i am a long time fan of billy wilder's The Front Page, one of my all time favourites. i saw a disappointing production at the donmar a few years back and was a little hesitant to see this production, with english actors murdering the electric american dialogue. i needn't have worried. this was fantastic.i highly recommend it. if you're not familiar with the play you'll love it, if you are, you won't be disappointed - USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
17 Oct 03
This was one fantastic play, Zoë Wanamaker and Alex Jennings work so well together and make this play come to life they connect so well its fabulous!! I enjoyed it so much. I have seen it 4 times now and still can't get enough. If you get the opportunity go see it, definitely one to see!! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
05 Oct 03
Unbelievably bad. Hard to decide which was worse--the script or direction. The director clearly told actors, SHOUT, SHOUT, SHOUT. The scriptwriter was in love with his own words. It's a production like this which is ruining theatre. destruins theatre - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
25 Sep 03
Excellent production, with fantastic performances from Zoe Wanamaker and Alex Jennings. See it! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
24 Sep 03
Dull, overlong and underpowered. The film bookends add nothing but confusion (when to start applauding half-heartedly is an issue, come the interval). - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
23 Sep 03
As a fan of both Alex Jennings and the Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell movie, I found the production dragged. I too found the openings scenes extremely difficult to hear - actors concentrating too much on their accents and not enough on diction! - and the whole thing only perked up when Zoe Wanamaker and Alex Jennings got going. For my money, an hour could have been trimmed off and no-one would have missed anything! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
01 Sep 03
I saw His Girl Friday last night and I have to say that I was very disappointed. The leads were good but nothing to write home about but overall the play dragged. Having been a professional actor myself for 10+ years I was looking forward to seeing this play with its huge cast (I appeared in Stage Door some years ago which had a similar huge cast - same era I guess).
The opening scene - which is a difficult scene - was dreadful - we sat on the 4th row in the stalls and found it very difficult indeed to hear what was being said - my colleague fell asleep as he gave up !
Margaret T. was dreadful as the Mother - I was expecting great things from her is this fab cameo role but she was simply shocking - as was the usually good David Ross.
It was interesting to hear the comments at the interval from other members of the audience - far more thinking how poor it was.
My worry is that the £10 season was to introduce new and young people to the theatre - alas with this production this may not happen. Whilst tickets have been sold on the back of the leads the performances do not carry. What will happen is either:
a. Usual NT theatre goers get cheap seats - not a bad thing
b. New theatre goers visit this play - can't hear what is going off and see 2nd rate camp performances that are not funny and don't come back again !!
- USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
01 Sep 03
A lighthearted, good old fashioned fun show. Zoe Wanamaker is excellent, especially up close. Enjoy. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
01 Sep 03
Excellent performances by both Alex Jennings and Zoe Wanamaker were not enough to compensate for a rather unexpected lacklustre evening - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
10 Jul 03
A fantastic very funny play with a great cast. Having not seen the film with Cary Grant (but I have seen the last adaptation, Switching Channels, which was quite far removed from the original)I was fortunate not to have to make comparisons. Zoe Wanamaker and Alex Jennings (brilliant as Prof Higgins in My Fair Lady) were top notch and the supporting cast were great particularly the scene-stealing Margaret Tyzac. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
07 Jul 03
Great stuff. I haven't seen the film, so I came to the National's production with no preconceptions. It's a fast-paced, fast-talking show, and Zoe Wanamaker and Alex Jennings are terrific, sparking off each other and delivering killer put-downs. They're supported by some great performances - including veteran Margaret Tyzack and young Russell Tovey. I wasn't sure about the 'film set' device (especially, at the start of Act 2 when you see the on-the-run convict limbering up before the lights go on and he delivers his lines...) That aside, 'His Girl Friday' had my friend and I entertained for the duration. And for just a tenner each! Andrew B - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
06 Jul 03
Fabulous performances from Zoe Wannamaker and Alex Jennings and some very funny lines, but a preposterous story , a set-on-a-film-set idea that doesn't work, and it doesn't fit the Olivier stage ! It bears no comparison with the wonderful recent staging of The Front Page at the Donmar. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
22 Jun 03
A good solid piece of theatre, not an amazing play but one hell of a production. The acting and directing are both superb, never have I seen a scene with so many characters work so well as in the press scenes, the American director clearly has the flair for these scenes like our own Trevor Nunn. The dialouge is said so quickly, the cast of 30 make the wole thing look efortless, which is not easy as it is clearly a very complicated play to stage but our national theatre has produced a spotless production. I am lucky in that I have not seen the film so I am not making comparisons. Zoe Wannamaker is great as the tough Hildy, but the evening belongs to the great Alex Jennings, a brilliant actor who I have yet to see turn in a bad performance. He is amazing as the seedy editor and as an aspiring actor I was completely in awe of his performance. I did not like John Crowleys set that makes th play look like it is on a film set, this did not really work and seemed a waste of time. However if you want brilliant entertainment go down to the national and see this show! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (22.214.171.124)
10 Jun 03
I went to watch His Girl Friday on 6th June....and how great a performance it was!! I cant not explain how much i enjoyed the play! It was set so well with only using one room throught the whole thing! And the way they all portrayed their charachters, especially the fantastic Actress Zoe Wanamaker and Actor Alex Jennnings.
