News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th December 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, a comedy that explores the difference between art and emotion, as a writer has an affair with the wife of an actor in one of his plays, which is about adultery, with Toby Stephens, directed by Anna Mackmin, will open at the Old Vic Theatre on 21st April.

The spring season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include the world premiere of Frank McGuinness's Greta Garbo Came To Donegal, set in 1967 when Garbo visited Ireland, about two couples on the verge of splitting up, with a woman trying to save her family and a girl trying to save her future, with Michelle Fairley, Angeline Ball, Lisa Diveney, Daniel Geroll, Caroline Lagerfelt, Owen McDonnell and Tom McKay, directed by Nicolas Kent, opening on 11th January; Martin Lynch's Chronicles Of Long Kesh, based on interviews with former inmates and workers in the prison in Northern Ireland, with Billy Clarke, Chris Corrigan, Jo Donnelly, Marty Maguire, Andy Moore and Marc O'Shea, co-directed by Lynch and Lisa May, opening on 16th March, a Green Shoot Theatre production; and the return of the the Filter/Royal Shakespeare Company production of Twelfth Night, a radical take on Shakespeare's story of romance and mistaken identity, directed by Sean Holmes, playing from 4th May.

David Essex will head the cast in the musical All The Fun Of The Fair, book by Jon Conway, score by Essex, based on his 1975 album and other songs, with a story set in a travelling funfair, directed by Nikolai Foster, which has toured extensively, will transfer to the Garrick Theatre, opening on 28th April. The producer is Alan Darlow.

New York TheatreNet: The musical Wicked has become the first show in Broadway history to gross more than $2m at the box office in a single week of performances. The show took $2,086,135 with a total attendance of 14,472 during Thanksgiving week, ending 29th November.

Red Handed Theatre Company in association with Primavera will stage Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, the classic 18th century comedy of manners, with Celia Imrie, Ella Smith, Charity Wakefield, Harry Hadden-Paton, Cian Barry, Oliver Hollis, Frank Laverty, Christopher Logan, Jenni Maitland, Robin Soans and Sam Swainsbury, directed by Jessica Swale, at Southwark Playhouse from 12th January.

The winter season at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Dea Loher's Innocence, in a translation by David Tushingham, questioning conscience and compassion in contemporary society through interlinked storylines, with Ann Mitchell, Jane Bertish, Miranda Cook, Michael Fitzgerald, Alexander Gilmour, Chris Hannon, Caroline Kilpatrick, Meredith MacNeill, Nathaniel Martello-White, Ellen Sheean and Danny Lee Wynter, directed by Helena Kaut-Howson, opening on 8th January; and Thomas Bernhard's Heldenplatz, translated by Andrea Tierney and Meredith Oakes, about an intellectual Viennese Jewish family at the time of the Nazi annexation of Austria, with a cast headed by Barbara Marten and Caroline Horton, directed by Annie Castledine and Annabel Arden, opening on 12th February.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Dept A reminder that this is the peak season for the purchase of Theatre Tokens. Available in units of 5, 10 and 20, they can be exchanged for tickets at over 240 venues nationwide, including all West End theatres. As they have no expiry date, the recipient can choose which show they want to see, and when and where they want to see it. The Tokens are delivered in a presentation pack, or Christmas gift packs, with a pocket diary and Superbreak voucher, and can be sent direct to the recipient. Greeting cards for all occasions are also available. Tokens are available from most theatres, major bookshops and ticket agencies, and the tkts Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross. Alternatively they can be bought direct from the 24/7 Tokenline on 0870 164 8800 or online from the Theatre Tokens web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet. As they say, don't just give an object this Christmas - give an emotional experience.

Broadway and television performer Megan Mullally will make her West End debut with her band Supreme Music Program, in a short concert season at the Vaudeville Theatre from 16th to 21st February.

The spring season at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court will include Michael Healey's Generous, which reveals the awful consequences when a variety of people are overwhelmed with the desire to help, with Karen Archer, Richard Beanland, Rick Bland, Scott Christie, Jane Perry, Meghan Popiel, John Sheerman and Corey Turner, directed by Eleanor Rhode, opening on 7th January, a co-production with Snapdragon; Leo Butler's The Early Bird, about the disintegration of a relationship after the disappearance of a child, with Catherine Cusack and Alex Palmer, directed by Donnacadh O'Briain, opening on 4th February, a co-production with Natural Shocks; and the premiere of Anders Lustgarten's A Day At The Racists, about the rise of the BNP in London, directed by Ryan McBryde, opening on 4th March, a co-production with Rogue State Theatre Company.

On The Casting Couch: Lesley Sharp and Iain Glen will be joined by Jessica Raine, Harry Treadaway and Malcolm Storry in Ghosts, opening at the Duchess Theatre on 23rd February; and Johdi May and Richard Coyle will feature in Polar Bears, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 6th April.

Walking Thoughts will stage Marcelle Maurette's Anastasia, adapted by Kate Sellers and Andrei Vironov, with Eileen Nicholas, Andrew Byron, Ilona Bou Habib, Jed Aukin, James Lomax, Katy Dower, Lizeth Ribo, Morris Perry, Paul Croft, Thomas Garvey, Julian Caddy, Alix Middleton, directed by Kate Sellers, at Pushkin House, Centre for Russian Culture, in Holborn, from 16th December. It is set in Berlin, 10 years after the murder of the Tsar and his family, where three businessmen plot to gain access to the royal family's fortune by passing off a disturbed girl as the lost princess Anastasia.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Theatre Royal Bath production of George Bernard Shaw's Mrs Warren's Profession, in which a prim young woman is shocked to find that her upbringing has been paid for by her mother's profits from prostitution, with Felicity Kendal and David Yelland, directed by Michael Rudman, is bound for the West End in March; and that Oscar Wilde's A Woman of No Importance, which also involves the revelation of a scandalous secret, directed by Lindsay Posner, may be the next new production at the Haymarket Theatre in April. The Rumour Machine grinds on.