News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th June 2008

With 31,320 performances, of 2,088 shows (350 of which will be free), in 247 venues, involving 18,792 performers, from 46 countries, the 62nd Edinburgh Festival Fringe, running from 3rd to 25th August, is once again bigger than ever, retaining its position as the world's largest arts festival. Interactivity seems to be the theme this year, with some of the wackier events including: Death By Chocolate, a murder mystery that involves chocolate tasting; the Liar Show, in which audiences listen to four storytellers and decide which one is telling the truth; The Factory, which takes place in a cellar and conveys the experience of the Auschwitz/Birkenau gas chambers; Supper, allowing audiences to eavesdrop through headphones on the thoughts of two couples at a dinner party; Beautiful People (Don't Travel Economy), with audiences segregated into different categories; Office Party, where people are assigned different job roles; and The Caravan, staged in a small caravan to convey the plight of people still living in temporary housing after last year's floods. Further information and online booking can be found on the Edinburgh Fringe web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Young Vic has announced its autumn season, which includes: Tarell Alvin McCraney's In The Red And Brown Water, a tale of early womanhood in which a star athlete is torn between two men and desperate to bear a child, directed by Walter Meierjohann, opening on 9th October; and Amazonia, inspired by the stories and culture of the Brazilian rainforest, telling the story of twin boys who take refuge in a tree where a spirit casts a spell over all who pass beneath its branches, written and directed by Paul Heritage and comic Pedro Cardoso, who will be in the mixed cast of Brazilian and British actors, opening on 8th December, a co-production with People's Palace Projects.

The Curve, the new 60m theatre in Leicester will finally open on 9th December, with the world premiere of Simply Cinderella, a fairytale inspired musical, book by Toby Davies, music and lyrics by Grant Olding, directed and choreographed by Adam Cooper. The controversial design by architect Rafael Vinoly, is a glass faced building comprising two auditoria, a main 750 seater theatre and a flexible 350 seater studio space, which can be combined into one, and features a removable wall between the stage and the foyer, so that work on stage can be visible from the street.

The 46th City Of London Festival, running from 20th June to 10th July, once again has Trading Places as its theme, this year exploring the cultural exchange between London and both India and Switzerland. The festival comprises the usual mixture of lunchtime, rush hour and evening events, with concerts of every kind of music, plus drama and poetry, installations and exhibitions of visual art, film screenings, and architectural walks and talks, in both historic and modern city buildings, and outdoors in squares and gardens. Among the highlights are the world premieres of a work by Amjad Ali Khan, with cellist Matthew Barley; and Judith Bingham's melodramatic retracing of the steps of Lord Byron through landscape of the Jungfrau; plus Bombay born soprano Patricia Rozario performing songs by Schubert, alongside Param Vir's new settings of poems by Rabindranath Tagore; and Nicola Benedetti playing Brahms' second Violin Sonata, written beside Lake Thun in Switzerland. Further information can be found on the COLF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders's bank raid 'best of' farewell tour French And Saunders - Still Alive, directed by Hamish McColl, will play at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane, from 15th October to 8th November.

Forthcoming productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston include Femi Oguns's Torn, a story of star crossed lovers against a backdrop of inter-racial conflict in black communities, with Kwaku Ankomah, Michelle Asante, Kelle Bryan, Richard Hollis, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Wil Johnson, Brooke Kinsella, Femi Oguns and Antonia Okonma, directed by Raz Shaw, from 24th June; and the Cherub Theatre Company production of David Lescot's Le Marriage, translated by Ruth Bey, 12 encounters over the course of a year as a North African man and a French woman deal with trying to obtain European citizenship, with Miriam Heard and Karim Saleh, directed by Michael Gieleta, from 23rd June.

On The Casting Couch: Adam Cooper, Gary Wilmot, Roy Hudd, Julie Legrand, Hilton McRae and Sian Brooke will feature in The Wizard Of Oz, opening at the Royal Festival Hall on 29th July.

Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, hosts outdoor opera performances in the round in the Peto garden, plus promenade style jazz and world music and chamber concerts, from 19th June to 2nd August. This season's new opera productions are Iford Festival Opera with Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro, directed by Bernadette Iglich; The Early Opera Company performing Cavalli's Giasone, with Christian Curnyn, directed by Martin Constantine; and Opera della Luna with Verdi's Un Giorno di Regno, directed by Jeff Clarke. The garden opens for picnics at 6pm with opera performances beginning at 7.45pm. Further information can be found on the Iford Arts web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.