News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th January 2007

The Society Of London Theatre is staging its fifth Get Into London Theatre initiative, designed to encourage new and young theatregoers to experience the wealth of theatrical fare to be found all over London. Discounted tickets are available for over 60 shows, including opera, ballet and dance, in over 40 venues, encompassing West End, fringe and suburban theatres. Tickets are at 10, 15, 20, 25 or 30 (according to the venue) for selected performances from 10th January to 17th March. Restaurants are taking part with accompanying deals, and there are also hotels offering special mini-breaks. New for this year, there are extra special offers for 16-25 year olds at midweek matinees, and a 5 voucher for every booker for use at the tkts official half price ticket booths. Booking opens at noon on 9th January. Further information can be found via the link opposite.

The Bristol Old Vic company's winter season at the Theatre Royal includes the world premiere of Frank McGuinness's version of Henrik Ibsen's Ghosts, in which a mother tries to shield her son from the moral lapses of his late father, with Simon Shepherd, Sian Thomas, John Stahl, Seainin Brennan and Sam Crane, directed by Robert Bowman, opening on 30th January; Not The End Of The World, based on Geraldine McCaughrean's book about what happened to Noah's Ark after the flood, adapted and directed by Simon Reade, opening on 13th March; and Edmond Rostand's Cyrano de Bergerac, in a new version by Ranjit Bolt, with Robert Bowman, directed by Simon Reade, opening on 9th May. Productions in the Studio will include stagings of two books by Michael Morpurgo: The Mozart Question, about a violinist who refuses to play Mozart, adapted by Simon Reade, directed by Julia McShane, opening on 7th February, and a retelling of Aesop's Fables, adapted and directed by Sally Cookson, opening on 30th March.

The Place is presenting its 18th Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, running until 17th February. A record breaking 114 companies, selected from hundreds of applicants from this country and abroad, have an opportunity to present their work, with three different 30 minute programmes each night. The First Footing strand is open to all who have completed full time dance training, while Evolution is for those who have appeared in the season in previous years, and Aerowaves premieres works produced elsewhere in Europe. It offers a chance to spot the choreographic and dancing stars of tomorrow at bargain prices. This year sees some of Britain's most talented dancers cutting their choreographic teeth, including Hubert Essakow, Mikaela Polley, Melanie Teall, Angela Towler, Martin Joyce and Renaud Wiser of Rambert Dance Company, Yolande Yorke-Edgell, a member of Richard Alston Dance Company, and Natasha Gilmore, a member of Protein Dance, perform their first choreographed solos. Full details can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Postcards From God - The Sister Wendy Musical, by Marcus Reeves and Beccy Smith, with Myra Sands, Juliet Gough, Louise Hollamby, Andrea Miller and Catherine Millsom, directed by Omar F Okai, will play at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 8th January to 3rd February. It tells the story of the nun who found fame presenting television series spreading her homespun philosophy that art is meant for everyone. The producer is Simon James Collier for Mr Theatre in association with Jermyn Street Theatre.

In The Icons In London, Greg London, the London born American raised impressionist, will give his portrayals of diverse personalities from Arnold Schwarzenegger to Kermit the Frog, at The Venue, off Leicester Square, from 16th January to 24th February.

The Spring season at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston includes Chasing The Moment, written by and starring Jack Shepherd, with Jim Bywater, in which four jazz musicians in an East End club attempt to define themselves in the world of jazz and in each other's eyes, directed by Mehmet Ergen, opening on 22nd January; the Stella Quines Theatre Company production of Torben Betts's The Unconquered, about a fiercely intelligent young girl and her relentless rejection of the establishment, directed by Muriel Romanes, opening on 27th February; Clean Break Theatre Company's British premiere production of Linda Brogan's Black Crows, the story of the love of three women from three generations for one man, directed by Tessa Walker, opening on 8th March; the Sphinx Theatre Company production of Beatrix Campbell and Judith Jones's Blame, an uncompromising view of the inner city underclass, directed by Deborah Bruce, opening on 27th March; the world premiere of Leyla Nazli's Silver Birch House, about a peasant family in the turbulent political climate of 1970's Turkey, directed by Mehmet Ergen, opening on 8th May; and Sinan Unel's Pera Palas, an epic play charting the political and cultural changes that have created modern Turkey, opening on 12th June.

SPILL, a new festival, will bring performance, live art and experimental theatre to London from 2nd to 22nd April. It will include 52 live performances, 6 world premieres, 5 companies making their UK debuts, 3 commissions, a 2 day symposium, a participatory exhibition and 3 feasts where audience members can talk to the performers about what they have seen. Among those taking part are Andre Masseno, Eve Boneau, Forced Entertainment, Francoise Berlanger, Hancock & Kelly, Julia Bardsley, Kira O'Reilly, Pacitti Company, Raimund Hoghe, Sheila Ghelani and Unreasonable Adults. Venues include Shunt Vaults beneath London Bridge Station, Soho Theatre, South Bank and Barbican. Further information can be found on the SPILL web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

English Touring Theatre's winter tour of Terence Rattigan's French Without Tears, with Ben Carpenter, Rupert Young, Ben Mansfield, Terrence Hardiman, Adam James, Jenna Harrison, Hugh Skinner and Hannah Yelland, directed by Paul Miller, opens at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 14th February.

In the comedy set in the 1930s, a group of young men sent to learn French at a villa on the Riviera find that there's more to life than language. This will be followed by the premiere of Drew Pautz's Someone Else's Shoes, a 'free market' comedy about art, advertising and life, directed by Stephen Unwin, a co-production with the Soho Theatre, where it opens on 8th March.

Prior to this at the Soho Theatre, Tim Crouch will perform his play An Oak Tree, co-directed by Crouch, Karl James and A Smith, opening on 4th February. The two person play takes place during a performance by a hypnotist, who inadvertently calls up as a volunteer a man from his past, whose daughter he killed in a car accident. The twist is that each night Crouch will be joined by a different actor, who has neither seen nor read the play they are in.

Ian Curteis's The Bargain, a back comedy that postulates a meeting between newspaper tycoon Robert Maxwell and missionary nun Mother Teresa, with Michael Pennington, Anna Calder-Marshall and Susan Hampshire, will open a prospective pre West End season at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 16th April.

The Rumour Machine says: that Paul McCartney is working with Kate Robbins and Steve Brown on a fictionalised autobiographical stage show, developed from his Liverpool Oratorio, composed with Carl Davis, to be launched next year as part of Liverpool's City of Culture programme; and that Harold Pinter Sketches, 11 rarely seen short works by Harold Pinter, assembled and directed by Sean Foley, may have a West End showing, following a charity event featuring Bill Bailey, Kevin Eldon, Geraldine McNulty and Sally Phillips. The Rumour Machine grinds on.