News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd January 2003

Shakespeare's Globe has announced details of this year's season, which is expanded to five productions, under the umbrella title of The Season Of Regime Change, running from 8th May to 28th September. It comprises: Richard II, with Mark Rylance and Liam Brennan, in a traditional all male production employing the clothing, music, dance and settings of the original Globe, directed by Tim Carroll; Richard III, starring Kathryn Hunter, in an all female production in original Globe style, directed by Barry Kyle; Christopher Marlowe's Dido Of Carthage, an epic tale of ancient Greeks and Gods in a contemporary 'modern practices' production; Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, with Liam Brennan in an all male production in original Globe style, directed by Timothy Walker; and The Taming Of The Shrew, in an all female production in original Globe style, directed by Barry Kyle. Booking opens on 12th February.

The Theatre Royal Bath has a trio of regional tours about to commence. Rik Mayall stars in Noel Coward's comedy of backstage life Present Laughter, opening at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 20th January. Mayall plays a matinee idol actor besieged by ex-wives, mistresses, business partners and fans - a role originated by Coward himself. Patrick Dromgoole directs. Donald Churchill's mid life crisis comedy Love And Marriage, with Adam Faith, opens on 21st January at Churchill Theatre Bromley, directed by Mark Clements. Lesley Joseph and Edward Hardwicke star in Alan Bennett's Office Suite, directed by Lawrence Till, which opens at Theatre Royal Bath on 11th February. It is a double bill of one act plays set among the back biting, illicit romances and thwarted egos of the 'form filling in triplicate' world of the pre IT office.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, a new version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's roller skating extravaganza Starlight Express will open an American tour at the Grand Hotel and Casino in Biloxi on 1st April. It will include a revised script and lyrics by David Yazbek, a new physical production designed by the original West End designer John Napier, with the race sequences prefilmed in 3D, directed by his son Julian Napier. The show will be directed and choreographed by the original choreographer Arlene Phillips. Trevor Nunn the original director will not be involved. The producer is Troika Entertainment, who staged a version of the show in Las Vegas, which had a four year run from 1992.

Michael Pennington, Gillian Barge and Linda Bassett head the cast of Henrik Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman, in a new translation by Stephen Mulrine, which opens a regional tour at Malvern Theatre on 20th February. The play is a portrait of a family close to destruction, interweaving jealousy, unrequited love, and betrayal. Stephen Unwin directs the English Touring Theatre production.

Advanced booking has opened for one of the highlights of this year's Edinburgh International Festival, which will run from 10th to 30th August. It is Scottish Opera's first staging of the complete cycle of Wagner's Der Ring des Nibelungen, directed by Tim Albery, featuring Matthew Best and Elizabeth Byrne, conducted by Richard Armstrong, which SO has been building towards since 2000. The full Festival programme will be announced on 27th March, with the programme for the Fringe, which will run from 3rd to 25th August, announced in June. Further information can be found on the Edinburgh Festival and Fringe web sites via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

The Goodman Theatre in Chicago has acquired the musical stage rights to Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City, first seen in serial form in the San Francisco Chronicle, and later in six novels and three television series. The tales are set in the mid to late 1970s, and focus on the colourful residents of a boarding house run by a mysterious Mrs Madrigal. The musical is currently in development under the direction of the Goodman Theatre's artistic associate David Petrarca.

The spring season at Sadler's Wells includes visits by Garth Fagan Dance with Woza renewing Fagan's association with South African composer Lebo M, after their collaboration on The Lion King; Northern Ballet Theatre with Wuthering Heights David Nixon's latest classic adaptation, to a score by Claude-Michel Schonberg; the debut of Compania Nacional de Danza, Spain's most celebrated modern dance company; Phoenix Dance Company with a triple bill of new works; English National Ballet with a programme of modern ballet premieres; and Paul Taylor Dance Company with Company B, celebrating America in the lindy hopping, jitterbugging 1940s.

Gillian Taylforth makes her stage debut with Gary Mavers and Julie Buckfield in Bad Blood by Richard Stockwell, which combines a psychological thriller with a couple's desire for a child, opening a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 28th January. The director is Roger Redfarn.

The Crucible Theatre Sheffield's spring season includes: Euripides Iphigenia, in a new version by Edna O'Brien, with Lloyd Owen and Susan Brown, directed by Anna Mackmin, from 5th February to 1st March; the world premiere of Philip Pulman's The Firework-Maker's Daughter, adapted by Stephen Russell, in which a young woman's ambition is to be a firework-maker, but her father won't tell her the final trade secret, directed by Paul Hunter and Hayley Carmicheal of Told By An Idiot, from 12th March to 5th April; and in the Studio, Macbeth, reworked for a cast of only four - Finbar Lynch, Lucy Wybrow, Ashley Miller and Rebecca Johnson - directed by James Phillip, from 30th January to 22nd February.

A veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, led by Jules Fisher, the doyenne of Broadway lighting design, makes up the faculty for the return of the Broadway Lighting Master Classes in their 9th season, which will be held in New York from 26th to 29th June. The programme includes a visit to a new Broadway show, complete with a backstage tour, and a discussion with the design team, plus a manufacturers showcase and other events. For the first time this year there will be an accompanying Broadway Sound Master Classes programme, led by Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary sound design. It also includes a visit to a Broadway musical, with a backstage tour and critique of the sound design, plus a manufacturers showcase. Full details can be found on the Entertainment Design web site via the link from The Emporium section of TheatreNet.