Posts Tagged ‘Union Theatre’

Review – Our House, Union Theatre

Monday 7 September 2015

4622614348Back in 2002, a few years before they started Whingeing, Andrew and Phil had the unfamiliar experience of actually enjoying a new musical, Our House at the Cambridge Theatre.

Of course it was doomed. Despite our enthusiasm and the show going on to win the Olivier Award for Best New Musical it ran for less than 10 months and was consigned to the overstuffed dustbin of flops while lesser shows went on to run forever. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Finian’s Rainbow, Charing Cross Theatre

Tuesday 8 April 2014

iconsquareFinian'sRainbowmainimage-2“Merciful heaven it’s a crock!”

It’s a brave show that risks a line that. And yes, of course, we tittered inappropriately. But Finian’s Rainbow is in some ways brave. It’s certainly utterly bonkers.

Not seen in the West End since its 1947 UK debut at the Palace where it ran for only 55 performances. What audiences made of it 67 years ago is anyone’s guess. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Juno and the Paycock, National Theatre

Tuesday 6 December 2011

Proof, if it indeed needed, that a little learning can be a dangerous thing – especially in the hands of the Whingers.

Or to be more specific in the hands of Phil who “studied” Juno and the Paycock at school. Naturally this was when Sean O’ Casey‘s play was practically a contemporary work so he can recall very little of it. He remembers his copy of the play came in a green cover with a strange texture which made a very agreeable sound as you ran your fingernails over it. How comforting to hear of an education that didn’t go to waste.

And nothing would stop Phil happily entertaining Andrew with his one almost correctly remembered quote “That’s the last time you’ll blow the froth off a pint of mine Joxer Daly” as they arrived at the National Theatre. How apt it should be a line involving alcohol. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dames at Sea, Union Theatre

Wednesday 3 August 2011

Andrew says sometimes there’s just no point talking to Phil.

Phil says sometimes there’s just no point talking to Andrew. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be, Union Theatre

Tuesday 31 May 2011

It is no secret that Betty and Bitter* are deeply entrenched in their funny little ways and forthright about their resistance to innovation.
But changes can be subtle, creeping up with a stealth that is sometimes only gradually discernible.

Phil took a while to notice, but now happily admits, that he’s getting more like his mother with each passing year. Even Andrew, who has never met her, observes this maternal Invasion of the Body Snatchers with an unhealthily forensic interest.

Accepting changes can be wearisome. Phil has been forced to accommodate so many over his manifold years: the farthing going out of circulation, William Hartnell stepping down as Doctor Who, the Look at Life features disappearing from the pictures, Valerie Singleton leaving Blue Peter, the end of the Cadbury’s Aztec bar, Fab lollies dropping the jelly filling, the decline of loose-leaf tea and putting up with a generation who never learnt to warm the pot.

So it was almost impossible for the Whingers not to join in with Lionel Bart’s catchy titular ditty Fings Ain’t Wot They Used T’Be as it could have been written with them in mind. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Godspell, Union Theatre

Thursday 21 April 2011


  1. And lo Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak did begat Godspell. And Sasha Regan’s union with producer Regan De Wynter and director Michael Strassen did begat it full 40 years after. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – On the 20th Century, Union Theatre

Thursday 16 December 2010

“You must be really old then” was the not-really-astonished-enough reaction when Phil let slip that he saw the original London production of On The 20th Century.

To be fair, it was only way back in 1980, two years after its début on The Broadway. To the Whingers that makes it s a modern musical as distinct from something like Guys and Dolls which is an old musical although funnily enough that was also 32 years old when Phil first saw it.

Ah time! How it speeds up as you get older. The theory that it’s due to a year being a smaller percentage of your life as time passes makes perfect sense to Phil. He’s already decided to leave this year’s Christmas decorations up for 2011 as there seems little point taking them down.

And the senior (even from Phil’s perspective) gentleman sitting behind the Whingers at the Union Theatre who had seen the original Broadway production, clearly remembered it as though it was yesterday. He was singing along throughout the show. Whatever happened to class? Even age doesn’t guarantee it. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – All-Male Iolanthe, Union Theatre

Thursday 2 December 2010

Another month, another opportunity for Phil to give his “State Of The Union Toilets” address to anyone who will listen. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bells Are Ringing, Union Theatre

Saturday 2 October 2010

The art of whinging has been handed down through generations of Phil’s family courtesy of a matrilineage that, needless to say, ends abruptly and somewhat anti-climatically with Phil.

