News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th August 2004

New York has had a second tkts Half Price Ticket Booth downtown in the financial district for many years, originally in the World Trade Centre, and now at South Street Seaport, catering for people who work away from Times Square and the theatre district. Now London has done the same, with a second booth in Canary Wharf, for people who work in Docklands and the City. The new kiosk is situated on Platforms 4-5 of Canary Wharf Docklands Light Railway station, and is open Monday to Saturday from 11.30am to 6pm. As with to the original tkts booth in Leicester Square, it offers 'on the day' tickets, mostly at half price, plus a service charge, to shows in West End and Off West End theatres. Unlike Leicester Square however, it is only able to accept credit and debit cards or Theatre Tokens as payment, and does not take cash or cheques.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Almeida Theatre production of David Eldridge's Festen, directed by Rufus Norris, will transfer to the Lyric Theatre, opening on 23rd September. Adapted from the 1998 Danish film screenplay by Thomas Vinterberg and Mogens Rukov, it takes place at a grand dinner party celebrating the patriarch's 60th birthday, where the prodigal son breaks the silence surrounding a dark family secret. Original cast members Jane Asher, Sam Beazley, Sam Cox, Andrew Maud, Ruth Millar, Lisa Palfrey, Patrick Robinson, Claire Rushbrook and Michael Thomas, will be joined by Andrew Frame, Rory Kinnear, Luke Mably and Stephen Moore. It will be presented by Marla Rubin and Bill Kenwright.

John Alderton and Pauline Collins star in the world premiere of Richard Harris's Going Straight, directed by Alan Strachan, which opens a prospective pre West End tour at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on 3rd September. It is the story of two East End lags on the Costa del Sol, recounting their colourful past to a film researcher, who aren't able to retire quite as gracefully as they would like. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

The autumn season at Greenwich Theatre includes: the premiere of Sphinx Theatre Company's version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, adapted by Pam Gems, and directed by Sue Parrish; Red Shift's new production of Graham Greene's The Third Man, the tale of racketeering, corruption, violence and murder in post war Vienna, adapted and directed by Jonathan Holloway; Good Company's new version of Jane Austen's Pride And Prejudice, adapted and directed by Sue Pomeroy, with Rula Lenska as the mother determined to find eligible matches for her five daughters; LipService, aka Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding, in a Sherlock Holmes spoof Move Over Moriarty; and London Bubble Theatre Company's contemporary version of Cinderella, written and directed by Jonathan Petherbridge, with Simon Thomson and Eric MacLennan.

The first New York Musical Theatre Festival, running from 13th September to 3rd October, aims to help new writing in musical theatre move forward into production. Over 21 days there will be 67 events, in 19 venues around midtown Manhattan, with 31 premiering musicals, 14 concerts, 283 performances and readings, given by almost 1000 performers and musicians, all open to the public. Among the shows will be Skin Of Our Teeth, book by Joseph Stein, music by John Kander and lyrics by Fred Ebb, adapted from Thornton Wilder's play; Captain Louie, book by Anthony Stein, and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, based on the children's book The Trip; Like You Like It, book and lyrics by Sammy Buck, and music by Daniel S Acquisto, contemporary Shakespeare in which "all the world's a mall"; Top Gun! The Musical, book by Denis McGrath, music by Scott White, and lyrics by Denis McGrath, about a writer trying to turn the film into a musical; and The Great American Trailer Park Musical, book by Betsy Kelso, and music and lyrics by David Nehls, about a stripper moving into a Florida mobile home and getting the attention of the married man next door. Further information can be found on the NYMTF web site via the link from the New York section of TheatreNet.

The recent West End production of Arthur Miller's The Price, directed by Sean Holmes, opens a regional tour at Cambridge Arts Theatre on 1st September. Warren Mitchell and Larry Lamb remain from the London cast, joined by Brian Protheroe and Nancy Crane. An idiosyncratic furniture dealer finds himself in the middle of the uneasy reunion of two long estranged brothers, who meet after many years to dispose of their dead father's belongings.

Jemma Redgrave stars in Misconceptions, a new comedy by David Lewis about the vicissitudes of contemporary life, directed by Tim Carroll, which opens a regional tour at the Royal Theatre Northampton on 27th August. It is produced by Greg Ripley-Duggan and Northampton Theatres.

On The Casting Couch: Clare Higgins will be joined by Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Redmayne, Finbar Lynch, Alfred Burke, Susan Engel and Kate Fleetwood, in Frank McGuinness's new version of Euripides's Hecuba, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 14th September.

The new season at the conjoined Everyman and Playhouse theatres in Liverpool has a local theme, celebrating the 40th birthday of the Everyman - a stripling compared to the Playhouse, the oldest repertory theatre in the country. In the Everyman productions include the world premiere of Tony Green's The Kindness Of Strangers, which tells the interlocking stories of five very different Liverpool inhabitants, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, running from 24th September to 16th October; and the world premiere of Laurence Wilson's Urban Legend, a comic examination of the lives of three generations of men living in a Bootle high rise, directed by Dawn Walton, playing from 29th October to 20th November. In house productions in the Playhouse are Bill McIllwarith's The Anniversary, a family celebration from hell, featuring Sheila Hancock, who played the young daughter in law when the play premiered in Liverpool in 1966, and now returns as the matriarch, directed by Denis Lawson, from 10th September to 2nd October; and Neil Simon's The Odd Couple, the classic comedy of mismatched flat mates, from 10th December to 15th January.

The Rumour Machine says: that Vanessa and Lynn Redgrave are planning productions of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot and Endgame, if the notoriously overprotective Beckett estate will allow the plays to be performed by women; that Nick Hornby's record collection related novel High Fidelity is being adapted as an Off Broadway stage musical, with book by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Amanda Green; that Cheek By Jowl is to take up residency at the Barbican from next year, the first time that Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod's theatre company has had a permanent home; and that director Paul Kerryson and dancer turned 'all round entertainer' Adam Cooper are looking for a new musical to showcase Cooper's talents for a third collaboration. The Rumour Machine grinds on.