They did brilliantly entering their roles and using a full on American Accent.
His Girl Friday (theatre) was more than i expected!! Zoe who played Hildy Johnson and Alex Jennings who played Walter Burns was exactly how i remembered from the film!!
I enjoyed myself so much i have booked more tickets!
If it was my choice i would up the ratings that this has been giving because its worth more than it has been given!
gemma - USER: Whatsonstage.com (126.96.36.199)
08 Jun 03
Fantastic! a must see ,the NT has done it again ,poviding the finest professional entertainment in London by none.
The cast is incredible adding to the amazing Jennings and Wanamaker we have some great actors mostly from TV starring roles ie Tony Haygarth(where the heart is and Rosie(for those old enough to remember PC Wilmott!!) ,Nicola Stephenson(Holby City and Clocking Off) and Christopher Ryan(young ones).
also last seen wasted in the silly Chitty Bang Bang David Ross is excellent as the corrupt Sheriff aided by the dodgy mayor palyed by TV veteren Harry Towb.
But stealing the show in her few scenes is the awesome Margeret Tyzack(her agatha Christie was an anti christ line-nearly brought the house down)
Hope they can all keep up the pace in the 2 hours 45 min show till Nove 22nd.
Buy a ticket now while you still can! - USER: Whatsonstage.com (188.8.131.52)
06 Jun 03
There was dismay when Hytner said there'd be no more musicals at the National, but then we get the astonishing Jerry Springer The Opera, and now we get His Girl Friday which, although nobody sings in it, nonetheless sings itself. It has absolutely all the same exuberance, imagination, pace and panache as Anything Goes. It reminded me of that show in a lot of ways - it too starts sedately, and you almost wonder what you've let yourself in for. That's not to say the start isn't very good (get there early to watch the set being constructed, it's fascinating); but once the play begins, you sit trying to keep up with the opening banter and realise how it must be as hard to put together for the actors as any Shakespeare. It takes some getting used to. The old dears around me were palpably lost. But then Alex Jennings enters about 10 minutes in, and we're off. Just like Anything Goes, this show accelerates NON-STOP until a stunning pre-interval climax. Even when the leads leave the stage to be replaced by two old curmudgeonly characters, you anticipate that the momentum will recede, but it doesn't - the cast across the board is that good. Where did they find some of them? And the second half is even jollier. It's like they start throwing one plate after another into the air and keep them all up there spinning. I don't want to give away the fabulous story, but by the time we reached the moment where Jennings improvises an elaborate plan to keep a creep hack from opening his bureau (because of the terrible thing hidden inside), I sat thinking how on earth do they not lose their way with all this? It's manic. It moves so fast you can hardly believe what you're seeing. Jennings spends the whole show literally spinning around the stage. He is the most extraordinarily generous actor, every moment a new expression. He is redolent of Cary Grant in places, of course, but the big difference is that Jennings delivers the whole performance in one take - something I doubt Grant could ever have done. How he's going to sustain this energy for the entire run, I don't know. Zoe Wanamaker was slower to warm on me, but she did, wholly - you realise very soon these guys absolutely have to be together. And for 'Opinionated' above to describe the last 15 minutes as 'padding' seems ludicrous to me; yes, the frenzy abates about 10 minutes from the end, but then the big will-they-won't-they sets in, and here the chemistry between Wanamaker and Jennings (if you haven't felt its heat already) really burns. They are adorable together. And then a denouement crashes in that we shoulda seen coming from the beginning, involving the final return of a magnificently jowly Margaret Tyzack (her tirade about female writers, by the way, is the most brilliantly leftfield thing I've heard in years - it's worth seeing for that alone), and this caps off one hell of a lovely, bountiful show. Also, remarkably, this production even upholds Hytner's promise that the Olivier will stage shows relevant to our times - here we have a corrupt power system motivated out to sway votes by any means possible, and a media more interested in superficial inanity than global manoeuvres. Yep, it's all in there. Go and have a great, great time. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (184.108.40.206)
05 Jun 03
I saw it last night and it was enjoyable although it did feel like a preview- the dialogue is extremely snappy and teamed with the us accent a few actors (yes even the seasoned pros) tripped over their words. Also the comedy was chuckle worthy but not at the belly laugh stage yet but I suspect by next week it will be much tighter.
And of course Mr Jennings was excellent- he is such a technically accomplished actor just a joy to watch. Zoe Wannamaker was good too, this might be controversial but I felt she was a bit old for the part... But all in all its a good sturdy piece of theatre which I think will grow into itself as the run continues. - USER: Whatsonstage.com (220.127.116.11)
03 Jun 03
I thought it rather bizarre to call it an adaptation of the film His Girl Friday when it was all on one set (though this was meant to be a film set) and they used loads of stuff that must have come from The Frint Page (lots of local politics) plus lots of international political references written specially. I though it was too long - there was 15 minutes of padding at the end (and at the start as Jenning doesn't turn up for quite a bit and you just get a lot of reporters shouting) and as Winona said, not quite fast-paced enough. This is clearly their prestige production for the year - it has a huge and somewhat wasteful cast (there are people whose sole function is to pretend to be studio make-up people at the start and after the interval). I thought Alex Jennings was fab but for me there just wasn't any chemistry between him and Zoe Wanamaker. 3 stars from me - USER: Whatsonstage.com (18.104.22.168)
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