News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th October 2004

Despite being 'saved' by a fundraising campaign earlier this year, the Bridewell Theatre is to close in January as a venue for musical theatre. The company has been told by the Arts Council England that it will not receive any long term additional funding towards the 'economic' rent that it now has to pay its landlord. However, the Bridewell company will continue to receive a development grant of £32,500 a year, with which it will operate as a producer of new work in musical theatre. Osnat Schmool's Drive Ride Walk, the first new production under this scheme is scheduled for next spring.

The cast of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, which is largely made up of stand-up comedians, will be performing in extramural comedy shows at the Gielgud Theatre at 10.30pm on 16th and 30th October, and 13th and 27th November. Christian Slater will compere the bill with Stephen K Amos, Ian Coppinger, Brendan Dempsey, Felix Dexter, Dave Johns, Phil Nichol, Owen O'Neill, Lucy Porter and Gavin Robertson, who will be joined by the other cast members Frances Barber and Mackenzie Crook.

DBC Pierre's novel Vernon God Little, adapted by Andrea Hart, is receiving its world stage premiere, directed by Kenny Miller, at the Citizens Theatre in Glasgow until 23rd October. Charting the adventures of an innocent in a small town in Texas and the beach front in Mexico, it exposes the moral bankruptcy of America. The cast comprises Candida Benson, Julie Austin, Andrew Clark, Vivien Reid, Lorna McDevitt and Pete Ashmore.

Saffron Burrows, Alan Cox and Nigel Lindsay star in the premiere of Peter Whelan's The Earthly Paradise, directed by Robert Delamere, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 24th November. The play explores the complex relationship of the designer William Morris, his wife Janey, and the painter Dante Gabriel Rosetti. Simon Russell Beale and Emma Fielding will be joined by Tom Burke, Paul Higgins, Paul Ritter, John Rogan, Hilary Sesta, Jane Thorne and Janet Whiteside in Macbeth, directed by John Caird, opening at the Almeida on 20th January. Mexican film actor Gael Garcia Bernal will make his London theatre debut in Federico Garcia Lorca's Blood Wedding, in a new translation by Tania Ronder, directed by Rufus Norris, opening at the Almeida on 5th May. The play, which is tale of love, lust and betrayal, whose action is highly symbolic, incorporating song, chant, poetry, music, and rhythm, was Lorca's first major success.

The Royal Shakespeare Company will hold series of background events for each of the productions in its London season at the Albery Theatre. The Director Talks are pre show conversations where the directors discuss their productions, on 22nd November: Hamlet, 20th December: Romeo And Juliet, 17th January: King Lear, 15th February: Macbeth, and 6th April: Hecuba. In An Introduction To… members of the creative teams discuss the creative process and their approaches to rehearsing and designing the shows, prior to matinees on 11th December: Hamlet, 22nd January: King Lear, 19th February: Macbeth, and 27th April: Hecuba. Interpreting Shakespeare are sessions designed for school or Further Education students, providing a detailed insight into the play on the page and the practical process of making theatre, on 1st December: Hamlet, 27th January: King Lear, 23rd February: Macbeth, and 2nd March: Hecuba.

The American Elvis Presley back catalogue musical All Shook Up will open on Broadway on 24th March, at the prestigious Palace Theatre - one of only three theatres actually on the Great White Way. It is not a biographical revue, but tells the story of the arrival of a mysterious, leather-jacketed guitar-playing stranger in a small town in middle America in 1955, who 'enables its citizens to discover the magic of romance and the power of rock and roll'. The show, which features 24 songs in a book by Joe DiPietro, will be directed by Christopher Ashley, with choreography by Ken Roberson.

Horla Theatre Company's latest production, Rumplestiltskin And Other Grizzly Tales, directed by Alistair Green, plays at New Wimbledon Studio, from 30th November to 23rd December. It comprises stories from The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and others, including 'The Elves and The Shoemaker' and 'The Princess and The Pea', adapted by Green and Joanna Volinska, told by an ensemble of performers using mask, mime, puppetry and live music.

On The Casting Couch: The final principal casting for Grand Hotel. opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 29th November, is Helen Baker, Gillian Bevan, Martyn Ellis, Daniel Evans, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Julian Ovenden and Gary Raymond.

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, with Ferdy Roberts, Alun Raglan, Robin Bowerman, Jane Cameron, Andrew Watson, Robert Whelan, Sarah Wildor, Guy Williams and Julia Winwood, directed by Uzma Hameed, and choreographed by Arthur Pita, is playing at Derby Playhouse until 30th October. Rather than concentrating on the gothic horror, Stephen Edwards's adaptation explores contemporary theme of whether we should create life, now that we can.

The Rumour Machine says: that Haydn Gwynne will play the inspirational teacher in Billy Elliot The Musical; that The Boy From Oz, the biomusical about the entertainer Peter Allen that recently ended its Broadway run, will arrive in London next autumn; that The Who's Tommy will open a national tour in January, directed by Keith Strachan and Guy Retallick, and produced by Bill Kenwright; and that with the premiere of the film version of The Phantom Of The Opera immanent, Really Useful Films are planning to shoot a Bollywood film version of Bollywood Dreams in India, directed by Farah Khan, co-choreographer of the show, and Sunset Boulevard, which will probably star Glenn Close and Hugh Jackman. The Rumour Machine grinds on.