News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th June 2009

The 2009/2010 season at the Old Vic Theatre will include Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee's Inherit The Wind, based on the 1925 Scopes 'Monkey' trial, over the right of a science teacher to educate his students on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution, with Kevin Spacey, directed by Trevor Nunn, opening on 1st October; and John Guare's Six Degrees Of Separation, inspired by the true story of a con artist who convinced wealthy Upper East Side Manhattan residents that he was the son of Sidney Poitier, directed by David Grindley, opening on 19th January.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, last year's Broadway production of Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, featuring a black cast, directed by Debbie Allen, retaining James Earl Jones and Phylicia Rashad from the original, plus American Sanaa Lathan, and Adrian Lester, will open at the Novello Theatre on 1st December. The play is set at a birthday celebration during which hypocrisy, greed and secret passions threaten to tear apart a wealthy but dysfunctional Mississippi family. The producers are the original Broadway producers Stephen Byrd and Alia Jones.

The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage the musical Sweet Charity, book by Neil Simon, music by Cy Coleman, lyrics by Dorothy Fields, with Tamzin Outhwaite in the title role, directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Stephen Mears, from 21st November. Adapted from the Federico Fellini film Nights Of Cabiria, the show tells of the trials and tribulations of an over optimistic New York dance hall hostess, who is a poor judge of men.

Late night cabaret will return to the Delfont Room at the Prince of Wales Theatre, with appearances by Hannah Waddingham on 27th June, Lisa Donmall on 30th July, Janie Dee on 29th August, and Gina Murray and Anna-Jane Casey on 26th September, all at 11pm.

The next exhibition at the National Theatre will be of paintings and drawings by Antony Sher, running from 8th to 27th June, the centrepiece of which is an enormous new autobiographical work called 'The Audience'. This is a composition of a 130 portraits of people who have influenced his life: iconic heroes and villains, such as Mandela and Hitler, great actors, such as Olivier and Brando, members of his family, and friends, characters he has played, such as Richard III, Primo Levi and Stanley Spencer, and characters from his novels and plays.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Irving Berlin's 'There's No Business Like Showbusiness' musical Annie Get Your Gun, book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, with Jane Horrocks and Julian Ovenden, directed by Richard Jones, will play at the Young Vic from 3rd October. The show tells the story of a feuding couple in Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show in 1912, but if approved by Berlin's estate, it will have a revised book by April de Angelis, which relocates the story to 1946.

The Puppet Theatre Barge, currently moored at its winter home in Little Venice, is presenting afternoon performances of the traditional tale The Three Little Pigs And The Wolf, and Captain Grimey, about a sea captain who sees the error of his ecological ways, told with rod puppets, at weekends during June and July. The 50 seater theatre created on a canal barge, now in its 27th season, presents marionette and rod puppet spectacles throughout the year. It spends August and September on the River Thames, giving performances at Richmond, where, in addition to the fore mentioned shows, it will also present A Children's Garden Of Verse, inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson's book, with marionette and shadow puppets. The company also runs schools workshops. Further information can be found on the PTB web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming shows at the Bush Theatre on Shepherd's Bush Green will include Sudden Loss Of Dignity, a Schadenfreude special featuring an anthology of tales of humiliation and ignominy, by Zawe Ashton, James Graham, Joel Horwood, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm and Michelle Terry, directed by Anthea Williams, from 29th July.

Comedian Ed Byrne will open a new national tour of his show Different Class with a season at the Vaudeville Theatre from 7th to 19th September.

Bonhams is holding a sale of entertainment memorabilia, including items from the Angels collection of television and film costumes, at its Knightsbridge saleroom in Montpelier Street SW7, from 11am on 16th June. Over 600 lots in the sale include costumes from all ages of Dr Who, including some worn by Jon Pertwee and Colin Baker as the Time Lord himself; Glenda Jackson's as Elizabeth I; Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson and others' from Blackadder; various James Bond films, including suits worn by Pierce Brosnan; items from Indiana Jones films (sadly, not the hat); and a cloak worn by Christopher Lee as Dracula; plus scripts, posters, costume designs, letters and autographed promotional photographs. Further information can be found on the Bonhams web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that The Shawshank Redemption, adapted by Owen O'Neill and Dave Johns from Stephen King's novella, in which a man serving two life sentences finds hope through friendship with a fellow inmate, with Kevin Anderson and Reg E Cathey, directed by Peter Sheridan, currently playing at the Gaiety Theatre in Dublin, may transfer to Wyndham's Theatre in September; that Jim Cartwright's The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, about a mousey girl who lives through impersonating singers such as Judy Garland and Shirley Bassey, may return to the West End late this year, directed by Terry Johnson; and that the new musical Minsky's, book by Bob Martin, music by Charles Strouse, lyrics by Susan Birkenhead, about the burlesque king Billy Minsky, directed and choreographed by Casey Nicholaw, which recently played at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, and was tipped for Broadway, may open first in London next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.