Friday 27 May 2022

The Unfriend - Review

Minerva Theatre, Chichester


Written by Steven Moffat
Directed by Mark Gatiss

Frances Barber

The Unfriend takes a zany idea that’s been based upon a germ of lived experience and blows it up into a two-hour farce. Along the way there is some outstanding performance work, but the story fails to engage.

Peter and Debbie meet Elsa on a cruise. They are a typically mild-mannered English suburban couple, she is a larger than life American widow from Denver with a monstrous past. In a programme note Steven Moffat describes the tale that he has penned as “comedy gold”. Well maybe there are some nuggets lurking in the text, but there is a fair amount of tedium to endure too.

Reece Shearsmith and Amanda Abbington play the hapless Brits, the straight guys around whom the comedy happens. But there is a skill in creating understated English characters who work well in comedy, that Moffat doesn’t possess. Peter and Debbie are no Ben and Ria from Carla Lane’s 1970s TV series Butterflies and given that Moffat is currently a prolific UK TV screenwriter, the narrative he has created here is an example of quite how far the standards of British comedy writing have fallen. Some of the toilet gags in the second half are just downright puerile.

What is magnificent about this play however is Frances Barber’s Elsa. Her character is a female version of Zero Mostel’s Max Bialystock fused with Jack Nicholson’s Daryl Van Horne. Barber bestrides her scenes like a Colossus, devious, larger than life and irresistibly evil. Alongside Barber, Michael Simkins in the most modest of cameos is another perfectly crafted comic creation, years of experience manifest in his perfectly timed delivery.

Mark Gatiss helms the piece. Directing farce is the toughest of gigs and is clearly a craft that (the otherwise highly accomplished) Gatiss has yet to master. Robert Jones and Mark Henderson, Chichester’s current wonder duo of design and lighting, make the Minerva’s presentation of this drama look stunning. 

And as for Frances Barber's performance, kill to get a ticket!

Runs until 9th July
Photo credit: Manuel Harlan

Wednesday 25 May 2022

Henry Goodman talks about bringing Hercule Poirot to the stage

Henry Goodman has received near universal acclaim for his portrayal of Belgian detective Hercule Poirot in Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express that opened in Chichester last week. Describing the Belgian sleuth as “a cop with a conscience, a detective with dignity”, earlier this month Goodman took a break from his hectic rehearsal schedule to speak with me about the production.

Henry Goodman returns to the Chichester stage this month, leading the cast on a newly-written version of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express. One of the crime-writer’s classic yarns, the story has been committed to screen numerous times. Now, for the first time, in Ken Ludwig’s adaptation, the murder mystery is to be performed live on stage, with Goodman waxing up his moustache to step into the role of famed detective Hercule Poirot. 

“What is so exciting about the challenge of this story is Poirot. We all know I’m standing on the shoulders of giants – Kenneth Branagh, David Suchet, Peter Ustinov, John Malkovich, Albert Finney and Alfred Molina have all played him on screen – but lockdown gave me the time to read quite a lot of the novels and look at all the films. I didn’t do this to nick ideas, although there might be the odd thing that inspired me, but to soak myself up in Poirot and try to understand why he is so important to people. Why did Christie fall in love with him? I see Poirot as a figure of hope and this adaptation enhances that. I’m in my 70s, so it’s an older man who is saying: ‘This was the case that really was unique in my life. Come back and have a look at it with me.’

“Why is Poirot so refreshing, and why is he able to say things about the British that the British can’t say about themselves? It’s not just that he’s got an odd walk, or that he’s slightly eccentric in his speech, or that he is a foreigner out of place amongst all these people because in this story there are a lot of foreigners all trapped on a train who are from Russia, Sweden and Hungary. No, the interesting, exotic thing is it that this blend of cultures makes him act differently to how he does when he is with the English. Ludwig has been very clever about keeping alive the whodunnit and the questioning, but also in allowing me to observe different nationalities and different presumed attitudes. He’s not just a cop with a conscience, he is a man with a moral strength, and that’s why this case is so important to him as he invites the audience to go back and explore it with him.”

Previous Poirots have all been on film or TV where the camera can be close-up on every hair on his moustache. Here, we are in a 1300-seat auditorium, which Goodman last appeared at in 2010 when he played the role of Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes, Prime Minister. “Live performance doesn’t necessarily mean melodrama, because it’s a wonderfully powerful and intimate space, but it’s theatre not film,” says Henry. “That means not ‘bigness’, but a different type of laser-focus on certain things that a camera can cheat on. The camera can suggest a little shot through a window or a lingering dolly shot or all sorts of things, but we have to make it happen in a different way.”

