News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th February 2010

The 33rd London Handel Festival runs from 23rd February to 2nd April, with highlights including: a fully staged performance of the third version of Il pastor fido, bringing baroque dance to the Festival for the first time; Apollo e Dafne performed by La Nuova Musica, with Lucy Crowe and William Berger; Andrew Kennedy in the title role in the oratorio Belshazzar; and the Bach St Matthew Passion, performed as originally intended as part of Vespers, on Good Friday; plus walks, talks, masterclasses and lunchtime recitals. Events are mainly at St George's Church Hanover Square (best known as setting for the celebration of Alfred Doolittle's nuptials in My Fair Lady) plus the Foundling Museum, Grosvenor Chapel, Chapel of the Royal Hospital, Chelsea, Handel House Museum, Royal College of Music and Wigmore Hall. Further information can be found on the LHF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Penelope Skinner's Eigengrau, looking at the lives of four young professionals living and working in London, with Laurence Fox, Sinead Matthews, Alison O'Donnell, and John Cummins, directed by Polly Findlay, will open at the Bush Theatre on Shepherd's Bush Green on 15th March.

The Rose Theatre in Kingston will stage Joe Penhall's Dumb Show, a black comedy about a comedian's obsession with stardom and his willingness to go to extreme lengths to satisfy his craving for the celebrity lifestyle, directed by Stephen Unwin, from 7th April.

New York TheatreNet: John Logan's Red, a bioplay about the abstract artist Mark Rothko's struggle to accept his success, with Alfred Molina and Eddie Redmayne, directed by Michael Grandage, which is currently receiving its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Golden Theatre on 1st April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Royal Court Theatre is to stage four Theatre Upstairs productions in a disused shop in the Elephant and Castle shopping centre, under a new project called Theatre Local. The space will be reconfigured for each production, with passers by able to see in through the windows facing into the shopping centre. It will begin with Debbie Tucker Green's Random, which examines inner city youth violence, directed by Sacha Wares, opening on 3rd March, followed by Anupama Chandrasekhar's Disconnect, which shows the connections and disconnections between economies and people on opposite sides of the world, directed by Indhu Rubasingham; D C Moore's The Empire, which dissects the politics of occupation, home and abroad, directed by Mike Bradwell; and Anya Reiss's Spur Of The Moment, which looks at the distance between close family relations and a young girl on the brink of adolescence, directed by Jeremy Herrin. If successful, the idea will be repeated in other parts of London in later years.

Middle Ground Theatre Company's next production will be Prescription: Murder, adapted by Richard Levinson and William Link from their pilot episode of the American television series Columbo, about the eccentric but wily Los Angeles detective, with Dirk Benedict, directed by Michael Lunney, opening a regional tour at the Connaught Theatre in Worthing on 23rd March.

Move It 2010, the annual dance exhibition at Olympia from 12th to 14th March, will bring together all kinds of dance, with 100 performances, 300 classes at all levels, 20 seminars, 20 masterclasses, fashion shows and 180 commercial exhibitors. 45 minute taster classes, in everything from bollywood to ballroom, jazz to street, and ballet to salsa, costing just 3.75, will run continuously in 7 studios from 10am to 7pm on the first two days and 5pm on the final day.

The musical Monty Python's Spamalot, 'lovingly ripped off' from the film Monty Python And The Holy Grail, telling the tale of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table, book and lyrics by Eric Idle, music by John Du Prez, originally directed by Mike Nichols, with choreography by Casey Nicholaw, will open a national tour at the New Wimbledon Theatre on 29th May. The producer is the Ambassador Theatre Group.

The Half is a display that showcases the work of Simon Annand, a photographer of leading actors in the West End for the last 20 years, at the Victoria and Albert Museum until 11th April. It provides a rare glimpse into the dressing rooms of actors in their strictly private time before the show. 'The Half' is the half an hour before the curtain goes up, during which actors make up, dress, and focus their concentration for the performance. Whatever has gone on during the day, the actor must use this time to make a transition into the fictional character of the play. These photographs pay tribute to the dedication of stage actors and reveal not only technical skills, but also aspects of a very personal nightly ritual. Among those featured are Gillian Anderson, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Judi Dench, Kiera Knightley, Jude Law, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, Helen Mirren, Vanessa Redgrave, Kevin Spacey and Rachel Weisz.

The Union Theatre Southwark's all male production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance, directed Sasha Regan, with choreography by Lizzi Gee, will be remounted at Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping, opening on 18th April.

The Remains Of The Day, a musical adaptation of the novel by Kazuo Ishiguro, the recollections of his life by an English butler, book, music and lyrics by Alex Loveless, directed by Chris Loveless, with musical staging by Omar F Okai, will play at the Union Theatre from August 31st. The producers are Simon James Collier, Fallen Angel Theatre Company and Poppy Ben-David.

The next production by Shared Experience Theatre Company will be Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, with Patrick Kennedy, Emma Lowndes, Kyle Soller and Imogen Stubbs, directed by Polly Teale, a co-production with Salisbury Playhouse, where it opens a national tour on 4th March. It is the story of an overbearing mother and her son, who is torn between an obligation to his family and his desire to break away, in 1930s St Louis.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage productions of Willy Russell's female centred comedies Educating Rita and Shirley Valentine in repertoire later this year; and that David Haig will star in Peter Jay and Jonathan Lynn's stage adaptation of their television sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, opening a prospective pre West End tour in the summer. The Rumour Machine grinds on.