Posts Tagged ‘theatre’

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 »

Review _ Romeo and Juliet, Garrick Theatre

Friday 20 May 2016

romeo-and-juliet-quoteMarisa Berenson!

Many will have been attracted to this Kenneth Branagh/Rob Ashford directed, rather starrily cast Romeo and Juliet, by the other names: Richard MaddenLily JamesDerek Jacobi and Meera Syal.

Not us. Though to be entirely honest her casting hadn’t been announced when we booked, but our interest went off the Richter when it was. For younger viewers, Berenson played Natalia Landauer in the film of Cabaret and is in the (to us) classic “This was a cold of the bosom, not of the nose” scene. When we get man colds we have described them thusly ever since and “Ze plegm…zat comes in the tubes.” will forever be pronounced the Berenson way as “pleg-ma”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – David Baddiel – My Family: Not the Sitcom, Menier Chocolate Factory

Monday 16 May 2016

21334_show_portrait_large

Good title. You really would want to make the distinction that you really were nothing to do with that sitcom.

But you might ask what first attracted Phil to David Baddiel My Family: Not the Sitcom which is basically a stand up show?

Phil read David Baddiel‘s funny and moving account of his father’s dementia in the Sunday Times Magazine. And Phil saw parallels; both his parents have dementia, Dad in a nursing home (when he’s not effecting an escape), Mum still in her own home but needs attention.

As upsetting as dementia is, it’s certainly released an otherwise untapped and unrestrained sense of humour in Phil’s dad. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, Criterion Theatre

Saturday 23 April 2016

19977_show_portrait_large-1Phil did a bit of pre-theatre visit research this week. Accidentally of course. It involved watching two bank-heist-that-go-wrong films; Ben Affleck’s The Town and the filmed-in-a-single-take, but-should-have-been-severely-edited, 138 minute, overpraised German snoozefest Victoria.

Pure coincidence that he would be seeing The Comedy About A Bank Robbery, from Mischief Theatre‘s the Plays That Go Wrong team. Life’s funny like that sometimes innit? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Show Boat, New London Theatre

Thursday 21 April 2016

showboatw248h250Show Boat‘s coming!

Well actually Daniel Evans‘ production from a run at Sheffield’s Crucible Theatre is here, almost intact, though Michael Xavier (who played, ahem, Gaylord) went off into the Sunset with Glenn Close.

Phil’s third Show Boat, having seen the Opera North/RSC version at the Palladium and the Broadway/Hal Prince production at the Prince Edward Theatre. Incredibly Andrew’s first, though of course he’s seen one of the film versions. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – People, Places & Things, Wyndham’s Theatre

Friday 8 April 2016

5478-1458211495-peopleplacesthingssqIn days of yore we would go to see practically anything at the National Theatre, even at the Dorfman (née Cottesloe), but we are getting more risk-averse as we grow older, so this becomes the fourth in our series of hoovering up the shows we’d missed first time around.

People, Places & Things comes with breathless rave reviews for Denise Gough, a recent Olivier gong for her and another for the Sound Design, whispers of a Broadway transfer, plus a title that has not only punctuation, but an ampersand, which could only raise our expectations to such absurdly vertiginous heights it could only prove a let down, couldn’t it? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Guys and Dolls, Phoenix Theatre

Tuesday 29 March 2016

photo-7Third in a row of our catching-up-on-shows-we’ve-missed. A sort of theatrical mopping round the surrounds if you please.

So, the seemingly indestructible Guys and Dolls. We didn’t get down to Chichester to see it and well, frankly, it was way too expensive at the Savoy but somehow Phil found a way to the Phoenix.

And if you’ve seen the poster or flyer (which boasts 6 Olivier Awards nominations, though strictly speaking it should be 3 nominations for the show as it now appears) for the Phoenix Theatre you’d be forgiven for thinking that it’s the same cast who played the Savoy as their pictures are still on the publicity material. Three of the four leads were nominated, but they’ve all left the show, leaving the one who wasn’t, Siubhan Harrison (shame, we liked her), to carry on. Gavin Spokes, with an Olivier nod for his Nicely Nicely Johnson still appears, but we will return to him later. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Nell Gwynn, Apollo Theatre

Friday 18 March 2016

6384f15aa4d9b2122f02b15eacf1bc928028f025826848ff89666ad6d296ad41._SX640_.Still playing a bit of theatrical catch up here with those shows that might appear to tickle our peculiar fancies.

So it seemed Jessica Swale‘s Nell Gwynn a broad, camp, comedic, backstage-with-royal-patronage tale of big frocks and massive millinery, a bit of cross-dressing and based on historical fact looked as if it might tickle and tick all our boxes. And it might have ticked big time if that other broad, camp, comedic, backstage-with-royal-patronage tale of big frocks and massive millinery, a bit of cross-dressing and based on historical fact, Mr Foote’s Other Leg hadn’t got to us first. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Father, Duke of Yorks’s Theatre

Monday 14 March 2016

event_media-banner_med-1Florian Zeller‘s The Father  has been knocking around for a while now and is currently back in the West End for a season that is limited even by today’s limited season standards before heading out on tour.

Ravetastic reviews from pretty much everyone. “The most acclaimed new play of the decade” trumpets the poster which raises expectations beyond reasonable expectation. Though even Andrew, who caught it at The Wyndhams last year, bestowed the compliment “clever” on it and since it tackles the zeitghastly subject of dementia, (something Phil has close personal experience of), well, it just had to be seen. 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 – Hand to God, Vaudeville Theatre

Wednesday 17 February 2016

5b0740a0116dfe0f392b2b213a35f121be6c0509c202bebbb54a84b06db41222._SY320_.Janie Dee pulled out of Mrs Henderson Presents before it launched in Bath last year. After visiting that dispiriting show last week we thought she’d had a lucky escape. After suffering at the err, hand of Hand to God we’re not so sure.

Something of a hit in New York, both off and on Broadway, you can’t say that it  doesn’t do what it says on the tin with its poster screaming “Sesame Street meets The Exorcist”.

Dee plays recently widowed Margery who runs a Christian puppet group in a church hall, possibly as something of a therapy session for her troubled (schizophrenic?) son Jason (Harry Melling) who fists a rather odd sock puppet called Tyrone which unsurprisingly develops an even more disturbed personality of its own. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Mrs Henderson Presents, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 16 February 2016

MHP_3Girls-New-simp-NM-40mb-432x432-1You wait for a popular but distinctly underwhelming noughties British film starring a Dame of the British Empire featuring women posing naked to raise a bit of cash to be turned into a stage musical and then you get a big bouncy pair of them. What are the chances?

Girls, which has for some inexplicable reason has dropped the identifying word Calendar from its title is creeping closer to London. For the meantime we will have to put up with content ourselves with Mrs Henderson Presents based on the 2005 Judi Dench film. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, National Theatre

Tuesday 9 February 2016

nt2015-004There was a very big divide in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.

No, not between Phil and Andrew, they were in accord. It was the show itself which came in two very separate parts. Act 2 is rather riveting but at the interval Phil thought it was desperately in search of a plot, or as Andrew more grandly declared “a narrative”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Derren Brown: Miracle, Palace Theatre

Tuesday 19 January 2016

51868aOk, very late to the table with Derren Brown: Miracle (it finished on Saturday at The Palace but tours the country until July), but should we even talk about it anyway?

Mr Brown asks us not to reveal anything about the show. So what shall we talk about instead? 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 »

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