News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th January 1998

After various docking problems, the "glam rock space odyssey" musical Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens will finally be attempting a soft landing at the Queens Theatre on 19th March. Winner of a Fringe First at the Edinburgh Festival, the show toured in the autumn. The book is by Charlotte Mann, and the music is by Jonathan Croose and Robert Forrest, with additional lyrics by Michael Fidler. It is directed by Keith Strachan and Counterpoint Theatre is the producer.

Further news of the Almeida Theatre's plans for world domination. In addition to all its other previously reported projects, there will be an Almeida season at Malvern Theatre in the summer. It will open with a revival of David Hare's Plenty. On home turf, Shaw's The Doctor's Dilemma with Alec McCowan and Ian McDiarmid, will run from 3rd to 27th June. The dilemma is a choice between saving the life of a doctor, and that of a talented but feckless artist, whose wife he loves. Michael Grandage is the director.

Aladdin tops this year's list of the most popular pantomimes, with 36 productions, knocking the usual winner Cinderella into second place. A Christmas Carol is a new entry at number 10.

Revitalised by the success of the film The Full Monty, Dave Simpson's hen party comedy Girls Night Out, which has been entertaining groups of ladies throughout the nation for the last two years, finally hits London on 25th February, when it opens at the Victoria Palace. The cast includes Diana Davies and Carole Todd directs.

With a 1.5m two book contract in his pocket, Ben Elton returns to the theatre, lining up the same deal as Popcorn for his new two hander, Blast From The Past. It will be directed by Jude Kelly at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, with the hope of a West End transfer if it is successful. The Playhouse's season will also include Irvine Welsh's first stage play You'll Have Had Your Hole directed by Ian Brown opening on 24th February.

The previously mentioned Donmar Warehouse production of Tom Stoppard's one acter The Real Inspector Hound will be teamed with Peter Shaffer's one acter Black Comedy. Neither has been seen in the West End since their original productions. The cast will include Desmond Barritt, Anna Chancellor, Sarah Crowe and Gary Waldhorn. In "Hound" two critics become involved in the murder mystery which they are reviewing, and in "Comedy" the entire action takes place during a power cut - fortunately the audience can see what the characters can't.

If you are considering taking a show to this year's Edinburgh Festival Fringe (9th - 31st August) now is the time to find out how to go about it. A roadshow will be touring the country in the next two weeks dispensing information, and admission is free. For information or a registration pack call the Fringe Festival Office on 0131 226 5257, fax on 0131 2260 4205 or email

The Rumour Machine says: that Chris (Jonah) Smith's latest idea for Covent Garden is to punish the Royal Opera by withdrawing its subsidy altogether, while continuing to fund the Royal Ballet - the money saved could be passed on to English National Opera; and that Beauty And The Beast has broken the West End box office record again by taking 574,000 in the Christmas/New Year week, but there has still been the customary rash of post holiday closing notices, including Jesus Christ Superstar. The Rumour Machine grinds on.