News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th October 2003

Thanks to the unexpected vacancy, Over My Shoulder, Richard Stirling's musical autobiography of Jessie Matthews, will run at Wyndham's Theatre from 27th October to 8th November. Anne Rogers and Jo Gibb play the older and younger Matthews in the rags to riches story that features the songs of Rodgers and Hart, Noel Coward and Irving Berlin. The production is directed and choreographed by Stewart Nicholls. It opened at The Mill at Sonning earlier this year and has toured extensively.

Mercury Musical Developments is presenting The Works, a showcase of five new musicals, performed as 45 minute condensed staged readings, at the Arts Theatre on 21st and 22nd October. From 10am to 1pm: Everyone Loves Me!, by Mark Sims and Paul Tibbey, directed by Susie McKenna; The Mysteries Of Harris Burdick, by Joe Calarco, Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen, directed by Joe Calarco; and Grace And The Don, by Pat Cumper and Delroy Murray, directed by Jo Martin. From 2.30pm to 4.30pm: Espresso Trasho, by Charles Leipart and Eric Schorr, directed by Lisa Forrell; and Daylight Spirits, by Charles Philip Thomas, Bill Kehl, Fawn Kehl, Phil Grimes, Kristeen Griffin-Grimes, directed by Tamara Harvey. Further information can be found on the MMD web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

Victoria Hamilton and Diana Rigg will star in Tennessee Williams Suddenly Last Summer, directed by Michael Grandage, at the Lyceum Theatre in Sheffield from 17th to 28th February. Williams steamy Southern clash over the death of a poet, between his overbearing and protective mother and his 'girlfriend', will then tour prior to a prospective London season (although it was seen in the West End only four years ago).

The Theatre Museum is presenting a series of events during November celebrating the work of Noel Coward. 2nd: Christopher Luscombe will examine scenes from Star Quality in performance. 9th: John Lahr will talk about Coward's comedy, John Mills will reminisce about working with him, and Rex Bunnett will make an audio visual presentation about his musical comedy. 16th and 18th: Noel Coward and ... Others will premiere a musical entertainment by Dick Vosburgh highlighting Coward's collaborations with amongst others, Charles Cochran, Jerome Kern and the Sitwells.

Sotheby's is holding its first sale of photographs at Olympia, Hammersmith Road, at 2pm on 19th November, with viewing from 14th November onwards. It will feature photographs from the nineteenth century through to the near present, with works by some of the greatest names in photography including Ansel Adams, Bill Brandt, Horst P. Horst, Andre Kertesz, Jacques-Henri Lartigue, Terry O'Neill, Norman Parkinson, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts and Laszlo Willinger. Among the celebrity subjects are David Bowie, Marlene Dietrich, Faye Dunaway, Greta Garbo, Mel Gibson, Jerry Hall, Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, Jean Shrimpton and Elizabeth Taylor. Items in the sale include a collection of Picture Post magazines dating from 1938 through to 1957 - complete except for one issue. Further information can be found on the Sotheby's web site via the link from the Emporium section of TheatreNet.

Brits On Broadway Eileen Atkins, John Lithgow and Ben Chaplin star in the New York premiere of William Nicholson's The Retreat From Moscow, directed by Dan Sullivan, opening on 23rd October at the Booth Theatre. The story of a marriage disintegrating after 33 years, which is partly based on the relationship of Nicholson's parents, was first seen at the Chichester Festival Theatre in 2000.

Daniela Nardini, Khalid Abdalla, Andrew Bridgmont and Rick Warden star in Cue Deadly, by crime writer Nicholas Blincoe, at Riverside Studios from 19th November to 6th December. A new 'live film' experience, it attempts to merge literature, contemporary film and theatre, to tell the tale of a gangland hit man who wants out. The 'neo-noir thriller' is directed by Dan Hine and Kirsty Housley, with cinematography by Brian Tufano. The project won this year's inaugural Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust Award.

The Word International Writers Season is a series of conversations and talks taking place at the Gielgud Theatre from 6pm to 7pm on Wednesdays until 9th December. Each session will see a different writer discussing a particular theme in fiction or their own new publication. Those taking part are: Tim Krabbe, Zadie Smith, Jung Chang, Helen Fielding, Jacqueline Wilson, David Guterson, Carlos Fuentes, Doris Lessing and Nick Hornby. There will be an additional event with Michael Moore on Sunday 9th November at the London Palladium. Further information can be found on The Word web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

The theatre lost one of its most versatile practitioners this week with the death of Denis Quilley, one of the few actors to have equally distinguished careers on both the musical and classical stages, as well as commercial and subsidised theatres. From a start as an acting ASM at Birmingham Rep with a young Peter Brook, Quilley went on to be part of the original National Theatre company with Laurence Olivier at the Old Vic. He returned to the company many times, appearing in Hamlet both in the first production on the South Bank in 1976 and again in 2002, as well as The Front Page, Macbeth, The School For Scandal, The White Devil, Sweeney Todd, The Merry Wives Of Windsor, Troilus And Cressida, Candide, Humble Boy and most recently Anything Goes. His commercial musical successes included Irma La Douce, High Spirits, The Boys From Syracuse, La Cage aux Folles, and My Fair Lady, as well as award winning performances in two shows that demonstrate his range - Privates On Parade and Sweeney Todd.