Posts Tagged ‘William Shakespeare’

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 »

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Review – Shakespeare in Love, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 10 July 2014

-31148What’s Shakespeare in Love about then?

Well, it’s about 3 hours.

We’ve probably used that ‘gag’ before, but since the West End is hooked on recycling movies and musical back catalogues we feel moved to join in with some gentle regurgitation too.

SIL, should you not know, was a popular and reasonably entertaining film that inexplicably went on to win 7 Academy Awards (you remember, Dame Judi won the Best Supporting Actress statuette for her 8 minutes of screen time as Queen E 1) and is delivered extravagantly to the Noel Coward in both production values and running time. The only brevity here comes in the form of a ceruse-faced Anna Carteret who drifts around oozing regality in the Dame J role in similarly and frustratingly brief appearances. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Henry V, Noel Coward Theatre

Thursday 28 November 2013

-30539As we rush into winter, the ‘C’ word is on everyone’s lips. Yes, tis the season when The Consumptives return to the theatre.

Turn off your mobile phone, but make sure you bring your cough along and share it with your fellow audience members throughout the play.

But it wasn’t just conspicuous consumption that provided substantial distractions throughout Henry V, the last of Michael Grandage‘s 5 play season at the Noel Coward Theatre; there was also the case of Jude Law‘s trousers. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Much Ado About Nothing, Old Vic

Tuesday 17 September 2013

muchadoaboutnothing-oldvicGosh, how unwhingerish. Two Shakespeares in one week and on consecutive days no less.

A rare group outing and appropriately there was much ado about Much Ado About Nothing too. People were dropping out like all over the place. There were more withdrawals than a Roman orgy. 50% of the group fell by the wayside to be replaced by members on the waiting list. One person dropped out, dropped back in, then irritatingly dropped out again. Andrew never dropped in in the first place. Do we know a lot of people who possess the gift of foresight ? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Noël Coward Theatre

Friday 13 September 2013

3496-amidsummernightsdreamticketsIn which David Walliams offers us his Bottom and his ass.

The penultimate play in the Michael Grandage season, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, comes in niftily, at this early preview, at just over 2 and a quarter hours (including interval). Impressive really since Walliams’ deliberately overdone play-within-a-play death scene seemed to take up almost half of Act 2. Milking it was not the word. The milk was turning to cheese with thick slices of Frankie Howard ham on the side and, depending on your take on Walliams, also very funny. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Othello National Theatre

Monday 22 April 2013

othello_250_1We are not in the habit of issuing public service announcements but…

Check your tickets. Emily Mackay-ishly thinking to intimidate us by the use of quarter-hours, evening performances of Othello start at 7.15pm. Arrive on time so you won’t have to be guided to your seat in crepuscular gloom at the first suitable break in the proceedings. Goodness knows what it’ll be like at the upcoming Strange Interlude which starts at the even more intimidating 6.30pm. Just how long is it going to be? Anyone need a pair of tickets?

Anyhoo, as we departed the theatre (again the quarter, but this the one before 11pm) thoughts turned to the question of Adrian Lester‘s age and “Are Othellos – like policeman – getting younger?” Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Twelfth Night, The Globe Theatre

Wednesday 10 October 2012

In the general scheme of things it shouldn’t seem that extraordinary that this was Phil’s first trip to The Globe, after all Andrew is still able to boast that his Les Misérables hymen remains chastely intact and probably always will be.

But an all-male chicks-with-dicks Twelfth Night with the starry combo of Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry proved too tempting a theatrical carrot in the slightly theme park-ish Globe. And there was added intrigue; Rylance was reprising his Olivia of 10 years ago while Fry was thesping on a stage again for the first time since he famously absconded from Cell Mates. All that and TN (with Richard III) will transfer for a run in the West End courtesy of Dame Sonia Friedman. A Globe first surely? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Timon of Athens, National Theatre

Monday 16 July 2012

So, on vellum then, not looking too promising. 

Rarely performed and generally considered to be one of Shakespeare’s problem plays, Timon of Athens has had just one outing on The Broadway, according to the gospel of St Wiki.

Apparently it was co-authored by Thomas Middleton and is incomplete. Who knows? (Derek Jacobi and Mark Rylance probably).

Two of them writing together and they couldn’t finish it? Was there a more pressing stack of ironing? Sounds scarily familiar to us. Unfinished is a bit of a conundrum: might it go on forever or end abruptly in under three hours? TOA sounded a bit of a tease. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Bingo, Young Vic

Wednesday 22 February 2012

Picture this. The Whingers at the Young Vic, seated between two fat ladies (88), forcing them to squeeze their legs (11) tightly together before getting their eyes down for Bingo.

