Posts Tagged ‘theatre’

Review – Girl from the North Country, Old Vic

Wednesday 12 July 2017

For a musical it wasn’t looking good.

Now in early previews at The Vic, Girl from the North Country has a pretty nondescript title and it plunders Bob Dylan’s back catalogue (ooo err, missus), an artist Phil has never truly embraced. Rae Smith’s set is of the minimal, deconstructed variety (musical instruments scattered around an empty stage with only a handful of backdrops popping in and out) and Mark Henderson’s lighting suggests someone has forgotten to put a shilling in the meter. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Ink, Almeida Theatre

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s not everyday you see Christopher Timothy portrayed on stage. Or Larry Lamb come to that.

Though whilst the latter is actually the first editor of The Sun newspaper (as we know it) Mr Timothy’s connection will be remembered by those of us old enough to remember him as the voice of their TV ads.

Ink is James (This House, The Vote) Graham‘s latest foray into the world of what we call recent history. The creation of The Sun newspaper as a tabloid. Read the rest of this entry »

Theatrical Catch Up: From On the Town to The Mentor

Tuesday 27 June 2017

It’s been a while.

Phil’s been busy having a bit of work done. At home. Not on his face. Yet. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Girls, Phoenix Theatre

Wednesday 17 May 2017

Saggy, baggy, in need of trimming and tightening up and decidedly over-exposed.

No we’re not talking about the women d’ un certain age disrobing on stage. As if we would be so unkind. We’re talking about the show.

Having been underwhelmed by Tim Firth‘s Calendar Girls both on film (2003) and even more so on stage (2008), Phil had given his latest musical version, rebranded (rather clumsily) as The Girls, a very wide berth indeed.

Then out trotted the five-star reviews from newspapers (about 8 of them) which suggested he was missing something. In fact one threw down the bold gauntlet of promise that it would make him “cry with laughter”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Madame Rubinstein, Park Theatre

Wednesday 3 May 2017

You wait a lifetime to see Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden portrayed on stage and then you get two in a row.

Well for Andrew anyhoo. It was just over a week since he saw the musical War Paint (with Patti Lupone as HR and Christine Ebersole as EA) on the actual Broadway. What are the chances?

So this is Jez Bond‘s production of Madame Rubinstein, the almost non-singing, certainly non-dancing account by John Misto with Miriam Margolyes and Frances Barber as the the two grandes dames of cosmetics. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Ferryman, Royal Court

Monday 1 May 2017

Having barely recovered from the 11.45pm curtain of Angels in America Part 2, Phil arrived at The Ferryman to discover a running time of 3 hours 20 minutes.

Playwrights seem to have an awful lot to say for themselves.

This is Jez Butterworth‘s latest epic. The fastest-selling play in Royal Court Theatre history apparently. A June transfer to The Gielgud was announced well ahead of any previews. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 2: Perestroika

Wednesday 26 April 2017

What to add to our pontifications on Tony Kushner‘s Angels in America Part 1 that we haven’t already mentioned?

That there was a long line to collect tickets as they wouldn’t issue Part 2 tickets when we collected our Part 1 ones (are they doing a Hamilton thing?). That we queued to get into the auditorium as they didn’t open the doors until 7pm for our 7pm performance. That (apart from two intervals) we were in our cheap 4th row cramped budget airline seats for much of the 4 and three-quarter hours. That’s the flying time to Greenland. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Angels In America : A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, Part 1: Millennium Approaches, National Theatre

Wednesday 19 April 2017

Over 7 hours, 2 nights and at least 3 intervals (we do not yet know how many Part 2 holds). How terribly indulgent. It’s almost as long as its title. Phil saw the original production of Angels in America at the National back in 1992, yet, still he came back for more.

25 years ago Henry Goodman played closeted Roy Cohn, Trump and McCarthyite attorney, Nixon advisor, Rosenberg prosecutor, and all round shyster-meister. Here the casting coup is Nathan Lane. Mildly ironic that Lane should be taking the Goodman role since Goodman infamously (and briefly) took over from Lane when he left the Broadway run of The Producers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – 42nd Street, Theatre Royal Drury Lane

Thursday 13 April 2017

Some believe that size isn’t everything. Clearly not the producers of this revival of 42nd Street. They measure in feet rather than inches.

It arrives with a cast of 55 for goodness sake. 42 of them tapping at once. That’s 84 feet (should your maths not be up to it). When did you last, or ever, see that? They are spoiling us for other shows. It might be time to invest in a Covent Garden cobblers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – An American in Paris, Dominion Theatre

Friday 17 March 2017

In which Phil thinks he may have seen one of the best looking shows ever (and thinks he must be going soft in his old age too).

Just about filling the vast stage of the newly-refurbished Dominion Theatre, An American in Paris is based on the 1951 movie, with music and lyrics from George and Ira Gershwin respectively. It’s a big, splashy, very old-fashioned romance. If it were a stick of rock, the word “BROADWAY” would run through it.

Thankfully the two Tony-nominated New York leads, British ballerina Leanne Cope and New York City Ballet dancer Robert Fairchild have travelled with it. And travelled well. Though not at every performance. Caveat Emptor. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Harold Pinter Theatre

Friday 3 March 2017

mobile-header4Give Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? an award now (correct envelope please). Audiences have been banned from eating in the auditorium. The West End might be coming to its senses at last. Hurrah!

It seems like yesterday, although it is 11 years, since we saw Edward Albee‘s 1962 Tony Award-winning play (Best play, actor and actress) on the Shaftesbury Avenue with Kathleen Turner being both brilliantly hilarious and pathetic as the vitriol-and-booze-fueled, husband-baiting Martha. It’s one of the most perfect pieces of casting Phil’s ever witnessed. Read the rest of this entry »

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 – 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 »

Review – The Kite Runner, Wyndham’s Theatre

Thursday 12 January 2017

the-kite-runnerKites on stage! Might Phil put them up there with balloons, one of his other theatrical bêtes noires?

There are a few fluttering about, but not as many as you might expect given the title. And they’re a little disappointingly realised. Things on the end of bendy sticks. Not high fliers or not there at all (mimed). You may be reminded of the birds in the opening sequence of the stage version of The Lion King. Thankfully they’re not used as metaphors. Well, they probably are, but it went right over Phil’s head. If only the kites had too.

Khaled Hosseini‘s novel The Kite Runner sold millions. Phil hadn’t read it or seen the film which probably helped considerably. So the story of a deep friendship between two boys (one a servant to the other) in a tribally conflicted Seventies Afghanistan which also covers the Soviet invasion, the Taliban surge and 9/11 took him completely by surprise. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cinderella, London Palladium

Friday 6 January 2017

palladiummainPhil saw his first Palladium pantomime 31 years ago, which also turned out to be the venue’s last Cinderella and its penultimate pantomime for decades. Babes in the Wood was its last for almost 30 years – what ever happened to that title? Or Puss in Boots? Or Humpty Dumpty? Or Goldilocks and the Three Bears come to that?

That 1985 Cinderella included Hope & Keen, John Junkin, Paul Nicholas and Des O’ Connor who was rather brilliant at managing to keep the thing afloat. Just. There were real ponies, Step Sisters (they eschewed calling them the Ugly Sisters even then) called Cagney and Lacey and Dame Anna Neagle who died a few months after struggling on as the Fairy Godmother.

It was a pretty lacklustre affair, never reaching the dizzying heights of spectacle Phil expected of Palladium panto legend. Read the rest of this entry »