News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th January 1998

Chichester Festival Theatre took a positive step forward this week with the arrival of Andrew Welch as director. He has already had the experience of reviving the fortunes of the Theatre Royal Plymouth, and has West End connections through the Theatre Of Comedy. Outline plans for this season are: four main house productions, with as much activity in the Minerva as is achievable, and directors hired on a show by show basis. Welch's initial contract is until the autumn.

Patrick Marber's much lauded production of his play Closer is to move to the West End when the current booking season at the National Theatre ends in March. Newcomer Liza Walker remains, joined by Frances Barber and Neil Pearson. The theatre has yet to be confirmed. Amy's View, the current National transfer may follow its limited run at the Aldwych Theatre with a move to Broadway, particularly in the light of Judi Dench's possible Oscar nomination for Mrs Brown.

Stephen Tomkinson, Isla Blair and Simon Williams are starring in the Mobil Touring production of Moliere's Tartuffe, translated by Christopher Hampton. It opens in Guildford, and hopes to reach the West End after the extensive tour. Peter Wilson is directing and producing. The reopening production at the Glasgow Citizens, Vanburgh's The Relapse which has been rapturously received, is also touring (courtesy of Thelma Holt) and may arrive in London in March. It features Jack Klaff, Trevyn McDowell, Greg Hicks and Murray Melvin, and is directed by Philip Prowse.

A truly old fashioned theatrical evening is to be had on 8th February, when the Royal Theatrical Fund is presenting Agate at the Fortune Theatre. Barry Turner's one man show features Rowland Davies as the illustrious Sunday Times drama critic James Agate. The evening concludes with supper at the Garrick Club, for the all in price of 40 a ticket.

The next "turn" in the Live At The Vaudeville season on 20th March will be Alan Davies, the frequency of whose television appearances mean that he is rapidly becoming the new Tony Slattery. He will be performing his comedy show for a three week run.

Terry Johnson is adapting and directing Edward Ravenscroft's restoration comedy The London Cuckolds, opening at the Lyttleton Theatre on 19th February. Written in 1681, the play proved so popular that it was performed annually on Lord Mayor's Day for seventy years. It features Alexander Hanson making his National debut, with Caroline Quentin, Ben Miles and Robin Soans.

Japanese comedian and actor Issey Ogata brings his new show to the Lyric Theatre Shaftesbury Avenue for a season from 25th February to 14th March, presented by G&J Productions. The performance will be in Japanese with simultaneous translation. He has previously performed successfully at the other Lyric, in Hammersmith. In Japan he is one of the biggest draws in the entertainment industry.

On The Casting Couch: Jane Asher, Steven Pacey, Serena Evans and Barry McCarthy star in Alan Ayckborn's new play Things We Do For Love opening at the Gilegud on 3rd March; the Nth season of Shopping And Fucking at the Queens from 21st January will feature Caroline Catz, Pierce Quigley, James Kennedy, Russell Barr and Tony Guilfoyle, and there will now be four members of the original New York cast in Rent at the Shaftesbury on 12th May: Anthony Rapp, Wilson Jermaine Hedera, Jesse L Martin and Adam Pascal.