News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th August 2007

Christian Slater is to star in the world premiere of Swimming With Sharks, adapted by Michael Lesslie from George Huang's 1994 film, directed by Wilson Milam, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 16th October. The darkly comic thriller is a look into the cut throat world of a contemporary Hollywood producer. The stage producers are Nick Frankfort and Tobias Round for CMP, and Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer.

After losing its former home, Southwark Playhouse will open a new (although temporary) 150 seater theatre in railway arches underneath London Bridge station on 28th August, with a site specific production of Gillian Clarke's Reverence - A Tale Of Abelard And Heloise, a new version of the story of forbidden love, directed by Joel Scott, presented by Goat and Monkey Theatre and Punchdrunk; a 90 minute version of Shakespeare's Richard III, with Aicha Kossoko, Clara Onyemere, Valerie O'Connor and Alex Britton, directed by Daniel Goldman and Donnacadh O'Briain, from 26th September, in collaboration with Tangram Theatre, and Moss Hart and George S Kaufman's 1930s comedy You Can't Take It With You, about a good natured but decidedly eccentric family, directed by Gavin McAlinden, from 24th October, a Charm Offensive production.

The autumn season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include: Shakespeare's Henry V, with Elliot Cowan, directed by Jonathan Munby, from 5th September; Bridget O Connor's The Flags, about two incompetant lifeguartds on the second worst beach in Ireland, directed by Greg Hersov, from 23rd November; David Williamson's A Conversation, set at a meeting of the families of the victim and the perpetraitor of a terrible crime, directed by Jacob Murray, from 14th November; Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, the morality comedy involving blackmail, political corruption, and public and private honour, directed by Braham Murray, from 11th December; and Arnold Wesker's Roots, the rural kitchen sink play, directed by Jo Combes, from 30th January.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the National Theatre production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, about 1980s school staff room rivalry, the anarchy of adolescence and the purpose of education, will return to Wyndham's Theatre on 20th December. It will be the upcoming touring production with Desmond Barrit, Elizabeth Bell, Tim Delap, Daniel Fine, Andrew Hawley, Ryan Hawley, Thomas Howes, Danny Kirrane, Alton Letto, Sam Phillips and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, which opens at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth on 6th September, recreated by Paul Miller, after the original direction by Nicholas Hytner.

The autumn season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include: the Irish company Fishamble's world premiere production of Sebastian Barry's The Pride Of Parnell Street, interweaving monologues telling of a marriage in Dublin, and the act of violence that shattered it, with Mary Murray and Karl Shiels, directed by Jim Culleton, from 4th September; the British premiere of Ron Hutchinson's golden age of Hollywood comedy Moonlight And Magnolias, in which producer David O Selznick hires script doctor Ben Hecht and director Victor Fleming to 'fix' his film of Gone With The Wind, directed by Sean Holmes, from 27th September; and the British premiere of John Patrick Shanley's award winning Broadway play Doubt, set in a Bronx Catholic School, where a nun, who has doubts about the behaviour of priest towards the school's first black student, embarks on a campaign to have him removed, directed by Nicolas Kent, from 22nd November.

New York TheatreNet: The fourth New York Musical Theatre Festival, running from 17th September to 7th October, aims to help new writing in musical theatre move forward into production. Over 30 musicals will be premiering, with more than 100 concerts and special events, 300 performances, given by over 1000 performers and musicians, in 12 venues around midtown Manhattan. Among the shows will be: Austentatious, book by Matt Board, Jane Caplow, Kate Galvin, Luisa Hinchliff and Joe Slabe, music and lyrics by Matt Board and Joe Slabe, about an amateur theatre company mounting a stage adaptation of Pride And Prejudice; The Beastly Bombing, or A Terrible Tale Of Terrorists Tamed By The Tangles Of True Love, libretto by Julien Nitzberg, music by Roger Neill, a Gilbert and Sullivan style romantic operetta about white supremacists and Al Qaeda terrorists plotting to blow up the Brooklyn Bridge; I See London, I See France - The Underwear Musical, book by Vid Guerrerio, music and lyrics by Jeremy Desmon, the story of a brainy fashion ad exec who is dumped for a bimbo on her 35th birthday, and finds herself falling in lust with the dim-but-smoldering poster boy for her agency's most salacious campaign. Further information can be found on the NYMTF web site via the link from New York TheatreNet.

The Birmingham Repertory Theatre's autumn season includes: Headlong Theatre's Rough Crossings, adapted by Caryl Phillips from the book by Simon Schama, the story of a plantation slave and a British Naval Officer who embark on an epic journey in search of freedom, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 14th September; a new staging of Brief Encounter, David Lean's 1945 film based on the Noel Coward play Still Life, which explores betrayal and adultery through three separate love stories set in a railway station, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, from 29th September, a co production with Kneehigh Theatre; Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer, the Georgian comedy of class, courtship and dysfunctional families, with Liza Goddard, directed by Jonathan Munby, from 26th October; and the musical adaptation of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, book by Willis Hall, music by George Stiles, lyrics by Anthony Drewe, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, with choreography by Jenny Arnold, from 28th November.

The new season at the Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh will include: Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, with Liam Brennan, Robin Laing, Peter Kelly, Alan Francis, Shonagh Price, Selena Boyak and Una Maclean, directed by Mark Thomson, from 21st September; The UK Premiere of Brian Friel's Living Quarters, a drama of family breakdown, as a soldier returns to remote and rundown army camp in Ireland, after serving in the Middle East, directed by John Dove, from 26th October; John Kane's stage adaptation of The Wizard Of Oz, by L Frank Baum, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, directed by Gill Robertson, from 1st December; and Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, the story of an overbearing mother and her son, who is torn between an obligation to his family and his desire to break away in 1930s St Louis, directed by Jemima Levick, from 11th January.

The Rumour Machine says: that the next screen to stage transfer may be Flashdance, the 1983 film about a welder and part time exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a dance school and becoming a ballet dancer, to be produced by David Ian; and that Kwame Kwei-Armah's new play Statement Of Regret is to be staged at the National Theatre, with Don Warrington as a member of a political think tank. The Rumour Machine grinds on.