His mother, for example, never fails to moan on being put through to a call-centre, complaining she can’t understand what the people with “accents” are saying. Bells Are Ringing might just be the show for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Assassins, Union Theatre

Friday 2 July 2010

One of the troubles with longevity is a tendency towards repeating oneself. Ask Phil. And the same applies in blogging.

After four years the Whingers are now at that stage where shows are coming round again. What to do? Must we really find new gags every time someone revives something we’ve already seen? That’s going to be a challenge as we only have about six gags which are cunningly recycled.

Anyway, we did all the assassination gags when it was done at the Landor two and a half years ago.

And now (to celebrate the 80th birthday of yadda yadda yadda) Stephen Sondheim’s Assassins is revived at the Union Theatre under the direction of Michael Strassen who scored such a critical hit with his production of Sondheim’s Company at the Union a year ago.

Could lightning possibly strike twice? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Knickerbocker Glories, Union Theatre

Saturday 26 June 2010

In which the Whingers engage with political theatre! Well, Andrew does. Phil finds today’s politics rather confusing and hard to keep up with. Indeed, last week he had to sit down and take a moment to compose himself when Andrew inadvertently let slip that the Corn Laws had been repealed.

Andrew, on the other hand, has a very keen interest in the issues of the day and is always up for a spirited debate on the decriminalisation of unnatural practices and whether or not women should have the vote, his view on the latter being “On balance, yes, probably.” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Pirates of Penzance, Wilton’s Music Hall

Monday 12 April 2010

The Whingers make no secret of the fact that they’re not big fans of Gilbert and Sullivan, although to be fair they have very little experience of them.

Phil’s only G&S outing was to the Broadway transfer of The Pirates of Penzance many years ago at Drury Lane but he loved that so much he saw it twice.

Andrew once left The Mikado at the Coliseum at the interval (this is long before the Whingers started the now-commonplace trend of cutting one’s theatrical losses) but was first introduced to G&S as a youngster. His maternal grandparents owned a radiogram but curiously only about 10 LPs, nine of which seemed to be G&S and which he struggled boyfully to employ as entertainment on dull Worcestershire afternoon visits but without success. Luckily the tenth LP was The Sound of Music which as a result he knows off by heart and back to front much to the distress of many karaoke punters over the intervening years.

Anyway, Sasha Regan‘s All Male Pirates of Penzance which received the Best Off-West End Production (at The Union Theatre) at the WhatsOnStage Awards 2010 sounded an intriguing prospect. After much acclaim the show has berthed at the extraordinary Wilton’s Music Hall whose dilapidated state seems somehow to offer a natural home for the Whingers, yet strangely Phil had never been there before. But while he was quite excited, Andrew confessed to “slightly dreading” a return to that eccentric gramophone collection of his youth. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Once Upon a Time at the Adelphi, Union Theatre

Monday 22 March 2010

You know, sometimes it isn’t easy being a Whinger.

We do not complain.

But sometimes you find yourself in one of your favourite little theatres watching a group of enthusiastic young people giving it their all, belting out tunes, dancing their socks off and even acting from time to time and you just think, “Oh”. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Man Of No Importance, Union Theatre

Monday 23 November 2009

Phil couldn’t make this one. He claimed he was off to a thanksgiving dinner but it was Andrew who was most thankful.

For Phil may have found himself on the horns of a terrible dilemma here. On the one hand he would have been thrilled with the food on stage: a spaghetti meal and a dance number involving strings of sausages but on the other hand there was a park bench in Act II. And even though this was technically a cemetery bench it was the kind of outdoor furniture which generally raises his hackles. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Cloud Nine, Union Theatre

Wednesday 2 September 2009



Anyone with little more than a CSE (explanatory note to the youth of today: that’s what you would know as an A Grade A Level) knowledge of the West End Whingers’ predilections and prejudices will know that the duo take a very dim view indeed of playwright  Caryl Churchill.

This stance is based almost entirely on having endured Drunk Enough To Say I Love You…? at the Royal Court three years ago.

So why would the Whingers elect to visit Fandango‘s production of Cloud Nine at the Union Theatre? Why? Read the rest of this entry »