News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th April 2005

Neil Patrick Harris will star in the European premiere of Tick, Ticků Boom!, the autobiographical musical by Jonathan Larson, with book completed by David Auburn, at the Menier Chocolate Factory, on 9th June. The show is about the frustrations of a young musical theatre writer who can't get his work produced. It was an Off Broadway hit, but was not staged until after Larsen's death, on the night of the first preview of his first produced show Rent, which moved on to Broadway, winning four Tony awards and the Pulitzer prize, and has since been produced in London and all over the world. It will be directed by Scott Schwartz, the original New York director, and produced by David Babani and Danielle Tarento.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, that Val Kilmer will join Charlotte Emerson in the West Yorkshire Playhouse production of The Postman Always Rings Twice, adapted by Andy Rattenbury from James M Cain's 1930s novel, directed by Lucy Bailey, opening at the Playhouse Theatre on 8th June. A drifter arrives at a roadside diner, and begins an affair with the owner's bored young wife, which leads to murder, double crossing and dubious courtroom deals. It will be presented by the Ambassador Theatre Group and Maidstone Productions, in association with Hilary Williams.

Music Theatre London will premiere Tony Britten's contemporary version of Verdi and Boito's Falstaff, directed by Britten, at the Drill Hall, for weekend performances from 8th May to 5th June. The opera, based on The Merry Wives Of Windsor, is now relocated to the 19th hole of a golf club near Windsor. The company comprises Simon Butteriss, Marylin Cutts, Julian Forsyth, Daniel Gillingwater, Jan Hartley, Ian Jervis, Katie Lovell, Simon Masterton Smith, Andy Morton and Ros Shelley. Audiences will have the opportunity to see Not Quite At The Opera, the television version of MTL's Drill Hall site specific commissions from 2003, which will be screened in the bar before and after each performance.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Kristin Scott Thomas, Margaret Tyzack and Bob Hoskins will star in Pirandello's As You Desire Me, in a new version by Hugh Whitemore, directed by Jonathan Kent, opening at 'a West End theatre yet to be determined' at the end of October. In typically enigmatic Pirandellian fashion, the play concerns a lady in 1920s Europe who may or may not be who she says she is. The producers are Duncan C Weldon and Paul Elliott.

David Soul and Anna-Jane Casey will star in the musical Mack And Mabel, with book by Michael Stewart, and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, with revisions by Francine Pascal, directed by John Doyle, at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury, opening on 18th May. In the style of previous Watermill musicals, a cast of actor-musicians will also feature Tom Coles, Robert Cousins, Michelle Long, Jon Trenchard, Simon Tuck, Stephen Watts, Sarah Whittuck, Johnson Willis and Matthew Woodyatt. Set in Hollywood at the birth of the movie industry, it tells the story of the doomed relationship of producer Mack Sennett and actress Mabel Normand.

Self styled 'Psychological illusionist' Derren Brown will bring Something Wicked This Way Comes, his stage show that is currently touring, to the Cambridge Theatre from 31st May to 18th June. The show is directed by Andy Nyman, and presented by Michael Vine, Andrew O'Connor and David Walker for Objective Productions.

In A Handmaid's Diary, recently published by Wilhelm Hansen, the actor Paul Bentley describes his personal page to stage experiences as the librettist of the opera based on Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale. Being a musical theatre performer, Bentley brings a unique 'poacher turned gamekeeper' eye to the proceedings, and a naturally entertaining manner, in his blow-by-blow account of the trials and tribulations he faced in the unaccustomed role of a writer, for his foray into the world of opera. Bentley has produced a witty insight into the creative process, from the first phone call to the first night party.

The Puppet Theatre Barge, currently moored at its winter home in Little Venice, is presenting a family double bill of Monkey Business and The Birdman for weekend afternoon performances until 12th June. In addition, there will be evening performances of the marionette Shakespeare productions of Macbeth from 4th to 15th May, Bottom's Dream from 18th to 29th May, and The Tempest from 1st to 12th June. The 50 seater theatre created on a canal barge, now in its 23rd season, presents marionette and rod puppet spectacles throughout the year. It spends from July to October on the River Thames, giving performances at Henley, Marlow, Cliveden and Richmond. Further information can be found on the PTB web site via London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: David Schwimmer will be joined by Saffron Burrows, Lesley Manville, Sara Powell and Catherine Tate in the world premiere of Neil LaBute's Some Girl(s), directed by David Grindley, opening at the Gielgud Theatre on 24th May.

This year's London Festival of Baroque Music, which runs from 7th to 28th May, takes as its theme The Grand Tour, the popular 18th century British practice of touring the classical high spots of Europe. Performances are mostly at St John's Smith Square, and include appearances by The English Concert, Ricordo, Rinaldo Alessandrini, Russian Patriarchate Choir, Freiburg Baroque Orchestra, Venexiana, London Baroque, Concerto Palatino, Ensemble Pierre Robert, Concerto Koln, Europa Galante and The Classical Opera Company with Gluck's La clemenza di Tito. Further information can be found on the LFBM web site via Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Dawn Hope stars in Lady Day At Emerson's Bar & Grill, Lanie Robertson's one person musical entertainment about the jazz singer Billie Holiday, opening the New Players Theatre on 10th May. Hope is accompanied by Warren Wills and directed by Mark Clements.