Posts Tagged ‘garrick theatre’

Review – When We Are Married – Garrick Theatre

February 9, 2011

It had been months since I read the West End Whingers’ positive review of When We Are Married, but I kept putting off going until I realized the show was getting close to the end of its run. Conveniently, a Metro offer for half priced tickets came out in January and I saw this as my opportunity to finally get off the horse and see this show.

As it turns out, I wish I hadn’t bothered. While I have nothing against seeing a show with an audience full of more gray hair than a Madeira hotel in January, I could have lived without their loud chatter during the show. And what, exactly, was fuelling their enthusiasm? Clearly some of the actors struck a nerve – I think most of them are best known for television work – and the set got its own round of applause as the curtain rose (never a good sign). But the play felt like an over-fed sitcom, with a comedy element (“Oh noes, arrogant pillars of Edwardian society discover they’re living in sin”) drug out from the 55 minutes it merited to a full two hours with interval, leaving me sitting there yawning while a drunk photographer shmoozed a young maid. Ooh gosh, being tiddly is so funny, and doesn’t she have the most humorous accent?

Even more offensive was the story line of the henpecked husband and his wife. Once he discovers they’re not married, he’s now free to hit her! Boy, didn’t people laugh! Isn’t it great when a strong woman is finally beaten down! Ha ha ha!

As I dragged myself back to my seat after the interval, I heard a delighted audience member say, “This is very exciting for us country bumpkins.” Is it really, now? It seems like this is possibly the perfect play for readers of the Telegraph and Daily Mail, who might be offended by any slightly modern storyline but still want to have an annual night at the theater and have already exhausted the pleasures of The Mousetrap (while the much more worthy Clybourne Park was opening up the street). I’m all for more plays with older actors, but When We Are Married should be shot where it sits and never be allowed out the door again.

(This review is for a performance that took place on February 8th, 2011. It continues until February 26th, at which point something that can only be better will replace it.)


2 for 1 offer on “When We Are Married” at Garrick Theater

January 18, 2011

The Metro is having a push for the closing days of the J.B. Priestley’s When We Are Married at the Garrick Theater with two for one tickets on Tuesday to Friday performances up to 11th February. To get this deal call 0844 412 4662 and quote “Metro Offer.” It says terms and conditions apply but doesn’t say what they are. This show got a very positive review from the West End Whingers so I’d consider the time and money worth the investment – I’ve been meaning to see it for ages but just haven’t had the right combination of time and money. Be advised the show ends 26th February 2011 so if you’re not tempted to see it by this deal you’ll want to hurry up and make your plans soon anyway or you’ll miss out.

Isango Portobello returns! £5 if you can go on September 14th.

August 26, 2009

What good news was in my inbox today! Isango Portobello, the South African troupe behind the awesome (Olivier Award winning) Magic Flute of two years back, is coming back to London in September for a five week run of their new show, “Yiimimangaliso” (or “The Mysteries”), at the Garrick Theatre. Yay! I’ve been waiting to see them again for ages, since I thought both of the shows they did last time (the other being a version of The Christmas Carol) were awesome.

This news came to me courtesy of the Evening Standard weekly e-newsletter, which has been good for rather a nice spate of free tickets as well as listings of off-West end two-fer deals. This one had a line about the return of Isango Portobello and a FANTASTIC offer for £5 tickets to the September 14th preview. WHAT A DEAL! (Full listings for their theater club here for the interested.)

Um, only one problem for me, see: that’s my husband’s birthday. So, er, well, I kind of have other plans. 😦 And per Nimax (the official theater booking website for the Garrick, also has a bit more detail about the show), tickets are normally priced from £35-£47. So I throw myself on good old Last Minute, and I see I can get tickets for the previews (11th – 14th September) for £20-£25, but then it’s on to $25-$45 – not much of a deal from the regular price (though if you book them during theater week you can save a bit more, £15-£35.

So mostly I’m kind of frustrated here, because I could get in it really cheaply – but only if I blew off my husband’s birthday. Which, you know, isn’t really possible. I guess I will go eventually, and probably in the crappy seats in the third balcony, or trusting in my luck at having something good show up at the TKTS booth … but, well, that’s just not as good as having tickets in my pocket. But having this company come back is really good news, and I thought I’d pass this on in case someone else out there can actually go.

