News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th March 2011

Last year's Chichester Festival Theatre production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, with Kara Tointon joining Rupert Everett and Peter Eyre in the tale of a phonetics professor's attempt to transform a cockney flower girl into a society lady, directed by Philip Prowse, will play at the Garrick Theatre from 12th May. It will be presented by Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliot, in association Carole Winter and Michael Edwards and the Theatre Royal Haymarket.

Sadler's Wells and the Barbican are to collaborate in presenting a season of works choreographed by Pina Bausch for her company Tanztheater Wuppertal from 6th June to 9th July 2012. It will feature works created for 10 global locations: India, Brazil, Palermo, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, Budapest, Istanbul, Santiago de Chile, Rome and Japan in a season titled World Cities 2012. 7 of the works in the long running project, which began in 1986, will be British premieres.

Forthcoming productions at the Southwark Playhouse will include Robert Thomas's Eight Women, translated by Donald Sturrock, a comedy whodunnit, in which eight women suspects reveal their secrets and motives for murdering the head of the household in a remote cottage, with Bernice Stegers, Sasha Waddell, Kate Ward, Tamara Hinchco, Maxine Howard, Alice Anthony, Clare Andersson and Sophie Kennedy Clark, directed by Elgiva Field, from 15th March; and Philip Ridley's Tender Napalm, exploring the relationship between a man and a woman and examining the language of love, with Vinette Robinson and Jack Gordon, directed by David Mercatali, from 19th April.

New York TheatreNet: A revised version of the musical On A Clear Day You Can See Forever, original book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Burton Lane, new book by Peter Parnell, with Harry Connick Jr, directed by Michael Mayer, will open on Broadway in the autumn. In the new book, a psychiatrist starts an impossible affair with one of his patient's 'former selves', a 1940s jazz singer. The original score will be augmented with songs written for the film version, and other Lerner and Lane songs from the film Royal Wedding. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The 56th National Student Drama Festival takes place in Scarborough from 9th to 15th April, open to everyone: colleges, youth theatres, community organisations and universities. Last year's Festival comprised 14 shows, chosen from 120 entries. Entrants can embrace all styles and themes, from devised work to modern classics, from musical theatre to new writing, and from physical theatre to the great classic drama of the past. In addition to 60 performances, the Festival also has an extensive programme of over 180 workshops, masterclasses, debates, street theatre and other events. Last year's participants included Mike Bartlett, John Caird, Paddy Cunneen, Christopher Eccleston, Thelma Holt, Mike Leigh and Stephen Jeffreys, as well as companies such as Gandini Juggling, Graeae Theatre Company, Punchdrunk and Royal Shakespeare Company, together with Scarborough's Cultural Godfather, Alan Ayckbourn. During the Festival, the town assumes the mantle of a mini Edinburgh Fringe, as a variety of venues become performance spaces. Further information can be found on the NSDF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Udderbelly, the 400 seater giant upside down purple cow, which has been a feature of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe since 2006, will return to the South Bank this summer. It will again be pitched in Festival Gardens, between the Royal Festival Hall and the London Eye. In a season that will run from April 21st to July 17th, it will host more than 50 different events, spanning theatre, comedy, dance, music, magic, spoken word and children's shows, including events to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Festival of Britain.

This year's Peter Hall Company season at the Theatre Royal Bath will comprise Shakespeare's Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, directed by Peter Hall, from 7th July; Noel Coward's This Happy Breed, telling the 20 year history of a working class family between the World Wars, directed by Stephen Unwin, from 19th July; and Alan Bennett's The Madness Of George III, combining drama, politics and humour into a theatrical portrait of royalty, directed by Christopher Luscombe, from 17th August.

London Stage In The Nineteenth Century by Robert Tanitch, published by Carnegie, is a fascinating record year by year, of performances and productions. It features legendary actors in their most famous roles, including Sarah Siddons, John Philip Kemble, Edmund Kean, 'Joey' Grimaldi, William Charles Macready, Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Ellen Terry, Henry Irving, Dan Leno and Sarah Bernhardt. Major premieres included the plays of Dion Boucicault, Arthur Wing Pinero, Oscar Wilde, and Henrik Ibsen, and the operas of Gilbert and Sullivan. There are also melodramas, pantomimes, extravaganzas, burlettas, operas, ballets, musicals and music halls. The book contains over 220 contemporary illustrations of actors, productions, theatre buildings and playbills, capturing an era when the public wanted the histrionic and the sensational, including erupting volcanoes, burning buildings, historical tableaux, reconstructions of military battles, and even a presentation of Henley Regatta, complete with real boats and 200 tons of water. These immensely enthusiastic pages include witty commentaries, acerbic reviews and astonishing facts about all aspects of the London stage in Victorian times.

The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill Gate, will stage Sophocles's Electra, in a new version by Nick Payne, with Cath Whitefield, Madeleine Potter, Natasha Broomfield, Alex Price, Martin Turner, Yasmin Garrad and Fern Deacon, directed by Carrie Cracknell, from 7th April. It is a co-production with the Young Vic.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Broadway production of Alfred Uhry's Driving Miss Daisy, with Vanessa Redgrave and James Earl Jones, directed by David Esbjornson, charting the relationship that develops when the son of a widowed 72 year old Jewish woman living in midcentury Atlanta, hires an African American man as her chauffeur, will transfer to the West End in the autumn; that David Suchet may star in Eugene O'Neill's American classic Long Day's Journey Into Night, directed by Anthony Page, in the West End next spring, courtesy of producers Kim Poster and Nica Burns; and that Andrew Lloyd Webber is planning a large scale arena tour of Jesus Christ Superstar in 200 venues across America. The Rumour Machine grinds on.