News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th July 2006

The Young Vic Theatre has announced the reopening season following its 12.45m rebuilding programme, designed by Haworth Tompkins Architects, starting on 11th October. In addition to the main auditorium there will be two studio spaces, the 160 capacity Maria - named after designer Maria Bjornson - and the 80 capacity Clare - named after director Clare Venables. In the main auditorium: the community opera Tobias And The Angel, about a journey to reclaim an old debt, with music by Jonathan Dove and libretto by David Lan, directed by John Fulljames; the premiere of musical The Enchanted Pig, based on a Romanian folk tale about a princess who unwisely opens the book of fate, with book and lyrics by Alasdair Middleton, and music by Jonathan Dove, also directed by Fulljames; Thomas Otway's The Soldier's Fortune, a dark restoration comedy about a moneymaking scheme, directed by David Lan; and the premiere of Vernon God Little, adapted by Tanya Ronder from the novel by DBC Pierre, directed by Rufus Norris. In The Maria: the premiere of Dennis Kelly's Love And Money, a story of electronic love, bad debts and worse desires, directed by Matthew Dunster; Debbie Tucker Green's Generations, 'like a Samuel Beckett play set in Africa'; and The Big Brecht Fest, two double bills of short early Bertolt Brecht plays translated by Rory Bremner, Martin Crimp, Biyi Bandele and Enda Walsh.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Alan Cumming will star in Martin Sherman's Bent, about the persecution of homosexuals in Nazi Germany, directed by Daniel Kramer, opening at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 5th October. The producer is Sonia Friedman Productions.

The new season at the Palace Theatre Watford, beginning on 31st August, includes D H Lawrence's The Daughter-in-Law, about the family relationships of a newly married couple in a mining village, with Joanna Brookes, James Chalmers, Charlotte Emerson, Gwyneth Powell and Jack Sandal, directed by Kirstie Davis; Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, in which German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg visits Danish colleague Niels Bohr in Nazi occupied Copenhagen to discuss developments in atomic research; Caryl Churchill's Top Girls, the infamous 1980s dinner party with an eclectic choice of historical guests, directed by Kirstie Davis; Joe Graham's version of Aladdin, directed by Joyce Branagh; and the premiere of Ben Elton's Skin Deep, another satire on celebrity culture and the notion of reality.

Heartbreak Productions is presenting its 15th season of classic plays performed outdoors in historic settings across the country, with Romeo And Juliet and Twelfth Night both directed by Peter Mimmack, and Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest and Phil Hemming's adaptation of E Nesbit's The Railway Children both directed by Maddy Kerr. Heartbreak Productions works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, until 27th August. The diverse venues include Mount Stuart Isle of Bute, Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Carsington Water Ashbourne, Kenilworth Castle and Bosworth Battlefield. Further information can be found on the HP web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: Bill Nighy and Julianne Moore will star in the world premiere of David Hare's The Vertical Hour, directed by Sam Mendes, opening at the Music Box Theatre on 30th November. It is the story of an American war correspondent turned academic who meets (and clashes with) her English boyfriend's father while on holiday in the Welsh boarders. The producers are Robert Fox, Neal Street Productions and Scott Rudin.

The autumn season at the Bush Theatre in Shepherds Bush includes the world premiere of Abbie Spallen's Pumpgirl, a black comedy set in a garage in the badlands of Armagh on the boarder between the two Irelands, with James Doran, Orla Fitzgerald and Maggie Hayes, directed by Mike Bradwell, opening on 13th September; Bones, written and directed by Kay Adshead, examining events from the past in contemporary South Africa, opening on 18th October; and Steve Thompson's Whipping It Up, a comedy revealing the inner workings of backstage life in the House of Commons, opening on 10th November.

Felicity Kendal and Jenna Russell will star in David Hare's Amy's View, directed by Peter Hall, which opens a pre West End tour at the Theatre Royal Bath on 2nd October. It is a portrait of a disillusioned actress and mother who is forced to re-evaluate her career, values, family relationships and finances over a 15 year period from 1979.

Emma Williams, Stephen Ashfield, Annette McLaughlin and Alistair Robins star in the musical Tomorrow Morning, with book, music and lyrics by Laurence Mark Wythe, directed by Nick Winston, which receives its premiere at the New End Theatre in Hampstead on 10th July. Apparently telling the story of two couples, one about to marry, the other about to divorce, it is in fact the same couple on two different days a decade apart. The producers are Hillary Williams and Solo Theatre & Music Productions.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Rosamund Pike and Chris Carmack will star in Tennessee Williams's rarely performed Summer And Smoke, directed by Adrian Noble, in a prospective pre West End season opening at Nottingham Playhouse, on 20th September. Set in Mississippi in 1916, it is the tale of the daughter of a minister whose youthful passion is rekindled by the return of a neighbour's prodigal son. Stanhope Productions will present the show if it transfers to London.

Following on from the success of The Society Of London Theatre's free Kids Theatre Club for 8 to 12 year olds on Saturday mornings at the Theatre Museum, there will be a programme of summer holiday workshops. Kids West End, for 8 to 12 year olds, will teach young performers songs and dance routines from West End musicals past and present on 1st, 8th and 15th August, from 1.45pm to 4.15pm, costing 8. Mini Musicals, for 2 to 4 year olds, will provide an introduction to drama through games, movement, mime, voice and imagination, on 2nd, 9th and 16th August, from 10.15am to 11.00am, costing 5. There will be other activities and events as part of Kids Week, running from 18th August to 1st September. Further information can be found on the Kids Week web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Dora Bryan, Gorden Kaye, Ken Morley, Tony Adams, Ray Alan, Peter Byrne, Brian Cant, Richard Grieve and Sue Hodge will star in the comedy There's No Place Like A Home, written by producer Paul Elliott, directed by Chris Colby, which opens a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Lincoln on 12th September. It is set in a home for retired theatrical performers, which is threatened with closure, so the inmates decide to kidnap a celebrity and demand a ransom, in order to secure their future.