News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th September 2008

Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, the iconic 18th century adventure story of swashbuckling pirates and the search for buried treasure in the Caribbean, in a new adaptation by Ken Ludwig, with Keith Allen, directed by Sean Holmes, will open a Christmas season at the Haymarket Theatre on 17th November. The producers are Brian Eastman and Andrew Welch.

Further productions have been announced in the inaugural season at The Curve, the new 60m theatre in Leicester, which will finally open on 9th December, with the world premiere of Simply Cinderella, a musical that gives the fairy tale a modern twist as a shoe factory worker is magically transported back to the 1930s, book by Toby Davies, music and lyrics by Grant Olding, directed and choreographed by Adam Cooper. These will include Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, a dark comic thriller in which a writer in a totalitarian state is interrogated about the gruesome content of his short stories because of their similarities to a number of local child murders, with Marc Warren, directed by Paul Kerryson, opening on 11th February; Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Tim Supple, opening on 3rd March; and the European premiere of the Tony Award winning musical The Light In The Piazza, book by Craig Lucas, music and lyrics by Adam Guettel, the story of a young American tourist in Florence in the 1950s, who falls in love with Italian, but finds the romance opposed by her mother, directed by Paul Kerryson, opening on 5th May.

As the picnic hampers and travel rugs are packed away for another year, Glyndebourne Touring Opera takes to the road, from Plymouth to Stoke on Trent until December, following a launch mini season of performances on its home turf from 14th October to 1st November. The repertoire comprises: this season's new production of Humperdinck's Hansel And Gretel, directed by Laurent Pelly, and revivals of Adrian Noble's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute, and David McVicar's production of Bizet's Carmen.

The autumn season at The Little Angel Theatre in Islington, the home of British puppetry, will comprise a return of its classic production of The Sleeping Beauty, by Gregory Motton, featuring John Wright's 50 year old marionettes, music by Tchaikovsky, played live on the spinet, directed by Christopher Leith, from 20th September; and a musical puppet spectacular The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me, adapted by Tim Kane from the book by Roald Dahl, about a young boy who befriends a giraffe, a pelican and a monkey, who together form the Ladderless Window Cleaning Company, music and lyrics by Ben Glasstone, directed by Peter O'Rourke, from 22nd November.

Kenneth Tynan: Theatre Writing, selected and edited by Dominic Shellard, recently published by Nick Hern Books, is a 'greatest hits' collection of pieces by the self made critic and commentator, produced during some of the most turbulent years in British theatre, from the mid 1940s to the mid 1960s. Tynan, a great phrasemaker lived by his proclamation that what counts in critics is 'not their opinion, but the art with which it is expressed', and that a review is 'a letter addressed to the future; to people 30 years hence who may wonder exactly what it felt like to be in a certain playhouse on a certain night'. As well as pungent portraits of the figures and productions of the day, Tynan's general observations on the state of theatre, about the lack of new plays and the timidness of commercial producers, seem remarkably contemporary. It also records Tynan's successful crusade against censorship, with examples of rulings by the Lord Chamberlain's office on what was, and what was not, acceptable. Tynan's writings are put into context by the inclusion of reviews by rival critic Harold Hobson, and other items of news and comment from newspapers of the period.

On The Casting Couch: original Broadway cast members Deanna Dunagan, Rondi Reed, Ian Barford, Kimberly Guerrero, Mariann Mayberry, Amy Morton, Sally Murphy, Jeff Perry and Troy West will feature in August: Osage County opening at the National Theatre on 26th November.

The autumn season at the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in Liverpool will include, at the Everyman: Mark Davies Markham's Eric's, a musical celebrating the iconic club of the late 70s and early 80s, with a cast headed by Graham Bickley, Rosalie Craig, Katy Dean, Stephen Fletcher, Ciaran Kellgren and Lesley Nichol, directed by Jamie Lloyd, with choreography by Ann Yee, opening on 26th September; Shakespeare's King Lear, with Pete Postlethwaite, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 6th October, a co-production with Headlong Theatre; and Mother Goose, a Rock 'n' Roll pantomime by Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton (who also directs), opening on 12th December; and at the Playhouse: Frank Cottrell-Boyce's Proper Clever, a multimedia story for the myspace generation, about clever versus smart, and how to satisfy the hunger for knowledge, directed by Serdar Bilis, opening on 9th October; and Marc Camoletti and Beverley Cross's farce Boeing-Boeing, about an English playboy living in Paris, with three air hostess girlfriends, whose different schedules enable him to keep them apart - until the introduction of new high speed Boeing aircraft changes their timetables, directed by Matthew Warchus, opening a national tour on 17th December.

The Rumour Machine says: that a revised version of Sister Act, a musical adaptation of the 1992 film about a disco singer given protective custody in a convent, book by Cheri and Bill Steinkellner, music by Alan Menken, lyrics by Glenn Slater, which had an unsuccessful pre-Broadway tryout in Pasadena two yeas ago, and a recent production in Atlanta, may be heading for the London Palladium next June. The Rumour Machine grinds on.