Posts Tagged ‘Soutra Gilmour’

Review – Twelfth Night, National Theatre

Wednesday 22 February 2017

imagesHope you didn’t mind the gap.

Phil felt unmoved to bother writing about his last few theatrical disappointments, he’d been catching up on shows in the last weeks of their runs anyway. Also he’s been going to the pictures. A lot. And by avoiding the disappointments of theatre he’s been able to enjoy being disappointed by some over-praised films. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Doctor Faustus, Duke of York’s Theatre

Friday 17 June 2016

Dr-Faustus-PosterPhil wasn’t going to bother with Doctor Faustus. He will probably suffer eternal damnation from fans as he only made it through one series of Game of Thrones. So seeing Kit Harington fannying around in his underpants was of no consequence to him and the reviews were what can only kindly be described as “mixed”. But then the offer of a trip to see it came up and, like Faustus, gave in to temptation.

And as Jamie Lloyd‘s throw-in-the-kitchen-sink (then some) drama comes to the end of its run next week he wasn’t going to bother writing about it either. But after witnessing it, that was another temptation he couldn’t quite resist either. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Maids, Trafalgar Studios

Friday 26 February 2016

5508-1455097891-themaidssqWarning: May contain petals

If there had been a “switch off your phones” announcement before The Maids Phil might have avoided leaning across Andrew to poke the man next to him who twice turned his on to check what time it was. Pretty annoying. But actually what this show really needed was a stern warning, “DON’T STEAL THE PETALS”.

Phil was investigating one of the thousands of petals that surrounded the stage after the play finished until he was barked at by an over-zealous usher. Of course Phil had no intention of indulging in a little petal-pilfery, he just wanted to know what they were made of. If you’re intending to see this don’t risk chastisement. They’re paper. Never say we don’t do the dirty work for you. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, National Theatre

Thursday 23 April 2015

Light_Shining_in_Buckinghamshire_poster_notitle_1We should have known better.

Andrew was keen to see Light Shining in Buckinghamshire, not for its obvious significance – that it heralds Rufus Norris’ takeover at the National Theatre – but because a) it’s about the English Civil War, b) features one of his favourite actresses, Amanda Lawrence and c) he thought it only fair to give playwright Caryl Churchill a second chance.

The thing is, he had completely forgotten he’d already given Ms Churchill a second chance. He could only remember “the one with the floating sofas” as he succinctly encapsulated Drunk Enough To Say I Love You?  Andrew had clearly expunged The Union’s Cloud Nine from his memory bank with no inconsiderable success. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Assassins, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 1 December 2014

4917-1411552965-assassinssquareGoodness. It seems only yesterday that Phil first encountered Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman’s (book) Assassins at the Donmar.

That yesterday turns out to be 22 years ago. In between he saw it at the Union Theatre and had somehow forgotten that he’d also seen it at the Landor (Well, he thinks he saw it at the Union, it all sounded very familiar when he reread Andrew’s review, but apparently he wasn’t with Andrew).

But it’s not just Phil that forgets things. His younger companion (no, not Andrew) for the afternoon at the Menier thought she was seeing it for the first time, until she reached the “I am going to the Lordy” song which appears quite late in this 1 hour 45 minute piece.

This being the Menier’s Christmas show expectations are really rather high, especially with Jamie Lloyd directing, Soutra Gilmour designing, a cast that includes Catherine Tate, Andy Nyman, Phil’s favourite History Boy (Jamie Parker), Mike McShane, Whinger-approved Carly (Umbrellas of Cherbourg) Bawden, Aaron Tveit (a leading man from yer actual Broadway) and above all Richard Mawbey on the curling tongs. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Urinetown, St James Theatre

Friday 28 February 2014

e522d54d86cbbcd822cee9332597f35240b47b9aFrom the moment Phil first saw the St James Theatre’s urinals he has considered them the most stylish of any theatrical gentlemen’s powder rooms in London.

