Posts Tagged ‘west end’

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 »

Review – Hedda Gabler, National Theatre

Friday 9 December 2016

nt-live-hedda-gabler-portrait-listings-image-uk-722x1024A few weeks ago, on the Nothern Line, while Phil was running his fingers along the lines of type in the Metro he noticed he was sitting next to a woman concentrating on a script with all the “Mrs Elvsted” parts underlined. Suspecting it might be for the National’s Hedda Gabler he went off and did a bit of internet stalking and discovered that it was Sinéad Matthews who takes that role in the this production.

Perhaps Phil should have torn her manuscript into pieces, scribbled notes all over it so that she could piece it back together again to get a better understanding of her role. To explain that would need a SPOILER ALERT. Of course if it had been Ruth Wilson (who plays this Hedda) next to him he’d have torched it for her. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Dreamgirls, Savoy Theatre

Tuesday 6 December 2016

furthercastingannouncedfordreamgirlsatthesavoytheatreThe was an incident during the extended interval of last night’s preview performance of Dreamgirls.

Police swooped into the Savoy’s gorgeous auditorium creating a fine old brouhaha. It can’t have been good for bar takings. Punters lurked in the stalls craning their necks to see what all the fuss was about.

Had the rozzers been called in to stop the unnecessary and deeply annoying X Factor whooping, applauding and ovating that had been going on mid-songs? We could only live in hope. Couldn’t agree more with Mr Shenton. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Half a Sixpence, Noel Coward Theatre

Tuesday 15 November 2016

half-a-sixpence-noel-coward-theatre-posterNot a glass-half-full version of The Threepenny OperaHalf a Sixpence brings good old-fashioned pleasures, two dazzlingly show-stopping numbers, gorgeous designs, nifty millinery, a musical first for us: a number set in a woodworking class and a gravity-defying new musical star to town. And we haven’t even got to the banjos and spoon-playing. Yet.

The original production was way back in 1963 and it’s not been seen in the West End since. Clearly there was a reason. Now its been revised restructured and tickled into shape at Chichester. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Apollo Theatre

Thursday 10 November 2016

cdnIt’s very rare that people ever take Phil’s advice. But after visiting Peter Pan Goes Wrong last year he declared grandly, “If Mischief Theatre don’t revive this every Christmas then something really has gone wrong.”

Rather unusually someone must have been awake, for here it is, inflicting itself on the same theatre for the seasonal period. Same show, new cast and still as energetically mad as a President-elect hairdo. Phew. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Amadeus, National Theatre

Wednesday 9 November 2016

798954Well, we went in humming Falco’s “Rock Me Amadeus” and we were still humming it on the way out.

This despite the 20 pieces of the Southbank Sinfonia who bang out Mozart’s music throughout the three long hours of Peter Shaffer’s Amadeus, interact with the actors, occasionally having a stab at acting themselves, ripple like waves on the stairs of what constitutes a set and donning party hats to become part of the action.

If you don’t have a ticket you’re unlikely to get one for its current booking period now. It was practically sold out before the fairly spectacular reviews were delivered. But don’t despair, you need some good news this morning, it didn’t quite work its magic on us. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Red Barn, National Theatre

Tuesday 18 October 2016

xtheredbarnw300h200-jpgqitokypwyklne-pagespeed-ic-nxppd-1b7fThree characters stranded in a county house while a blizzard rages. One of the group is lost in the storm outside. Might he have done himself in or been murdered? The phone lines are down and a clock ticks ominously…

Has the National seen sense and finally put on an Agatha Christie? Might that same clock tick for another 64 years and counting? Sadly not.

A pre-show discussion heard Andrew suggesting it might be based on the notorious red barn murder in Suffolk where Maria Marten was shot dead by her lover. Phil was blissfully unaware of that case, “Well if it’s a whodunnit that’s ruined it for me” grumped Phil.

