News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th December 2008

The Donmar Warehouse has announced a further production in its current season. Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire, which follows the woes of a faded Southern belle, and her road to madness aided by her violent brother in law, with Rachel Weisz, directed by Rob Ashford, will open in July.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough production of Alan Ayckbourn's Woman In Mind, about a woman who, after a bump on the head, creates an imaginary family to make up for the shortcomings of her real one, with Janie Dee, Perdita Avery, John Branwell, Bill Champion, Joanna David, Dominic Hecht, Paul Kemp and Martin Parr, directed by Ayckbourn, will transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 6th February. It will be presented by Bill Kenwright.

The winter season at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court will include: the British premiere of Lena Farugia's Untitled, in which an aged Duchess of Windsor recalls the events in her life with the former Edward VIII, with Nichola McAuliffe and Patrick Ryecart, directed by Peter Cregeen, opening on February 5th; Joanna McClelland Glass's Trying, about profound friendship between two strangers, at dramatically different points in their lives, with Michael Craig, directed by Derek Bond, produced by Allan McKeown and Sarah Gregson in association with the Finborough, opening on March 19th; and the British premiere of Craig Higginson's Dream Of The Dog, a violent confrontation between a colonial couple and their ex-servant in contemporary South Africa, with Janet Suzman, directed by James Albrecht, opening on 14th May, produced by Carte Blanche Productions.

High Whitemore's Pack Of Lies, inspired by the real life unmasking of a seemingly ordinary suburban couple as Russian spies in 1961, with Jenny Seagrove, Stefanie Powers and Roy Marsden, directed by Christopher Morahan, will open a regional tour at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on 3rd February. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

On The Casting Couch: Imelda Staunton and Matthew Horne will be joined by Simon Paisley Day and Richard Bremmer in Entertaining Mr Sloane, opening at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 30th January; and Amanda Drew, Toby Jones and Andrew Lincoln will feature in Parlour Song, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 26th March.

The Theatre Royal in Plymouth will stage John Wilson's For King And Country, in which a lawyer defends a boy charged with desertion because he left the trenches in the First World War when he was the only one remaining of his unit, with Adam Gillen, directed by Tristram Powell, which will open a prospective pre West End tour on 25th February.

New York TheatreNet: The premiere of 33 Variations, written and directed by Moises Kaufman, about a contemporary musicologist who sets out to discover the root of Beethoven's obsession with a trivial waltz, featuring Jane Fonda, will open on Broadway at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre, on March 9th. David Binder presents the Tectonic Theatre Project production.

Forthcoming productions at the Leicester Square Theatre, in Leicester Place, will include Hit Me! The Life & Rhymes Of Ian Dury, a biomusical about the cheeky chappie cockney writer and performer, written, directed by and featuring Jeff Merrifield, with Jud Charlton and Josh Darcy from 6th January; and Mark Little reprising his performance in Rob Becker's Defending The Caveman, the one man show examining the mysteries of the relationship between men and women, directed by Cath Farr, opening on 6th February, produced by Norwell Lapley Productions and Theater Mogul.

Hocus Pocus: A Tale Of Magnificent Magicians And Their Amazing Feats by Paul Kieve, illustrated by Peter Bailey, published by Bloomsbury Stage, is really three books in one. First, it tells a fantasy story in which magical things happen to the author; second, it is a history of magic, bringing great performers and their illusions to life; and third, it is a practical magic manual, explaining how to perform some baffling magic feats. It is written in an accessible and entertaining style, with the authority and enthusiasm of someone who has devoted his life to both the study and the practice of the subject.

Raymond Gubbay's 14th arena opera season at the Royal Albert Hall will feature the return of Bizet's Carmen, in a translation by Amanda Holden, directed by David Freeman, with choreography by Robert North, from 26th February to 8th March. The title role will be shared by Christina Nassif and Louise Poole.

Theatre Royal Bath Productions will stage William Douglas Home's Lloyd George Knew My Father, a comedy in which an aristocratic family does battle with the bulldozers when a road is to be constructed across its land, with Edward Fox and Claire Bloom, opening a regional tour at Malvern Theatre on 9th February.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Dept A reminder that this is the peak season for the purchase of Theatre Tokens. Available in units of 5, 10, 20 and now, as a result of customer feedback, a mega 50, they can be exchanged for tickets at over 230 venues nationwide, including all West End theatres. As they have no expiry date, the recipient can choose which show they want to see, and when and where they want to see it. The Tokens are delivered in a presentation pack, with a free theatre guide, or Christmas gift packs, with a pocket diary or showtime CD and Superbreak voucher, and can be sent direct to the recipient. Tokens are available from most theatres, major bookshops and ticket agencies, and the tkts Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross. Alternatively they can be bought direct from the 24/7 Tokenline on 0870 164 8800 or online from the Theatre Tokens web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet. As they say, don't just give an object this Christmas - give an emotional experience.

The spring season at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch will include Alan Ayckbourn's How The Other Half Loves, the lives and loves, passion and panic of three married couples, seen through action taking place simultaneously at two dinner parties given on different nights, opening on 2nd February; Chris Bond's Sweeney Todd - The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street, the classic tale of lust, envy, loss, revenge - and cooking, opening on 9th March; Michael Frayn's Noises Off, the ultimate backstage comedy, charting behind the scenes events of a touring farce, opening on 20th April; and Hot Mikado, Gilbert and Sullivan's Japanese extravaganza given a 1940s swing makeover, book and lyrics adapted by David H Bell, music adapted by Rob Bowman, opening on 25th May.