Speaking about the historical context of the story, Goodman continued: “I am very conscious that it’s set in the 1930s just after the Nazi rise of 1933. Although it’s a murder mystery, and Ken’s been very strong on the thriller element of working out what happens when and where, there are certain social attitudes built into Christie in her time. Some of these tend towards the colonial and imperialist. However, these people are trapped on a train in the ‘30s. I don’t want to give anything away, but towards the end of the play they are revealed to be acting in a particular light of current events. There are the attitudes of the thirties: of nobility, royalty, a Russian princess, an American actress. These are the characters in the novel, so they’re nothing new, but we have intensified the contrast between them, creating a strong insight into the attitudes of the time, which speak to us now because here we are with Russia invading Ukraine. In the ‘30s that’s exactly what was going on – an invasion of Europe.”

In 1997 Goodman brought Broadway’s Billy Flynn to London in Kander and Ebb’s Chicago. I ask if there are any parallels between playing a ruthless criminal defence lawyer and an investigating detective?

“I’ve played a lot of manipulative nasty people, but the reason these roles are so interesting to play, and why people enjoy reading criminal novels and dealing with dark stuff, is that there’s something charismatic about them. Flynn is manipulative, while Poirot discovers other people’s manipulation, and that is a joy to play. Poirot is passionate about his moral certitude in a world that is in danger.”

Goodman grew up in the East End and worked a pitch selling watches on Petticoat Lane. He landed his first role in 1960 in a film called Conspiracy of Hearts. He was 10. “The film was about little kids being rescued from a concentration camp by nuns. My picture was in Woman’s Weekly – the first image of myself on film was standing behind barbed wire as a little boy in a concentration camp. These things go very deep.

Runs until 4th June at Chichester, then tours to Theatre Royal, Bath

This interview was first published in the Jewish News

Photos of Henry Goodman by Johan Persson

Monday 23 May 2022

Hard Times on Easy Street - Review

Latest Music Bar, Brighton


Music by Robin Watt
Lyrics and book by Julie Burchill
Directed by Seth Morgan

Hard Times on Easy Street marks a brave foray into the world of musical theatre from writer Julie Burchill. A paean to Brighton, the city that she has made her home for 25 years, Burchill’s show is set in a nightclub and for this week, is performed immersively at Brighton's  Latest Music Bar venue.

Middle-aged Otto (Matt Wright) has owned and run his Easy Street nightclub for years. Resident diva Elle (Deborah Kearne) is as wise she is weary for her 50 years, when bustling into their lives comes 20-something Anna (Temisis Conway) who’s auditioning to be the new chanteuse. Joseph White completes the Easy Street team as bouncer Precious.

We learn that Otto is gay with an unseen long-term partner.  Anna is virginal and fancies Otto, while lesbian Elle can barely keep her hands off the younger girl. When bisexual Rory (Seth Morgan), a man with a murky past and a ruthless corporate and sexual appetite who is eager to buy Easy Street, appears on the scene there are moments of menace and exploitation that pierce the otherwise halcyon idyll of the club trio’s curious triangle. Burchill certainly manages to tick off L,G,B and Straight from the checklist of today’s lexicon of love and if some of her dialogue is a tad cheesy, her acerbic look at some of today’s common hypocrisies, for example society’s more tolerant (blind-eyed even) attitude to same-sex predation, makes for a refreshing perspective in the world of new musical theatre writing.

The music is brilliant. Robin Watt, an accomplished saxophonist who alongside Michael Edmonds on guitar plays live each night, has penned a score that’s heavy on jazz and R&B. It’s a delight to listen to, with some numbers, particularly Otto's Incorrigible You sounding as though they could have been lifted straight from the American Songbook.

Currently standing at around two 45 minute acts with a 15 minute interval, if some of the writing were pruned and the interval dropped, it would make for a punchier one-act piece. The songs are deliciously tight though and with a sharper pencil and a venue that’s easier on the neck-strain than the Latest’s head-swivelling sightlines, this could be the genesis of quite a show.

