News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th May 2011

It has been confirmed that the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage the British premiere of the musical Road Show, book by John Weidman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, with David Bedella, Michael Jibson, Jon Robyns, Gillian Bevan, Adrian der Gregorian, Fiona Dunn, Sarah Ingram, Julie Jupp, Glyn Kerslake, Elizabeth Marsh, Christopher Ragland and Robbie Scotcher, directed by John Doyle, who directed the New York premiere at the Public Theater in 2008, opening on 6th July. It tells the story of two brothers and their attempts to grab a piece of the American dream, from the Alaska Gold Rush of the 1890s to the Florida real estate boom in the 1930's, inspired by the colourful lives of the Mizner brothers.

The National Theatre is to stage Double Feature, two double bills of new plays in repertoire in the Cottesloe from 27th July until 30th August. They comprise Sam Holcroft's Edgar And Annabel, encompassing freedom fighters, a police state in crisis and a young married couple, directed by Lyndsey Turner, with D C Moore's The Swan, following a family preparing for a wake in a South London pub directed by Polly Findlay, and Prasanna Puwanarajah's Nightwatchman, which challenges ideas of politics, sport and national pride through the tale of a female cricketer preparing to make her England debut, directed by Polly Findlay, and Ton Basden's There Is A War, a black comedy set in a land ravaged by an ever-raging civil war, directed by Lyndsey Turner. The company will include Pippa Bennett-Warner, Karina Fernandez, Trystan Gravelle, Nitin Kundra and Stephanie Street.

New York TheatreNet: Atlantic Theater Company will stage the American premiere of Simon Stephens's Bluebird, about the life of a London cabbie, featuring Simon Russell Beale, with Tobias Segal, Kate Blumberg, Mary McCann and Todd Weeks, directed by Gaye Taylor Upchurch, opening Off Broadway at Atlantic Stage 2 on 22nd August. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The autumn season at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith will include Kneehigh theatre company's The Wild Bride, a grown-up romance with a brutal edge, opening on 12th September; Edward Bond's Saved, a depiction of violence among the working class in South London, directed by Sean Holmes, opening on 13th October; Aladdin, by Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, directed by Steve Marmion, opening on 2nd December; Abi Morgan's Lovesong, which tells the story of a couple in their 20s and then revisits them 10 years later, directed by Scott Graham and Steven Hoggett, opening on 12th January, a Frantic Assembly and Drum Theatre Plymouth production, in association with Chichester Festival Theatre; and a new take on Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Sean Holmes, a co-production with Filter theatre company, opening on 13th February.

On The Casting Couch: Roger Lloyd Pack, Geraldine James, Leon Davies, Gabriel Hunter, Yolanda Kettle, Will Knightley, Gabrielle Lloyd, Jodie McNee, Al Weaver, Paul Westwood and Matt Wilkinson will comprise the cast of Anton Chekhov's Seagull, opening at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston on 14th June

The Royal Opera House is extending its free big screen live relays of ballet and opera productions to even more locations across Britain this summer. On 7th June the Royal Ballet performing Kenneth Macmillan's Manon will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Bristol, Derby, Dover, Edinburgh, Norwich and Plymouth; on 4th July the Royal Opera performing Puccini's Madam Butterfly will be shown in Canary Wharf, Walthamstow, Woolwich, Aberdeen, Belfast, Bradford, Ipswich, Derby, Dover, Edinburgh, Leicester, Manchester, Middlesborough, Norwich, Plymouth, Portsmouth, Swansea and Swindon; and on 13th July the Royal Opera performing Massinet's Cinderella will be shown in Canary Wharf, Trafalgar Square, Bristol, Derby, Dover, Edinburgh, Middlesborough, Norwich, Plymouth, Purfleet and Swindon. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Bristol Old Vic will stage an open-air production of Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island, the iconic 18th century adventure story of swashbuckling pirates and the search for buried treasure in the Caribbean, adapted by Mike Akers, in a specially constructed 500 seater outdoor theatre in King Street, directed by Sally Cookson, opening on 12th July. It is one of a series of projects the theatre is undertaking while parts of the Theatre Royal are refurbished.

The recent West End production of Lionel Bart's musical Oliver!, originally directed by Sam Mendes, redirected by Rupert Goold, co-directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, with Neil Morrissey and Brian Conley alternating in the leading role, will open a national tour at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 20th December. The producers are Cameron Mackintosh, Southbrook Group Limited and Stage Entertainment UK.

The 49th City Of London Festival, running from 26th June to 16th July, has a focus on Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific. The festival comprises the usual mixture of lunchtime, rush hour and evening events, with concerts of every kind of music, plus drama and poetry, installations and exhibitions of visual art, film screenings, and architectural walks and talks, in both historic and modern city buildings, and outdoors in squares and gardens. Among the highlights are the premieres of orchestral version of Brett Dean's Between the Spaces in the Sky performed by the City of London Sinfonia; Elena Kats-Chernin's River's Lament performed by The King's Singers; Liminal's Organ of Corti, a 4m tall installation of transparent sonic crystals that absorbs traffic and building noise and transforms it into music; Australia's foremost didjeridu player William Barton and the Choir of Southwark Cathedral with Peter Sculthorpe's Requiem; and the Royal New Zealand Ballet with a triple bill by Andrew Simmons, Jorma Elo and Javier de Frutos; plus A Fifteen Piano Salute to Percy Grainger by Luke Jerram's Street Pianos. Further information can be found on the COLF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current hit Broadway musical The Book Of Mormon (which thinks it's Jerry Springer The Opera - but isn't) book by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, music and lyrics by Robert Lopez, telling the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda, co-directed by Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw, who also choreographed, will transfer to London next year, courtesy of producer Sonia Friedman. The Rumour Machine grinds on.