News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th September 2005

The Old Vic has announced its next season. The Motion Group production of Igor Stravinsky's Faustian music theatre piece about a violin playing soldier The Soldier's Tale, in a new translation by Abdul Karim Kasid and Rebecca Lenkiewicz, directed by Andrew Steggall, will open on 30th January. The British premiere of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues, directed in his UK stage debut by film director Robert Altman, will open on 22nd February. A satire on cultural commercialisation, global politics and media saturation, it is set in a South American country where, when the dictator decides to crucify a young rebel, a New York television company bids for the broadcast rights. An as yet unconfirmed show will follow this. Kevin Spacey will star in Eugene O'Neill Moon For The Misbegotten, directed by Howard Davies, opening next September. Set in 1923 in a run down farmhouse in Connecticut, the play revolves around a quick witted young woman, her scheming father, and their landlord, James Tyrone Jr - the character from O'Neill's Long Day's Journey Into Night, now an alcoholic older man still haunted by his mother's death.

Edinburgh Fringe Report: Once again ticket sales broke all previous records at 1.3m, a 7% rise on last year. There were 26,995 performances of 1,799 shows in 249 venues - up from 25,326 performances of 1,695 shows in 236 venues last year. Theatre was the most popular genre with 37% of all shows, then comedy 22%, music 21%, musicals 5% and children's shows, dance and physical theatre with 4%. An estimated 16,190 performers appeared in Fringe productions,

33% of which were world premieres, 6% were European premieres, and 8% were UK premieres.

The annual London Pick Of The Fringe season, featuring double bills of the Perrier Comedy Award finalists, will run on Sundays in October at the Lyric Theatre: 9th - Chris Addison with Atomicity and Jeremy Lion in What's The Time, Mr Lion?; 16th - Perrier Comedy Award winner Laura Solon playing eight radically different characters in Kopfrapers Syndrome, and Jason Manford with Urban Legend; and 23rd - Best Newcomer winner Tim Minchin performing a mixture of music and stand up in Darkside and Dutch Elm with Conservatoire In Conspiracy. Further information can be found on the Perrier Comedy Awards web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The new season at Nottingham Playhouse has opened with Tennessee Williams's Cat On A Hot Tin Roof, the steamy examination of family, money and sexuality on a plantation in the Mississippi Delta, using the rarely performed original text, rather than the familiar version, directed by Richard Baron, playing until 24th September. The company comprises Christine Absolom, Jamie Chapman, Elise Davison, Morgan Deare, Candida Gubbins, Lesley Harcourt, Dugald Bruce-Lockhart, Rory Murray, Yvonne Newman and Aaron Shirley. It is a co-production with the Belgrade Theatre Coventry, where it transfers on 28th September, and the Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh where it opens on 22nd October.

The 13th London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public into architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, takes place on 17th and 18th September. A record number of over 600 locations will include old favourites of theatrical interest such as the Lyric Hammersmith, Hackney Empire and Royal Court theatres, LSO St Luke's concert hall, BBC Bush House, Television Centre and White City Media Village, Alexander Palace theatre and TV studios, the BFI Imax, 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 Almeida, Brick Lane Music Hall, Hampstead, New Wimbledon and Open Air theatres, Wigmore Hall and BBC Broadcasting House. 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 Generating Company, which created the Millennium Dome spectacular, premieres its latest show Lactic Acid, choreographed by Abigail Yeates, with lighting and projection by Patrick Watkinson, at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre until 17th September. An international cast of dancers, acrobats and aerialists fuse dance, circus and the electronic music of Mira Calix, to produce a story that describes the human body through its chemical reactions.

The Georgian Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds is closing for a 5.1m restoration programme. In order to raise the final funds to pay for this, it is holding an auction after the last performance on 17th September. Items range from period and pantomime costumes, through theatre memorabilia, to the house tabs and seating - truely everything must go! Further information can be found on the Theatre Royal web site via the link from Regional Theatres in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson may star in Andrew Lloyd Webber's much talked of West End production of The Sound Of Music at the London Palladium next year; that Jeremy Irons is to return to the West End stage in Embers, adapted and directed by Christopher Hampton from Hungarian novelist Sandor Morai's story of two ex friends who meet forty years after they split up; and that even before she's made it, Jerry Hall wants to follow up her musical theatre debut in High Society with Chicago in both London and New York. The Rumour Machine grinds on.