News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th February 1997

Donmar Theatre's plans for this year include three musicals. The first is The Fix previously mentioned here, about an American political campaign, opening on 24th April. The second, opening on 11th September, is written by Scott Wentworth, Craig Bohmler and Marion Adler. Based on Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman, this show, which won the 1966 New Musicals Competition, tells the story of a man who has an affair with his own wife. It is a co-production with the Really Useful Group. Finally, a revival of Kander and Ebb's Chicago - the hit of the current Broadway season in a pared down version of the original - completes the trio next Christmas. San Mendes has also commissioned Alex James of Blur, to write an examination of "contemporary London life" set in the clubs of Soho. This evokes memories of Expresso Bongo the "coffee bar" musical of the late fifties by Wolf Mankowitz, which is sometimes called the English Pal Joey. Perhaps this is how Sam Mendes aims to solve Donmar's financial problems. If so, they will have to be better than the current production of Nine.

Pam Gems has now done for Marlene Dietrich what she previously did for Edith Piaf, and the result is Marlene starring Sian Phillips. The show toured last year, and is on the road again, before arriving at the Lyric Theatre on 8th April. Also featuring Lou Gish and Billy Mathias, it is directed by Sean Mathias, and the producer is Michael Reddington.

Also looking for a West End home in the spring will be Alan Ayckbourn's 1983 comedy thriller It Could Be Any One Of Us, a revised version of which was seen at Scarborough and Chichester last year. Hugh Laurie is likely to be the lead, with Duncan Weldon producing.

News from the National. For the "in the round" season at the Olivier (previously mentioned here) Juliet Stevenson will lead the cast of Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle in a new translation by Frank McGuinness, while Corin Redgrave heads Marat/Sade. Meanwhile at the Lyttleton, Charlotte Cornwall, Adrian Dunbar and Paul Shelly join Maria Friedman in Lady In The Dark. In June, Judi Dench and Samantha Bond will star in David Hare's new play Amy's View. It's a contemporary piece about a woman looking back over her life in the seventies. Richard Eyre is to direct.