Phew, Andrew was off the hook. Not that red barn thankfully. This is David Hare‘s The Red Barn based on George (Maigret) Simenon‘s La Main. Though there is still an element of whodunnit and whydunnit and more than an touch of whydoitlikethis? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Nina Conti – In Your Face, Criterion Theatre

Sunday 11 September 2016

x5404-1467299365-ninacontisq-jpg-pagespeed-ic-vt2purf-cdWhen we saw Nina Conti in Edinburgh 5 years ago we worried that an hour of ventriloquism might be just a little too much. Now with her show, Nina Conti – In Your Face filling in at The Criterion Theatre while The Comedy About A Bank Robbery takes a holiday* she’s giving us 90 minutes of her time. Plenty to fret about then. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour, National Theatre

Friday 26 August 2016

ntgds_ho_ourladies_herospot_290716_2578x1128When Phil told his mother he was going to see Our Ladies of Perpetual Succour she asked, in all innocence, “What are they sucking?”

Quite a lot as it turned out. Perhaps that’s the gag. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Guys and Dolls with Rebel Wilson, Phoenix Theatre

Friday 19 August 2016

CknMotoVEAAA1lPA Shentonesque week for Phil: a couple of return visits to musicals. Phil had his second coming at Regent’s Park with  Jesus Christ Superstar followed the next night with Guys and Dolls: not that he was over-enthused with the latter, he was just shamelessly seduced by the star casting. Obvs.

The JCS run is sold out, so the only option was to go for day ‘seats’ which entails sitting on one of the grassy knolls either side of the stage. They are weather dependent. The show might go ahead in inclement weather but those ‘seats’ may not be on sale. The kindly people at Regent’s Park (and we must mention how especially nice all the theatre staff are at RPOAT) don’t want to risk us getting soggy bottoms. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Groundhog Day, Old Vic

Friday 5 August 2016

4180No, we’re not going to do it. Post the review and repeat it over and over again. The poster’s done it. Everyone will be do it. Heck, we exhausted the gag in the pub before we even got to the Old Vic. Far too obvious. Tempting though.

Tim Minchin‘s long-awaited (by us at least) musical version of the hugely entertaining 1993 film. The one that Mr Sondheim considered and turned down, declaring “to make a musical of Groundhog Day would be to gild the lily. It cannot be improved.” Quite. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Bodyguard, Dominion Theatre

Friday 29 July 2016

BEVERLEY KNIGHT IN THE BODYGUARD”1338304834_Image1_bodyguard

Well, that’s what our only souvenir from the show, a flyer, claims (programmes are a whopping £8, which is more than a mug at a mere £7). But, long-sighted buyers beware, in ant-sized type on the back it states she’s “currently scheduled to appear at Tuesday to Friday evening performances and both performances on Saturday, subject to illness and holidays”.

We’ve been caught that way before. When we saw The Bodyguard in its first run at the Adelphi Theatre, headliner Heather Headley had better things to do and we saw her (albeit very good) stand in.

So second time lucky. Fortunately for us it wasn’t a Monday night or Wednesday matinee and Ms Knight wasn’t suffering croup or lying on a sun lounger with a pina colada somewhere but giving considerable wellie (welly?) on the Dominion stage. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Wild, Hampstead Theatre

Wednesday 13 July 2016

x5648-1465806377-solt500x500.jpg.pagespeed.ic.LN4plEMJNjMike Bartlett‘s King Charles III and his telly thingy Doctor Foster amused us so much we’d almost forgotten just how much we also loved his Cock.

Now, in Wild, he concentrates on whistleblower Edward Snowden, who leaked information of US mass surveillance programmes. He’s portrayed here as Andrew (Jack Farthing doing not unreasonable doppelgänger work) who we encounter awaiting an uncertain future holed up in a characterless Moscow hotel room (design Miriam Buether) where he’s visited by two enigmatic people, a man and a woman both claiming to be called “George”. Can he trust them? Are they here to help him, kill him, or just tease the hell out of him? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Truth, Wyndham’s Theatre

Tuesday 12 July 2016

the-truth-10People in the UK may have had enough of ghastly people who lie, deceive, betray, plot and do awful things behind so-called friend’s backs. This might make The Truth the worst possible time to pop up in the West End or it may possibly be entirely the opposite. Apposite and timely.

Michel (Alexander Hanson) is married to Samantha Bond the enigmatic Laurence (Tanya Franks) but he’s having a regular bit on the side with Alice (Frances O’Connor) when he’s not losing a sock or telling porkies to his wife. Trouble is Alice also happens to be the wife of Michel’s best friend Paul (Robert Portal). And that’s about all you really need to know as what follows is a slew of revelations about who knows what, who is lying and who thinks they are in full possession of the facts. Read the rest of this entry »