News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th January 2003

George Piper Dances, the company set up by Ballet Boyz Michael Nunn and William Trevitt, will premiere their latest work, cheekily titled Critics Choice ***** at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on 25th March. It combines segments choreographed by Matthew Bourne, Akram Khan, Russell Maliphant and Christopher Wheeldon, linked with the BB's trademark fly on the wall video images of the rehearsal process. They will also be performing Russell Maliphant's Torsion and Matthew Hart's Other People's Wives. Further information about the company can be found on the GPD web site via the Dance, Opera, Orchestras & Choirs section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Mum's The Word, a Canadian comedy about motherhood, will open at the Albery Theatre on 18th March.The show was written by six women - Linda A Carson, Jill Daun, Alison Kelly, Robin Nichol, Barbara Pollard and Debora Williams - and based on their experiences. It played a regional tour last autumn with Beverley Callard, Tina Malone, Julia Watson, Polly Highton, Carole Anders and Anna Healy, directed by Wayne Harrison. Casting has yet to be confirmed, but as it is a series of monologues, it may take the 'big name short run' route employed by The Vagina Monologues.

The Comedy Store Players are to undertake their first tour for ten years, starting at the De Montfort Hall on 10th February as part of the Leicester Comedy Festival. Josie Lawrence and Richard Vranch will join founder Neil Mullarkey in improvising on themes suggested by the audience - so if the show's no good it's not their fault!

David Hare's State Of The Nation trilogy Racing Demon, Absence Of War and Murmuring Judges will receive its regional premiere at Birmingham Rep in April. The plays will be performed in repertoire with the same company of actors, featuring Jack Shepherd, Malcolm Storry, Carolyn Backhouse, John Hodgkinson, Paul Kemp Tim Knightley, Paul Raffield and Hugh Rose, with Rachael Kavanagh and Jonathan Church co-directing.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is now making its archive available online, through a new Pictures and Exhibitions section on its web site. This has been created from artefacts in the RSC Collection, including production photographs, paintings, costumes, props, sculpture, memorabilia, prompt books, pages from First Folios of Shakespeare plays, and the Bram Stoker Collection, ranging from 1623 to the present day. At its launch the section comprised 3, 900 images, and it is continually being added to as the digitisation of the archive continues. There are 'exhibitions' linked to all 37 of the plays, plus various other themes, and the material can be searched in a variety of ways such as actor, character or production. Hitherto 90% of the RSC's archive remained unseen, but thanks to a grant from the New Opportunities Fund it is now available worldwide. There is a link to the RSC web site from the UK Theatre Companies section of TheatreNet.

Pete Postlethwaite is to take his one man show Scaramouche Jones on a world tour later this year. Justin Butcher's bizarre, comic, epic and tragic tale is set on millennium eve 1999, as a clown about to give his final performance reflects on a life that has taken him all over the world, stripping away his seven comic masks and revealing what lies within. Rupert Goold directed the show, which premiered at the Dublin Theatre Festival, and played an extensive regional tour last year.

The spring season at the Bridewell Theatre includes Sphinx Theatre Company's contemporary production of As You Like It, directed by Sue Parrish, from 18th to 26th February; All Aboard, in which Bertie Pearce brings an entire cruise ship to life with his ventriloquism, magic and mime skills, from 28th February to 9th March; and the Actors Of Dionysus production of Aeschylus Agamemnon, adapted and directed by David Stuttard, with Tamsin Shasha, from 2nd to 9th April.

The number of visitors to the Theatre Museum has increased by 40% since entry fees were abolished a year ago. Its location in Covent Garden makes it ideal for a 'drop in visit' for which the charges had been a major disincentive. The museum has been engaged in expanding both the number of special exhibitions it stages and its programme of special events. It also hosts The Society Of London Theatre's free Kids Theatre Club for 8 to 12 year olds on Saturday mornings. The museum will be announcing a major refurbishment scheme in the spring. Further information can be found on the Museum web site via the link from the Information section of TheatreNet.

Highlights of the Barbican Centre's BITE:03 season include: CIRCA with The Holy Body Tattoo, 'a celebration in dance of the sensual forces of submission and control'; New York City Players with Drummer Wanted, a bleak picture of contemporary American suburbia, written, composed and directed by Richard Maxwell; the Colombian Teatro Malando with Ay! QuiXote, a fresh telling of the Quixote story with physical gesture, music, masks and puppetry; Brazil's Teatro Piollin with Vau Da Sarapalha, a tragic tale of unrequited love in a traditional farming community brought to life with an unorthodox blend of 'aroma-theatre' and pyrotechnics; and La Syncope Du 7, the first creation from Collectif AOC, who fuse contemporary circus, dance and a live DJ, and feature performers who float in the air above large trampolines and walk up the walls.

The Rumour Machine (crossing the pond dept) says: that the Tony award winning Terrence McNally-Stephen Flaherty-Lyn Ahrens musical Ragtime, based on E L Doctrow's novel about the 20th century making of America, which combines romance, politics and social history, will finally reach the West End in March, starring Maria Friedman, Graham Bickley and Dave Willets; that Paul Newman and the Westport Country Playhouse production of Thornton Wilder's Our Town, the classic picture of small town America, may head to London following the success of its limited Broadway run - although the terrorist threat may scare him off; and that terrorist threat or not, veteran comedian turned character actor Alan King will bring his Off Broadway 1 man hit Mr Goldwyn, by Marsha Lebby and John Lollos, about the legendary "a verbal contract isn't worth the paper it's written on - include me out" Hollywood producer, to the West End in March. The Rumour Machine grinds on.