News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th January 2000

The 22nd London International Mime Festival runs from 15th to 30th January, and features 15 companies from around the world, spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning and vaudeville. It begins at the Purcell Room with Deadly, a portrayal of the Seven Deadly Sins performed by New Zealander Deborah Pope and Brazilian Rodrigo Matheus against a background of music from techno to classical. Performances are at various venues, including the ICA, Hoxton Hall, Pleasance London, Canary Wharf and Watermans Arts Centre. Full details on the LIMF web site via the link from TheatreNet's Festivals section.

Qdos Entertainment, the recently formed E&B Productions/Artist Management Group combine is believed to have launched a 3.5m bid for International Artists. The fit would be good as IA has the same representation to production profile as the Qdos companies, and they are already partners in producing shows such as Buddy. It would broaden Qdos' production department as the IA portfolio includes Talent Television, whose work has included outside broadcast events such as award and charity shows.

Latest news on Conor McPherson's Dublin Carol, and the reopening of Royal Court, is that the play will have a preview season at the Old Vic from 15th January to 12th February. It will then move to the Royal Court for a press night and official building relaunch on 22nd February, and then run until 18th March.

The Millennial suburb of Greenwich is not resting on its Dome laurels. From noon to 3.00pm on Good Friday, 21st April, a cast of over a thousand will perform The Greenwich Passion Play 2000 as a promenade performance in Greenwich Park. A new version of the medieval Mystery cycle, it will be directed by John Doyle, a veteran of the York and Coventry Mysteries. In the first half, seven groups will perform individual plays at stations around the edge of the arena. In the second half, they will join together for the story of the Passion on a central stage. Ben Thomas will play Jesus in the Crucifixion. Organisations taking part include schools, youth theatres, and music and community groups.

Last Word On: The New Year Honours - Mrs Worthington's daughter got a CBE

Hampstead Theatre is to present a double bill of Tasmin Ogleby's My Best Friend and Peter Tinniswood's On the Whole It's Been Jolly Good from 31st January to 12th February. "Friend" features Teresa Banham, Sara Crowe and Eve Matheson, and is a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre, where it will transfer. Set in a French farmhouse, the play concerns the friendship of three women who have known each other since childhood. "Jolly Good" is the spoof audio diary of a Conservative MP (inspired by the Tony Benn tapes), played by Leslie Phillips, which was a big hit at last year's Edinburgh Festival.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is taking over 50 actors, in three of its productions which currently at the Barbican, to the Brooklyn Academy of Music from 10th to 27th May. The plays are A Midsummer Night's Dream directed by Michael Boyd, Schilller's Don Carlos directed by Gale Edwards and T S Eliot's The Family Reunion directed by Adrian Noble.

The Peoples Philistine, Gerry Robinson, sent in to give the Arts Council a good kicking, has begun to see the light. He has called on the government to double the money the Council receives, to 400m a year, saying "It's just the cost of a couple of F111s." Living proof that exposure to the arts can have a civilising effect on anyone.

Following its latest tryout in Chicago over Christmas, further extensive rewrites are planned for Elton John and Tim Rice's new Disney show Aida, prior to its Broadway opening at the Palace Theatre on 23rd March. It features Adam Pascal, Heather Headley and Sherie Rene Scott, and is directed by Robert Falls. After the disastrous tryout in Atlanta in 1998, the entire creative team was fired (except for the writers). Bob Crowley's new design concept has been widely admired. Meanwhile Disney is looking towards future projects, and is in talks with The Lion King director Julie Taymor, about directing a stage version of Pinocchio.

The Place is presenting its biggest ever Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, extended to seven weeks, and running until 19th February. Ninety nine companies from this country and abroad have an opportunity to present their work, with three different 30 minute programmes each night. It's a chance to spot the stars of tomorrow, with the smart money being on Bread Dance Theatre, Jyrki Kattunen And Company and Jan De Schynkel's BARAK. The Place web site has yet to be updated with the performance details, but it does contain venue information. Find it via the link from TheatreNet's London Venues section.

The Almeida Theatre production of bash, the trilogy of plays by Neil LaBute about "beautiful people doing awful things", will have an American cast, but not the Off Broadway and Hollywood originals. Mary McCormick (of Murder One fame) replaces Calista Flockhart, and is joined by Zeljko Ivanek and Matthew Lillard, under original director Joe Mantello. It plays from 2nd February to 11th March.

In a unique collaboration, Birmingham Repertory Theatre is teaming up with Birmingham Royal Ballet, on a stage version of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger's 1948 film The Red Shoes. Probably the best known ballet film ever, centering on the emotional triangle of dancer, mentor and lover, it inspired a generation of girls to start classes. The aim is to premiere at the Rep in April 2001 with David Bintley choreographing.