News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th October 2005

Trafalgar Studios 2, the 100 seater studio space created by the twinning of the Whitehall Theatre, has finally announced its opening season of shows, launching on 16th November with Peter Arnott's Cyprus, a new British spy thriller set on the Isle of Mull, commissioned and produced by Mull Theatre, with Sandy Neilson, Beth Marshall and Stephen Clyde; followed by Joanna Volinska's adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, a Horla Theatre production, opening on 20th December; Kahlil Ashanti playing over 20 characters in Basic Training, his autobiographical show about a US Air Force entertainment troupe, opening on 9th January, presented by Barry Josephson; Greg Hicks in Colin Teevan's Missing Persons: Four Tragedies And Roy Keane, tales of modern masculinity inspired by Greek myths, directed by Sarah Chew, which was an Edinburgh Fringe hit, opening on 31st January, presented by Eleanor Lloyd and Critical Mass; and Paul Chequer as Private Peaceful, Michael Morpurgo's First World War story adapted and directed by Simon Reade, opening on 27th February, a co-production by Bristol Old Vic and Scamp.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Martin Shaw stars in Robert Bolt's A Man For All Seasons, directed by Michael Rudman, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on 3rd January, following a regional tour. The cast also includes Maev Alexander, Tony Bell, Clive Carter, Tim Daish, Alison Fiske, Daniel Flynn, Gregory Fox-Murphy, Tim Frances, Clive Kneller, Brian Poyser, John Sackville, Sophie Shaw and Paul Shelley. It is based on the life of Thomas More, scholar, ambassador, Lord Chancellor and friend of King Henry VIII, who as a matter of conscience, refused to condone Henry's divorce and break with Roman Catholic Church, sacrificing his life as a result. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Jefferson Mays will reprise his Tony Award winning performance in Doug Wright's Tony Award winning one man play I Am My Own Wife, directed by Moises Kaufman, opening at the Duke of York's Theatre on 10th November. In the true story of a Hungarian transvestite who led an almost schizophrenic life in East Germany, Mays plays 34 characters. The producer is David Richenthal.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Jeremy Irons is to return to the West End stage in Embers, adapted by Christopher Hampton from Hungarian novelist Sandor Morai's story of two ex friends who meet thirty years after they split up, directed by Michael Blakemore, opening at the Duke of York's Theatre on 1st March. The producers are Eric Abraham and Robert Haggiag.

The Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh's 40th anniversary season will include John Bett in Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Karen Louise Hebden, opening on 2nd December; Liz Lockhead's Scottish version of Moliere's Tartuffe, in which a con man attempts to deceive a wealthy gentleman with a show of piety, directed by Tony Cownie, opening on 14th January; and the premiere of John Clifford's two part adaptation of Goethe's epic morality tale Faust, about a man who sells his soul to the devil, opening on 25th February.

English Touring Opera's new production of Handel's Alcina, with Amanda Echalaz in the title role, directed by James Conway, opens a national tour at the Hackney Empire on 14th October, joined by Verdi's Falstaff, with Anthony Stuart Lloyd in the title role, the following night. The tour will also include The (Little) Magic Flute, an edition of Mozart's opera with featuring action and humour, designed to appeal to a young audience.

Sphinx Theatre Company's production of Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid, adapted by Pam Gems, with music and soundscape by Howard Davidson, directed by Sue Parrish and choreographed by Dominic Leclerc, has just opened a regional tour at the Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. Sphinx takes a fresh new look at the much loved fairytale, using aerial acrobatics, physical theatre and music. Flogging The Jewels, an exhibition celebrating 30 years of work by Sphinx (formerly The Women's Theatre Group) can be seen at the National Theatre until 5th November.

On The Casting Couch: Jane Asher and Michael Feast will star in Michael Morton's The World's Biggest Diamond, opening Upstairs at the Royal Court Theatre on 2nd November; and Henry Goodman will be joined by Ronni Ancona, Kris Marshall, Stephen Beard, Stephen Boxer, Simon Gregor, David Killick, John Marquez, Lyndsey Marshal, Carey Mulligan and Gyuri Sarossy in Moliere's The Hypochondriac, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 17th November.

Tony Award winning composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown and his band the Caucasian Rhythm Kings will make a brief London appearance at the New Players Theatre from 7th to 11th December. Joined by Joanna Riding and Frances Ruffelle, they will be performing songs from Brown's new album, together with a selection of numbers from his stage shows.

The Wigmore Hall has launched a new series on Sunday afternoons. Autumn Song Recitals showcases outstanding young singers, including Robert Murray, Toby Spence, Kate Royal and Susan Gritton, accompanied by equally imaginative pianists, including Lindy Tennent-Brown, Julian Milford, Simon Lepper, and Eugene Asti. Among the other events, on 21st November, Stephen Dillane will read T S Eliot's poem Four Quartets, followed by the Pacifica Quartet performing Beethoven's String Quartet in A min, which inspired it; and on 10th December, the Belcea Quartet and Lisa Milne will perform the premiere of the third of Joseph Phibbs's Goodison Quartet. Further information can be found on the WH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Tom Stoppard has written a play for the 50th anniversary season at the Royal Court Theatre called Rock And Roll, set in Czechoslovakia and Britain, moving between 1956, 1968 and the present day, which Trevor Nunn will direct; and that Bill Kenwright's long trailed production of Tennessee Williams's The Night Of The Iguana will arrive on Shaftesbury Avenue before the end of the year, starring Woody Harrelson and Clare Higgins. The Rumour Machine grinds on.