News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th August 2011

The autumn season at Sadler's Wells's Peacock Theatre will include the return of Havana Rakatan, the Cuban dance spectacular, opening on 13th September; ZooNation's Some Like It Hip Hop, conceived, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, music and lyrics by DJ Walde, Josh Cohen and Kate Prince, featuring Teneisha Bonner, Lizzie Gough and Tommy Franzen, with choreography by Tommy Franzen, Ryan Chappell, Carrie-Anne Ingrouille and Duwane Taylor, about two women trying to make it in a man's world, opening on 25th October; and the return of Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, with a score by Howard Blake from the animated film, choreographed by Robert North, directed by Bill Alexander, from 30th November.

Cheek by Jowl theatre company will stage John Ford's 'Tis Pity She's A Whore, the Jacobean tragedy telling the tale of a brother and sister consumed by incestuous passion, directed by Declan Donnellan, opening in November in Paris, then travelling to Sydney, prior to a British tour next year, which will include a season at the Barbican Theatre from 16th February, before a visit to New York.

Belgian theatre company Ontroerend Goed's current Edinburgh Fringe production of Audience, a multimedia event that explores 'group mentality' through audience participation, developed with the National Theatre Studio, directed by Alexander Devriendt, will transfer to the Drum Theatre in Plymouth from 1st November, and then play a season at the Soho Theatre from 6th December. It is presented by Richard Jordan Productions.

Pulling Focus will stage the revised version of the musical You're A Good Man, Charlie Brown, featuring the characters from Charles Schulz's Peanuts comic strips, original book and music by Clark Gesner, lyrics by John Gordon, book revisions by Michael Mayer, additional music and lyrics by and Andrew Lippa, with Leanne Jones, Hayley Gallivan, Lewis Barnshaw, Mark Anderson, Nathaniel Morrison and Adam Ellis, directed by Anthony Drewe, with choreography by Nick Winston, opening at The Tabard Theatre in Chiswick on 6th October.

New York TheatreNet: The recent Goodman Theatre Chicago production of David Henry Hwang's Chinglish, a comedy about a Midwesterner's business trip to China, where he learns how much he doesn't understand, directed by Leigh Silverman, performed in a blend of English and Mandarin (with English surtitles) will transfer to Broadway, previewing at the Longacre Theatre from October 11th. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Edinburgh Fringe show Potted Panto, which condenses 7 pantomimes into 70 minutes, written and performed by children's television presenters Daniel Clarkson and Jefferson Turner, co-written and directed by Richard Hurst, will return with daytime performances at the Vaudeville Theatre from 20th December to 8th January. It will play alongside the previously announced daytime performances of Arthur Ransome's Swallows And Amazons, from 19th December.

Old Time Variety, An Illustrated History by Richard Anthony Baker, recently published by Remember When, charts the rise and fall of variety in the 20th century. The book discusses how the variety theatre emerged from the music hall, as a gentler, less red-blooded entertainment suitable for a family audience, how it survived various threats from the 'new media' of cinema, radio and television, and how it finally capitulated in the late 1950s, when Sunday Night At The London Palladium brought variety into people's homes. Along the way, it details the singers, comedians, ventriloquists, drag artists, animal acts, acrobats, jugglers and magicians who peopled its bills, from stars such as Gracie Fields and Max Miller to 'spech' acts such as the sand dance routine of Wilson, Keppel and Betty. The many accompanying photographs of both performers and theatres evoke an age much further removed from today than the actual time that has passed since they were taken, revealing that changes in public taste rather than technology was the reason for variety's demise.

The 2009 production of Leo Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, adapted by Nancy Harris, in which a man on a train confesses to a terrible crime, for which he holds Beethoven's music responsible, with the original cast of Hilton McRae, Sophie Scott and Tobias Beer, directed by Natalie Abrahami, will return to The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill Gate, opening on 11th January, prior to a transfer to La MaMa E.T.C. in New York, from 8th March.

Dick Turpin's Last Ride, a play with music by Daniel O'Brien, music by Pat Whymark, telling the story of Britain's most famous highwayman, using material taken from court transcripts, newspaper reports and eye witness accounts, directed by Abigail Anderson, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds from 15th September.

The autumn season at Salisbury Playhouse will include Alan Ayckbourn's Way Upstream, about two couples on a disastrous sailing holiday, staged on an actual 20ft boat floating in real water, with Suzy Aitchison, Daniel Crowder, Cate Hamer, David Hounslow, Sally Scott, Richard Trinder and Georgina White, directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace, from 8th September; Jane Austin's Persuasion, in a new adaptation by Tim Luscombe, a story of missed opportunity and love lost but not forgotten, directed by Kate Saxon, from 20th October; Stella Feehily's Bang Bang Bang, exploring the world of charities and NGOs, with Orla Fitzgerald, Dan Fredenburgh, Frances Ashman, Julie Dray, Babou Ceesay, Paul Hickey and Jan Farthing, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, from 15th November, a co-production with Out of Joint, Curve Leicester, Octagon Bolton and Royal Court London; and Jack And The Beanstalk, by Mark Clements, songs by Ben Occhipinti and Mark Powell, directed by Ben Occhipinti, with choreography by Aidan Treays, from 7th December.