News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th February 2008

The spring season at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill Gate will comprise the world premiere of Press, athlete turned dancer/choreographer Pierre Rigal's solo performance piece exploring how personal space is confined by the pressures of modern life, opening on 19th February; the British premiere of Anne Washburn's The Internationalist, an American satire about business trips and global travel, directed by Natalie Abrahami, opening on 8th April; and the previously mentioned Headlong production of …Sisters, adapted and directed by Chris Goode, from Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, opening on 11th June.

The Jermyn Street Theatre is hosting a second American Songbook In London season of New York cabaret performers, each featuring the songs of a single writer or theme. The season comprises: Julie Wilson Sings The Julie Wilson Songbook, accompanied by Christopher Denny, from 12th to 17th February, Maude Maggart Sings God Girl/Bad Girl, accompanied by Lanny Meyers, 19th to 24th February, Karen Akers Sings Julie Styne, accompanied by Leigh Thompson, 26th February to 2nd March, Steve Ross Sings To Wit: Ross On Wry, 4th to 9th March, and Jeff Harnar Sings The 1959 Broadway Songbook, accompanied by Alex Rybeck, 11th to 15th March.

The previously mentioned stage adaptation of Flashdance, the 1983 film about a welder and part time exotic dancer who dreams of winning a place at a dance school and becoming a ballet dancer, adapted by Tom Hedley (who originated the concept), and Robert Cary, directed by Kenny Leon, and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, will open an extensive national tour at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth on 19th July. The producers are Christopher Malcolm, David Ian and AEGON in association with Paramount Pictures.

On The Casting Couch at the Almeida Theatre: Douglas Henshall, Joseph Mawle, Gawn Grainger, Susan Lynch, Ron Cephas Jones, Shane Attwooll, Amanda Boxer, Josh Cohen, Dona Croll, Edward Hogg, Corey Johnson, Mark Lockyer, John MacMillan, Poppy Miller and Jessika Williams comprise the cast of The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, opening on 3rd April; and Helen McCrory, Paul Hilton and Malcolm Sinclair will be joined by Paul Moriarty, Veronica Qulligan and Peter Sullivan in Rosmersholm, opening on 22nd May.

John Gay's Three Hours After Marriage, a Georgian farce of disguise and deceit, with Rebecca McKinnis, Steven Blake, Mark Leipacher, Tegwen Tucker, Penny Scott-Andrews, Dan Ford and Jonathan Peck, directed by Blanche McIntyre, will play at the Union Theatre in Southwark, from 13th March to 5th April. The producer is Elixir Theatre Company.

American writer Daniel Joshua Rubin's The Viewing Room, with Leonard Roberts, James Flynn and Samantha Wright, directed by A C Wilson, will receive its British premiere at the Arts Theatre, off Charing Cross Road, on 5th March. In a future where the solution to prison overcrowding is to billet soon to be released prisoners with ordinary citizens, a young couple wonder if their 'guest' is actually less guilty than the state. The producer is Practicum Theatre.

A revised version of the Andrew Lloyd Webber-Ben Elton musical The Beautiful Game, about a boys football team made up of both Protestants and Catholics in 1970s Belfast, and how the political and religious tensions of the time destroy their lives, now retitled The Boys In The Photograph, directed by Elton, will open at the Manitoba Theatre Centre in Winnipeg, Canada in April 2009. The aim is to give the show a more optimistic tone and an upbeat ending, with Broadway in mind.

Sarah Ruhl's award winning American play The Clean House, with Patricia Hodge, Eleanor Bron and Oliver Cotton, directed by John Dove, will open a prospective pre West End tour at Oxford Playhouse on 3rd March. The worlds of four very different women and one man collide in one painfully clean living room in this dark comedy about love, loss and redemption.

On The Casting Couch at Shakespeare's Globe: the company for this year's season will include David Calder in King Lear; Oliver Boot and Christopher Brandon in A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Christopher Benjamin, Serena Evans, Sarah Woodward and Sue Wallace in The Merry Wives Of Windsor.

Alan Bennett's Single Spies, a comedy double bill comprising An Englishman Abroad, based on an actual meeting of the actress Coral Browne and the spy Guy Burgess in his flat in Moscow, and A Question Of Attribution, in which the spy Anthony Blunt, Surveyor of the Queen's Pictures, finds himself the subject of an investigation by The Queen, with Nigel Havers, Jack Ryder and Diana Quick, will open a prospective pre West End tour at The Lowry in Salford on 11th March. The producers are the Theatre Royal Bath and David Pugh.

The spring season at Polka Theatre for Children in Wimbledon includes the stage premiere of Secrets, Jacqueline Wilson's story of two girls from very different backgrounds who escape from their problems by writing diaries, adapted and directed by Vicky Ireland, with Charlotte Allam, Kate Copeland, Sarah-Lee Dicks, Nicky Goldie, Kerry Godderson, Micci Gorrod and Benedict Martin, from 19th February, a co-production with Watershed.

Northern Broadsides brings its 'e bah gum' style to Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, directed by Barrie Rutter, in a co-production with the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle under Lyme, where it opens a tour on 22nd February.

The Rumour Machine says: that Polly Stenham's debut play That Face, about two children who have become parents to their parents, with Lindsay Duncan and Matt Smith, directed by Jeremy Herrin, seen at the Royal Court Upstairs last May, could make a West End appearance this spring; that The Motion Group has acquired the rights to the 1973 film The Wicker Man, and director Andrew Steggall is working with the film's director Robin Hardy, on a stage adaptation of Anthony Shaffer's screenplay and David Pinner's original novel Ritual; and that John Barrowman will play the title role in the Mark Bramble-Michael Stewart-Cy Coleman circus musical Barnum, about the American showman P T Barnum, directed and choreographed by Rob Ashford, produced by Cameron Mackintosh, late next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.