News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st May 1998

The Old Vic is back with a vengeance, as following the season by Marcel Marceau will come the ubiquitous Almeida Theatre. Its current sell out production of Eugene O'Neil's The Ice Man Cometh is to transfer there from 19th June to 1st August. Kevin Spacey will remain in the lead, with as many of the all star ensemble as are available to continue. Howard Davies directs.

The Society Of London Theatre, with support from The Mackintosh Foundation, is presenting Kids Week in the West End from 18th to 24th May. Children between 5 and 16 can go free (when accompanied by a paying adult) to over 35 West End shows. As availability is limited some shows are already sold out, but most still have some seats. Various accompanying events are being staged during the week, including backstage tours of the Garrick and Criterion Theatres, a Cats Tea Party, an opportunity to meet the cast of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, a Theatreland walking tour and a Shakespeare's Globe Walkshop. For information and booking call the hot line on 0171 413 1413.

Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens have found that the power of disco is not strong enough to overcome the West End critical drubbing they received, and are retreating to a distant galaxy in order to regroup their forces. As a result, David Farr's footballing comedy Elton John's Glasses will open at the Queen's Theatre on 10th June. Originally produced at the Palace Theatre Watford, it features Brian Conley and Gabrielle Glaister and is directed by Terry Johnson. Michael Codron and Lee Dean are the producers.

The Warehouse Theatre, Croydon has announced its 13th International Playwriting Festival, supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation. It is held in two parts: a competition with entries from all over the world, followed by a series of workshops and readings, leading on to the presentation of the best work on 27th, 28th and 29th September. For full details send a stamp addressed envelope to Rose Marie Vernon, Warehouse Theatre, Dingwall Road, Croydon CR0 2NF, or visit their web site via the link in our UK Regional Theatres section. The deadline for entries is 6th July.

A TV star laden revival of Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall's play Billy Liar opens at the King's Head Theatre on 27th May, with Paul Nicholls, Sherrie Hewson, Rebecca Callard and George Layton. One of the seminal stories of the '60's, the tale of the North Country Walter Mitty who seeks refuge in make believe, moved from novel to play to film and finally to musical, being played variously by Albert Finney, Tom Courtney and Michael Crawford.

As part of the City Of London Festival, the Bridewell Theatre is presenting a new musical Eyam, with book and lyrics by Stephen Clark and music by Andrew Peggie from 8th July to 1st August. It is the true story of the Derbyshire villagers struck by plague in 1665, who voluntarily isolated themselves from surrounding towns and villages to prevent the disease from spreading. As a result in little over a year 267 of the 350 inhabitants were dead. Clive Paget directs. The City Of London Festival web site can be found via our Festivals section. Tune The Grand Up!, a new compilation show of the work of composer and lyricist Jerry Herman, conceived by Paul Gilger and directed and choreographed by Bill Starr will follow at the Bridewell, running from 6th to 29th August.

BITE:98 - Barbican International Theatre Event of drama, music theatre and dance will run from 25th May to 17th October. Drama highlights include the Steppenwolf Company's production of The Man Who Came To Dinner; the Ninagawa Company's Hamlet and the National Theatre of Craiova's Orestia. Music theatre includes Monsters Of Grace by Robert Wilson and Philip Glass and Peony Pavilion by Tan Dun directed by Peter Sellars. Dance will include visits by the companies of Twyla Tharp and Merce Cunningham.