News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th July 1997

There is no news yet as to who the West End Eliza Doolittle will be in Bill Kenwright's troubled production of Pygmalion heading for the Albery Theatre on 28th July. But I can confirm that it will be followed at the Albery in October by Stepping Out The Musical. This is the adaptation of Richard Harris' play about a weekly tap class, with music by Denis King and lyrics by Mary Stewart-David, which played Plymouth and Leatherhead so successfully just before Christmas. It is now directed by Julia McKenzie, who directed the original production of the play, with choreography by Tudor Davies. Although largely recast, it retains Liz Robertson.

Another Bill Kenwright production The Mysterious Mr Love, is a first play by Karoline Lynch. Paul Nicholas and Susan Penhaligon star in the tale of a conman who lures an innocent shop assistant into his criminal scheme. It opens at the Comedy Theatre on 7th August with Bob Thompson directing. As with the previous two shows it transfers from the new Kenwright hit factory of Theatre Royal Windsor, so why not enjoy a day at the Castle or on the river, see the shows before the critics, and help to revive the fortunes of this historic theatre.

Simon Gray's new play Life Support which is currently touring, will open at the Aldwych Theatre on 5th August. Alan Bates continues his long association with Gray, playing an alcoholic writer who looks back on his life while his wife lies in a coma - hardly autobiographical at all. This is Gray's first work to reach the West End since the Stephen Fry incident with the ill fated Cell Mates. It is directed by Harold Pinter and produced by Duncan Weldon.

A showcase of A Saint She Ain't at the King's Head this week should lead on to a production, if the response of the star studded audience (I was the only person I hadn't heard of) was anything to go by. It's a musical adaptation of a Moliere play relocated to 1940's Hollywood, with each character played by a star of the time, including Mae West, W C Fields and Gene Kelly. The book and lyrics are by Dick Vosbrough and music by Denis King.

Michael Williams is to star in a revival of Patrick Garland's Brief Lives, based on the life and writings of seventeenth century eccentric John Aubery. Probably the best known and most performed one man show ever, it will always be associated with its original star Roy Dotrice, whose path crossed Williams at the Royal Shakespeare Company. This Bristol Old Vic production directed by Patrick Garland, will tour before coming in to the West End in the Autumn. Bristol will also tour Pete Postlethwaite as Macbeth directed by George Costigan from October with a possible West End season to follow.

Bonnie Langford will co-produce and star in the first London revival of Cy Coleman, Dorothy Fields and Neil Simon's Sweet Charity at the Bridewell Theatre next March. As a warm up, the show is being recorded this Sunday 6th July by the BBC, for broadcast in their Great Musicals series on Radio 2 later this year.

The Rumour Machine says: that when the Reduced Shakespeare Company opens The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) on 13th August, it will have three shows running simultaneously - only one fewer than Andrew Lloyd Webber; and that Always has extended its booking period from August to November - comparable to the Captain of the Titanic asking if any of the passengers wanted to book for the return trip. The Rumour Machine grinds on.