News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 15th October 2010

The winter season at the Almeida Theatre in Islington will comprise the British premiere of Gina Gionfriddo's Becky Shaw, a contemporary tale of tangled love lives, with Daisy Haggard, Haydn Gwynne, Anna Madeley, Vincent Montuel, and David Wilson Barnes, who featured in the Off Broadway premiere production, also directed by Peter DuBois, opening on 20th January; the world premiere of David Eldridge's The Knot Of The Heart, which charts the growth of a social drug habit into a serious addiction, with Lisa Dillon, Abigail Cruttenden and Margot Leicester, directed by Michael Attenborough, opening on 17th March; and Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, about a couple whose relationship becomes increasingly strained thanks to the pressures of their family and friends, with Penelope Wilton, directed by James Macdonald, opening on 12th May.

On The Casting Couch: Michael Beckley, Gerard Carey, Natalie Casey, Geraldine Fitzgerald, Maria Friedman, Christopher Godwin, Teddy Kempner, John Gordon Sinclair, Jo Stone-Fewings and Gary Wilmot will comprise the cast of Ken Hill's musical The Invisible Man, opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark on 24th November; and Tom Hollander and Lisa Dillon will be joined by Di Botcher, Jonathan Cake, Oliver Cotton, Freddie Fox, Fiona Glascott, Lloyd Hutchinson, John Marquez, Tim McMullan, William Maxwell, Rebecca Night, Maggie Service and Walter Van Dyk in Georges Feydeau's A Flea In Her Ear, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 14th December.

The autumn season at Salisbury Playhouse includes the current production of Ariel Dorfman's Death And The Maiden, in which a former political prisoner confronts her captor and torturer, with Ruth Gemmell, David Michaels and Sean Campion, directed by Patricia Benecke; Philip Massinger's The Picture, a tragicomic Renaissance epic of romantic intrigue, directed by Philip Wilson, from 30th October; Aladdin by Mark Clements, with songs by Paul Herbert, from 8th December; and With A Song In My Heart, a celebration of the songs of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, devised by David Benedict, Simon Green and David Shrubsole, directed by Simon Green, from 15th December

New York TheatreNet: MCC Theater is to stage a revised version of the musical Carrie, book by Lawrence D Cohen music by Michael Gore, lyrics by Dean Pitchford, adapted from the Stephen King novel and subsequent film, reconceived on a smaller scale with about half of the original score replaced, directed by Stafford Arima, as part of its 2011/2012 Off Broadway season at the Lucille Lortel Theatre. It is the story of a shy teenage girl, raised by a fanatic Christian fundamentalist mother in a small Maine town, who discovers she has telekinetic powers, which she uses them to take revenge on the classmates who have taunted and humiliated her. One of Broadway's most notorious flops, the production was originally staged by the Royal Shakespeare Company at Stratford. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The 2010/2011 season at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton includes Walter Greenwood and Ronald Gow's Love On The Dole, the legendary story of a family living in poverty in 1930s Salford, opening on 19th October; Charles Dickens's David Copperfield, adapted by Deborah McAndrew, from 19th November; Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, with Jade Anouka, David Ricardo-Pearce and Michelle Collins, from 3rd February; Arthur Miller's The Price, in which two brothers meet after 16 years to dispose of their recently deceased father's belongings, directed by David Thacker, from 10th March; Aleish Michael's The Demolition Man, a bioplay about the engineer, steeplejack and broadcaster Fred Dibnah, with John Branwell and Michelle Collins, directed by David Thacker, from 7th April; and the musical Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Victorian melodrama about the demon barber of Fleet Street, who cut the throats of his customers, whose corpses were then baked into pies in the shop beneath, directed by Elizabeth Newman, from 9th June.

So You Want To Be A Producer? by James Seabright, recently published by Nick Hearn Books, offers a guide for prospective and novice producers. Drawing on his own experiences as a producer of theatre productions from university, via the fringe, to the West End, Seabright takes readers through every stage of the production process: the development of an idea, raising the money and budgeting, negotiating rights, hiring a director and production team, marketing the show, rehearsals and on to opening night. The book reveals what you need to know to negotiate the right venue for the right price, who to approach when money is looking tight, and what to do if you get a bad review. It also features a comprehensive appendix with sample contracts and letters of agreement, lists of key press contacts, rehearsal spaces and a sample marketing pack.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre Clwyd in Mold will include the premiere of Gary Owen's Blackthorn, a darkly comic play about the clash between the newcomers with their expectations and the way of life a Welsh farmer holds dear, with Philip Bretherton, Ifan Huw Dafydd, Amy Morgan, Vivien Parry and Rhys Wadley, directed by Terry Hands, from 28th October; Aladdin, The Wok 'n' Roll Pantomime by Pete Rowe and Alan Ellis, featuring a score of rock and roll classics, with Tom Connor, James Haggie, Phylip Harries, Daniel Lloyd, Toby Lord, Francesca Loren, Alex Parry, Suzi Power, Lucia Rovardi, Barnaby Southgate, directed by Pete Rowe, from 26th November; and Dylan Thomas's A Child's Christmas In Wales, a poignant evocation of distant Christmases in the seaside town of his youth, adapted and directed by Tim Baker, from 9th December.

The musical Bright Lights, Big City, book, music and lyrics by Paul Scott Goodman, adapted from Jay McInerney's novel about a struggling young writer who finds himself spiralling out of control as he confronts his demons in the club scene of 1984 New York, will receive its British premiere, with Paul Ayres, Stuart Armfield, Rietta Austin, Mary Cormack Matthew Crowe, Lori Haley Fox, Jodie Jacobs, George Maguire, Oliver Roll and Rachael Wooding, directed by Christopher Lane, with choreography from Fabian Aloise, at Hoxton Hall in Hackney, opening on 8th November. It is produced by Sue Knox for This Stage Limited.

The Rumour Machine says: that America Fererra may make her West End debut next March in Neil LaBute's reasons to be pretty, which examines how people are drawn to superficial outer beauty rather than real inner qualities, possibly alongside Julia Stiles; and that a revised version of the already much rewritten Claude-Michel Schonberg-Alain Boublil-Edward Hardy-Stephen Clark-Herbert Kretzmer musical Martin Guerre, based on a 16th century French folk tale, about a peasant arriving at a village after fighting in a war, who is not the man he claims to be, may, like the title character, return to the West End next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.