News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd November 2007

The Peter Hall Company production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Tim Pigott-Smith, Michelle Dockery, Tony Haygarth, Pamela Miles and Una Stubbs, directed by Hall, recently seen at the Theatre Royal Bath, will transfer to the Old Vic Theatre, opening on 15th May. Now more famous as 'My Fair Lady without the songs', the period social comedy tells the story of the transformation of a flower seller into a lady by an eccentric phonetics professor.

The Donmar Warehouse has confirmed its spring productions. Small Change, written and directed by Peter Gill, set in 1950s Cardiff, about the friendship between two boys and the relationship with their mothers, and things that go unsaid and are forever unresolved, will open on 15th April. Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden, the story of a 16 year old who lives in a fantasy world and runs wild in the garden of a manor house, whose life changes with the appointment of a mysterious governess, with Penelope Wilton, directed by Michael Grandage, will open on 11th June. These will be followed by Strindberg's Creditors, Pedro Calderon de la Barca's Life Is A Dream, and T.S Eliot's The Family Reunion.

The Menier Chocolate Factory production of Patrick Marber's Dealer's Choice, about the participants of a regular poker game, on a night when things turn nasty, with Malcolm Sinclair, Roger Lloyd Pack, Samuel Barnett, Ross Boatman, Jay Simpson and Stephen Wight, directed by Samuel West, will transfer to the Trafalgar Studios 1 on 11th December. The producers are Chocolate Factory Productions, Bob Boyett and Sonia Friedman Productions, in association with Dena Hammerstein/Pam Pariseau and Tulchin/Bartner.

New York TheatreNet: London stars Daniel Evans and Jenna Russell will be joined by Michael Cumpsty, Alexander Gemignani, Jessica Molaskey and Mary Beth Piel, when the Menier Chocolate Factory production of Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine's musical Sunday In The Park With George, about the nature of art, telling the story of the creation of French Pointillist painter Georges Seurat's painting 'A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte' and of the characters it portrays, opens on Broadway at Studio 54 on 21st February.

Blag Theatre Company, who are performing Entertainment ...My Arts!, a parody of West End musicals, reality TV and film classics, Downstairs at the Arts Theatre in Great Newport Street on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month, has a unique pricing policy. The show is in 3 sections, each running for around 25 minutes, and audiences pay just 5 for the first part, and can then stay on for one or both of the other sections for a top up payment of 2 for each section. The next show is on 6th November at 9pm, 10pm and 11pm. Pay as you go reaches the comedy circuit.

The London Bubble Theatre Company production of Hans Andersen's The Tinderbox, adapted and directed by Jonathan Petherbridge, with Craig Byrne, Gabrielle Douglas, Ashley J, Rosa-Marie Lewis, Harry Napier, Sophie Russell and Glenn Tillin, will play a season of mostly daytime performances at The Albany in Deptford from 5th December to 5th January. It tells the story of a boy's quest to retrieve the box from an underground cavern, guarded by a succession of dogs.

The Theatre of Eternal Values production of William Blake's Divine Humanity, by Tim Bruce, Monia Giovannangeli, Deborah Eckman, Paul Duncan, will play at the New Players Theatre at Charing Cross from 22nd November to 2nd December. It is a journey through Blake's books, setting the story of Jerusalem against living tableaux of his engravings from The Book of Job, interspersed with key moments in his life, presented in words, music and dance. There will be an accompanying series of lunchtime music, reading and poetry events, presented by the Friends of William Blake Group, in association with the Blake Society, as part of their celebration of the 250th anniversary of the birth of William Blake.

The Christmas season at The Little Angel Theatre in Islington, home of British puppetry, will comprise a new production of Cinderella, a contemporary piece of puppet theatre using marionettes and rod puppets, directed by Peter Tiplady, with music by Hannah Marshall; together with Cinders, a special adaptation of the same story for 2 to 5 year olds, playing daytime performances in repertoire from 10th November to 27th January.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, a stage adaptation of Flashdance, the 1983 film about a welder and part time exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a dance school and becoming a ballet dancer, directed by Kenny Leon and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, will open a prospective pre West End season at the Theatre Royal Plymouth next summer. The producers are Christopher Malcolm and David Ian.

The Carl Rosa Opera Company will play a short season of Gilbert and Sullivan operettas at the Gielgud Theatre, performing The Mikado from 30th January to 9th February, Iolanthe from 11th to 16th February, and The Pirates Of Penzance from 18th to 23rd February. It will be presented by Raymond Gubbay.

Never Forget, a musical featuring the back catalogue of the group Take That, with a book by Danny Brocklehurst, about a Take That tribute band, directed by Ed Curtis, with choreography by Karen Bruce, which has been touring, will transfer to the Savoy Theatre, opening on 21st May, following a further tour in the spring. The producers are Tristan Baker and Bronia Buchanan.

The Birmingham Stage Company production of Roald Dahl's Danny, Champion Of The World, adapted by David Wood, with Gareth Warren, Richard Nichols, Iwan Tudor, Thomas Woodman, Gareth Clarke, Ruth Calkin, Tasha Johnson, Aidan McCarthy, Dan McGarry and Amy Tweed, directed by Phil Clark, which is currently touring, will play at the Bloomsbury Theatre from 11th December to 26th January. It is the story of the son of a poacher and his battle to stop the local landowner from evicting them and their caravan from his land.

And Finally . . . Open Doors is an Arts Council England project to get more young people interested in behind-the-scenes jobs in theatre. 30 venues across the country will be hosting Open Days this month to enable 14 to 25 year olds to 'meet the professionals', and find out what backstage life is really like. Well it's not like the movies - and it's certainly not like 'reality TV' - so it may put off more people than it encourages (but then that may not be a bad thing). Further information can be found on the ACE web site, via Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.