News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th November 2008

The spring season at the Royal Court Theatre will include Marius von Mayenburg's The Stone, in which, as a house passes from owner to owner, secrets buried in the garden and seeping from the walls reveal themselves, directed by Ramin Gray, opening on 9th February; Mark Ravenhill's Over There, the story of twins divided by the Berlin wall who struggle to come together after 25 years apart, with Harry and Luke Treadaway, also directed by Gray, opening on 2nd March; Wallace Shawn's The Fever, with Clare Higgins as a sick traveller in a poor foreign land who begins reassessing her impact on the world, directed by Dominic Cooke, opening on 6th April, and Aunt Dan And Lemon, which explores the pathways of influence, the glamour of cruelty, and the dark side of nostalgia, with Jane Horrocks, also directed by Cooke, opening on 27th May; and Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, a comic, contemporary vision of life in rural Britain, with Mark Rylance, directed by Ian Rickson, opening on 15th July. Wallace Shawn's Grasses Of A Thousand Colours, an extreme, disturbing and comic vision of the embattled relationship between man and beast, with Shawn and Miranda Richardson, directed by Andre Gregory, will premiere in the Theatre Upstairs, opening on 15th May.

Lisa Kron's Well, an autobiographical play about a New York performance artist and her mother, with Sarah Miles, Natalie Casey and Oliver Chris, directed by Eve Leigh, which recently played at Trafalgar Studios 2, will transfer to the Apollo Theatre for a 4 week season, opening on 30th December. The producers are Henry Filloux-Bennett, Stephen Makin and The Fish Partnership.

On The Casting Couch: Richard Dreyfuss will head the cast of

Complicit, opening at the Old Vic Theatre, on 22nd January; Jonathan Pryce will be joined by Anne Reid in Dimetos, opening at the Donmar Warehouse, on 25th March; and Helen Mirren and Margaret Tyzack will be joined by Dominic Cooper in Phaedre opening at the National Theatre in June.

At the 19th Empty Space Peter Brook Awards, for the support of new writers and directors in small studio spaces that receive comparatively little or no public funding, the prize for Established Studio Theatre went to the Royal Court Theatre Upstairs; the Union Theatre won the Up And Coming Award, for newly established studio spaces, or artistic directors with new policies; the Finborough Theatre took the Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award; Battersea Arts Centre received the Ensemble Award; and Angle Company received the Mark Marvin Rent Subsidy Award to enable them to produce a season of one act shows at the Hackney Empire Studio.

A second Spring Dance season at the London Coliseum, running from 25th March to 26th April, will include: American Ballet Theatre performing Swan Lake and Le Corsaire; Russell Maliphant offering Two-Four-Ten, a collection of his key pieces, with performers including Dana Fouras and Adam Cooper; Birmingham Royal Ballet with Pomp And Circumstance and Sylvia; and Cheek To Cheek, featuring Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag performing ballroom and Latin dances, and World Salsa Champions Chris Marques and Jaclyn Spencer. The season will be presented by presented by Askonas Holt, Raymond Gubbay, and Sadler's Wells.

Tons Of Money, Alan Ayckbourn's reworking of the 1920s farce by Will Evans and Valentine, about a man who inherits a fortune and decides to fake his death to avoid spending it on settling his debts, with Caroline Langrishe, Christopher Timothy, Liz Fraser, Mark Curry, Lysette Anthony, Eric Richard, Finty Williams and Keith Clifford, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 18th November.

Christmas With The Rat Pack - Live From Las Vegas the seasonal version of the cabaret style show featuring the songs of Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jnr and Dean Martin, will return to the London Palladium on the 14th, 21st and 28th December; and Thriller Live, the Michael Jackson/Jackson 5 back catalogue show that has toured extensively, directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd, with additional choreography by LaVelle Smith Jnr and Kerys Nathan, will transfer to the Lyric Theatre, opening on 21st January. The producer of both shows is Flying Music.

Future productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Tombstone Tales And Boothill Ballads, a docu-cabaret set in the Arizona desert featuring strange but true stories from the Wild West, written and directed by Carl Heap, music by Joe Townsend, with choreography by Jane Gibson, from 18th November, presented by beggarsbelief; Arne Sierens's The Ballad Of Crazy Paola, translated by Stephen Greenhorn, in which two different versions of the past battle for supremacy, with Holly Atkins and Anthony Shuster, directed by Nadia Latif, opening on 27th November, a Tabula Rasa production; and In Blood: The Bacchae, a new version Euripides's epic play about religious freedom, political order, apathy and fanaticism, featuring Capoeira martial arts, incorporating dance, music, acrobatics and various fighting forms, written and directed by Noah Birksted-Breen, with Mestre Alexandre Carlao and Greg Hicks, from 6th January.

An arena style production of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, in a new version by Justin Butcher, with the audience surrounded by The Woman In White style CGI 3D projected scenery designed by William Dudley, is to be staged in a specially constructed pavilion in Kensington Gardens, from 26th May to 30th August. The producers are Charlie Burnell and Mat Churchill.

The Rumour Machine says: that the National Theatre will stage Alan Bennett's latest play, about the friendship between W H Auden and Benjamin Britten - as yet untitled - directed by Nicholas Hytner, next autumn; that critic Nicholas de Jongh's play Plague Over England, exploring attitudes to homosexuality in the 1950s, sparked by John Gielgud's arrest for importuning, directed by Tamara Harvey, seen earlier this year at the Finborough Theatre, may be remounted in the West End, courtesy of producer Bill Kenwright; and that Hampstead Theatre is to stage Noel Coward's Private Lives, the story of a divorced couple who, finding themselves honeymooning with new partners in adjoining hotel suites, also find that their relationship is actually not over, with Claire Price, directed by Lucy Bailey, next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.