Runs until May 23rd

Saturday 21 May 2022

Murder on the Orient Express - Review

Festival Theatre, Chichester


Written by Agatha Christie
Adapted for the stage by Ken Ludwig
Directed by Jonathan Church

Henry Goodman


Murder on the Orient Express is one of the most beloved murder mysteries of recent decades. Committed to the screen 4 times and with its grand scenes of Istanbul, steam trains, and treacherous mountain blizzards all framing a cast of glamorous characters from across Europe and the USA,  the romance, intrigue and above all deception have long combined to give Hercule Poirot, Agatha Christie’s celebrated sleuth, the challenge of his detective career.

Equalling that challenge is the task that Chichester’s cast and creative team have faced in taking their audience on a two-hour journey across the Alps to watch as Henry Goodman’s Poirot cracks the case. And much as Poirot stylishly delivers his unravelling of the train’s gruesome murder, so too has Jonathan Church’s ensemble delivered an outstanding interpretation of this ripping yarn.

Ken Ludwig’s adaptation has skillfully filleted Christie’s novel into a two act play that threads the essential elements of the plot into a well crafted tale. There are melodrama and shocks a’plenty with just a hint of wit and humour too, all thrown in with some serious moral anguish in the endgame. Pure theatrical class.

The audience’s disbelief is first suspended by Robert Jones’ stunning set. Like Steven Spielberg’s shark in Jaws, the eponymous steam train is kept out of sight for quite a while as with an ingenious use of sliding arches and simple scenery, Jones transports us to Istanbul for the story’s opening. Then, as the journey commences and those brilliant arches start to slide the locomotive is revealed, a glorious fusion of steel, smoke and light that frames the murderous tale. It is not often that a scene change receives its own round of applause - Jones’ work is sensational and enhanced by Mark Henderson's lighting, the coup de theatres are magnificent.

Many actors have waxed that famed moustache and by his own admission Goodman acknowledges that he “is standing on the shoulders of giants” as he tackles literature’s most famous Belgian, but he unquestionably makes the role his own. On stage for virtually the entire show and with an accent deliciously cod, Goodman probes his suspects with a combination of sensitivity and vigour that is never less than convincing. When the play’s finale sees him wrestling with his conscience, he commands our sympathy. With two Olivier Awards already under his belt alongside countless other nominations, Goodman should garner another gong for his Poirot.

His fellow passengers are all delightful caricatures. With numerous suspects to flesh out in 2 hours, there is not a lot of time to allow each character much depth. The skill therefore in bringing them into relief, as with all drama, lies in the brilliant economies of Ludwig’s script blended with the company’s fine acting and some absolutely gorgeous costume work and millinery (with a shout out here for Sean Barrett’s stunning hats, created for Joanna McCallum’s equally stunning Princess Dragomiroff). Sara Stewart as Helen Hubbard and Laura Rogers as Countess Andrenyi were perhaps the most memorable of the bunch, but there is fine work all round.

Murder on the Orient Express is unpretentious, brilliantly crafted theatre of the finest standard. The horror is not too bloody, nor the scares too scary nor its arguments too complex, with Adrian Sutton’s music (albeit not as majestic as Richard Rodney Bennett’s 1974 movie score) providing an enchanting backdrop to the intrigue.

Chichester have a hit on their hands that deserves a London transfer. Unmissable!

Runs until 4th June, then tours to Theatre Royal, Bath
Photo credit: Johan Persson

Friday 20 May 2022

My Fair Lady - Review

Coliseum, London


Music by Frederick Loewe
Lyrics and book by Alan Jay Lerner
Directed by Bartlett Sher

Harry Hadden-Paton, Amara Okereke and Malcolm Sinclair

The plot of My Fair Lady sees Professor Henry Higgins set himself the challenge of transforming a poor Covent Garden flower girl into a passable member of England’s aristocracy. So it is with director Bartlett Sher, who defines his own challenge by having staged this famously satirical take on Edwardian England in his 2018 Broadway revival and then 4 years later transplanting that production into London’s Coliseum. It was in Guys and Dolls that Nathan Detroit sagely observed that “you cannot interpolate Chicago dice in a New York crap game”. The same is true of musical theatre, where Sher’s New Yorker’s take on this show fails to interpolate into a London venue. 

Harry Hadden-Paton’s Henry Higgins (for whom hurricanes hardly happen) and Amara Okereke as Eliza lead the cast and both are sublimely talented performers. But Hadden-Paton barely evolves from his Old Etonian caricature and Okereke, in the show’s opening scenes, fails to convince as an impoverished Cockney from Lisson Grove. From there on, the complex crucial chemistry between the pair is doomed. Only in her second act duet Show Me, with Sharif Afifi’s Freddy Eynsford-Hill, does Okereke - whose singing vocals are magnificent throughout - truly display Eliza’s passionate emotional potential.

