News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th April 2003

Music Theatre London, which reinvigorates opera by creating contemporary small scale productions featuring musical theatre performers, is staging a season at the Drill Hall from 11th May to 8th June. The main event is a new version of Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro, created and directed by Tony Britten, giving the story a political slant, with Stephen Ashfield, Melanie Gutteridge, Mary Lincoln, Simon Masterson-Smith, Nigel Richards and Rosamund Shelly. In addition, there are cabarets by Simon Butteriss, Sarah Redmond and Beverley Klein; workshops of The Bedbug by Snoo Wilson, Gary Kemp and Guy Pratt, A Cornish Secret by Mary Lincoln and Tony Britten, and Mozart's Don Giovanni; and three specially commissioned site specific operas by Nick Bicat, Terry Davies and Matthew Scott. Further information can be found on the Drill Hall web site via the link from the London Venues section of TheatreNet.

Playhouse Creatures by April de Angelis offers a realistic view of the world of Restoration theatre, when women were first allowed to appear on the stage, and catching the eye of a member of the aristocracy - or even the King as Nell Gwynne did - could lead to a dramatic change of fortune. John Tiffany directs an all female cast at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds until 10th May.

Following the continued success of Classical Spectacular, Raymond Gubbay is launching Space Spectacular in the round at the Royal Albert Hall on 20th and 21st June, promising an intergalactic voyage through favourite music from deep space and beyond. The programme will be wide ranging, from The Planets to Star Wars, played by the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Anthony Inglis, accompanied by a spectacular light and laser show.

Sotheby's is holding an auction of photographs of Famous Faces And Pin-ups at its Bond Street rooms on 22nd May, with viewing on the preceding four days. The sale includes a number of iconic images from some of the world's greatest snappers, including Jean Shrimpton by David Bailey, Richard Gere by Herb Ritts, and Paul Newman and Lee Marvin by Terry O'Neil. There are also many candid behind the scenes shots of the movie making process. Prices are expected to start from 300 - but it costs nothing to look.

On The Casting Couch: at the Almeida Theatre, Natasha Richardson will be joined by Claudie Blakley, John Bowe, Louisa Clein, Benedict Cumberbatch, Geoffrey Hutchings, Eoin McCarthy and Tim McInnerny in The Lady From The Sea opening on 15th May; and Antony Sher will be joined by Jon Cartwright, Jonathan Duff, Alex Ferns, Paul Herzberg, Lucian Msamati, Christopher Wells and Jennifer Woodburne in I.D. opening on 4th September.

This year's Shakespeare Birthday Festival at Shakespeare's Globe will include the traditional Sonnet Walks on Saturday 26th April, during which twelve sonneteers will entertain walkers along the routes to Bankside. Participants have a choice of two tours of Tudor London, starting from either Westminster or Shoreditch. Tours leave every 15 minutes from 10.00am to 12.45pm. On Sunday 20th April the Spearshaker Talk hosted by Mark Rylance with guest speaker Polly Toynbee will explore the season's theme of regime change. This event will be followed by the annual spring blessing of the Globe with water from the Thames. Further information can be found on the Shakespeare's Globe web site via the London Venues section of TheatreNet.

Richard Stirling's Over My Shoulder, a biographical musical about Jessie Matthews, featuring songs by Rodgers and Hart, Irving Berlin and Noel Coward, has just launched a regional tour at the Mill at Sonning. Helen Baker and Anne Rogers star as the young and old Matthews, with Christopher Dickins, Stephen Carlile, Michael Cotton, Abigail Langham, Duncan Wisbey and Ben Stock. The show is directed and choreographed by Stewart Nicholls.

Cirque du Soleil returns to the Royal Albert Hall from 9th January to 1st February with a company of 55 performers from 10 countries in the European premiere of Dralion, which is inspired by Chinese circus traditions. The company now has 8 different shows playing on 4 continents.

The summer season at Sadler's Wells includes visits by Royal Ballet of Flanders with Andre Prokovsky's new version of Romeo & Juliet; Rambert Dance Company with Visions Fugitives, Hans van Manen's suite of 15 miniatures lasting between 20 and 60 seconds ranging from the sinister to the playful; Nederlands Dans Theater 2 showcasing the talents of its young company with UK premiere of Jiri Kylian's 27'52"; the modern butoh company Sankai Juku with Kagemi, combining movement with natural forms of sand and water; Spanish National Dance Company with Antonio Gades Fuenteovejuna, based on Lope de Vega's tale of passion, love and betrayal; Twyla Tharp with a new company; Carlos Acosta choreographing and dancing in the UK premiere of Tocororo - A Cuban Tale, which unites classical ballet with Cuban dance in a traditional 'country boy goes to the city' story; and Jonathan Kent's Tokyo production of Hamlet.

Celia Imrie will perform Unsuspecting Susan, a one woman play by Stewart Permutt, at the King's Head Theatre from 12th May to 15th June, directed by Lisa Forrell. The monologue reveals the drama, intrigue and scandal that lie beneath the surface of the seemingly tranquil life of a Hampshire housewife.