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Birthday

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#1 AnnieInTheStalls

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Posted 23 June 2012 - 10:42 PM

This is a straight-through ninety minuter, with an unexpected central idea that I won't spoil. It's frequently funny and well acted by Stephen Mangan, Lisa Dillon and especially Llewella Gideon as the midwife.

That said, I really didn't care for it at all. It feels like one joke stretched to interminable length. And I found the Dillon/Mangan couple quite insufferable, which is a problem when they're on stage the whole time.

Not as good as Love Love Love!

#2 fringefan

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Posted 24 June 2012 - 04:28 AM

I agree with AnnieInTheStalls on much of the above: it is very funny (on which note, I'm surprised how much comedy the Royal Court is doing these days, even if not advertised as such) and well-acted, but I also disliked the couple and didn't find them a convincing pair and I would add that the play seemed to flounder towards the end and to peter out, as though Joe Penhall, having got that far, didn't know how to bring things to a close.  But as for comparing it with Love Love Love, which I thought vastly over-rated and which I did not like, I'd have to say this was better (and shorter!) or at least, more to my taste.  Furthermore I'd seen the rather more serious Witness in the Theatre Upstairs at the matinee, so this provided the much-needed light relief.

#3 Chameleon

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Posted 27 June 2012 - 11:08 PM

What might've been a decent half hour sitcom idea stretched out to an hour and a half. The twist doesn't really add anything interesting. Unappealing main characters. Uncomfortable comedy at expense of minor characters.  The actors are good, but a bit lost trying to build energy where there isn't any. A few funny lines and situations, here and there. Avoid.

#4 mallardo

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 07:35 AM

I'm wondering, are the characters unappealing or are the actors unappealing in these parts?  I ask because I have disliked Stephen Mangan in everything - most especially The Norman Conquests.
Excuse me if I seem jejune
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#5 Bambodoy

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 09:16 AM

I found this terrible. The play starts ok, but then drags for what seems like forever. The jokes stop being funny, gradually the characters become extremely annoying, the plot line is getting duller by the minute and the actors only managed to keep me awake because they would be screaming their lungs out. A huge disappointment, if you ask me.
2011-2012 THEATRE

WEST END: End of the Rainbow (Trafalgar Studios), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre), Love Never Dies (Adelphi Theatre), Children's Hour (Comedy Theatre), Top Girls (Trafalgar Studios), Richard III (Old Vic), The Tempest (Theatre Royal Haymarket), The Faith Machine (Royal Court), We Will Rock You (Dominion Theatre), The Kitchen (National Theatre), War Horse (New London Theatre), Death and the Maiden (Harold Pinter Theatre), Jumpy (Royal Court), 13 (National Theatre), Collaborators (National Theatre), Jerusalem (Apollo Theatre), Driving Miss Daisy (Wyndham's Theatre), Ghost (Piccadilly Theatre), Grief (National Theatre), The Comedy of Errors (National Theatre), Travelling Light (National Theatre), She Stoops to Conquer (National Theatre), In Basildon (Royal Court), Absent Friends (Harold Pinter Theatre), Matilda the Musical (Cambridge Theatre), Gross und Klein (Barbican), One Man Two Guvnors (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Moon on a Rainbow Shawl (National Theatre), Belong (Royal Court), Misterman (National Theatre), Detroit (National Theatre), The Last of the Haussmans (National Theatre), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National Theatre).

OFF-WEST END: Becky Shaw (Almeida Theatre), Tiger Country (Hampstead Theatre), Small Hours (Hampstead Theatre), My City (Almeida Theatre), Anna Christie (Donmar Warehouse), Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse), Reasons to be Pretty (Almeida Theatre), The Kitchen Sink (Bush Theatre), Stones in his Pockets (Tricycle), Hamlet (Young Vic), Our New Girl (Bush Theatre), Richard II (Donmar Warehouse), The Recruiting Officer (Donmar Warehouse), Bingo (Young Vic), Black T-Shirt Collection (National Theatre), Love Love Love (Royal Court), Filumena (Almeida Theatre), Making Noise Quietly (Donmar Warehouse), Children's Children (Almeida Theatre), The Physicists (Donmar Warehouse), Birthday (Royal Court).

UPCOMING: London Road (National Theatre), The Doctor's Dilemma (National Theatre), The Count of Monte Cristo (National Theatre).

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#6 Angram

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 03:10 PM

View PostAnnieInTheStalls, on 23 June 2012 - 10:42 PM, said:

...with an unexpected central idea that I won't spoil...

Well I'm guessing the production photos on the WOS front page are a pretty good spoiler!

#7 xanderl

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Posted 28 June 2012 - 04:14 PM

Yes, bizarrely they made a big fuss about keeping it quiet then released the photos!
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#8 Pete83

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Posted 04 July 2012 - 08:54 PM

Stephen Mangan was good but Lisa Dillon was terrible. A real drama school worthy performance from her. Play could do with a bit more too. First 15 minutes was interesting but boy did the next 75 minutes drag.

#9 xanderl

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 03:28 PM

As others have said, funny in parts but a bit annoying. The central message seems to be that the NHS is terrible and private healthcare is the way to go, I guess that will go down well with the Sloane Square audience. Also found the central couple's attitude towards the black midwife uncomfortable as it was played for laughs and unchallenged
"witty ... both made me laugh but also gave me pause" - Mark Shenton, The Stage

#10 Pharaoh's number 2

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Posted 07 July 2012 - 05:02 PM

It's good fun, but utlimately one joke stretched a bit too thin. Would've liked to have seen more of the belly.

Lovely design, well directed, well performed. Very funny too. Just outstayed its welcome a touch.







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