News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th May 2007

The National Theatre has announced further productions in its summer schedule. In the Olivier: Eugene O'Neill's The Emperor Jones, about an ex-convict who cons his way into becoming dictator on a remote island in the West Indies, with Paterson Joseph, directed by Thea Sharrock, reconceiving her Gate Theatre production of 2005. In the Lyttelton: Harold Pinter's The Hothouse, a sinister portrayal of government control set in a menacing state institution, with Stephen Moore, Paul Ritter, Lia Williams, Leo Bill, Finbar Lynch and Henry Woolf, directed by Ian Rickson. In the Cottesloe: two premieres, Matt Charman's The Five Wives Of Maurice Pinder, a look at married life and the alternatives, with Sorcha Cusack, Larry Lamb, Adam Gillen, Carla Henry, Clare Holman, Martina Laird, Tessa Peake-Jones and Steve John Shepherd, directed by Sarah Frankcom; and Clare Bayley's new version of The Enchantment, by 19th century Swedish writer Victoria Benedictsson, about an affair between artist and philanderer Gustave Alland and Louise Strindberg, directed by Paul Miller.

This year's Garsington Park Opera season, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', running from 9th June to 9th July, continues the policy of combining favourite operas with discoveries of little known works. It comprises Mozart's Il re pastore, with Iain Paton, Cora Burggraaf, Lucy Crowe, Natasha Jouhl and Thomas Walker, directed by Annilese Miskimmon; Rossini's La donna del lago with Carmen Giannattasio, Colin Lee, Michael Colvin, Alexandra Sherman, Dean Robinson, Claire Bessent and Nicholas Watts, directed by David Alden; and Strauss's Ariadne auf Naxos Orla Boylan, John Horton Murray, Wendy Dawn Thompson, Elizabeth Cragg, Russell Smythe, Daniel Norman, Quirijn de Lang, Nicholas Sharratt, Pascal Charbonneau and Andrew Slater, directed by Martin Duncan. Further information can be found on the GPO web site via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

London's longest running comedy, The Complete Works Of William Shakespeare (Abridged), created by Jess Borgeson, Adam Long and Daniel Singer (aka The Reduced Shakespeare Company), is to play a season at the Arts Theatre, from 12th June to 23rd September. With a cast of 3, the show condenses 37 plays into 97 minutes (including Hamlet performed forwards, backwards and sideways, Titus Andronicus as a TV cookery programme, and a rap version of Othello). This will not be a return of the RSC original, but a new production that is currently touring, produced by Mark Goucher, Act Productions and Wimpole Theatre.

Sadler's Wells Theatre, concert and opera producer Raymond Gubbay, and management company Askonas Holt, are to collaborate in presenting an annual five week spring dance season at the London Coliseum, starting next year. The idea being that with twice the capacity of the Islington venue, they can afford to present more expensive shows. The venture will be launched from 12th March to 12th April 2008, with four programmes by New York City Ballet, Stuttgart Ballet performing Romeo And Juliet, Carlos Acosta and guests from the Royal Ballet, and Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant performing Push. At that time the Coliseum's resident company, English National Opera, will be performing their new chamber opera season at the Young Vic.

The current touring production of Buddy, the biomusical about the 1950s American rock 'n' roller Buddy Holly, co-written by Alan Janes, who also produces, and Rob Bettinson, who also directs, will transfer to the Duchess Theatre, opening on 7th August. The title role is currently being shared by Dean Elliott and Matthew Wycliffe.

The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage the premiere of Jonathan Lewis and Miranda Foster's All Mouth, with Christopher Benjamin, Simon Chandler, Caroline Harker, Nigel Whitmey and James Russell, directed by Jonathan Lewis, opening on 31st May. The comedy is set in the world of the Soho voice over studio, and reveals the insecurities of actors, advertising agencies and studio staff.

Katherine Jenkins and Darcey Bussell will star together in Viva La Diva, a show in which they will portray singing and dancing stars of the past in many different styles, from Ginger Rogers to Maria Callas, opening a national tour at The Lowry in Salford on 25th November. The producers are SJM Concerts, Bandara Management and the TCB Group.

La Scala Ballet will return to the Royal Opera House Covent Garden from 25th to 29th July, performing Rudolf Nureyev's production of The Sleeping Beauty. Stars of La Scala, Sabrina Brazzo, Marta Romagna, Gilda Gelati, Mick Zeni and Alessandro Grillo will be joined by guest artists Leonid Sarafanov and Guillaume Cote. The season is presented by Victor Hochhauser.

The Rumour Machine says: that a new small scale production of the musical Rent, Jonathan Larson's contemporary reworking of La Boheme, which relocates the action in the East Village in New York in the 1990s, will be arriving at the Trafalgar Studios later this year; that Julie Taymor is to direct a Spiderman musical on Broadway, with music and lyrics by U2's Bono and the Edge; and that the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will stage British premiere of John Patrick Shanley's Broadway hit play Doubt, about a nun who suspects that a priest has sexually molested a student, directed by either John Madden or Nicholas Kent, later this year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.