News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th May 2010

The Royal Court Theatre will stage its first family Christmas show. Get Santa!, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, with music by Nick Powell, who also collaborated on the story, about a 10 year old girl's mission to find the perfect family by enlisting the help of Santa Claus, will open on 14th December.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, a revised version of Martin Sherman's play about the final years of the Greek tycoon Aristotle Onassis, and his relationships with Jacqueline Kennedy, Maria Callas and his son, which premiered at Chichester Festival theatre last year, now retitled Onassis, but still featuring Robert Lindsay and directed by Nancy Meckler, will transfer to the Novello Theatre following a run at Derby Playhouse opening on 10th September.

West End Live, the free event showcasing West End entertainment will return to Leicester Square on Saturday 19th June from 11am until 6pm, and Sunday 20th June from midday until 6pm. Cast members from 22 West End musicals will be among those performing on the central stage, plus a host of other entertainers, exhibits and activities taking place in marquees around the square. Last year the event attracted nearly a quarter of a million visitors. Further information can be found on the WEL web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Almeida Theatre in Islington will include House Of Games, adapted by Richard Bean from David Mamet's 1987 film about a psychoanalyst who helps one of her patients settle his gambling debts and is drawn into the seedy underworld of poker clubs, directed by Lindsay Posner, opening on 16th September; and Henrik Ibsen's The Master Builder, in a translation by Kenneth McLeish, the story of a renowned but aging architect obsessed with constructing tall spires, who fears the competition from his younger rivals with Stephen Dillane, directed by Travis Preston, opening on 18th November.

The Electric Hotel, a new moveable, multi-storey performance space, created by theatre company Fuel and urban renewal specialists Container City from recycled shipping containers, will set up in King's Cross from 2nd to 19th June. Sadler's Wells and Without Walls have commissioned director David Rosenberg, choreographer Frauke Requardt and designer Borkur Jonsson to create a piece of dance theatre which positions the audience as voyeurs on the lives unfolding behind the windows of the 'hotel', using headphones to eavesdrop on the performers inside the building.

The 32nd Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Show will take place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on 16th and 17th June. As usual it will be the complete theatre package, featuring the products of over 120 leading lighting, sound and staging manufacturers, costume, prop and scenery makers, and suppliers of seating and soft furnishings, box office and IT systems, print and publicity, insurance and legal services, drama schools, training and safety, books and publications, and leading theatre organisations. The biennial International Theatre Engineering and Architecture Conference will be held in tandem with the exhibition. There will also be the presentations of the ABTT and Stage Management Association Awards. Further information and online registration can be found on the ABTT and SMA web sites via the links from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at Sheffield Theatres will include, in the Crucible: Shakespeare's Hamlet, with John Simm and Michelle Dockery, directed by Paul Miller, opening on September 16th; the musical Me And My Girl, in which a cockney costermonger inherits an earldom, music by Noel Gay, original book and lyrics by L Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber, book revised by Stephen Fry with contributions by Mike Ockrent, directed by Anna Mackmin, with choreography by Stephen Mear, opening on 9th December; in the Lyceum: J M Barrie's Peter Pan, with Hayley Tamaddon, Nigel Planer and Damian Williams, opening on 10th December; and in The Studio: a stage adaptation of D C Jackson's radio play My Romantic History, about a couple whose relationship is haunted by memories of their first loves, a co-production with the Bush Theatre and Birmingham Repertory Theatre; plus a David Hare season with Racing Demon, looking at how the church of England faces contemporary issues, directed by Daniel Evans, Plenty, about a former secret agent disillusioned with life after the Second World War, directed by Thea Sharrock, and The Breath Of Life, in which a woman is confronted by the wife of her lover, directed by Peter Gill.

Richard Stirling's No Expense Spared, about a Junior Minister in a new coalition government whose wife unwittingly lands him in very deep water, with Joe McGann, Lysette Anthony, Susan Kyd, Joanna McCallum, Neil Ditt and Lisa Armytage, directed by James Robert Carson, will play at the Jermyn Street Theatre off Piccadilly from 25th May. The producer is Evergreen Theatrical Productions.

The Edinburgh Fringe hit Everything Must Go - or The Voluntary Attempt To Overcome Unnecessary Obstacles, by Kristen Fredricksson, which relates the unlikely life of her late father Karl, employing everything from multimedia to puppets, will play at the Pit Theatre at the Barbican, opening on 16th June, as part of a national tour

This year's season at Grange Park Opera, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', runs from 3rd June to 13th July. It comprises productions of Puccini's Tosca, directed by Lindsay Posner; Strauss's Capriccio, directed by Stephen Medcalf; Prokofiev's The Love For Three Oranges, directed by David Fielding; and Puccini's Madama Butterfly, directed by John Doyle, which will play at Neville Holt. In order to accommodate a dinner interval, entry is from 3.30pm, with performances beginning at 5.20pm. Further information can be found on the GPO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that James Dearden has written a stage adaptation of his screenplay for the 1987 film Fatal Attraction, which Robert Fox will produce in the West End late this year; that Michael Sheen will play Hamlet, directed by Ian Rickson, at the Young Vic late next year; and that Garsington Opera, which has to leave its current home at Garsington Manor in Oxfordshire after this season, will move to the Wormsley Estate near High Wycombe, subject to planning permission. The Rumour Machine grinds on.