Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The spring season at the National Theatre will include: in the Olivier, Dion Boucicault's wild country house comedy of tangled love lives London Assurance, with Richard Briers, Simon Russell Beale, Fiona Shaw, Paul Ready and Michelle Terry, directed by Nicholas Hytner; in the Lyttelton, The White Guard, Andrew Upton's new adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's novel following the fortunes of a family as the opposing forces in the Russian civil war and the Ukrainian peasants fight over the city of Kiev, with Conleth Hill, Pip Carter, Paul Higgins and Justine Mitchell, directed by Howard Davies; and in the Cottesloe, the premiere of Tamsin Oglesby's Really Old, Like Forty Five, a comedy about the fear of old age, with Lucy May Barker, Paul Bazely, Amelia Bullmore, Tanya Franks, Gawn Grainger, Thomas Jordan, Michela Meazza, Judy Parfit, Paul Ritter and Marcia Warren, directed by Anna Mackmin; and The 14th Tale, an autobiographical one man play written and performed by Inua Ellams, about a born mischief maker's journey from the streets of Nigeria to London.
It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current Tony Award winning Public Theatre Shakespeare In The Park production of Hair, the 1960s American tribal love rock musical, book and lyrics by James Rado and Gerome Ragni, music by Galt MacDermot, with Jonathan Groff and Will Swenson, directed by Diane Paulus will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre, opening on 14th April. Negotiations are under way for the Broadway cast, headed by Gavin Creel, Caissie Levy and Will Swenson, to perform in London. It will be co-produced by Cameron Mackintosh.
Stephen And The Sexy Partridge, an unsual musical entertainment that asks: What does it take to wake someone up to the true spirit of Christmas?, written and performed by Lily Bevan and Finnian O'Neill, directed by Cal McCrystal, will play late evening performances at Trafalgar Studios 2 from 25th November. The producer is Osip Theatre.
The Edinburgh Fringe hit, Nic Green's Trilogy, 'a celebratory venture into modern day feminism', which comprises an exploration of women's relationships to their bodies, a reconstruction of the infamous 1971 New York Town Bloody Hall debate, and a euphoric naked dance performed by 50 female volunteers, is to be remounted at Battersea Arts Centre from 13th to 16th January, and at the Barbican on 22nd and 23rd January. In addition, the Barbican will show D A Pennebaker's film, recording the public meeting on the issues of women's liberation held in New York's Town Hall, with Norman Mailer as moderator, and contributors including Germaine Greer and Diana Trilling, on 23rd January. Anyone interested in joining the volunteers can find further information on the Battersea Arts Centre or Barbican web sites, via the links from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.
The Studio Theatre at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm will host two children's shows at Christmas. The Little Angel Theatre production of Jelly Bean Jack, for 3 years old and upwards, using shadow and table top puppetry to tell the story of Jack and the Beanstalk in an innovative way, performed by Nigel Luck and Chand Martinez, directed by Peter Glanville, will play from 5th December. The Tall Stories production of Them With Frozen Tails, for 5 pluses, bringing together seasonal stories from around the world, and featuring audience interaction in the creation of a new story at each performance, with Ben Frimstone and Thomas Warwick, directed by Olivia Jacobs, will play from 15th December.
Debbie Reynolds will perform her show Debbie Reynolds Alive And Fabulous, which includes songs, reminiscence and clips from some of her films, for a short season at the Apollo Theatre, opening on 29th April.
Forthcoming productions at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold will include, in the Anthony Hopkins Theatre, Robin Hood And The Babes In The Wood, a rock'n'roll pantomime, featuring a score of rock and soul classics, written and directed by Peter Rowe, with choreography by Francesca Jaynes, featuring Justin Brett, Philippa Buxton, Tom Connor, Dan de Cruz, James Haggie, Ally Holmes, Nick Lashbrook, Daniel Lloyd, Michael O'Connor and Sioned Saunders, from 20th November; and the courtroom drama To Kill A Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel, from Harper Lee's novel about prejudice in a small southern town during the American great depression of the 1930s, directed by Tim Baker, from 4th February; and in the Emlyn Williams Theatre, Arden Of Faversham, the anonymous Elizabethan black comedy, based on a true story, about a wife who persuades her lover to murder her husband, directed by Terry Hands, from 11th February.
The Rumour Machine says: that the recent production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot may return to the Haymarket Theatre in the new year, with Ian McKellen reprising his performance, but without Patrick Stewart, who is already committed elsewhere; that Vanessa Redgrave may perform Rose, Martin Sherman's one person play telling the life story of a woman from her youth in a Russian village, through the Warsaw ghetto, to a life in America, in the new year; that last year's Chichester Festival Theatre production of Martin Sherman's Aristo, about the final years of the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and his relationships with Jacqueline Kennedy, Maria Callas and his son, with Robert Lindsay, directed by Nancy Meckler, may be West End bound; and that Richard Bean's adaptation of David Mamet's screenplay for the 1987 film House Of Games, a conspiracy thriller in which a psychiatrist becomes involved in the world of con men, directed by Lindsay Posner, will premiere at the Almeida Theatre next September. The Rumour Machine grinds on.