News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 13th June 1997

The previously mentioned stage version of Dr Dolittle is to star Phillip Schofield as the man who could talk to the animals. The possibilities of jokes based on that simple sentence are so vast that I cannot confine myself to just one - if you feel similarly inspired e-mail me your suggestions - - and I will publish the best ones next week. Back to the news. Steven Pimlot will direct and Mark Thompson design, reuniting the team that created the overproduced version of Joseph at the London Palladium in 1991. Jim Henson's Creature Shop will be providing the almost human creatures - back to Phillip Schofield again. Leslie Bricusse has adapted his film script and score. The producers are Apollo Leisure and Barry Clayman Concerts and it opens at the Apollo Hammersmith in March for an open ended run.

Richard Eyre's final production at the National Theatre is confirmed as The Invention Of Love, a new play by Tom Stoppard on the life of A E Houseman, with John Wood and Paul Rhys. It will open on 1st October, the day that Trevor Nunn officially takes over as Artistic Director. Eyre's first announced assignment after demob will be The Judas Tree, a new play by David Hare about Oscar Wilde opening at the Almeida Theatre in February. Other National productions in Nunn's first season will include Oaklahoma! choreographed by Matthew Bourne; the world premiere of a previously unperformed Tennessee Wiliams play Not About Nightingales; and the first major revival of Oh, What A Lovely War!, for which Joan Littlewood has given permission on condition that it will be widely toured to areas that rarely see theatre.

The full details of Adventures In Motion Pictures' new production of Cinderella have been announced. It will now run from 7th October to10th January at the scene of their former triumph, the Piccadilly Theatre. In addition to the previously known Sarah Wildor and Adam Cooper, the company will include Lyn Seymour, Saranne Curtin, Maxine Fone, and over 30 dancers. It will be directed and choreographed by Matthew Bourne, relocating the story in London during the Blitz, with the Prince as a fighter pilot. The Prokofiev score will be arranged by Daryl Griffth. AMP's new website, hosted by OiT will be launched shortly.

Confirming my earlier rumour, there is to be a revival of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance with Maggie Smith, Eileen Atkins, John Standing, Sian Thomas and Annette Crosbie. It will be directed by Anthony Page and produced by Robert Fox. Opening is scheduled for 21st October but no theatre has yet been signed. Steve Martin's play Picasso At The Lapin Agile, directed by Martin Clunes, now has an opening date of 22nd October but again no theatre.

On The Casting Couch: Joining Martin Guerre from 16th June are: Hal Fowler as Arnaud, Jenna Russell as Bertrande and Michael Cahil as Martin. As previously reported further changes to the show will be made on that date, so Mark II Guerre becomes Martin Trois. The Chichester production of Divorce Me Darling which is looking to transfer to the West End will feature Marti Webb, Tim Flavin, Kevin Coulson, Rosemarie Ford, Linzi Hateley, Ruthie Henshall, Jack Tripp and Liliane Montevecchi.

The Rumour Machine says that Andrew Lloyd Webber has already played at least one song from his score for Phantom II to an outside party; and that The Fix which ends its London run tomorrow, may live again in Washington - probably a more suitable home. The Rumour Machine grinds on.