News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st July 2011

The National Theatre is to stage the premiere of Stephen Beresford's The Last Of The Haussmans, about a former hippy who, now a mother, has to live with the consequences of her misspent youth, with Julie Walters, directed by Howard Davies, next summer.

Decade, a site specific project staged in a disused office building in St Katharine Docks, the former site of London's World Trade Centre, conceived and developed by Rupert Goold and Robert Icke, with contributions by a number of writers, will examine responses to the terrorist attack on New York's World Trade Centre on 11th September 2001, directed by Goold, with choreography by Scott Ambler, opening on 8th September. It is a co-production by Headlong theatre company and Chichester Festival Theatre.

The summer season at the Southbank Centre will include the return of Victoria Chaplin and Jean-Baptiste Thierree creating a world of uncanny illusions in their magic and circus show Les Cirque Invisible, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, from 2nd to 21st August.

New York TheatreNet: The world premiere of Theresa Rebeck's Seminar, a dark comedy about world famous novelist giving a seminar to four young writers, with Alan Rickman, directed by Sam Gold, will open at a Broadway theatre yet to be announced in the autumn; and the musical Bonnie & Clyde, telling the story of the Depression-era criminals who captured the imagination of the country, book by Ivan Menchell, music by Frank Wildhorn, lyrics by Don Black, featuring Laura Osnes and Jeremy Jordan, directed and staged by Jeff Calhoun, will open at the Schoenfeld Theatre on 1st December. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

On The Casting Couch: Tracey Ullman will be joined by Tom Riley, David Troughton, Sorcha Cusack, San Brooke and Hannah Arterton in Stephen Poliakoff's My City, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 15th September; and Sheila Hancock, Anna Chancellor and Angela Thorne will feature in Nicholas Wright's The Last Of The Duchess, opening at Hampstead Theatre on 26th October.

The autumn season at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch will include the musical The Young Ones, adapted by John Plews from the screenplay of the 1961 film by Peter Myers and Ronnie Cass, in which a group of teenagers band together to save their youth club from demolition, directed by Matt Devitt, opening on 26th August; John Godber's Up 'n' Under, a comedy about a poorly performing rugby team who flourish when they get taken in hand by a female gym instructor, directed by Bob Carlton, opening on 30th September; and The Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde, a new adaptation by Chris Bond of the gothic novella by Robert Louis Stevenson, directed by Matt Devitt, opening on 28th October.

Broadway Musicals: The Biggest Hit & The Biggest Flop Of The Season, 1959-2009 by Peter Filichia, published by Applause Theatre And Cinema Books, looks at shows that met either the most glorious or the most ignominious fates. The hits are obvious, but the selection of flops is of course subjective: shows that flopped on Broadway, before reaching Broadway, or even before leaving the rehearsal hall. The mantra that in musical theatre 'nobody knows anything' is reinforced by the shows that seemed destined to succeed but didn't, such as Breakfast At Tiffany's and 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, weren't expected to have a chance, but did, such as Man Of La Mancha and Grease, and that sounded terrible when they were announced, such as Via Galactica and Carrie, and turned out to be even worse than anyone expected. Perhaps the most interesting aspect to the book are the 'hits' that have not been heard of since, and the 'flops' that have subsequently found new life. In addition to the 100 chosen ones, Filichia touches on any number of additional shows in passing, and the book is full of surprising and interesting information.

Buxton Festival, centred on the spectacular Opera House designed by Frank Matcham, running from 9th to 27th July, will include new festival productions of Donizetti's Maria di Rohan, directed by Stephen Medcalf; Handel's Saul, directed by Olivia Fuchs; and Thomas's Mignon, directed by Annilese Miskimmon; and a revival Telemann's Pimpinone, directed by Donald Maxwell; plus the Music Theatre Wales production of Mark Anthony Turnage and Jonathan Moore's Greek, directed by Michael McCarthy; the Bampton Classical Opera production of Cimarosa's The Italian Girl In London, directed by Jeremy Gray; and a community production of Stephen McNeff's Tarka The Otter, directed by Robin Tebbutt. Further information can be found on the Buxton Festival web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Christopher Hampton's When Did You Last See My Mother?, set in the 1960s, about two young flatsharers with divergent personalities, one of whose mother's opens their deepest secrets and pulls them into calamitous new territory, directed by Blanche McIntyre, will play at the Trafalgar Studios 2, opening on 16th September.

The Theatre Royal Bath is to stage 18 new productions over 3 years in the Ustinov Studio, all of which will be British premieres. These will include Calderon De La Barca's The Phoenix Of Madrid, translated and directed by Laurence Boswell, from 14th September, in repertoire with Goethe's Iphigenia, in a new translation by Meredith Oakes, also directed by Boswell, from 21st September; and Pierre de Marivaux's The Surprise Of Love, in a translation by Mike Alfreds, from 9th November. The company will include Peter Bramhill, Adam Jackson-Smith, Frances McNamee, Laura Rees and Milo Twomey.

The Rumour Machine says: that Joanna Lumley and Robert Lindsay may play Eleanor of Aquitaine and Henry II, in the first ever West End production of James Goldman's 1965 play The Lion In Winter, directed by Trevor Nunn, at the Haymarket Theatre in the autumn; that Adrian Lester and Rory Kinnear may head the cast of Shakespeare's Othello, directed by Nicholas Hytner, at the National Theatre in 2013; and that the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Cats adapted from Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats by T S Eliot, will return to the West End, also in 2013. The Rumour Machine grinds on.