He is so impressed by the venue’s porcelain he once dragged a well known lady actor in with him for a peep, (after checking they were empty first of course). It’s a wonder that the theatre doesn’t take a tip from the show’s plot and charge for their use. Imagine the outrage and free publicity that would attract.

Urinetown is a “hilarious satirical comedy” Broadway musical (music by Mark Hollmann, lyrics by Hollmann and Greg Kotis, book by Kotis) set in a drought, which gets its British premiere after the wettest British winter since our last wettest British winter. The producers probably can’t believe their luck. Let’s hope they’re thanking the gay marriage bill. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – From Here to Eternity, Shaftesbury Theatre

Friday 18 October 2013

mainTwo love affairs, a spolier alert, extreme violence, several uses of the ‘F’ word, a body count higher than in Hamlet, drag queens, pugilism, racism, homophobia, prostitution, references to a hysterectomy and gonorrhea, a prison chain gang, the attack on Pearl Harbour, a gay kiss, a bare bottie and a soldier taking a leak on stage. Phew.

This isn’t your bog standard (unless you count the urination) musical fare and there’s an awful lot to fit in, let alone adding songs to increase the burden. If the critics don’t like From Here to Eternity the title may lend itself a little to easily to some chucklesome headlines.

Yet, there was something promising about the opening music, played on a lone ukulele as the front cloth dissolved to crashing waves that here, even at the Shaftesbury Theatre – a venue notorious for flop shows – there might just be a new musical with something special.

Of course there was still a long way to go. 2 hours 45 minutes to be precise. Plenty of time for things to go horribly wrong. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Commitments, Palace Theatre

Tuesday 1 October 2013

COM_Final_Vert_new+colsIt was almost like a trip back in time.

But not because the film of The Commitments (based on Roddy Doyle‘s 1987 book – which this show is based on) was 22 years ago, but because the preview tickets were all sold at half price.

Who ever made that decision must be applauded. That’s how it used to be. That’s how it should be. And perhaps producers who knock a measly tenner off for previews might look to it as an example as they moan about pesky bloggers posting reviews before their show officially opens. Not that it’ll prevent them blogging anyway, but they might just be a tad more forgiving.

Previews have sold out. One assumes they’re hoping for good word of mouth from early audiences. It’s a smart move as it seems extremely likely this will be the case. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Pride, Trafalgar Studios

Tuesday 27 August 2013

Well, it’s been a quite a while.poster

The Whingers have been busying themselves doing other things. We’ve been enjoying the summer (once it finally arrived) with copious alfresco eating and drinking (obvs) and not really that keen to be sweating it out in the dark in search of amusement.

Andrew took the waters in Lourdes, Phil took to the waters in Spain and found entertainment elsewhere in the brilliant Breaking Bad (he’s just finished off season 4) and is now working on Andrew to check it out. Let’s hope Sonia Friedman finds the time to become addicted too (Andrew thinks she probably has people to watch it for her) and puts one of its cast (Bryan Cranston or Giancarlo Esposito or Aaron Paul?) on the London stage despite the rather bizarre situation of it not yet appearing on proper telly here.

The only theatrical sortie between us was when Phil returned to The Book of Mormon and he’s happy to report that the cast seemed as fresh as daises despite being 6 months into the run.

Yes, we’ve been otherwise engaged and now the thrilling news that we’ve 160 new Barbara Cartland novels to get through suggests our theatre going is likely to become even more intermittent. But before we curl up in a miasma of fluffy romance we found time to wonder why Lord Webber’s new musical has been given such a dull title. Did a team of people come up with Stephen Ward deliberately to avoid what happened last time? Of course we don’t want to suggest that it won’t be anything less than magnificent. But if it isn’t won’t some smart Alec christen it Terminal Ward or Leavin’ Bored?

And thanks for the flood of enquiries as to where we’ve been. All three of them. You know who you are. Thanks for thinking of us.