(Isango Portobello’s “The Mysteries” appears to be running from September 11th through October 3rd, 2009.)

Review – “Zorro” (the musical) – Garrick Theater

October 16, 2008

Also known as “The Boots of Zorro” if you were so unfortunate as to be sitting with us in the back of the stalls. Entire songs were sung during which we mostly only saw Zorro’s feet!

While this was a really fun show, I’d like to warn people off of the bad seats. While my £23 tickets from LastMinute were perhaps appropriately priced for what I got (and it was still entertaining all the way back in the crap seats), I was personally embarassed when I realized I’d bought seats that hid about a third of the action (we could only see about seven feet up from the floor of the stage, and much is done in the upper levels of the set, such as Zorro flying in on ropes and such, and people singing and talking to people elsewhere). I thus looked about to confirm which seats are crap so that you can know what you’er getting into – I mean, it’s not really a “half priced” seat if there’s no way in hell you would have paid £55 for it in the first place, right? So:

Row Q back to Z: rotten sightlines, 1/3 of the production is not visible.
L forward decent, except on the far sides: avoid H 1-3 and 21-23, and K and L 1-4 and 20-23 – these are obstructed by the overhang.

Anyway, grousing aside: Zorro is basically a staged B movie, with bonus flamenco music and some very English panto-y songs tossed in. It is not deep, it is not attempting to copy any movie version I know of, it is not trying to Phantom or Cats, and there’s not a lot of concern about historical accuracy (and, my God, the very English pronunciation of “Los AnGuhLeez” by the “Alcade” at the beginning of the show made me laugh – it was like listening to Bugs Bunny).

The songs are mostly forgettable (other than the one about how women “like a man who can thrust”), but the flamenco is actually quite decent for staged (i.e. non-improv) stuff and, combined with the quite good Flamenco singing (something I seriously did not expect), really added a lot to the show. (I quite like Flamenco and was expecting the worst, but my only real complaint was the costuming not being right for the music.) They even found a way to make it make sense to have Flamenco (and gypsies) in a show set in California – they came over from Spain with Zorro! The dancing overall (which had far more than just flamenco) was fine enough, though occasionally it veered into bad Martha Graham slash Pat Benatar music video territory.

I must say, though, that the cast really made this show in a way that surpassed all of the cheese elements and turned it into a really good night out. Matt Rawle, our Zorro, had that Johnny Depp “yum” factor that made me think the movie could really have been so much better. His swordplay wasn’t so great, but hey, I blame the person who designed the fight, not him. Emma Williams as romantic lead Luisa was fun – she managed to not get into the whiny prude element of the character (whew!) (and had a bit of a Grease/Sandy makeover at the end of the show), and masked her lack of Flamenco skills well enough by being carried over the heads of the other characters during a key scene.

My favorites, though, were Nick Cavaliere as “Garcia,” the nerdy guy working for the bad guy, who started off looking like a spineless bootlicker but displayed more roundess as a character (rather than just pulchritude) as the evening wore on (as well as providing the most comic moments). Head scene stealer was Inez (Leslie Martinez), whose gypsy bad girl was just a pile of fun to watch. I don’t think she is a brilliant dancer, but she definitely showed star power and made the night a good one. Without these two characters, who could have been played/written in a very two dimensional way, the show would never have been such a good time.

If you’re considering seeing this, I would encourage you to do so. Pretty well from the first appearance of the “Mark of the Lesser Than Sign” (as that’s all I could see from my seats), I was enjoying myself. There was a wee bit of nudity (a booty flash from a lady), but other than some double entendres, I consider it fairly suitable family fare, and a fun night out to boot. Have a glass of sangria or two before the show, avoid the crap seats in the second half of the stalls, and I think it will be just about a perfect evening! (Thanks to the Westend Whingers for the recommendation – I would never have bothered otherwise.)

(This review was for a performance seen on Wednesday, October 15th. Note that later a friend of mind teased me about the Curse of LowRow, which is when I get what I deserve for being so cheap with my theater choices, but the occasional utterly crap seat is well worth the opportunity to see so many shows which I could otherwise not afford. And hey, I can – almost – always go back, and in this case I will.)