News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th February 2008

Maria Friedman will perform a new solo show, Maria Friedman: Rearranged, at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, from 19th March to 4th May, accompanied by an 11 piece band. As with her earlier solo show, it will comprise new arrangements of show tunes and contemporary songs, by some of the most renowned orchestrators in Britain and America.

Street dance company ZooNation's Edinburgh Fringe hit Into The Hoods, a hip-hop urban take on the story of the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine musical Into The Woods, which features characters from a number of fairytales, (but using hip-hop songs) directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, will play a season at the Novello Theatre from 26th March to 10th May. It is presented by Phil McIntyre and Adam Speers.

The spring season at the funding reprieved Bush Theatre will comprise Mike Bartlett's Artefacts, the story of a 16 year old whose life is torn apart by the sudden arrival of her Iraqi father, sparking off discoveries about family, identity and culture, with Mouna Albakry, Karen Ascoe, Amy Hamdoon, Peter Polycarpou and Lizzy Watts, directed by James Grieve, opening on 25th February, a co-production with nabokov; Lucy Kirkwood's Tinderbox, a dystopian 'revenge comedy' set at the end of the 21st century in a Britain ravaged by separatism and global warming, directed by Josie Rourke, opening on 28th April; and the British premiere of Anthony Weigh's 2,000 Feet Away, set in a small town in Iowa, examining the price paid for safety and the real consequences of reasonable laws, also directed by Rourke, opening on 16th June.

Zorro, a musical version of the story of a masked hero and swashbuckling swordsman, who defends the people of Spanish California against injustice in the 19th century, book by Stephen Clark, using the music of the flamenco band the Gipsy Kings, with Matt Rawle, Adam Cooper and Aimie Atkinson, directed by Christopher Renshaw, with choreography by Rafael Amargo, will open a prospective pre west End tour at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking on 13th March. It will be based on the novel by Isabel Allende, which reveals how a wealthy caballero came to assume an alter ego, weaving together Spanish and Californian history, Native American legend, mythic folk tales and pirate adventures.

The spring season at Hampstead Theatre will include Bryony Lavery's Stockholm, with Samuel James and Georgina Lamb, directed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, from 13th May, a Frantic Assembly and Drum Theatre Plymouth production; Steve Waters's Fast Labour, about illegal immigration, people trafficking and labour exploitation in Britain, directed by Ian Brown, from 30th May, a co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse; and Amy Rosenthal's On The Rocks, a comedy about the attempts by D H Lawrence, his wife Frieda, John Middleton Murry and Katherine Mansfield to set up an alternative existence of communal living in a remote village in Cornwall, directed by Claire Lizzimore, from 26th June.

A Spanish musical, Peter Pan El Musical, music and lyrics by Cesar Constanti and Pablo Pinilla, adapted and directed by Cristina Fargas, from J M Barrie's story of the boy who never grew up, performed in Spanish with English surtitles, with choreography by Lamberto Garcia, featuring Miguel Angel Gamero, will play at the Garrick Theatre from 30th March to 27th April. The producer is Theatre Properties Musical Theatre Company.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer, the Georgian comedy of class, courtship and dysfunctional families, with Liza Goddard, Colin Baker, Lynsey Beauchamp, Elisa Boyd, Jonathan Broadbent, Thomas Brownlee, Matthew Burgess, Aiden Clooke, Matthew Douglas, Annie Hemingway, Leon Hunt, Tom Jude, Dorothea Myer-Bennett and Glynn Sweetdirected by Jonathan Munby, is currently on a UK wide tour until 26th April.

Northern Ballet Theatre will premiere David Nixon's new dance version of Hamlet, set in early 1940s German occupied Paris, co-directed by Patricia Doyle, performed to a specially commissioned score by Philip Feeney, at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 16th February, opening a regional tour. The repertoire for the tour will also include Nixon's A Midsummer Night's Dream, seen as the romantic entanglements of a touring dance company travelling by sleeper train from London to Edinburgh (with strange things happening when they enter a tunnel) in a design style of late 1940s Dior New Look, and Christopher Gable and Massimo Moricone's classic production of Romeo And Juliet.

Arts Council England is to undertake its most comprehensive assessment of the theatre sector since Peter Boyden's landmark investigation into regional producing venues and the ensuing Theatre Review in 2001. The outcome will inform its funding decisions at the spending review in 2011. The project will look at the impact of the extra 25m invested into producing theatre following the Theatre Review, consider why certain building based companies, such as Bristol Old Vic and Derby Playhouse, have struggled over the past few years, and re-establish a strategic overview for touring work. This announcement is viewed in some quarters as an attempt to provide justification for ACE's recent reallocation of funds, which, despite protests, has seen over 175 organisations lose their grants.

The nominations for this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, Britain's premier theatre awards, given by the Society Of London Theatre, is dominated by Hairspray, with a record breaking 11 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Actor (Musical) - Michael Ball (surely he should be up for best Actress?) and Best Actress (Musical) - Leanne Jones. There is strong contention form the classical field for Best Actor: Patrick Stewart Macbeth, Ian McKellen -King Lear and Chiwetel Ejiofor - Othello and Best Actress: Anne-Marie Duff - Saint Joan, Kelly Reilly - Othello, Penelope Wilton - John Gabriel Borkman and Kristin Scott Thomas - The Seagull. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 9th March. The full list of nominations can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite.