News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 1st November 2002

The Traverse Theatre production of Rona Munro's Iron, which was an Edinburgh Fringe hit, will transfer to the Royal Court Theatre from 27th January to 1st March. It tells the story of the encounter between a mother serving a term of life imprisonment for murder and her daughter, who she has not seen for 15 years. The original cast of Helen Lomax, Louise Ludgate, Sandy McDade and Ged McKenna is directed by Roxanna Silbert.

The Bush Theatre continues its 30th anniversary season by presenting the Naked Talent Festival of new writing until 21st December. This opened with adrenalin…heart by Georgia Fitch, in which 'sex, race, drugs and verbals' collide, directed by Mike Bradwell; continues with Falling by Shelly Silas, a teenage angst/midlife crisis comedy, directed by John Tiffany; and concludes with Untouchable by Simon Burt, a tale of two eighteen year olds in search of a good time, directed by Natasha Betteridge.

Dundee Rep's local musical comedy The Mill Lavvies returns for a third season from 6th to 23rd November. This slice of life in a Dundee mill in the 1960s, with book and lyrics by Chris Rattray, and music by Michael Marra, is directed by Hamish Glen. It features four of the original cast, Rodney Matthew, John Buick, Peter Spence, and Michael Marra, who are joined by Andrew Clark, Alexandra West and Robert Paterson.

Brits On Broadway: Jeremy Sams has provided the English translation for Amour, a new French musical about a minor civil servant who finds his life transformed when he discovers he can walk through walls, which has just opened at the Music Box Theatre. The show is based on a story by Marcel Ayme, with music by Michel Legrand and original book and lyrics by Didier van Cauwelaert, stars Malcolm Gets and Melissa Errico, and is directed by James Lapine. . . Jonathan Kent makes his New York (and musical) debut directing a revival of Man Of La Mancha, the Don Quixote musical, with book by Dale Wasserman, music by Mitch Leigh and lyrics by Joe Darion, starring Brian Stokes Mitchell and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, opening at the Martin Beck Theatre on 5th December. . . Victoria Hamilton and Eddie Izzard will reprise their recent West End performances in Laurence Boswell's production of Peter Nichols A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg in the spring. . . Sam Mendes production of Gypsy, with book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, starring Bernadette Peters, which opens at the Shubert Theatre on 24th April, will be designed by Anthony Ward and co-produced by Robert Fox.

Almost British and almost on Broadway, Beach Radio, with music by Gerard Kenny, and book and lyrics by Drey Shepperd, which won the Book, Lyricist and Most Promising Musical awards at the Vivian Ellis Prize in 1999, is playing its US premiere season at CAP 21. Set on a sun-kissed beach and exploring youthful yearnings under the all knowing spell of a radio sex guru, it is a kind of Grease for the current generation.

Prunella Scales, Gillian Axtell, Susan Harrison, Annie Rowe and James Livingstone star in the UK premiere of Too Far To Walk, by Mary Morris, at the King's Head Theatre from 20th November to 8th December. The Australian play, based on actual incidents, is the story of a woman held in a mental institution for fifty years, whose only hope is that she will be reunited with her sister, who she has not seen since childhood. It is directed by Lucy Skilbeck and produced by Wayne Harrison, Robert C Kelly and Ross Mollison.

The much respected quarterly magazine Show Music has announced that the current issue will be its last. Founded as a six page newsletter in 1981 by editor Max O. Preeo, it had grown to become a musical theatre bible with a world wide readership, although it had operated at a loss since Goodspeed Opera House took it on in 1991. Concerted attempts to find alternative funding to keep it going have thus far been unsuccessful. So if there's a philanthropist with an interest in musicals with $50,000-$100,000 a year to spare, get in touch with Goodspeed and save help to save an institution.

An Immaculate Misconception 'a serious comedy about the art of reproduction, without the joy of sex' by scientist-turned-playwright Carl Djerassi runs at the Bridewell Theatre from 15th November to 1st December. It tackles the repercussions of current state of the art reproductive technology, and is directed and produced by Andy Jordan.

Tom Courtenay stars in the world premiere of Pretending To Be Me, which he as also compiled, at West Yorkshire Playhouse Leeds from 22nd November. The show is directed by Ian Brown.

The Rumour Machine at the National Theatre says: that a sponsorship deal is close which would enable it to charge just £10 for seats in the Olivier for a period next year, in a further initiative designed to draw in young audiences; that Love's Labours Lost will join Anything Goes in repertoire in February, featuring the same cast; and that Nicholas Hytner is to form a collegiate of associate directors (as the National used to have in its early days) when he takes over next year, with Howard Davies, Declan Donellan, Edward Hall and Katie Mitchell at the front of the contenders. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . The Old Vic has a £250,000 scheme to temporarily convert its auditorium into two spaces (similar to the recent one at the National). The plan by Jean Gui Lecat will create a 200 seater studio space and reduce the a main auditorium capacity to 600. It's one thing to do this to the concrete box of the Lyttelton, where almost anything would be an improvement, but to carve up the fine proportions and plasterwork of the Old Vic is quite another. It would be more to the point if the management devoted their energy to getting in a decent show - it's not the auditorium that's the problem.