News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th July 2008

Rain Man, adapted for the stage by Dan Gordon, from the 1989 film, about a self-centred yuppie car dealer who discovers that he has an autistic-savant brother who has been hidden in an institution, with Josh Hartnett and Adam Godley, directed by David Grindley, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 9th September. The producer is Nica Burns.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Harold Pinter's No Man's Land, with Michael Gambon, David Bradley, David Walliams and Nick Dunning, directed by Rupert Goold, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on October 7th, following a season at the Gate Theatre in Dublin. It is a typically Pinteresque evening at the home of a wealthy Hampstead aesthete, his two friends, and a shabby penniless poet. The producers are Sonia Friedman and Michael Colgan.

The first in house production at the Elizabethan style Rose Theatre in Kingston will be Shakespeare's Love's Labour's Lost, with Peter Bowles, directed by Peter Hall, opening on 21st October. It will be preceded from 26th August by the transfer of the Peter Hall Company Theatre Royal Bath productions of Henry James's Portrait Of A Lady, about a young woman who is left a legacy and is the subject of schemes by two men to relieve her of it, adapted by Nicola Frei, with Catherine McCormack, Niamh Cusack, Jean Marsh, Anthony Howell and Finbar Lynch; and Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, in which a woman rebels against the confines of a Victorian marriage, with Catherine McCormack, Anthony Howell and Finbar Lynch, both directed by Hall.

A new musical, Imagine This, book and lyrics by Glenn Berenbeim and David Goldsmith, music by Shuki Levy, directed by Timothy Sheader, with choreography by Liam Steel, will open at the New London Theatre on 19th November. It tells the story of a group of actors in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Second World War who stage plays to inspire hope and optimism within their community. The show was first staged at the Theatre Royal Plymouth last year. The producers are Beth Trachtenberg, Anita Mann, Leigh Mason, Jean Mason and ICW Productions in association with the Theatre Royal Plymouth.

The next production at the Bush Theatre will be 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, a group of short plays and sketches on the theme of relationship breakups, by Lucy Chillery, Ben Ellis, Stacey Gregg, Lucy Kirkwood and Ben Schiffer, with Claire Keelan, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Ralf Little and Michelle Terry, directed by Anthea Williams, playing from 21st to 26th July.

Alan Ayckbourn latest play Life And Beth, in which a recently widowed woman faces her first Christmas alone, except for family members she would rather be without, and an unexpected guest, with Susie Blake, Ruth Gibson, Liza Goddard, Ian Hogg, Adrian McLoughlin and Richard Stacey, directed by Ayckbourn, is currently playing at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough. It is repertoire with two other Ayckbourn plays in which ghosts figure, Haunting Julia, where the ghost of an musician returns to help her father to discover if her death was suicide, an accident or murder, with Ian Hogg, Adrian McLoughlin and Richard Stacey, directed by Richard Derrington; and Snake In The Grass, in which two sisters try to patch up their relationship after the death of their father, with Susie Blake, Ruth Gibson and Liza Goddard, also directed by Ayckbourn.

The Society Of London Theatre has published the Box Office Data Report 2007, providing detailed analysis of attendance figures and box office returns in the West End, which includes the major commercial and grant aided theatres. Overall attendances in 2007 were the highest on record at 13,636,540, 10% up on 2006, with the capacity sold reaching 71%, the best figure ever, and 4% up on the previous year. The advance booking figure was up by more than 40% on 2006, which itself was a record breaker, thanks to the transfer of a number of Broadway musicals, 'reality television' cast revivals, and star names in plays. As well as exploring the attendance statistics as a whole, the report also analyses the differences in number of performances, attendance and receipts between the subsidised and commercial sectors, and discusses audience trends in relation to categories of production. The Box Office Data Report is essential reading for theatre investors, producers, and theatre marketers, as well as those in academic and government sectors dealing with the performing arts. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite below.

In-I, the long trailed contemporary dance theatre piece co-created, performed and directed by Juliette Binoche and choreographer Akram Khan, set to music by Philip Sheppard, which explores questions of love and relationships between men and women, will finally receive its world premiere at the National Theatre on 18th September.

Once again the National Theatre will be presenting Watch This Space, its free outdoor festival in Theatre Square, from 4th July to 28th September, with a programme of street theatre, music, circus, late night cinema, installations, dance, cabaret and other events. Highlights will include Australian Circus Ozstar with hula-hooping air hostesses; Zigmund & Froyd presenting a comedy magic act; Canadian company Corpus creating a live peep show; Polish company Teatr Biuro Podrozy with its Edinburgh Fringe hit production of Macbeth; and French musical theatre company Les Grooms performing The Threepenny Ring Cycle, their speedy adaptation of Wagner's epic. There are events every day of the week, beginning at different times from midday to 10.30pm. Further information can be found on the National Theatre web site, via the link from London venues in the links section of TheatreNet.

Coloured Lights: A Musical Celebration Of Kander And Ebb, featuring some of the less well know songs by the Broadway musical writing veterans, with Sarah Redmond, Marc Joseph, Tim McArthur and Laura Armstrong, directed by Tim McArthur, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 6th August.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Flamenco Flamen'ka, a dance show featuring flamenco, tango and contemporary dance, created and directed by Craig Revel Horwood, music by Bruno Ribera, with additional choreography by Jerome Couchart, Marjorie Ascione and Manuel Gutierrez Cabello, will open at the Lyric Theatre on 22nd September. Based on an original story by Karen Ruimy, who will perform and narrate the show, it centres on a love triangle which puts blood-ties to the test and ends in tragedy.