News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th May 1998

Like some sci-fi monster, the ego which outgrew theatres and had to play stadia, has metamorphosed yet again. Michael Flatley will appear in what is claimed to be the biggest and most spectacular dance event ever staged: Feet Of Flames before an audience of 25,000 in Hyde Park on 25th July. A supercharged version of Lord Of The Dance, it will feature 100 dancers on one of the widest stages ever built, with fireworks and hi-tech lighting and sound effects. The event will be filmed by twenty five cameras for video release.

Paul Nicholas is to star as Sidney Carton in a new musical adaptation of Charles Dickens' A Tale Of Two Cities, with book by Steven David Horwich and David Soames, music by David Pomeranz and lyrics by Steven David Horwich. It opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 1st July for a five week season, and if successful will come to the West End. Bob Tomson directs and the producer is Bill Kenwright.

This year's international Globe To Globe season at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre from 21st to 25th July will feature a Cuban version of The Tempest. Teatro Buendia of Havana will present their interpretation called Otra Tempesdad (The Other Tempest) in an original story-telling form employing a spectacular mixture of Cuban music, song and dance.

Despite (or because of) the interesting times in which it is living, English National Opera has announced plans for a bumper 1998-99 season, with seven new productions and eight revivals, the current season having achieved a 77% attendance level. New productions will be Verdi's Otello directed by David Freeman; Donizetti's Mary Stuart directed by Gale Edwards making her ENO debut; Musorgsky's Boris Godunov directed by Francesca Zambello; Wagner's Parsifal directed by Nikolaus Lehnhof; Boito's rarely performed Mephistopheles; Robert Carsen's production of Semele; joined by a revival of Salome and Poulenc's Dialogues Of The Carmelites. The revivals will include four Jonathan Miller productions: Carmen, Rigoletto, La Traviata and The Barber Of Seville.

The Old Vic Theatre's listed building status has been upgraded from Grade II to Grade II*, reflecting its importance as one of the oldest working British theatres. Current owners Ed and David Mirvish have put a deadline of 1st July for completion of negotiations for its sale with the current preferred bidder. If this date is not met, they will reopen discussions with other interested parties, believed to be both British and American.

The 10th London New Play Festival runs from 19th May to 13th June at the Riverside Studios, Apollo Theatre and Diorama Theatre. It will include twelve premieres, eight workshops and six readings. There will be free platform events each Thursday at 6.00pm at the Apollo, starting on 21st May with David Hare and Mark Ravenhill debating the success of New Writing in the commercial theatre. Full details of the season are available from LNPF, Diorama Arts Centre, 34 Osnaburgh Street, London NW1 3ND, 0171 209 2326.

The National Theatre is continuing its policy of welcoming visiting companies, with the Abbey Theatre Dublin production of Tarry Flynn coming to the Lyttleton for a short season from 20th August. Conal Morrison adapted and directed the play, from Patrick Kavanagh's autobiographical novel about a poetic farmer in County Monaghan.

The Rumour Machine says: that next year, the Peter Hall Company's plans include Jessica Lange in Eugene O'Neil's Long Day's Journey Into Night - renewing their association from A Streetcar Named Desire; that Rufus Sewell will play Macbeth in a West End production by Thelma Holt; and that Bill Kenwright is planning a revival of Carousel (not the National Theatre production) to star Michael Ball. The Rumour Machine grinds on.