News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd December 2005

The Donmar Warehouse was the big winner in this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards. Its productions taking Best Actor: Simon Russell Beale - The Philanthropist, Best Actress: Harriet Walter - Mary Stuart and artistic director Michael Grandage Best Director - Grand Hotel (and Sheffield Theatre's Don Carlos). The Best Play was The Home Place by Brian Friel, and Billy Elliot was Best Musical. The full list of winners can be found on the This Is London web site via the link from Guides in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Ian Marshall Fisher's Lost Musicals series, presenting neglected shows by great American Broadway theatre writers, is returning with a new season of Sunday afternoon semi staged performances at the Lilian Baylis Theatre. Nymph Errant, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter and book by Romney Brent, based on the novel by James Laver, following the adventures of a girl who leaves boarding school in the 1930s and travels the world in order to experience life, will play from 2nd April to 7th May. The original version of Flower Drum Song, with music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein and book by Oscar Hammerstein and Joseph Fields, about the clash of old and new cultures in San Francisco's China Town in the 1950s, will play from 11th June to 9th July.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Dept A reminder that this is the peak season for the purchase of Theatre Tokens. Available in units of 5, 10 and 20, they can be exchanged for tickets at over 230 venues nationwide, including all West End theatres. As they have no expiry date, the recipient can choose which show they want to see, and when and where they want to see it. The Tokens are delivered in a presentation pack with a free theatre guide, and can be combined with chocolates, programme and drinks vouchers, accommodation or meal packages, or a Christmas box with a diary and card. Tokens are available from most theatres, major bookshops and ticket agencies, and the tkts Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Canary Wharf. Alternatively they can be bought direct from the 24/7 Tokenline on 0870 164 8800 or online from the Theatre Tokens web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet. As they say, don't just give an object this Christmas - give an emotional experience.

Bristol Old Vic is presenting the world premiere of Philip Pullman's version of Aladdin And The Enchanted Lamp, adapted from his book, directed by Aletta Collins, at the Theatre Royal Bristol from 7th December to 28th January. It takes a more serious look at the Arabian Nights tale, with a ne're do well Aladdin reformed by his experiences (and Widow Twankey and the washing determinedly absent). The company comprises Danny Worters, Robert Gwilym, Ferdy Roberts, Mia Soteriou, Debbie Chazen, Nicole Charles, Bhasker Patel, Matthew Sim, Lloyd Notice, Natalie Best and Ian Bonar.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Daddy Cool, a compilation musical of the disco songs of Frank Farian, as recorded by Boney M, featuring singer (Michael Junior) Harvey, will open the Shaftesbury Theatre on 16th May. The book, by Amani Naphtali, is a contemporary 'Romeo And Juliet' style story about east and west London gangs. The show will be directed by Andy Goldberg, with choreography by Sean Cheesman, and produced by Robert Mackintosh and Frank Farian.

The Tall Stories production of The Snow Dragon, adapted by the company from the story by Toby Mitchell, who also directs, will play daytime performances at the Soho Theatre from 8th December to 8th January. Soho Theatre is presenting Deep End At Marshall Street Baths, a site specific promenade tour of the Marshall Street Baths by Corridor Theatre Company, in which visitors will interact with spirits of Soho past, from 12th to 18th December. The 30 minute tours start every 15 minutes from 2.30pm to 4.15pm and 6.30pm to 9.15pm. The Rough Magic production of Elizabeth Kuti's The Sugar Wife, with Cathy Belton, Barry Barnes, Sarah-Jane Drummey, Robert Price and Susan Salmon, directed by Lynne Parker, will play at the Soho Theatre from 17th January to 11th February. Set in Dublin's Quaker community in 1840s, the play examines sexual politics and political morality.

Riding Lights Theatre Company has channelled its characteristic blend of broad humour, mystery, and slapstick comedy into two shows with seasonal songs and carols providing different visions of the first Christmas. Scrub That Manger! by Neil Pugmire, directed by Bridget Foreman, provides a 20th century domestic perspective, while Signs And Blunders, by Paul Birch, directed by Paul Burbridge, offers a broader physical theatre approach. Both shows are on an extensive regional tour of one night stands until the big day.

The Bath Shakespeare Festival will run from 7th to 18th March at the Theatre Royal Bath. It will include the first European appearance by the Australian Bell Shakespeare Company with The Comedy Of Errors, directed by John Bell; a Romanian production of Twelfth Night, directed by Silviyu Purcarete; the American company T.E.A.M. with A Thousand Natural Shocks, a reinterpretation of Hamlet; and Tim Crouch with his one man versions of Macbeth - i, banquo - and A Midsummer Night's Dream - i, peaseblossom. There will be an accompanying programme of education projects and other events, including a masterclass weekend, and late night performance, poetry, dance and music. Further information can be found on the Theatre Royal Bath web site via the link from Regional Theatres in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Michael Sheen will play David Frost in Frost/Nixon, by Peter Morgan, about the interviews Frost had with Richard Nixon after his resignation from the White House in 1977, which will open at the Donmar Warehouse in August, directed by Michael Grandage, and that Caroline O'Connor may bring her Australian success as Judy Garland in Peter Quilter's play with music End Of The Rainbow to London in March. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . The Barbican has commissioned Mark Ravenhill to write its first ever pantomime, Dick Whittington, which will be staged next Christmas from 5th December to 20th January. It aims to be a traditional family pantomime - but with a contemporary feel. So presumably Dick will hear the bells telling him to "****ing turn again Whittington, three ****ing times Lord ****ing Mayor of ****ing London".