News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 10th November 2006

Honours are evenly spread between commercial and subsidised productions in the nominations for this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards, with three shows dominating the list: Frost/Nixon - Peter Morgan (Best Play), Michael Sheen (Actor), Michael Grandage (Director) and Christopher Oram (Design); Rock 'N' Roll - Tom Stoppard (Best Play), Rufus Sewell (Actor) and Sinead Cusack (Actress); and Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? - Bill Irwin (Actor), Kathleen Turner (Actress) and Anthony Page (Director). The big surprise is in the musical category, with only Caroline, Or Change and Monty Python's Spamalot, plus revivals of Evita and Sunday In The Park With George in contention - Wicked is denied nomination. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Savoy Hotel on Monday 27th November. The full list of nominees can be found on the This Is London web site, via the link from Guides in the Links section of TheatreNet.

A prospective pre London tour of Christopher Hampton's Treats, starring Billie Piper, directed by Laurence Boswell, will open at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 16th January. The three hander, which is set in the 1970s, is the story of an egotistical ex-boyfriend and an office bore, vying for the affections of a journalist on a struggling newspaper. This will be followed at the Theatre Royal by Martin Freeman and Roger Lloyd Pack in the premiere of Richard Harris's The Last Laugh, adapted from a Japanese play by Koki Mitani, in which a writer is obliged to submit his script to a government official, and rework the piece with him, before it can be performed, directed by Bob Tomson, which opens a regional tour on 30th January. The producer of both shows is Bill Kenwright.

World TheatreNet: Actress Cate Blanchett and her writer husband Andrew Upton are to become the new joint artistic directors of the prestigious Sydney Theatre Company, in Walsh Bay Sydney, at the end of next year. In the immediate future, the duo will make their directorial debuts with the Sydney Theatre Company double bill of Harold Pinter's A Kind Of Alaska, directed by Blanchett, and David Mamet's Reunion, directed by Upton, with Justine Clarke, Caroline Lee and Robert Menzies, opening on 25th November. The couple will continue to act and write with the company after they have assumed the artistic directorship. Further information can be found on the STC web site via the link from International Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond has won this year's Empty Space Peter Brook Award, for the support of new writers and directors in small studio spaces that receive comparatively little or no public funding. It was praised both for being an unashamedly literary theatre - it is currently presenting a George Bernard Shaw season - and for its theatre in education projects and trainee directors' courses. The Up And Coming Award, for theatres either still struggling for recognition after years of productions or recently opened venues, was won by The Scoop, the free open air amphitheatre next to City Hall, which presents eclectic summer and Christmas seasons. The Mark Marvin Rent Subsidy Award, made to productions, and intended to go towards funding the rent required to give a piece a further life, went to Verb Theatre's Limbo: Stories From 7/7 at the Tristan Bates Theatre. The Dan Crawford Pub Theatre Award was won by the Old Red Lion in Islington.

The Bush Theatre in Shepherd's Bush is to present a double bill of writers in their own works, from 9th January to 3rd February. Mark Ravenhill will perform Product, in which a writer pitches a film script to a young film star, directed by Lucy Morrison; and Stewart Lee will perform What Would Judas Do?, in which Christ's betrayer explains his position using words, rope and food. The producer is David Johnson.

Bonhams is holding a sale of film, television and rock'n'roll memorabilia at its Knightsbridge saleroom in Montpelier Street SW7, from 2pm on 22nd November. Nearly 275 lots in the sale include a collection of drawings and design concepts by Derek Meddings, the special effects supervisor of the Gerry Anderson TV series Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Joe 90, and James Bond, Batman and Superman films; a portrait in oils of Mick Jagger by Cecil Beaton; a hat worn by John Lennon for the last official Beatles photo shoot in 1969, and unpublished photographs of the Beatles, taken during filming for the BBC documentary The Mersey Sound; a mink coat given to Richard Burton by Elizabeth Taylor; a collection of around 2,000 stills and transparencies relating to Marylin Monroe and James Dean, plus the pantaloons worn by Monroe in the film River Of No Return; and Ian Holm's Hobbit ears from The Lord Of The Rings. Further information can be found on the Bonhams web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Future in house productions at Dundee Rep Theatre include a new version of the Grimms' tale Hansel And Gretel, about the witch with a gingerbread house in the wood, by Phil Porter, with resident ensemble members Keith Fleming, Kim Gerard, Irene MacDougal, Cameron Mowat, Robert Paterson, Ann Louise Ross and Emily Winter, directed by Dominic Hill, with choreography by Rita Henderson, opening on 7th December; and the premiere of the musical Sunshine On Leith, book by Stephen Greenhorn, with songs from The Proclaimers, about the lives of two men who leave the army and return home to their families in Leith, directed by James Brining, opening a Scottish tour on 21st April.

Novel Theatre will return to the Lilian Baylis Theatre for a third Christmas season with a new page to stage production, Nina Bawden's Carrie's War, adapted by Emma Reeves and directed by Andrew Loudon, from 23rd November to 6th January. The story follows the adventures of a brother and sister evacuated to the country during the Second World War.

Michael Barrymore is to star in Scrooge, Leslie Bruicusse's musical adaptation of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, directed by Bob Tomson, with choreography by Lisa Kent, which opens a regional tour at the Grand Theatre in Wolverhampton on 14th November. The producer is Bill Kenwright

The 29th London International Mime Festival runs from 13th to 28th January, and features 18 companies from around the world spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning juggling and vaudeville, together with a programme of talks and workshops. International performers include French Mathurin Bolze Company's Tangentes, a fusion of circus, theatre and music celebrating the abilities of the human body; and Compagnie Philippe Genty's La Fin des Terres, a kaleidoscope of fantastic images conjured from tricks of perspective, distortion, movement and puppets of all sizes; Swiss Philipp Boe's Memoire de la Nuit, blurring borders between theatre and magic as objects appear from nowhere to lead lives of their own; and Spanish Buchinger's Boot Marionettes's Vestibular Folds, the story of a tragic 19th century opera told by puppets made from recycled materials - wood, metal, skin, bones, and glass. Performances are at the Barbican, ICA, Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House and South Bank Centre. Further information can be found on the LIMF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.