News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st June 2007

The Royal Shakespeare Company's current Stratford productions of Shakespeare's King Lear and Chekhov's The Seagull, with Ian McKellen, Frances Barber, William Gaunt, Romola Garai, Sylvester McCoy, Monica Dolan, Jonathan Hyde and Ben Meyjes, directed by Trevor Nunn, will play a West End season at the end of their world tour, in repertoire at the New London Theatre from 12th November.

The long discussed new musical adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind, the epic saga of the south during the American Civil War, with music and lyrics by American Margaret Martin, also directed by Trevor Nunn, will follow at the New London Theatre in April. The producers are Aldo Scrofani and Colin Ingram.

The Old Vic Theatre has announced its 2007/2008 season. As previously forecast here, it opens with Samuel Adamson's adaptation of Pedro Almodovar's 1999 film All About My Mother, the story of a single mother, who, following the death of her son, goes in search of his father, and gets caught up in the lives of three women, with Lesley Manville and Joanne Frogatt, directed by Tom Cairns, on 4th September. Stephen Fry's new version of Cinderella will open on 9th December. David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, a behind the camera look at Hollywood, centring on a producer's decision to film a novel about a nuclear catastrophe and the end of the world, rather than his usual star laden surefire hit, with Kevin Spacey, will open in January. And finally, the previously announced Bridge Project productions of Hamlet and The Tempest, with Stephen Dillane, directed by Sam Mendes, will open in May.

New York TheatreNet: Once again there was a strong showing of British talent in this year's New York Drama Desk Awards. Tom Stoppard's The Coast Of Utopia took 7 awards, including Outstanding Play, Outstanding Director Play - Jack O'Brien and Outstanding Design - Bob Crowley and Scott Pask; Mary Poppins won Outstanding Musical Actor (Featured) - Gavin Lee and Outstanding Set Design Musical - Bob Crowley; R C Sherriff's Journey's End took Outstanding Play Revival; Frank Langella won Outstanding Play Actor for Frost/Nixon; Eve Best took Outstanding Play Actress for A Moon For The Misbegotten; Vanessa Redgrave won Outstanding Solo Performance for The Year Of Magical Thinking; and Edward Scissorhands took Unique Theatrical Experience. The big American winner was the musical Spring Awakening, which won Outstanding New Musical, Outstanding Music and Lyrics and Outstanding Director Musical. The full list of winners can be found on the Drama Desk Awards web site via the link from Organisations section of New York TheatreNet.

Samuel West will direct Patrick Marber's Dealer's Choice, about the participants in a regular poker game, opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark on 3rd October.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, David Storey's In Celebration, with Orlando Bloom, Lynda Baron, Gareth Farr, Tim Healy, Paul Hilton, Ciaran McIntyre and Dearbhla Molloy, directed by Anna Mackmin, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on 12th July. It is the story of three brothers who return home for their parents' 40th wedding anniversary, where long held grievances rise to the surface. The producer is Sonia Friedman.

Theatre Set-Up, the company that takes Shakespeare outdoors to historic settings across the country, is this year performing The Comedy Of Errors, with a company of eight, including Jenni Lea-Jones, Peter Lundie Wager, Wendy McPhee, Alex Marshall, Tony Portacio, Jo Price. Now in its 31st season, Theatre Set-Up works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, this year from 9th June until 19th August. The diverse venues include Fountain Abbey, Sutton Hoo, The Rookery Streatham Common, The Roman Theatre Verulamium and The Lost Gardens Of Helligan. Further information can be found on the TSU web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Further productions have been announced at Trafalgar Studios 2.

Owen McCaffrey's Mojo Mickybo, the story of two boys growing up in Belfast in the summer of 1970, with Martin Brody and Benjamin Davies, directed by Jonathan Humphreys, will open on 28th June, an Arcola Theatre production, presented by Strawberry Vale Productions. Martin Wagner's The Agent, about a high flying literary agent and a difficult author, directed by Lesley Manning, will open on 26th July, produced by Pinter & Martin. Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo's First World War story, adapted and directed by Simon Reade, will return on 5th September, a co-production by Bristol Old Vic and Scamp.

From The Hart, a new biomusical about the lyricist Lorenz Hart, devised and compiled by David Kernan, with book by John Kane, featuring Matthew Barrow, John Guerrasio, Lucy Kerans-Hunt, Louisa Maxwell and Peter Straker, directed by Caroline Clegg, will play at the New End Theatre in Hampstead from 12th June to 2nd September. The producers are Barbara Ferris, Steve E Holland and Ann Pinnington.

This year's Greenwich and Docklands Festival, which runs from 21st to 24th June, features processions, pyrotechnics and performance from major international companies, all free and taking place outdoors. Highlights include: Dutch company Close Act, with White Wings, presenting ethereal stilt apparitions; Derezo's Paper Men creating Kurosawa inspired performance from huge swathes of paper; France's Oposito, with 40 performers in a processional performance evoking the landscapes and traditions of Africa; Dancing City, with all kinds of dance and acrobatics in the squares and waterfronts of Canary Wharf, including Catalan company Sol Pico with their extraordinary mechanical structures, and Les Ballets Grooms with a street theatre interpretation of the great 19th century Russian ballets; and fantastic creatures, music, dance, aerial performances, processions and circus in one of the first free access public events to be held at The O2 Arena. Further information can be found on the G&DF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.