News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th March 2002

Sara Crowe, Serena Evans, Lucy Fleming, Steven Pacey, Jenny Seagrove, Linda Thorson and Simon Williams star in Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife opening at Apollo Theatre on 2nd April, following an appearance at the Theatre Royal Windsor. Edward Hall directs the 1926 comedy about an apparently devoted wife's attempts to stop her family and friends from telling her that her seemingly devoted husband is having an affair with her best friend, while she gains financial and emotional independence. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Stephanie Beacham stars as Elizabeth I in the UK premiere of Canadian Timothy Findlay's Elizabeth Rex, directed by Jonathan Church, at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre from 3rd May. "Torn between her obligations of a ruler and her private feelings, as the Earl of Essex awaits execution, she seeks distraction in the company of William Shakespeare and his troupe of players." Despite this premise, the production is presented in association with Duncan Weldon and Paul Elliott for Triumph Entertainment, presumably with the West End in mind.

V-Day UK is presenting The Vagina Monologues Celebrity Charity Gala, a special performance of Eve Ensler's play, featuring an all star cast and special guest appearances, at the Royal Albert Hall on 5th April. It is a fundraising event in aid of UK and international charities working to end violence against women and children.

The University Of Bristol Theatre Collection, which was established in 1951, and whose archive is second only to that of the Theatre Museum in Covent Garden, has been given full museum status. Highlights of the collection include the original Old Vic Archive, covering the period from its foundation in 1818 to 1977; the Design Collection, with artwork, models, photographs and production records of leading costume and set designers from the 19th and 20th centuries; Periodicals, with journals from 1894 onwards; the Herbert Beerbohm Tree Archive, covering his management of the Haymarket and Her Majesty's theatres; and Woman's Theatre Collection, recording women's contribution to theatre writing, production and performance. Further information can be found on the UBTC web site, which as an online search capability, via the link from the Information section of TheatreNet.

This year's season at Glyndebourne, running from 18th May to 25th August, will include three new productions: Gluck's Iphigénie en Aulide, directed by Christof Loy, both opera and director making their Glyndebourne debut, with the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment conducted by Ivor Bolton; Weber's Euryanthe, also in its first Glyndebourne production, directed by Richard Jones, again with the OAE conducted by Mark Elder; and Bizet's Carmen, directed by David McVicar, with Anne Sofie von Otter's first performance in the title role, conducted by Philippe Jordan. There will be three revivals: Graham Vick's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, with Amanda Roocroft and Veronique Gens, conducted by Louis Langre; Peter Hall's production of Britten's Albert Herring, featuring Alfred Boe and Felicity Lott, conducted by Glyndebourne's new Music Director Vladimir Jurowski; and Nikolaus Lehnhoff's production of Janacek's Kat'a Kabanova, conducted by Jiri Kout.

There will be a series of one hour talks on the productions in this year's Glyndebourne season at The Inner Temple in London: 8th April Don Giovanni - David Osmond-Smith; 15th April Iphigenie en Aulide - Julian Rushton; 30th April Kat'a Kabanova - Julian Johnson; 20th May Euryanthe - John Warrack; 17th June Carmen - Katherine Ellis; and 24th June Albert Herring - Paul Kildea. Further information can be found on the Glyndebourne web site via the link from the Regional Theatres section of TheatreNet.

David Leveaux will now direct an all American cast, including Liesel Matthews, Jason Ritter and Mark Webber, in the world premiere of Neil Labute's play The Distance From Here, at the Almeida on 8th May. It is yet another portrait of young America on the brink of revolt, told through six people living in a suburban wasteland. LaBute was originally going to direct the play himself, but he is working on a film adaptation of his last Almedia (and now Off Broadway) success The Shape Of Things.

Pete Postlethwaite stars as Scaramouche Jones, in Justin Butcher's play, at the Theatre Royal Bristol, from 3rd April. A bizarre, comic, epic and tragic tale, in which a clown strips away his seven comic masks and reveals what lies within, directed by Rupert Goold and produced in association with Rebbeck Penny. This will be followed by John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, the first British musical, relating the adventures of the highwayman Macheath, directed by Gareth Machin, and Alan Ayckbourn's A Chorus Of Disapproval, about the mounting of an amateur production of Gay's play, directed by Elwyn Johnson, in repertoire from 9th May to 8th June.

The Rumour Machine says: that Elton John, who saw certain autobiographical parallels in the story, is collaborating with screenplay writer Lee Hall to adapt the film Billy Elliott into a stage musical; that Britain's most prolific lyricist Don Black is working on the English version of a French rock musical of Romeo And Juliet; and that a stage adaptation of Martin Scorsese's 1983 film The King Of Comedy may find its way to the West End later this year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . Royal Shakespeare Company director Adrian Noble, the only person in the country to whom the term "beleaguered" is more applicable than Stephen Byers, after plans to raise his theatre to the ground, directors leaving wholesale, and productions getting a critical kicking, finally has some good news. The RSC has signed a five year agreement to perform seasons at the Kennedy Centre in Washington, starting next spring. Among the planned productions are Romeo And Juliet, King Lear and Macbeth. This should raise the profile of the company in America, which in turn should help to raise both direct and sponsorship funding.