News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd July 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Gaiety Theatre Dublin production of The Shawshank Redemption, adapted by Owen O'Neill and Dave Johns from Stephen King's novella, in which a man serving two life sentences finds hope through friendship with a fellow inmate, with Reg E Cathey and Kevin Anderson, directed by Peter Sheridan, will transfer to Wyndham's Theatre opening on 13th September.

Heartbreak Productions is presenting its 18th season of classic plays performed outdoors in historic settings across the country, with Kenneth Grahame's The Wind In The Willows, adapted by Fergus Durrant, directed by Marie McArthy, Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Peter Mimmack, and Jane Austen's Emma, adapted by Peter Mimmack, directed by Zachary Holt. Heartbreak Productions works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, until 30th August. The diverse venues include Bradley Manor Newton Abbot, The Secret Garden Ross-on-Wye and Hampton Open Air Pool Middlesex. Further information can be found on the HP web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Australian playwright Andrew Bovell's Speaking In Tongues, with John Simm, Ian Hart and Kerry Fox, directed by Toby Frow, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on 28th September. The complex multi-layered thriller interweaves nine parallel lives, four infidelities, one missing person and a mysterious stiletto, drawn together through the investigations of a detective. It received its British premiere at Hampstead Theatre in 2000 and was subsequently adapted into the film Lantana. The producers are Blue Horizon Productions and Sweet Pea Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The Donmar West End production of Shakespeare's Hamlet, with Jude Law, Kevin R McNally, Penelope Wilton, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and Ron Cook, directed by Michael Grandage, is to transfer to Broadway, opening at the Broadhurst Theatre on 6th October; and Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood will head the cast of the musical Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark, directed by Julie Taymor, which will begin previews at the Hilton Theatre on 25th February, although casting for the title role, and an official opening date, have yet to be announced.

This year's Royal Shakespeare Company annual open day in Stratford upon Avon will be on 19th July. It will provide the usual opportunities for theatre lovers to learn about the company's backstage activities, with talks, demonstrations and tours by members of the sound, lighting, props and scenery, costume and make up, armoury, fight and movement, voice, music, production and direction departments. Although the Royal Shakespeare Theatre is still undergoing refurbishment, as well as the current Courtyard Theatre, and outdoor events in the gardens, for the first time, events will also take place in the RSC's new Waterside Space education centre. Further information can be found on the RSC web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Next year's Spring Dance season at the London Coliseum, from 30th March to 24th April, will comprise Carlos Acosta, appearing with Ballet Nacional de Cuba in the mixed bill Magia De La Danza, bringing together extracts from 7 of the company's most famous ballets, and Swan Lake; the Mark Morris Dance Group performing L'Allegro, Il Penseroso Ed Il Moderato, which combines Handel's music, Milton's poetry and set design inspired by William Blake; and Birmingham Royal Ballet with The Sleeping Beauty. The season is produced by Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay and Sadler's Wells.

The Three Choirs Festival this year rests at Hereford, from 8th to 15th August. Featured events mark a series of anniversaries: the 250th of Handel's death with Israel In Egypt; the 200th of Haydn's death with The Seasons/Jahreszeiten, Te Deum and Heiligmesse; and the 200th of Mendelssohn's birth with Elijah and Violin Concerto. There are also 'seasonal' works by Britten, Vivaldi and Stravinsky. Further information can be found on the TCF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at Hampstead Theatre will include: Philip Ridley's The Fastest Clock In The Universe, a strange birthday party in the East End of London looks as though it will have a violent ending, directed by Edward Dick, opening on 22nd September, a co-production with The Curve Leicester and The Fish Partnership; Atiha Sen Gupta's What Fatima Didů, set in and around a secondary school exploring the consequences of a girl's decision to wear the Hijab, opening on 27th October; I Found My Horn, a one person show written and performed by Jonathan Guy Lewis, from Jasper Rees's book about a man's journey from mid life crisis to the concert platform via a French horn, directed by Harry Burton, opening on 11th November, produced by Sweet Spot Productions; and Michael Punter's Darker Shores, a Victorian ghost story set in a remote house on the Sussex coast, with Julian Rhind-Tutt and Mark Gatiss, directed by Anthony Clark, opening on 7th December.

The British Shakespeare Company, the producer of outdoor Shakespeare, is this year presenting A Midsummer Night's Dream and Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Robert J Williamson, with a company that includes Mark Arden, Steven Blakeley, Daniela Lavender and Gabriel Thomson. Performances are at castles, gardens and churches across the country until 29th August. Further information can be found on the BSC web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The new plan for the launch of Love Never Dies, the sequel to The Phantom Of The Opera has been revealed. Instead of productions opening simultaneously in London, New York and Shanghai, it will now open at the Adelphi Theatre in London early next year, with Sierra Boggess and Ramin Karimloo in the leading roles, and then transfer (with them) to New York in the autumn. Meanwhile, designer Bob Crowley's new scenic technology will be tested at the Adelphi this autumn, to ensure that the technical production process runs smoothly by the time it meets the performers. It is set 10 years after the original show, in Coney Island in New York, where the Phantom is running a sideshow, at which Christine comes to perform, bringing her 10 year old son.

The Rumour Machine says: that the arena style production of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, currently playing in a specially constructed pavilion in Kensington Gardens, may return at Christmas; and that Mark Hollman and Greg Kotis's Tony Award winning musical Urinetown, a parody about a futuristic society where people have pay to 'use the bathroom' written in a pseudo Brechtian style, will receive its British premiere at The Curve in Leicester, directed by Paul Kerryson. The Rumour Machine grinds on.