Posts Tagged ‘Harry Enfield’

Well, panto season has come early. There are some components of that seasonal fare missing, but that’s the best the way to describe this satirical romp, cheeky, broad & bawdy, somewhat appropriately occupying The Prince of Wales Theatre until the religious, rather than royal, satire The Book of Mormon comes back. I thought it was great fun, provided you’re not a royalist or a theatrical snob.

The premise is that the Queen has died, Charles ascends the throne and using a mistake in the drafting of an act of parliament becomes an absolute monarch. Camilla as the wicked witch of course, the power behind the throne. They turn Britain into a feudal state, which triggers Wills & Kate (on a world tour to keep them out of mischief) to recruit Harry & Meghan (putting their animosity behind them), to challenge Charles. The sub-plot involving Andrew, Fergie, Beatrice & Eugenie is very much as it appears to be today, back in the real world!

I loved the fact Prince Edward (a terrific Matthew Cottle) plays a large number of roles, none of them himself; Edward did have a brief career in the theatre world, after all. A favourite of mine, Sophie-Louise Dan, is brilliant as Fergie. Harry Enfield reprises his superb TV performance as Charles. The actors playing the other seven principal roles are all very good. Princess Anne has been spared characterisation, though I’m not entirely sure why. In addition to Prince Edward’s direct-to-audience engagement, the curtain calls provide a brilliant opportunity to break the fourth wall again.

It might not be written about decades into the future, but as a funny & uplifting show for now, it ticks almost all of the boxes. Great fun.

Read Full Post »

The cast list for the 1979 Trevor Nunn production for the RSC reads like a who’s who of British actors, including Zoe Wanamaker, David Suchet, Juliet Stevenson and the now departed Richard Griffiths and Ian Charleston. Suchet also featured in Edward Hall’s 2001 NT revival. It’s no co-incidence that it’s the RSC & NT that have staged this 1930 Kauffman & Hart comedy, the first of their eight collaborations, in London – it requires big resources. The RSC production famously ended with 15 minutes of song and dance by the full ensemble plus band, which sent you home hopping and skipping. This is a scaled-down, shorter adaptation by Hart’s son for 13 actors playing 22 roles. Mind you, it still needs 8 costume makers and 5 wig technicians!

So here we are another 15 years on, and its the turn of contemporary powerhouse The Young Vic in a fine production by Richard Jones with designs by Hyemi Shin, featuring Harry Enfield’s stage debut. He play’s silent film mogul Glogauer, who finds himself competing with the talkies which he first turned down. As soon as he sees the first talkie, Vaudevillian Jerry Hyland is inspired to sell his act with May Daniels and George Lewis to head West for part of the new action, initially running an elocution school (to teach the formerly silent to talk), until Glogauer comes under the spell of George, who ends up running the studios, himself under the spell of the pretty but talentless Susan Walker, who becomes an unlikley star.

It’s a satire on Hollywood and it’s great fun. Enfield is very good, as indeed is fellow comedian Kevin Bishop as Jerry (though he does have stage acting experience). Favourites Claudie Blakley and John Marquez are on fine form as May and George. Amanda Lawrence gives us another of her show stealing turns as Glogauer’s secretary Miss Leighton and there’s great work from Lucy Cohu as columnist Helen Hobart, Lizzy Connolly as Susan and Adrian Der Gregorian in no less than four roles. The star of the show, though, is Nicky Gillibrand’s magnificent costumes and Cynthia De La Rosa’s wigs, hair and make-up!

Huge seasonal fun.

Read Full Post »

Well, it’s March and I’m still catching up with Edinburgh ones-that-got-away…..

When you first hear that this is a bunch of people reading from autobiographies, it doesn’t seem like an enticing prospect. The reviews were mixed but word-of-mouth and bloggers more favourable. It’s not long into the show when the show’s sub-title ‘you couldn’t make this stuff up’ rings very true indeed.

Last night, there were six excellent readers – Fiona Allen, Doon Mackichan & Sally Phillips from C4’s sketch show Smack the Pony, Harry Enfield, James Lance and Sam Roukin – reading from, amongst others, David’s Hasselhoff and Cassidy, boy band ‘N Sync, Ivana Trump and Britney Spears. After initial solo turns, the readers return in different configurations, the best of which were Katie Price & Peter Andre spliced together and, lest you think this is a modern phenomena, a ‘mash up’ of Elizabeth Taylor, Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher autobiographies from the time the latter moved on from Reynolds to Taylor.

It’s a clever idea, the extracts are well-chosen and the readings were well delivered, but at £24 for 70 mins I did feel a bit cheated and wished I had caught it on the Edinburgh fringe, where it would have been better value and more at home. It’s back at Leicester Square Theatre on 11th April if you want to catch it.


Read Full Post »