Anyone Can Whistle. Southwark Playhouse. Review by Barbara Lewis. Anyone Can Whistle opened on Broadway in April 1964 to mixed reviews and closed shortly afterwards. Nearly 60 years on, this Southwark revival deserves to run and run as Georgie Rankcom’s inspired direction does justice to Sondheim’s genius, even when in its early phase, to make musicals from the most unlikely material.
West Side Story, directed by Steven Spielberg In the new West Side Story Leonard Bernstein’s magnificent music and Stephen Sondheim’s incisive and witty lyrics have all been preserved and bring as much pleasure as before.
Five hundred years ago, Peckham was green and pleasant. By the 1980s and 1990s, when two of its most famous fictional characters Del Boy and Rodney Trotter were plying their dodgy wares, even the pigeons wanted to be elsewhere, or so Rodney tells us.
The London theatre scene could easily manage without another musical about love. But the UK premiere of this Australian-born celebration of the greatest of emotions by Peter Rutherford and James Millar is nevertheless as welcome, even as necessary, as every generation’s attempts to redefine love for themselves.
As far as 1960s audiences were concerned, Lionel Bart – famed for the musical Oliver – had lost his “twang” when he came up with the box office flop “Twang!!”, with two exclamation marks. But if the audiences of the swinging sixties weren’t ready, the 21st century theatre-goers of London’s Union Theatre – renowned for alternative, low-budget, high-entertainment musicals – are.
In a capitalist society, we’re nearly all hired hands, but the extent of the exploitation is more or less pernicious. Melvyn Bragg’s gritty, Northern, sweeping tale ultimately finds the best option for the ordinary man is to accept a pittance to work above ground rather than to toil in a futile World War I trench or in a narrow coal seam beneath the sea.