News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st October 2004

The Arts Theatre is to host a double bill of one man shows. Toby Young will make his stage debut in How To Lose Friends And Alienate People, Tim Fountain's adaptation of Young's account of his unsuccessful attempt to conquer New York working for Vanity Fair, previously seen at the Soho Theatre, opens on 28th October with performances at 9pm. It will be joined from 1st December with early evening performances of Becky Mode's Fully Committed, with Mark Setlock as a struggling actor/reservation maker at Manhattan's most fashionable restaurant, which has put the new fringe venue the Menier Chocolate Factory on the map, where it runs until 17th October.

Tommy Steele returns to the title role in Leslie Bricusse's musical Scrooge, adapted from the film based on Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, directed by Bob Thomson, with choreography by Lisa Kent, at the Palace Theatre in Manchester from 7th December to 15th January. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Sherlock Holmes comes to the stage - and visits the West End - in the new thriller, The West End Horror, by Anthony Dodge and Marcia Milgrom Dodge, which premieres on 26th November at the Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, Florida. Holmes and Watson encounter George Bernard Shaw, Ellen Terry, Bram Stoker, W S Gilbert, Arthur Sullivan and Oscar Wilde in the theatreland of 1995, as they endeavour to solve the murder of a theatre critic.

Michael Blakemore's memoir Arguments With England, recently published by Faber, traces a remarkable journey, firstly from Sydney to Britain in the 1950s to work as an actor, and then from the horrors of weekly rep to award winning director in both London and New York. During this time Blakemore's career included as an actor, seasons at Stratford, a tour behind the Iron Curtain with Vivien Leigh and Laurence Olivier, and a forlorn crush on a teenage Joan Collins. His directorial success with the original production of A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg led on to directing Olivier in Long Day's Journey Into Night among many National Theatre productions, and becoming the only person ever to have won Tony awards for best director of both a play and a musical - Copenhagen and Kiss Me Kate - in the same year. Candid observations about life and art sit alongside recollections of working with theatre legends.

The annual Pick Of The Fringe season, featuring double bills of the Perrier Award finalists, will run on Sundays in October at the Gielgud Theatre: 10th - Adam Hills and Reginald D Hunter; 17th - Sarah Kendall and Chris Addison; and 24th - Wil Hodgson and Jackson's Way. There will also be a Pick Of The Fringe bill featuring Jackson's Way, Wil Hodgson, Sarah Kendall and Reginald D Hunter, compered by Adam Hills on 21st October at The Dome in Brighton. Further information can be found on the Perrier Comedy Awards web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

Ballet Russe, the young British ballet troupe made up of Eastern European dancers, most of whom trained in Russia at the Bolshoi and Kirov Academies, is currently touring traditional productions of Giselle, Coppelia, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake and La Fille Mal Gardee.

Kerry Michael's new regime at the Theatre Royal Stratford East will be inaugurated with The Battle Of Green Lanes, by Cosh Osmar, directed by Michael, running from 15th October to 13th November. It explores the enmity between London's Greek and Turkish Cypriot communitiess, and involvement with Muslim fundamentalism. The Christmas production will be Sleeping Beauty by Hope Massiah and Delroy Murray, running from 9th December to 22nd January.

The Theatre Investment Fund and the Society Of London Theatre, in association with the Arts Council of England, is inviting further applications for a New Producer's Bursary. The bursaries are intended to support individuals in progressing their careers as theatre producers. Successful applicants will be able to use the bursary to develop and/or present a new production. In addition to a broad package of financial assistance of up to 15,000 per applicant, the scheme also provides the benefit of an established industry figure as a mentor for the project, and possibly shared office accommodation in Central London. For further information and an application form, send an A4 SAE to: New Producer's Bursary, Theatre Investment Fund, 32 Rose Street, London WC2E 9ET. The closing date for this round of applications is 3rd November.

Unicorn Children Theatre has two new productions upcoming. Storyteller Sally Pomme Clayton will present a new version of Rama And Sita: Path Of Flames, the traditional eastern tale of an incredible journey, at the Pleasance London from 22nd October to 14th November. Ken Campbell's version of Old King Cole, will play at the Cochrane Theatre from 25th November to 9th January.

On The Casting Couch: Ian McKellan will be joined by Roger Allam, Sam Kelly, Maureen Lipman, Joe McFadden and Cat Simmons in Aladdin, opening at the Old Vic on 17th December; and Peter Blake is to play the title role, alongside Anita Louise Combe, Chris Corcoran, John De Ville, Craig Nicholls and Sarah Redmond in Oscar Wilde, opening at the Shaw Theatre on 19th October.

The next series of Inside Theatreland events at the Theatre Museum will chart the history of West End nightclubs, from the rowdy song rooms of Regency London to the glare of media publicity during the Profumo affair in the 1960s. On 7th October John Earl talks about their 19th century origins; 4th November Terry Charman examines the golden age from 1914 to 1945; and 2nd December Geoffrey Marsh marks their decline in the changing post war world. Meanwhile, International Nights look at what's going on in other performing arts centres. On 21st October - South Africa, 18th November - New York, and 16th December - Russia. All events are from 5.30pm to 8.30pm. Further information can be found on the TM web site via the link from the Information section of TheatreNet.

Brits On Broadway Richard Easton joins Dana Ivey in Sheridan's The Rivals, directed by Mark Lamos, opening on 16th December at the Vivian Beaumont Theater, the first Broadway production of the classic comedy of mistaken identities, romance, and pretensions for over 60 years; and William Hootkins, Jane Krakowski and Christina Ricci will star in Terry Johnson's Hitchcock Blonde, opening next May.

The reborn Cheek By Jowl company's production of Othello, directed by Declan Donnellan, with Nonso Anozie, Kirsty Besterman, Oliver Boot, Matthew Douglas, Michael Gardiner, Jaye Griffiths, David Hobbs, Alex Kerr, Ryan Kiggell, Caroline Martin, Robin Pearce and Jonny Phillips, plays a London season at the Riverside Studios from 12th November to 4th December.