So it took Alexi Kaye Campbell‘s The Pride to lure us back, despite some dubbing it a ‘gay play’ and performed at the rather unprepossessing Trafalgar Studios. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Strange Interlude, National Theatre

Monday 3 June 2013

imageWhat are the chances?

You wait an eternity for an infidelity tragi-comedy in which the audience are party to the characters’ innermost thoughts and then you are afforded two in a row.

Just days after visiting Passion Play, where actors play the two main characters’ alter egos, comes Eugene O’Neill‘s 1928 Pulitzer Prize-winner Strange Interlude in which every character makes asides to the audience revealing what they’re really thinking. It’s the Shakespearean device by way of TV’s Peep Show.

Andrew had chickened out of this one on the grounds of life being too short but Phil gamely picked up the cudgel or something and as he occasionally has thoughts in his heads too, has been inspired to go with the zeitgeist and opening up the peculiar workings of his own psyche. 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 »

Review – Merrily We Roll Along, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Rating

Confused?

Not if you’re familiar with Merrily We Roll Along which starts in 1976 and moves back through the years to 1957 and inspired Phil to write the review in reverse.

But unlike Stephen Sondheim, his book writer George Furth or Pinter or George S. Kaufman and Moss Hart who wrote the original play on which it’s based he’s not sharp enough for that. So he’ll leave it there. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Torch Song Trilogy, Menier Chocolate Factory

Wednesday 13 June 2012

You need only look at the posters on the walls of Soutra Gilmour’s set in the third play/act of Torch Song Trilogy to pick up little nods to the stage histories of the play’s author, its director (Douglas Hodge) and even one of its award-winning performers. There’s visual cross-referencing alongside cross-dressing in Harvey Fierstein’s comedy-drama.

TST started out as 3 individual plays: The International Stud, Fugue in a Nursery and Widows and Children First which were then condensed into this Best Play Tony-winning trilogy 30 odd years ago.

It hardly needs saying the Whingers are mature ancient enough to have seen it first time round. Andrew didn’t care for it much even then. Phil was impressed when he saw it on The Broadway; but then that was a different era altogether. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Reasons To Be Pretty, Almeida Theatre

Saturday 19 November 2011

Neil LaBute is never far from controversy but the Whingers have less issue with his subject matter than his titles. Andrew got himself in a right old tizzy about a missing comma In a Dark Dark House (also at the Almeida Theatre) and earlier this year he was quite punctilious about the punctuation again when that AWOL comma turned up quite superfluously in In a Forest, Dark and Deep before being being told to stand on the stupid step as it was a quote from Walt Whitman.

It was Phil’s turn this time. Shouldn’t Reasons To Be Pretty be Reasons to be Pretty, arguing that Ian Drury’s song “Reasons to be Cheerful” opts for lower case on the copula verb? When the play first appeared in New York in 2008 LaBute seemed To Be taking no chances, dropping the upper case completely by opting for reasons to be pretty. Gosh, everyone seems confused. Some think it’s Reasons to Be Pretty.

But are we arguing about physical appearance rather than content? This is what Lord Harold Fritz-Liberty (Mr LaBute’s Royal Wedding name) is tackling again in the third of his trilogy of plays on the subject. Phil had previously enjoyed the twisted The Shape of Things (also Almeida when it decamped to King’s Cross) and both Whingers were very taken by his Fat Pig. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – In a Forest, Dark and Deep, Vaudeville Theatre

Tuesday 3 May 2011

“The truth hurts”, according to Mr Neil LaBute‘s latest grim-fest, In a Forest, Dark and Deep, currently playing at the Vaudeville.

In which case untold agonies shall surely be the fate of Mr Matthew Fox and Miss Olivia Williams upon hearing that showbusiness’s gain has in no way been Pickfords’ loss.

For nigh on 90 minutes these two relatively well-known (and presumably trained) thespians are called upon to pack books (urgently yet) and frankly their stagecraft makes for a most pitiful sight. They could have read all the books in the time it takes them to fanny about putting them into boxes. Read the rest of this entry »