News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd March 2012

It's Official! The current Royal Shakespeare Company Stratford production of David Edgar's Written On The Heart, exploring the hazards faced and legacy left by the King James Bible's earliest translators, with Oliver Ford Davies, Bruce Alexander, Stephen Boxer and Jodie McNee, directed by Gregory Doran, will transfer to the Duchess Theatre, opening on 23rd April. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Joe Orton's farce What The Butler Saw, set in a psychiatrist's office, with Omid Djalili, directed by Sean Foley, will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on 16th May. The producer is MJE Productions.

Scottish Ballet's new production A Streetcar Named Desire, based on the play by Tennessee Williams, which follows the woes of a faded Southern belle, and her road to madness aided by her violent brother in law, set to a jazz score by Peter Salem, directed by Nancy Meckler, choreographed by Anabelle Lopez Ochoa, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal in Glasgow on 11th April, which will include Sadler's Wells from 26th April.

New York TheatreNet: It has been confirmed that the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Matilda, book by Dennis Kelly, music and lyrics by Tim Minchin, about a little girl with astonishing wit, intelligence and psychokinetic powers, directed by Matthew Warchus, with choreography by Peter Darling, will be restaged on Broadway next spring. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The summer season at Pitlochry Festival Theatre will comprise the musical Little Shop Of Horrors, music by Alan Menkin, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, loosely based on Roger Corman's 1960 film about a flesh eating plant; John Buchan's 1920s stiff upper lip British spy story The 39 Steps, adapted by Patrick Barlow, from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, in which 4 actors play 139 characters; Patrick Hamilton's Rope, in which two students commit a murder in order to prove that they are clever enough to get away with it; Alan Ayckbourn's Communicating Doors, where a woman goes through a door in a hotel room and finds herself in the same room 20 years earlier, and then, in an effort to get back, 40 years earlier; J M Barrie's Dear Brutus, a midsummer night fantasy of unhappy couples finding true love in the Arcadian woods of 1917; and Joseph Kesselring's Arsenic And Old Lace, the classic American black comedy, telling the tale of two little old ladies who poison 'sad and lonely old men' as a act of charity, and bury them in the basement of their Victorian home in Brooklyn.

Rob Hayes's Step 9 (Of 12), about an alcoholic who is apologising for his past (with plenty to apologise for), with Blake Harrison, directed by Tom Attenborough, will open at Trafalgar Studio 2 on 4th May. The producer is James Quaife.

Glyndebourne Festival Opera's 2012 season, running from 20th May to 26th August, will comprise: new productions of Janacek's The Cunning Little Vixen, directed by Melly Still; Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Michael Grandage; and a double bill of Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole and L'Enfant et les sortileges, directed by Laurent Pelly; plus revivals of Peter Hall's production of Rossini's La Cenerentola; David McVicar's production of Puccini's La boheme; and Jonathan Kent's production of Purcell's The Fairy Queen. There are study events at Glyndebourne giving historical background and musical analysis of the new productions, and pre performance talks on each of the productions.

Neil Simon's Barefoot In The Park, a comedy about newlyweds who rent an apartment in a building with eccentric neighbours, with Maureen Lipman, Oliver Cotton, Faye Castelow, Dominic Tighe, David Partridge and Hayward Morse, directed by Maureen Lipman with Peter Cregeen, will open a national tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 28th March.

The spring season at the New Wolsey Theatre in Ipswich will include Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, the story of four couples, at different stages in their relationships, whose lives intersect over the course of an evening - with self-assembly furniture as an added complication, directed by Peter Rowe, from 19th April; and Punchdrunk's show for children, The Crash Of The Elysium, by Tom MacRaem, from an original idea by Steven Moffat, a promenade production about a Victorian ship with a mysterious cargo that ran aground, directed by Felix Barrett, from 15th June.

Apollo's Angels: A History Of Ballet by Jennifer Homans, published by Granta, is a definitive history of classical ballet. The story moves from the 16th century courts of Europe, where ballet was an aspect of aristocratic etiquette and a political event as much as it was an art, through to today, from Italy and France to Britain, Denmark, Russia and contemporary America. Homans reveals how ballet reflected political and cultural upheavals, how dance and dancers were influenced by the Renaissance and French Classicism, by Revolution and Romanticism, by Expressionism and Bolshevism, Modernism and the Cold War. She looks into the lives of dancers and traces the formal evolution of technique, choreography and performance. The book ends by looking at the contemporary crisis in ballet now that 'the masters are dead and gone', and offers a passionate plea for the centrality of classical dance in our civilization. Beautifully written and illustrated, the book is essential reading for anyone interested in history, culture and art.

The spring season at the Mercury Theatre in Colchester will include Arnold Wesker's Roots, the rural kitchen sink play, with Linda Broughton, Roger Delves-Broughton, Gina Isaac, Thomas Richardson, Natasha Rickman, Adrian Stokes, Tim Treslove and Ella Vale, directed by Andrew Breakwell, from 13th April; and Brian Friel's Dancing At Lughnasa, the story of 5 sisters in rural Ireland in the 1930s, directed by Janice Dunn, from 31st May.

The Rumour Machine says: that Stephen Sondheim is working on a new musical with playwright David Ives, although the subject is unknown; and that Andrew Lloyd Webber is looking at the possibility of writing a musical about Dr Stephen Ward and his part in the Profumo scandal of the 1960s. The Rumour Machine grinds on.