News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th September 2006

Judi Dench and Desmond Barritt will be joined by Haydn Gwynne, Alexandra Gilbreath, Alistair McGowan and Scarlett Strallen in Merry Wives The Musical, the Royal Shakespeare Company's Christmas production, opening in Stratford on 12th December. A musical version of The Merry Wives Of Windsor, it is adapted and directed by Gregory Doran, with music by Paul Englishby, and lyrics by Ranjit Bolt. A cowboy musical adaptation of the play, Lone Star Love, or The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Texas, adapted by John L Haber, with music and lyrics by Jack Herrick, directed by Michael Bogdanov, played in New York at Christmas 2004.

The 14th London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public into architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, takes place on 16th and 17th September. A record number of over 600 locations will include old favourites of theatrical interest such as the Hackney Empire, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, Open Air, Richmond and Wimbledon Theatre theatres, LSO's St Luke's and St John's Smith Square concert halls, BBC Broadcasting House, Bush House, Television Centre and White City Media Village, Gaumont State Kilburn, Granada Tooting and Phoenix cinemas, and Sands Film Studio & Rotherhythe Picture Research Library. They will be joined this year by amongst others, the new Siobhan Davies Dance Studios, Theatre Royal Stratford East and Unicorn theatres, and the Royal Festival, Cadogan and Wigmore concert halls. There will also be talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Last year, over 360,000 visits were made during the two days. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further information and how to obtain a directory of participating buildings can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include the return of Lynn Nottage's Fabulation (Or The Re-Education Of Undine), a comedy about a successful Manhattan businesswoman who gets a few surprises when she is returned to her roots in the shabby Brooklyn projects, with Jenny Jules, Obi Abili, Lorraine Burroughs, Karl Collins, Charlotte Lucas, Alibe Parsons, Clare Perkins, Chris Tummings and Howard Ward, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, opening on 18th September; Shared Experience's production of Orestes, freely adapted by Helen Edmundson from Euripides's play about a son on trial for the murder of his mother, directed by Nancy Meckler, opening on 8th November; the European premiere of Spice Drum Beat - Ghoema, which looks at Cape Town's early slave history, using folk songs and original music by David Kramer (who also wrote the book and directs) and Taliep Petersen, with a South African cast, opening on 11th December; and the world premiere of Tamsin Oglesby's The War Next Door, a verse play about domestic violence, directed by Nicolas Kent, opening on 6th February

New York TheatreNet: The Gate Theatre's award winning rock and roll reinvention of Georg Buchner's 19th century play Woyzeck, will be remounted at St Ann's Warehouse in the fashionable DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass) Brooklyn waterfront area of New York, opening on 16th November. Adapted and directed by Daniel Kramer, it portrays the dehumanising effects of doctors, the military and women on a young man, whose fate is played out in a series of nightmarish encounters. It will feature many original cast members, including Edward Hogg in the title role, joined by David Harewood.

Marie Jones's two handed comedy Stones In His Pockets, directed by Ian McElhinney, will return to the West End, at the Duchess Theatre, from the beginning of November. Hugh Lee and Simon Delaney will play all the characters in the tale of what happens when a remote part of Ireland gets a taste of Hollywood, with the arrival of a film company to shoot a new blockbuster. The producers are Paul Elliott, Adam Kenwright and Pat Moylan.

A stage adaptation of the 1954 film White Christmas, with music and lyrics by Irving Berlin, and book by David Ives and Paul Blake, adapted from the screenplay by Norman Krasna, Norman Panama and Melvin Frank, will receive its British premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on 18th November, transferring to the Mayflower Theatre in Southampton on 7th December. The cast will feature Tim Flavin, Craig McLachlan, Emma Kate Nelson, Rachel Stanley, Ken Kercheval and Lorna Luft, directed by Barbara Epstein, with choreography by Randy Skinner. Two song and dance men follow a singing sisters act to their Christmas booking at a Vermont lodge, owned by their former army commander, which is suffering from lack of snow - love and precipitation conquers all. It is a co-production by Michael Rose, Chris Moreno, the Theatre Royal and the Mayflower.

The Battersea Arts Centre launches its 25th anniversary season with the Imagination Festival from 19th September to 15th October. Highlights include: The Fire Of London, 8 specially commissioned 5 minute performances inspired by the conflagration of 1666, spreading into spaces all over the building; Will Adamsdale with his new show The Human Computer, attempting to get into the head (or hard disk) of a computer; The Ghost Collective with We Follow You Home, an interactive event offering the next logical step in our celebrity culture - a personal stalker; Kazuko Hohki performing 3 shows based on her experiences as a Japanese woman, Toothless, a comic elegy to her mother, My Husband Is A Spaceman, about a woman who marries an English university fellow, and Evidence For The Existence Of Borrowers, looking for proof of small people living under the floorboards; intimate tales in Bedtime Stories In The BAC Attic; and an opportunity to build a house and town in Home Sweet Home. Further information can be found on the BAC web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet

A new musical inspired by Charles Dickens's much adapted A Tale Of Two Cities, is more radical than most, relocating the second city from Paris during the French Revolution, to St Petersburg during the Russian Revolution. Two Cities, adapted and directed by Joanna Read, with music and lyrics by Howard Goodall, is running at Salisbury Playhouse until 30th September.

The Rumour Machine says: that Edinburgh Fringe hit Blackwatch may play at the National Theatre next year (although The Roundhouse is also a possible venue); Simply Ballroom, featuring international dance champions, hosted Lionel Blair, which is currently touring, may fill the gap at Drury Lane between The Producers and The Lord Of The Rings; and that both the Open Air Theatre production of The Boyfriend and the Donmar Warehouse production of Frost/Nixon are looking for West End transfers. The Rumour Machine grinds on.