation of the answer (that’s how Phil remembers it, anyway).

Julie paused thoughtfully before replying “I don’t watch my films, but if I did it would be Victor/VictoriaRead the rest of this entry »

Review – They Came To A City, Southwark Playhouse

Thursday 5 May 2011

Well, say what you like about the play or Robert Laycock‘s production but anything that prompts the Whingers into waffling on about politics in the Southwark Playhouse bar is surely worthy of remark.

J. B. Priestley‘s 1943 parable They Came to a City dates from the Halcyon days (WWII notwithstanding) when playwrights wrote about Utopian futures rather than the Dystopian ones which are all today’s writers are capable of imagining. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Company, Southwark Playhouse

Saturday 19 February 2011

What with the endless 8oth birthday celebrations for Stephen Sondheim, revivals of his shows now seem almost as common as gold stars for The King’s Speech with more to come (celebrations to mark Mr Sondheim’s 81st birthday commence on 22 March).

But the latest production of Company at the Southwark Playhouse is billed as “a major new revival”. So that’s different.

The Whingers quite like Company (with a big C, not each others’ company) because it’s sharp, witty and tuneful. But having seen the Union Theatre’s excellent, but presumably only minor, revival less than two years ago we weren’t sure we were quite ready for another.

But then if we didn’t go it would always be gnawing away at us: how was “The Ladies Who Lunch”?

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Hostage, Southwark Playhouse

Tuesday 9 February 2010

“I only drink on two occasions –when I’m thirsty and when I’m not.” So said Brendan Behan*.

So how come the Whingers have never seen a Brendan Behan play? Well, to be fair he only wrote two. And this isn’t really one of them. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Terror 2009, Southwark Playhouse

Wednesday 21 October 2009

Twhatson_TerrorSeason_largehere are quite a few things that really terrify the Whingers.

Phil is famously scared of heights, latterly and powerfully illustrated in Petra, Jordan (see illustration to the right) where he had to be physically prised off a rock on a particularly vertiginous ledge by not only a Jordanian guide but by two bemused Bedouin women and a very discombobulated Andrew.

But Andrew too can readily succumb to the jitters, being prone to an attack of the vapours when ever anyone says “approximate running time”, “unreserved seating”, “theatre-in-the-round”, “Pinter revival” or “last orders”.

So given the everyday anxieties of life as a Whinger, stories of theatregoers running from the theatre during performances of Terror 2009, Theatre of Horror and Grand Guignol at the Southwark Playhouse were of relatively little concern. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – How to Disappear Completely and Never Be Found, Southwark Playhouse

Sunday 12 October 2008

It is rare that upon visiting the theatre the Whingers’ dearest wish is merely not to get punched on the nose.

And on those rare occasions it is rarer still that they end up not only with their noses unbloodied but actually having a good time. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Unstated: Stories of Refuge, Southwark Playhouse

Wednesday 9 July 2008

Oh dear. How did we come to get so utterly out of our depth?

It seems that only yesterday the Whingers were paddling about on the comforting, crumbling shores of London’s famous West End Theatreland, waving happily at the occasional Dame of the British Empire through a proscenium arch and squealing with delight.

But on Monday night they found themselves sucked by the fierce undertow of the blogosphere into altogether choppier waters – the fringe. More fearsomely, into a storm of political fringe theatre: Unstated: Stories of Refuge at the Southwark Playhouse.

The security of their fourth-wall water-wings were torn violently from their scrawny arms even before it started… Read the rest of this entry »