The scenic design is curious - ranging from a meticulously created revolving interior of Higgins’ Wimpole Street home, through to economically designed exteriors that are dwarfed on the Coliseum’s cavernous stage. Sher appears to have set Get Me To The Church On Time in little more than a box-ticking version of Berlin’s Kit Kat Club and as for his enigmatic ending to the show, make of that what you will.

Malcolm Sinclair’s Colonel Pickering and Vanessa Redgrave as Mrs Higgins offer up delicious work in support and for those who have missed the magnificence of Loewe’s score, the ENO Orchestra give those wondrous melodies a sumptuous treatment.

Runs until 27th August
Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Friday 13 May 2022

Julius Caesar - Review

Shakespeare's Globe, London


Written by William Shakespeare
Directed by Diane Page

Anna Crichlow

The political rhetoric of Julius Caesar is timeless. Recklessly shoehorned into today’s politically correct constraints however and the beauty of Shakespeare's verse is squandered. Diane Page’s production of the classic tragedy seeks to place gender politics centre-stage, with Brutus and Cassius both played by women. To be fair, Anna Crichlow’s Brutus is a well-spoken performance and she makes a fine interpretation of the role’s moral quagmire. But given that this casting decision has led to a part of Mark Anthony’s most famous speech being butchered into: “And, sure, she is an honourable man”, then the production’s incongruities are clear. 

There is sound work from Dickson Tyrrell as a credible Caesar and equally from Samuel Oatley whose Mark Anthony does a good job of whipping up the Globe’s groundlings into Rome's plebeians. But too much of the rest of the company’s diction, especially in dialogue rather than otherwise well-projected monologue, is garbled and inaudible.

When Cicero’s death is announced in Act 4, one is almost reminded of Chicago’s Cell Block Tango – “he had it coming” - than be lost in Shakespeare’s perfectly constructed prose, such is the play’s inconsistency. The battle scenes of the story’s endgame are mangled and the stage-combat (developed by Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown), a vital component of any high body-count Shakespeare, is very poor indeed.

There’s enough here, just, to satisfy a schools audience looking for dramatic context in support of the play’s countless classic quotes and speeches, the groundlings in particular again adding heft. But otherwise, this is a brutal assassination of the play.

Et tu Shakespeare's Globe? Then fall Caesar.

Runs until 17 September, playing at both Shakespeare's Globe and on tour across England
Photo credit: Helen Murray

Sunday 8 May 2022

Oklahoma! - Review

Young Vic, London


Music by Richard Rodgers
Book & Lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II
Based on the play Green Grow the Lilacs by Lynn Riggs
Directed by Daniel Fish and Jordan Fein

Patrick Vaill

In one of the most stunning interpretations of a Rodgers & Hammerstein musical to hit London in recent years, Daniel Fish’s interpretation of Oklahoma! crosses the Atlantic to open at the Young Vic. Fish developed his take on the show as a student production for Bard College in 2015. Three years later the show was to play Off-Broadway at New York’s St Ann’s Warehouse, before reaching Broadway in 2019 where it picked up eight Tony nominations with two wins including Best Musical Revival. Fish is accompanied at the helm by fellow director Jordan Fein.

Oklahoma! may hail from the Golden Age of Broadway but Fish’s vision is lean, simplistic and stripped back. Played almost in the round on a stage of bare timber, plywood and trestle tables, the only scenic enhancements are a sketched out backdrop of prairie farmland, with racks of rifles mounted high around the remaining the remaining three sides of the thrust performance space. Terese Wadden’s costumes are simple cowboy-chic with Levis de-rigeur for most, ranch chaps prevalent for the men and an array of purty frocks for the women as the scenes demand.

Amidst this simplicity of staging, the production has to stand solely on the strengths of its actors – and the troupe assembled here are amongst the finest musical theatre companies in town. Arthur Darvill and Anoushka Lucas lead as the hesitant lovers Curly and Laurey. Both are immaculate in their roles, with many of Curly’s numbers down sized to Darvill singing accompanied only by his own solo guitar playing. Powerful lighting plots wash some of the verses in The Surrey With The Fringe On Top and People Will Say We’re In Love into impassioned love scenes, never previously contemplated mid-number. It’s a bold move by the directors and lighting designer Scott Zielinski that is strikingly effective. There is boldness too in Daniel Kluger’s orchestrations of Richard Rodgers’ score that the Rodgers & Hammerstein Organisation have shrewdly seen fit to approve and which allows Musical Director Tom Brady to see his 9-piece band having more guitars than violins. With the musicians on stage, the new orchestrations give a powerfully Western twang added to the original, that only enhances the evening.

Arthur Darvill and Anoushka Lucas

The musical magic of this production however lies not just in its leads, nor in its creative enhancements, but in the extraordinary talent assembled around them in the featured roles and here follows a roll-call of excellence.

Lisa Sadovy as Aunt Eller is everything her character should be – and then some more. Fish and Fein play fast and loose with the show’s structure and where we may have expected the first act to conclude with Laurey’s Dream Ballet, itself preceded by a soprano chorus singing Out Of My Dreams, it is Aunt Eller who here kicks off the second act of the show with that number, before the ballet gets underway. It’s an innovative shake-up of the show that works. And in mentioning the ballet, a note of massive praise to Marie-Astrid Mence who mesmerizingly dances the solo work.

Next up on this roll-call is Marisha Wallace as Ado Annie Carnes. Wallace is simply sensational. For sure, Ado Annie provides welcome moments of comic relief in the narrative but Wallace immerses herself in the woman to provide a portrayal of her character that is more fleshed out than the typical two-dimensional comic-book portrayals of Ado Annie, so often seen in the past. Not only is Wallace’s acting out of this world, her vocals take the Young Vic’s roof off too. One to watch for next year’s Olivier nominations.

Ranking alongside Wallace in talent and impact are two actors who have travelled with the show from Broadway. James Davis’ Will Parker is again a thoughtfully presented delivery of a comedy classic. Davis’ hapless bungling, matched only by his character's  blinkered love for Ado Annie is simply a delight to watch.

Patrick Vaill has also crossed the pond with the show, with an even more intriguing pedigree connecting him to the production. His involvement incredibly dates back to 2015 when he was a student at Bard, creating this iteration of Jud Fry for Fish. Vaill’s Jud is extraordinary, taking this most complex of the canon’s villains and imbuing him with an unexpected tender sympathy. We find Jud to be “othered” by the community around him, culminating in his shocking death and while Jud clearly has a monstrous past, Vaill creates an intriguing, credible, complexity to the man, that has to be seen to be believed. Vocally magnificent too, Vaill’s turn leaves a deep and troubling imprint on the audience. A combination of contrasting light, blackout and video projections add an equally ingenious twist to the interaction between Curly and Jud.

Stavros Demetraki is a delight as pedlar Ali Hakim. His is a simple role to play in the narrative, oiling the story’s comedic wheels. Like all good comedy however, the role demands perfection in its timing and delivery and Demetraki hits his marks with pinpoint accuracy.

Another casting gem sees a grizzled Greg Hicks playing gnarled farmer Andrew Carnes, administering what Quentin Tarantino might have called 'frontier justice' in the show’s finale. It’s a troubling moment for the audience to reflect on, but Hicks delivers it with his hallmark first-class standards.

Producers Sonia Friedman and Michael Harrison have shrewdly backed this production, so one can only hope for its deserved West End transfer. Until then, at the Young Vic, Oklahoma! remains unmissable.

Runs until 25th June 2022
Photo credit: Marc Brenner

Tuesday 3 May 2022

The End of the Night - Review

Park Theatre, London


Written by Ben Brown
Directed by Alan Strachan

Ben Caplan and Michael Lumsden

The End of the Night is a play that charts the remarkable, actual event of a meeting between Heinrich Himmler, Adolf Hitler’s Reichsfuhrer and Norbert Masur, a Swedish representative of the World Jewish Congress. The meeting, brokered by Himmler’s masseuse Felix Kersten took place in the final weeks of World War Two at Kersten’s country estate just outside Berlin and achieved an outcome of seeing the negotiated release of several thousand women from Nazi concentration camps.

Writer Ben Brown was wise in spotting the dramatic potential of this meeting. Played out in the intimate cockpit of London’s Park Theatre, this should have been an enthralling night of theatre. But the enormity of the subject matter overwhelms both Brown’s narrative and the performance of Ben Caplan as Masur. There is too much poorly crafted irony in the script, alongside moments of tedious narrative that a sharper literary mind night have honed to greater linguistic counterpoint. And Caplan, who is tasked with delivering a truly complex challenge in managing Masur’s encounter with one of the architects of the Holocaust, fails to master his character’s depths.