Partick Stewart stars; what else could it be but a full house? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – The Comedy of Errors, National Theatre

Tuesday 29 November 2011

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE WROTE A DECENT JOKE – WHINGERS IN SHOCK.

The Whingers make no secret of the fact that they usually find the the comedy in his plays and the wordplay in his comedies deeply unfunny. Yes, they sometimes laugh thanks to an actor’s delivery or a bit of business injected by a director aware that the text will not supply sufficient giggles for a modern audience. But at The Comedy of Errors they actually laughed at a line written by the Bard himself.

Just the once, you understand, but it’s a start. For the record it was in one of the Dromio’s “I could find out countries in her” speech referencing Belgium and the Netherlands. Shakespeare of course invented everything. Was he the first to discover the intrinsic comic value in Belgium too? Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Much Ado About Nothing, Wyndham’s Theatre

Saturday 28 May 2011

In which Phil goes all Statto.

Commercially speaking, it doesn’t really matter what the critics or the audiences or anyone thinks about this show, let alone the Whingers.

The inspired pairing of David Tennant and Catherine Tate ensured Doctor Who About Nothing quickly became a big to-do about something, practically selling out before previews began; probably even before the cast had started running their fingers under their lines.

Caught up in the frenzy, Phil spent a couple of hours trying to buy tickets on a crashing website when booking opened, getting to the point of nabbing two excellent seats only to lose them. And again. And again… Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Twelfth Night, Cottesloe Theatre

Monday 17 January 2011

NT: Peter Hall, you’re 80th birthday is coming up and we wondered if you had any thoughts about a gift?
PH: I’d like to give you another Twelfth Night.
NT: We-ell, it’s traditional for the birthday boy to be the recipient really. Go on. We’ve had a whip-round. What would you like?
PH: Yes, Twelfth Night I think.
NT: How about a nice foot spa?
PH: My daughter can be Viola.
NT: *Sigh*. Oh, all right  then.
PH: A nice, slow version I think.
NT: Both of our big auditoriums appear to be booked up. I’m afraid it will have to be the Cottesloe.

Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Romeo and Juliet, RSC at the Roundhouse

Thursday 30 December 2010

Setting aside the cold cuts, the chocolate brazils and the tins of Quality Street the Whingers just had to get out of their houses for a bit of light relief in the form of some Shakespeare.

Shakespeare? Goodness wasn’t there another episode of Celebrity Come Dine With Me to keep them glued to their cathode ray tubes?

But festive television was beginning to pall. A sub-standard Doctor Who made Andrew pine for the return of David Tennant (controversial, we know), nothing greater than an occasional smile was to be had from the much trailed Come Fly With Me and the Whingers’ new BFF Miranda Hart seemed to be in danger of over-exposure.

Only the triumphant return of Upstairs Downstairs with the indomitable combination of Anne Reid, Jean Marsh, Dame Eileen Atkins and Adrian Scarborough prevented Andrew from advertising his television set on freecycle along with all the “gifts” he received from Phil. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hamlet with Rory Kinnear, National Theatre

Monday 4 October 2010

There may be something rotten looking at the state of Phil’s fridge but – housekeeping aside – let it be never said that the Whingers were anything but fastidious, especially when it comes to self-improvement.

Well have you ever been to a performance of Hamlet with someone who had a degree in Shakespearean dramaturgy? Well, we did. On Saturday night. We acquired the services of someone called @kerrypolka off Twitter who patiently explained things to us, sometimes several times, over a glass of wine after the preview performance.

We think she was rather pleased with our progress and produced from her handbag some sample GCSE papers for us. Read the rest of this entry »

Review – Hamlet with Jude Law, Donmar at the Wyndham’s Theatre

Thursday 4 June 2009

jude law hamletWho could have envisaged that Phil would get to direct Mr Jude Law in Mr Shakespeare‘s Hamlet in the auspicious Donmar West End season?

For in an implausible and rather Shakespearean case of mistaken identity that’s how it seemed on Tuesday night.* During the interval Phil bumped into someone he’d met on a work trip a couple of years ago who turned to her companion and introduced Phil with the words “This is Michael Grandage, the director”.

How Phil wished he had carried on the conceit but Andrew was laughing at the idea too much. The woman was quite insistent “But you look just like him.”

Ah well, put it down to it being the hottest night of the year or perhaps the fact that Phil had walked head first into a plate glass window in Spain a few days earlier and radically altered his facial features (considerably for the better, clearly). Read the rest of this entry »