News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th July 2012

Alan Ayckbourn's Relatively Speaking, involving mistaken identities and a misplaced marriage proposal, with Felicity Kendal, Kara Tointon and Jonathan Coy, directed by Lindsay Posner, will open a prospective pre West End tour at Malvern Theatres on 29th August.

The autumn season at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith will include Eugene O'Neill's Desire Under The Elms, charting the consequences of lust and greed on a dysfunctional family in 1850s America, opening on 8th October; the previously announced Cinderella, by Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, with Julie Atherton and Steven Webb, directed by Sean Holmes, from 24th November; and the return of Kafka's Metamorphosis, about a young man who awakes one morning from a horrible dream to find himself transformed into a giant insect, adapted and directed by David Farr and Icelandic aerialist specialist Gisli Orn Gardarsson, opening on 21st January.

Idina Menzel, best known for originating the role of Elphaba in Wicked on Broadway, will perform in concert at the Apollo Theatre from 8th to 14th October.

On The Casting Couch: Tamsin Greig will be joined by Doon Mackichan, Ben Lloyd-Hughes, Amanda Root, Seline Hizli, Richard Lintern, James Musgrave, Bel Powley and Ewan Stewart in April De Angelis's Jumpy, opening at the Duke of York's Theatre on 28th August; and Norman Pace, Jane Asher and Sam Kelly will head the cast in Brandon Thomas's Charley's Aunt, at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 20th September.

The Society Of London Theatre has published the Box Office Data Report 2011, providing detailed analysis of attendance figures and box office returns in the West End, which includes the major commercial and grant aided theatres. Despite everything that man and nature could throw at it - recession, Japanese earthquake, volcanic ash, Royal Wedding, Stock Market crash, riots, looting, strikes and Euro crisis the attendance figure for 2011 was the 3rd highest ever at 13,915,185, just 1.7% down on 2010, with the capacity sold at 71%, up 1% on the previous year, producing record breaking revenue of 528,375,874. The figures were particularly impressive for plays, which achieved a record attendance total of 3,784,975. As well as exploring the attendance statistics as a whole, the report also analyses the differences in number of performances, attendance and receipts between the subsidised and commercial sectors, and discusses audience trends in relation to categories of production. The Box Office Data Report is essential reading for theatre investors, producers, and theatre marketers, as well as those in academic and government sectors dealing with the performing arts. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite.

New York TheatreNet: Sigourney Weaver and David Hyde Pierce will head the cast of Christopher Durang's Vanya And Sonia And Masha And Spike, a satire that takes characters and themes from Chekhov and transports them to contemporary Pennsylvania, directed by Nicholas Martin, which will premiere at the McCarter Theater from 7th September, and then transfer to the Mitzi E Newhouse Theatre at Lincoln Center, opening on 12th November. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange, exploring medical ethics and racism through the case of a patient in a mental hospital who claims to be the child of an African dictator, with Robert Bathurst, directed by Christopher Luscombe, will open a prospective pre London tour at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 13th September.

Pierre Corneille's The Illusion, adapted by Tony Kushner, in which a lawyer, desperate to find his son, engages the services of a magician, who conjures up magical visions of the son's romantic and adventurous life, before revealing the ultimate truth, with Daniel Easton, Adam Jackson-Smith and Shanaya Rafaat, directed by Seb Harcombe, will open at Southwark Playhouse, on 24th August. The producers are Secret/Heart, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Caitlin Albery Beavan and Aron Rollin for Moya Productions.

The autumn season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include William Wycherley's The Country Wife, the Restoration comedy about a London rake and a country innocent, directed by Polly Findlay, from 12th September; Tennessee Williams's Orpheus Descending, a reworking of the Orpheus legend set in small town in the deep south of America, with Imogen Stubbs, directed by Sarah Frankcom, from 24th October; Carol Ann Duffy's Rats Tails, bringing together dark and magical folk tales from around the world, dramatised and directed by Melly Still, from 29th November; and Peter Whelan's The Accrington Pals, about the men who went to fight in the First World War and the women left at home waiting for news, directed by James Dacre, from 17th January.

Ben & Holly's Little Kingdom, adapted and directed by Richard Lewis from the animated children's television series, with music by with Mani Svavarsson, will open a national tour at The Orchard Theatre in Dartford on 26th October.

Stage One, by arrangement with The Society Of London Theatre, is holding another Workshop For New Producers from 15th to 17th November. This is an intensive course for anyone planning to produce or co-produce in theatre. The aim is to provide detailed information on how to set up a production at a regional theatre and bring it into the West End, for those who have not previously produced commercial plays, or have only limited experience, but possess a firm commitment to a career in theatre production. It will be conducted by leading theatre practitioners led by production doyenne Andrew Treagus. Sessions will include: acquiring rights, budgeting, co-producing, booking a tour, finding and contracting a theatre, raising funds and looking after investors, marketing, publicity and press. The closing date for applications is 20th August. Further information and an application form can be found on the SO web site via link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Tara Arts, in Earlsfield, in south west London, is to stage Kanjoos, a new version of Moliere's The Miser, which relocates the action to contemporary India, adapted by Hardeep Singh Kohli and Jatinder Verma, from a literal translation by Patricia Dreyfus, opening on 28th September.