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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th August 2014

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Tim Firth's Neville's Island, relating the misadventures of four out-of-condition, out-of-their-depth businessmen on an out-of-control 'team building' exercise, with Adrian Edmondson, Miles Jupp, Neil Morrissey and Robert Webb, directed by Angus Jackson, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on 21st October. It is presented by Jamie Hendry Productions.

The current Regent's Park Open Air Theatre production of To Kill A Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee's novel about prejudice in a small southern town during the American great depression of the 1930s, directed by Timothy Sheader, will return with its original lead Robert Sean Leonard, opening at the Barbican Theatre on 2nd July. The producers are Regent's Park Theatre, Fiery Angel and Adam Spiegel.

The winter season at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will include the musical Assassins, book by John Weidman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, about people who have made attempts on the lives of American Presidents, directed by Jamie Lloyd, from 21st November; and Jonathan Tolins's Buyer & Cellar, a solo play about a struggling Los Angeles actor who finds himself working in the personal shopping mall in Barbra Streisand's basement, with Michael Urie reprising his award winning New York premiere performance, directed by Stephen Brackett, from 11th March.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Motown The Musical, a back catalogue musical based on the life of Berry Gordy, the record producer who founded the Motown label, directed by Charles Randolph-Wright, with choreography by Patricia Wilcox and Warren Adams, will open at the Dominion Theatre next summer. The producers are Kevin McCollum, Doug Morris and Berry Gordy.

Edinburgh Fringe Report: Once again this year the Edinburgh Fringe broke all records, selling over 2m tickets for the first time. Year on year, tickets increased at a faster rate than the rise in the number of productions, meaning that average audiences were up. The 2.2 million tickets issued represented a 12.4% increase compared with 2013, while the number of productions rose by 11.2% to 3,193. Across the fringe, there were 49,497 performances, meaning that the average audience at a show was 44.1 people, up from 42.7 in 2013. These figures do not take into account the number of visits to the growing number of free productions, or the 'off-fringe' shows not listed in the event's official programme.

The Birmingham Stage Company production of Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part II, adapted from Terry Deary's series of children's books, by Deary, Neal Foster and Ciaran McConville, with Neil Foster, Alison Fitzjohn and Anthony Spargo, directed by Neal Foster, will return to the Garrick Theatre, playing daytime performances from 13th December to 4th January.

New York TheatreNet: TACT/The Actors Company Theatre will stage Frank Marcus's The Killing Of Sister George, about an actress whose character in a long running soap opera is killed off resulting in the disintegration of her life, with Cynthia Harris, Darrie Lawrence, Margot White and Caitlin O'Connell, directed by Drew Barr, opening at the Beckett Theatre at Theatre Row on 7th October. On Your Feet!, a biomusical featuring the back catalogue of Gloria Estefan and her musician-producer-entrepreneur husband, Emilio Estefan, book by Alexander Dinelaris, directed by Jerry Mitchell, with choreography by Sergio Trujillo, will open at the Marquis Theatre on 5th November next year. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

As the picnic hampers and travel rugs are packed away for another year, Glyndebourne Touring Opera takes to the road until December, following a launch mini season of performances on its home turf from 4th to 25th October. The repertoire comprises: this season's new productions of Verdi's La traviata, directed by Tom Cairns; and Mozart's La finta giardiniera, directed by Frederic Wake-Walker; and a rival of Jonathan Kent's 2006 production of Benjamin Britten's The Turn Of The Screw.

Meanwhile, Glyndebourne has announced that its 2015 season will comprise new productions of Donizetti's Poliuto, with Michael Fabiano and Ana Maria Martínez, directed by Mariame Clement in its British professional premiere; Mozart's Die Entfuhrung aus dem Serail, with Sally Matthews, Mari Eriksmoen and Edgaras Montvidas, directed by David McVicar; and Handel's Saul, with Christopher Purves, Iestyn Davies, Lucy Crowe and Paul Appleby, directed by Barrie Kosky; plus revivals of Laurent Pelly's 2012 stagings of the double bill of Ravel's L'Enfant et les sortileges and L'Heure espagnole, with Danielle de Niese; David McVicar's 2002 interpretation of Bizet's Carmen, with Stephanie d'Oustrac, Paulo Szot and Lucy Crowe; and Fiona Shaw's 2013 touring production of Britten's The Rape Of Lucretia, with Kate Royal, Allan Clayton, Christine Rice and Duncan Rock.

End of Moving Walkway will stage Will Eno's Oh, The Humanity, And Other Good Intentions, an account of the absurdity of life, and its beauty, told through five simple but engaging stories, directed by Paul Lichtenstern, at the Tabard Theatre, in Turnham Green, from 3rd September.

Merlin Holland and John O'Connor's The Trials Of Oscar Wilde, using the words spoken at his trial to examine how Wilde fell from the peak of success to a prisoner serving two years hard labour, with John Gorick, Rupert Mason and William Kempsell, directed by Peter Craze, will play at Trafalgar Studio 2 from 13th October.

CURTAIN UP!

Opening This Week

Punishment Without Revenge - Shakespeare’s Globe
Lope de Vega’s a domestic Jacobean revenge tragedy, involving the illicit relationship between a son and his father’s intended bride, directed by Ernesto Arias, performed in Spanish.
Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games - London Palladium
Michael Flatley and Nadine Coyle in a new version of the show based on Irish folklore, a classic tale of Good vs Evil, expressed through the universal language of dance.
The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare’s Globe
Shakespeare’s broadest comedy, involving the misunderstandings engendered when identical twin masters separated at birth and their identical twin servants encounter each other for the first time.

OVERTURES AND CURTAIN CALLS

First Nights

September
1st - Punishment Without Revenge - Shakespeare’s Globe
3rd - Lord Of The Dance: Dangerous Games - London Palladium
4th - The Comedy Of Errors - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - King Charles III - Wyndham’s
14th - The Play That Goes Wrong - Duchess
15th - Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville
16th - Ballyturk - National Lyttelton
17th - Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
22nd - Evita - Dominion
22nd - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
23rd - Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court
25th - James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock / James II: Day Of The Innocents / James III: The True Mirror - National Olivier
26th - Great Britain - Haymarket

Finales

August
30th - The Bodyguard - Adelphi
30th - Let The Right One In - Apollo
31st - I Believe In Unicorns - Vaudeville
31st - Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain Part 2 - Garrick
September
4th - Medea - National Olivier
6th - The Elephantom - New London
6th - Hetty Feather - Vaudeville
6th - Punishment Without Revenge - Shakespeare’s Globe
7th - The Tiger Who Came To Tea - Lyric
13th - To Kill A Mockingbird - Open Air
13th - The Pajama Game - Shaftesbury
13th - The Crucible - Old Vic
20th - The Importance Of Being Earnest - Harold Pinter
20th - Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense - Duke of York’s
21st - Let It Be - Garrick
27th - My Night With Reg - Donmar Warehouse
27th - Richard III - Trafalgar Studios 1