There is sound and measured work from Richard Clothier (Himmler) and Michael Lumsden (Kersten), making the best of the script that they are given, but even so it all drags far more than a story of such magnitude deserves. 

There is a fine and noble history lesson that is told at the Park. If only Alan Strachan’s production could match the greatness of its underlying story.

Runs until 28th May
Photo credit: Mark Douet

Sunday 1 May 2022

New York's TWA Hotel - Review


Opened in 2019, and listed by Time Magazine as one of the World's Greatest Places of that year, New York's TWA Hotel located in JFK Airport is built in and around Eero Saarinen’s stunning TWA Terminal building, constructed in 1962 and now a New York designated landmark as well as being listed in the USA’s  National Register of Historic Places.

Arriving by plane or train the hotel, adjacent to Terminal 5, is reached via the Airtrain shuttle and then a short walk. As one approaches the building piped music plays Jimmy Webb’s 1967 Up, Up And Away, recorded by The Fifth Dimension, a tune that TWA was to incorporate into their advertising a few years later. Vintage cars are parked outside, before one then enters Saarinen’s building where the design touches are the perfect combination of class and kitsch. There's even a Twister room!

1960s Kitsch

Checking in on arrival takes place at what was once the airline’s check-in counters, before taking one of the two original (and would have been very futuristic in their time) tube-like corridors to the respective accommodation buildings - both of which are new-build - that provide approximately 500 well appointed and spacey rooms. And yes, before one asks, the sound-proofing is immaculate. In the bedrooms the peace and quiet is better than a typical NY midtown location with not even a whisper of JFK’s aircraft noise.

But back to the 1960’s theming. Throughout the public areas the muzak, set at a comfortable background level, is appropriately calibrated to a mix of Beatles, Monkees, Sam Cook and other era-appropriate classics. But it is so much more than that. TWA’s original departure boards (with the letters that clicked and flicked over) have been lovingly overhauled to display fictitious departures and arrivals that update throughout the day, that flicking sound in itself a blast from the past, with airlines of the period listed by their respective flights. To the UK, the departure board includes both the BOAC (remember them?) and TWA flights. American competitor Pan Am is noticeably absent from the display.

The payphones are of the period too, with 1960s posters and memorabilia (typewriters, luggage carts) subtly positioned to add to the ambience. Above all though it is Saarinen’s magnificent, swooping, functional architectural curves that define the hotel’s beauty.

It is a note of historical irony, that Saarinen’s building (conceived some years’ earlier in the 1950s) was created for the passenger loads of the turbo-prop Constellation aircraft, the hitherto backbone of the TWA fleet. Saarinen could not have foreseen the impact of Boeing’s 707 jet airplane onto the airline industry, a plane that was to ramp up both passenger volumes and journey range and thus almost started his terminal building’s decline into obsolescence from the outset. The hotel however pays a further remarkable tribute to the airline’s flying history with “Connie” a vintage, de-commissioned Constellation now serving as one of the coolest cocktail bars in New York City!


There’s a wonderfully and very warm infinity pool on the roof. So as the chilly NY winds whip in from the Atlantic, to sit in the pool with (another) cocktail in hand watching the planes take-off and land is another great way to pass the time. For those keen on fitness there is also a large and very well appointed 24-hour gym.

The cultural, design and architectural impact of the building was significant and the hotel has curated replicas of Howard Hughes' office and Eero Saarinen's design workstation together with a collection of TWA uniforms.


The food in the Paris Cafe restaurant is freshly made and well presented at typical NY prices. On my first night the tuna tartare followed by pizza were both impressive. On the second night the fillet steak was equally well prepared and served. There is also a 24-hour food court serving simpler and far more average fare, which is itself a nice touch given that many guests could be arriving/departing the hotel at anti-social hours.

Located on JFK's remote outcrop of Queens and at least an hour away from midtown Manhattan, the hotel is niche and not best located for those looking to either enjoy the city’s traditional tourist spots or commercial centres or indeed to load themselves down with shopping. But no matter - if you are flying into or out of New York and your schedule permits, the TWA Hotel makes for a sublimely styled experience.

Oh, there's a roller-skating rink around Connie too that this visit was not able to include. However it can be reported that Connie’s Mile High Margaritas are terrific!

Owned and managed by MCR Hotels, to book the TWA click here