News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th October 2007

Yasmina Reza's The God Of Carnage, translated by Christopher Hampton, with Ralph Fiennes, directed by Matthew Warchus, will receive its world premiere at the Gielgud Theatre in March. It is a comedy in which two couples debate different styles of parenting, following a squabble between their children that turned violent. The producer is David Pugh.

The Broadway musical The Wedding Singer will receive its British premiere at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, opening a prospective pre West End tour on 22nd February. The show is adapted from the 1998 film, book by Chad Beguelin and Tim Herlihy, music by Matthew Sklar, and lyrics by Chad Beguelin. It is set in the 1980s, and tells the story of a jilted wannabe rock star, making a living singing at weddings, who falls for a waitress, but finds she is about to be married. The Broadway production was directed by John Rando, with choreography by Rob Ashford.

On The Casting Couch: Dearbhla Molloy, Nikki Amuka-Bird, Padraic Delaney and Marcella Plunkett will comprise the company for Doubt, opening at the Tricycle Theatre on 22nd November; and Zoe Wanamaker and Simon Russell Beale will be joined by Mark Addy, John Burgess, Susannah Fielding, Oliver Ford Davies, Daniel Hawksford, Maggie McCarthy, Trevor Peacock, Daniel Poyser, Julian Wadham and Andrew Woodall in Much Ado About Nothing, opening at the National Theatre on 18th December.

The Society for Theatre Research is organising a free training day of talks, classes and workshops, offering 20 actors and directors in the early stages of their career (within 2 to 6 years of leaving formal training), to explore text, voice and performance, at the National Theatre on 31st October, as part of their programme commemorating the work of William Poel. It will provide an opportunity to work on classic texts and their delivery with vocal coaches Cecily Berry and Jeanette Nelson, and other professionals, such as director Braham Murray. Further information and an application form can be found on the STR web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Watermill Theatre in Newbury has added a further production to its current season. The musical Merrily We Roll Along, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, book by George Furth, directed John Doyle, in his trademark style with a company of actor/musicians, will open on 21st January. Adapted from a play by George S Kaufman and Moss Hart, the musical tells the story of a Broadway show writing partnership and their best friend over a 25 year period, running backwards in time from their disenchanted middle age to optimistic youth.

The autumn season at Salisbury Playhouse includes Michael Frayn's Alphabetical Order, about life in a provincial newspaper in the 1970s, with Lucinda Milward, Anna Francolini, Rachel Bell, Nicholas Blane, Jamie De Courcey, Laurence Kennedy and David Peart, directed by Philip Wilson, currently playing; Shakespeare's Othello, directed by Raz Shaw, from 1st November; Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood, by Joanna Read and Stuart Thomas, directed by Mark Powell, from 5th December; and Peter Whelan's The Herbal Bed, based on the true story of a court case involving Shakespeare's eldest daughter and her alleged affair with a married neighbour, directed by Caroline Lesley, from 31st January.

The Royal Opera House Covent Garden's annual figures for 2006/2007, show that the company had a good year financially, with a 12% rise in income at 90.2m, producing a surplus of 62,000, with attendances at 91% of capacity. Arts Council funding now amounts to less the 30% of income. During the year Covent Garden presented 152 performances by the Royal Opera, and 140 by the Royal Ballet, plus 30 by the visiting Bolshoi. There were 19 opera productions, 6 of them new, and 16 full length and mixed ballet programmes, with 4 new commissions.

The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn has added a further production to its current season.

Kwame Kwei-Armah's Let There Be Love, with Joseph Marcell, directed by Nicholas Kent and Kwei-Armah, will open on 21st January. In a story of cross generational immigrants, set against the music of Nat King Cole, a West Indian pensioner teaches his young Polish home help how to be British.

The Old Vic is to stage another 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala on Sunday 11th November. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday 10th November, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays, to be performed 24 hours later. Applications are also being sought for the New Voices 24 Hour Plays version next spring, in which, following auditions and workshops, 18 to 25 year old emerging talents perform the same feat. This will be preceded by events in 7 regional cities. The deadline for applications is 30th November. Further information and an application form can be found on the Old Vic web site, via the link from London Venues in the links section of TheatreNet.

Now that the season of performances has drawn to a close, Shakespeare's Globe moves indoors to its Education Centre, to continue its programme of staged readings of rarely performed Elizabethan plays on Sunday afternoons. These comprise George Peele's The Arraignment Of Paris, a reworking of the origins of the Trojan War as a musical pastoral drama, on 21st October; John Lyly's Gallathea, a pastoral romantic comedy involving a girl disguised as a boy, on 4th November; The Wars Of Cyrus, a classical tragedy by an unknown writer, weaving together loyalty, treachery, unrequited love and lust-driven magic, on 18th November; and John Lyly's The Woman In The Moon, in which Nature creates the first woman, and the planets wreak revenge by casting their influence over her temperament and behaviour, on 2nd December. Each reading is preceded at 12noon by an introduction to its background.

There was general relief that the Chancellor's Comprehensive Spending Review 2008/2011 did not reveal a cut in arts spending, but a rise in line with forecast inflation, with the overall budget for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport reaching 2.2bn by the end of the period. However, funded companies should not be too complacent, as they will need to study the small print (when it is available) to find exactly how the money will be allocated. Based on past experience of government slight of hand, they may find increasing amounts of the overall budget siphoned off to fund preparations for the 2012 Olympics, and thus genuine arts funding may still face a squeeze.