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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th October 2014

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Mark Hayhurst's Taken At Midnight, in which the mother of the anti-Nazi German lawyer Hans Litten confronts those who have imprisoned her son, with Penelope Wilton, Martin Hutson, Allan Corduner, Pip Donaghy, John Light, Mike Grady, David Yelland, Marc Antolin, Christopher Hogben and Dermot McLaughlin, directed by Jonathan Church, will be remounted at the Haymarket Theatre, opening on 26th January. It is presented by Mark Goucher, Laurence Myers, CFT Enterprises and TRH Productions.

Peter Barnes's The Ruling Class, a satire in which a paranoid schizophrenic with a Messiah complex inherits an Earldom, with James McAvoy, directed by Jamie Lloyd, will open at the Trafalgar Studios 1 onJanuary 27th.

The Royal Opera House's 2014/2015 season of relays of its productions to 1,000 cinemas around Britain and the world will comprise the ballets Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, Swan Lake and La Fille Mal Gardee, and the operas I due Foscari, L'elisir d'amore, Andrea Chenier, Der fliegende Hollander, The Rise And Fall Of The City Of Mahagonny, La Boheme and Guillaume Tell. All of shows will have repeat screenings on the Sunday following the live performance.

Lord Of The Dance - Dangerous Games, the Irish dance show directed and choreographed by Michael Flatley, which is just completing a run at the London Palladium, will play at the Dominion Theatre from 9th March, following a world tour.

The spring season at the Park Theatre in Finsbury Park will include the premiere of Michael Kingsbury's Contact.Com, a comedy exploring the pitfalls of Internet dating and the sexual and economic needs of two different couples, directed by Ian Brown, from 13th January; Brad Fraser's Kill Me Now, the story of a once-successful writer caring for his disabled teenage son who is struck by an unexpected disaster, directed by Braham Murray, from 19th February; the premiere of Jonathan Maitland's Dead Sheep, about Geoffrey Howe and his resignation speech that brought down Margaret Thatcher, with Steve Nallon, directed by Ian Talbot, from 1st April; and the premiere of Avaes Mohammad's double bill exploring the story behind contemporary British extremism, comprising Hurling Rubble At The Moon, directed by Jez Bond, and Hurling Rubble At The Sun, directed by Rod Dixon, from 13th May, presented in association with Red Ladder Theatre Company.

New York TheatreNet: Roundabout Theatre Company's 2015/2016 season at the American Airlines Theatre will include Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, in a new adaptation by Helen Edmundson, in which a young wife, with a sickly husband and forbidding mother in law, falls in love with another man, and together they murder the husband, setting in motion a spiral of guilt, which ruins their lives, with Keira Knightley, directed by Evan Cabnet, opening on 29th October; and Michael Frayn's Noises Off, showing the onstage and behind the scenes travails of a group of actors performing in a touring production of a farce, with Andrea Martin, directed by Jeremy Herrin. David Mamet's China Doll, a two hander in which a billionaire about to go into retirement takes one last phone call that changes everything, with Al Pacino, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will premiere on Broadway at a Shubert theatre yet to be announced next October. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The spring season at Sheffield Theatres will include in the Crucible: David Hare's The Absence Of War, a portrait of an unsuccessful Labour party leader, based on Hare's research with Neil Kinnock's campaign, with Reece Dinsdale, directed by Jeremy Herrin, opening a national tour from 5th February, a co-production between Sheffield Theatres, Headlong and Rose Theatre Kingston; Arthur Miller's Playing For Time, based on the memoir by Fania Fenelon about musicians in Auschwitz, directed by Richard Beecham, from 12th March; and Jane Austin's Pride And Prejudice, about the difficulties of finding suitable marriages for a clutch of daughters, adapted by Simon Reade, directed by Tamara Harvey, from 14th May; and in the Studio: Sarah Kane's Blasted, a violent confrontation between a middle aged tabloid journalist and a young woman, directed by Richard Wilson, Crave, four monologues which explore the need for love and 4.48 Psychosis, about suicide, both directed by Charlotte Gwinner, from 5th February; and Lucy Prebble's The Effect, exploring the psychology of love and the mysteries of the brain, directed by Daniel Evans, from 5th June.

Song Of Spider-Man: The Inside Story Of The Most Controversial Musical In Broadway History, by Glen Berger, published by Simon and Schuster, dishes the dirt most extraordinary - and expensive - production in theatre history. Glen Berger was chosen by director Julie Taymor to co-write the book for a $25m musical about the comic book character, with songs by U2's Bono and Edge. What followed was a 6 year pageant of foul-ups, falling-outs, and ever-more-harrowing mishaps. By the time the show finally opened, after a protracted 7 months of previews, and the departure of Taymor, the budget had reached $65m. Through it all, Berger observed the chaos with his signature mix of big ambition and self-deprecating humour, and here records the journey of this cast and crew as a hilarious memoir about friendship, collaboration, the foibles of hubris, and the power of art. Berger's book is one of the best recent accounts of the making and unmaking of a big Broadway show.

Seabright Productions will stage Potted Sherlock, featuring all 60 Sherlock Holmes stories in 80 minutes, created and performed by Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, with Lizzie Wort, directed by Hanna Berrigan, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 12th December.

Forthcoming productions at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton will include Lewis Carroll's Alice In Wonderland, in a new adaptation by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, directed by Elizabeth Newman, from 14th November; Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, the story of a Brooklyn longshoreman who has raised his orphaned niece, but become infatuated with her, and jealousy transforms him from a respected, honourable man to a virtual stranger, shamed and broken by his own actions, directed by David Thacker, from 15th January; and Stanley Houghton's Hindle Wakes, about the repercussions of an unmarried couple's illicit weekend away from a Lancashire mill town just before the First World war, directed by David Thacker, from 19th February, a co-production with the Oldham Coliseum.


Opening This Week

Sunny Afternoon - Harold Pinter
The Hampstead Theatre production of the biomusical about the early career of Ray Davies and The Kinks, with back catalogue songs by Davies, featuring John Dagleish, George Maguire, Adam Sopp and Ned Derrington, directed by Edward Hall.
‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore - Wanamaker
John Ford’s Jacobean tale of incestuous lust, obsessive revenge and graphic violence, with Max Bennett, Fiona Button, Stefano Braschi and Michael Gould, directed by Michael Longhurst.
Romeo And Juliet - National Temporary
The red shed bursts back into life with a contemporary urban take on the world’s greatest love story designed for younger audiences, directed by Bijan Sheibani.


First Nights

23rd - ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore - Wanamaker
28th - Sunny Afternoon - Harold Pinter
29th - Romeo And Juliet - National Temporary
3rd - Dance ‘Til Dawn - Aldwych
4th - John - National Lyttelton
5th - Made In Dagenham - Adelphi
6th - 2071 - Royal Court
12th - White Christmas - Dominion
18th - Behind The Beautiful Forevers - National Olivier


25th - Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games - London Palladium
25th - Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court
28th - James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock - National Olivier
29th - James II: Day Of The Innocents / James III: The True Mirror - National Olivier
1st - Evita - Dominion
14th - Romeo And Juliet - National Temporary
15th - 2071 - Royal Court
22nd - Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville