News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th October 2000

Simon Callow is to take a week out of his run of The Mystery Of Charles Dickens at the Comedy Theatre. Sitting in from 16th to 21st October will be Perrier Award finalist Dave Gorman with Are You Dave Gorman?

Japes, a new play by Simon Gray, opens at the Mercury Colchester in November for a pre London season, with Lia Williams, Toby Stephens and Jasper Britton, directed by Peter Hall. It is a "comedy of life" about two brothers (both writers) in love with the same woman. Michael Redington is the producer.

Liverpool's historic Olympia is to house a circus for the first time in over 75 years at Christmas when Philip Gandey stages an International Circus Spectacular. Designed by Frank Matcham in the hippodrome style, it was specially equipped for circus use, with animal accommodation, permanent trapeze rigging and a built in water effects system. Moss Empires opened the Olympia in 1905 seating 3750 people on four levels. The building has had a chequered history following the trends in popular entertainment of variety, cinema, ballroom dancing and bingo, before being refurbished and recently reopened as a multi purpose live event venue.

Actress and writer Meera Syal has joined the creative team of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Bollywood musical Bombay Dreams as book writer. The project is co-produced with film director Shekhar Kapur, with music by A R Rahman and lyrics by Don Black.

On The Casting Couch at The National Theatre: It is now confirmed that Martine McCutcheon and Jonathan Pryce will star in Lerner and Lowe's My Fair Lady, with Nicholas le Prevost as Colonel Pickering, directed by Trevor Nunn in March; and Harriet Walter will join Mark Rylance and Imelda Staunton in Yasmina Reza's Life x 3 directed by Matthew Warchus in December.

The Sciart Consortium is providing a unique opportunity for scientists and artists to interact creatively to research ideas and to produce projects. The organisation is offering ten research awards of up to 10,000 each and two production awards of up to 50,000 each to partnerships with practitioners from all art forms and all areas of science. Project proposals applying for awards should reflect contemporary practice in each discipline, and demonstrate an ability to capture the public's imagination. The closing date for entries is 4th December. Further information is available on the Sciart web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

David Pinner's Lenin In Love will receive its world premiere at the New End Theatre on 19th October. It is based on material found after the Kremlin's archives were opened in the mid 1990's, involving Lenin, his wife and his relationship with a hitherto unknown French mistress. James Faulkner, Frances Cuka and Maryam D'Abo play the trio, and the director is David Beaton.

Lindsay Duncan is to star in Kevin Elyot's new play Mouth To Mouth, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 6th February, directed by Ian Rickson. Meanwhile Far Away, a new play by Caryl Churchill, will run at the Royal Court Upstairs from 23rd November to 2nd December. Directed by Stephen Daldry, it will feature Linda Bassett.

Following the previous report that the London Philharmonic Orchestra is intending to allow members of the audience to conduct pieces in its family concert season, comes news of Ambache, an ensemble which has dispensed with a conductor altogether. Founder Diana Ambache believes that players can be creatively stifled by conductors imposing their vision of a work: "Many say that while it is a frightening experience, it is a much more fulfilling to play without a conductor." Musicians debate the pros and cons of conductors on the Ambache web site which can be found via the link from the UK Dance Opera & Orchestras section of TheatreNet.

Chichester Festival Theatre will stage a contemporary production of Godspell from 12th December to 13th January with a prospective West End transfer in mind. Based on the Gospel according to St Matthew, it was a "hippier" rival to Jesus Christ Superstar in the 1970's. The book is by Michael Tebelak, and music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

The British percussion phenomenon Stomp, is starting a further ten date UK national tour in Belfast. Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas created the show as street theatre in Brighton in 1991. Since then it has been continuously touring the world, and has played to more than seven and a half million people in thirty one countries. An Off Broadway production is now in its seventh year and there are currently five companies performing worldwide. The producers are Glynis Henderson and Yes/No Productions. Further information from the Stomp web site via the link from the Shows section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine at the Old Vic says: that the Almeida Theatre has cancelled plans to stage Lulu starring Anna Friel due to financial problems, and has applied for planning permission to perform in a disused coach station at King's Cross while its home base is being refurbished; that their slot will be filled by the Edinburgh Fringe production of Steven Berkoff's Messiah with Angus Wright as Jesus; and that current incumbent Adventures in Motion Pictures has acquired the stage rights to Tim Burton's Edward Scissorhands for its next venture. The Rumour Machine grinds on.