News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th May 2005

The 13th Opera Holland Park season runs from 7th June to 6th August, with the City of London Sinfonia as resident orchestra. It comprises: Verdi's Macbeth directed by Olivia Fuchs; Bellini's La Sonnambula, directed by Alasdair Middleton; Puccini's Madama Butterfly, directed by Ian Rutherford; Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, directed by Annilese Miskimmon; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, directed by Tom Hawkes; and Giordano's Andrea Chenier, directed by Martin Lloyd Evans. The Theatre is located in the middle of Holland Park and uses the ruins of Holland House as a backdrop to the performances. Further information online booking can be found on the OHP web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

My Name Is Rachel Corrie, the 'factional' one person play, developed by Katharine Viner and Alan Rickman, and directed by Rickman, which has just completed a sell out season in the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, will return to the theatre's main auditorium on 11th October. Megan Dodds stars as the American protester who perished beneath a bulldozer as she protected a Palestinian home.

Mrs Henry Wood's East Lynne, possibly the best known and most frequently performed Victorian melodrama, gets a rare production in a new version by Lisa Evans, at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, opening on 24th June. When, in a fit of jealousy, a hitherto perfect wife and mother leaves her neglectful husband and infant children to elope with an aristocratic suitor, her fall from grace is absolute, so in order to see her children again she returns in disguise.

The Jerwood Directors Award at the Young Vic offers an opportunity for three directors to explore a specific idea, or to investigate a specific question related to their art, outside the pressures of a full scale production. To do this, it provides financial and organisational resources for a five week rehearsal period (not to support a fully realised production). Applicants can be of any age, but must have had five years professional experience as a director. The deadline for applications is 27th May. Further information can be found on the Young Vic web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Gate Theatre is to present its first musical - a reworked scaled down production of Hair, featuring 16 performers, directed by Daniel Kramer, opening on 22nd September. The ground breaking 1960s 'American Tribal Love Rock Musical', with book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado, and music by Galt MacDermot, actually began life in a small Off Broadway theatre. It is the story of country boy who moves to in New York, where he joins a group of hippies, but their tripping lifestyle is disrupted when his Vietnam draft papers arrive. This will be followed by Eugene O'Neill's rarely staged The Emperor Jones, an expressionistic piece about the disintegration of a mind intoxicated by greed and power, set against the backdrop of a brewing rebellion, directed by Thea Sharrock, from 21st November.

London's longest running one man show, Charles Dickens - The Sparkler Of Albion, by David Parker and John Greco, is being relaunched at the Charles Dickens Museum on 11th May. For twelve years until his death last year, Geoffrey Harris performed the show about the life of Dickens, told through his letters and the characters in his books. Now John Tallents and Lloyd Lee will alternate in the role, directed by Dee Hart, with performances on Wednesday evenings in the library of Dickens's house in Doughty Street in London. The producer is the Argonaut Theatre Company. Further information can be found on the TSOA web site via the link from Shows in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Theatre Royal in Windsor will include Ian Richardson in Pauline Macauley's The Creeper, a psychological thriller about a young opportunist who inveigles his way into the home of an eccentric member of the landed gentry and begins to challenge the status quo, directed by Bill Bryden, which opens a prospective pre West End season on 23rd August; and The Titfield Thunderbolt, Philip Goulding's new adaptation of the Ealing film comedy written by T E B Clarke, about a local community that takes over a branch railway line when British Railways wants to shut it down, directed by Bob Carlton, from 20th September.

The Society Of London Theatre is supporting the campaign to bring the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympic Games to the UK by joining with restaurants and attractions to present the See For Yourself ticket offer, to highlight London's attractions. The See For Yourself promotion, which is available throughout May, provides an opportunity to sample what London has to offer, by combining a ticket to a show, with entrance to an attraction, and a two course pre theatre meal, for 55 per person. For those travelling to London from further a field, there is also a See For Yourself hotel package, offering the theatre ticket, attraction entrance, meal and one night's stay in a hotel for 100. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite and below.

The Rumour Machine says: that a compilation show featuring music associated with the singer, pianist and composer Ray Charles is heading for the West End in the summer; that Nick Hornby's High Fidelity is being developed as a Broadway musical; that Hamish McColl and Sean Foley (aka The Right Size) will bring a new show to the West End in the late autumn; and that the recent Broadway production of the ultimate backstage musical 42nd Street will play a regional tour in the autumn, with a London transfer in mind in the new year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.