News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th July 1997

Despite denials that anything has been decided, English National Opera looks set to abandon the London Coliseum in St Martin's Lane for a derelict site in the wasteland of London Bridge. ENO managers seem prepared to ignore the views of their board and supporters to pursue plans for their own Barbican-like multi-arts complex. In a move clearly designed to thumb their nose at the Royal Opera House, the plan is use the site which the Opera House was considering for a temporary home, and to build not just a 40m single auditorium, but a 214 centre with a second dance/drama auditorium, an art gallery and restaurants. The scheme would be partially funded by selling the Coliseum, which was purchased with Arts Council money about five years ago. As the minister responsible for that decision David Mellor says: "If they cannot fill the Coliseum in the West End, how on earth could they cope with a white elephant stuck out of town?"

Ray Cooney's new play Time's Up, currently touring after its Windsor premiere, is being tweaked for the West End. The story concerns an MP whose current life merges with a previous existence in the seventeenth century, after a visit to a hypnotherapist. As is his usual practice, Cooney is currently playing in it - he never sends an actor out to perform a play he hasn't already acted in - with Trevor Bannister and Anita Graham.

The National Youth Music Theatre production of Bugsy Malone, which recently opened at the Lyric Hammersmith, will transfer to the Queens Theatre on 29th October. This children's gangster musical based on Alan Parker's film played at Her Majesty's some years ago. Take your splatter guns!

The new cast which takes over in Art at Wyndhams Theatre on Monday 14th July is Henry Goodman, Roger Allam and Stanley Townsend. Booking has been extended to January.

The opening date for the Broadway production of Kander and Ebb's Chicago at the Adelphi Theatre is confirmed as 18th November, with Ute Lemper as Roxie Hart, and Ruthie Henshall as Velma. It is choreographed in the style of Bob Fosse by Ann Reinking and directed by Walter Bobbie. The London producer is Pola Jones.