News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th March 2006

This year's Glyndebourne season, running from 19th May to 27th August, will include two new productions: Prokofiev's Betrothal In A Monastery, directed by Daniel Slater, with Viacheslav Voynarovskiy, Nathan Gunn, Lyubov Petrova, Alexandra Durseneva, Vsevolod Grivnov, Nino Surguladze, Sergei Alexashkin, Alan Opie and Jonathan Veira; and Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, directed by Nicholas Hytner, with Topi Lehtipuu, Luca Pisaroni, Nicolas Rivenq, Miah Persson, Anke Vondung and Ainhoa Garmendia. There will be four revivals: David McVicar's production of Handel's Giulio Cesare; Deborah Warner's production of Beethoven's Fidelio; Peter Hall's production of Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream; and Stephen Lawless's production of Strauss's Die Fledermaus. There is a programme of early evening talks about each of the operas at The Inner Temple in London prior to the start of the season, study mornings at Glyndebourne giving historical background and musical analysis of the new productions, and pre performance talks on each of the productions. Further information can be found on the Glyndebourne web site via the link from Regional Theatres in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will include Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee's Inherit The Wind, the classic courtroom drama about the schoolteacher who was accused of teaching Darwinism in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925, performed by a company of twenty leading London lawyers and High Court judges, directed by Sally Knyvette, opening on 22nd March; and Tom Murphy's A Whistle In The Dark, a story of Irish/English tribalism and gangland conflict set in 1960s Coventry, with Kieran Gough, Esther Hall, Sean Kearns, Frank Laverty, Fergal McElherron, Damian O'Hare, Patrick O'Kane, Gary Whelan, directed by Jacob Murray, opening on 3rd April, a Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester production.

Hollywood doesn't just come to the West End when it wants to go legit, sometimes it is brazen enough to go directly to Broadway, so Julia Roberts is making her stage debut with Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper in Richard Greenberg's Three Days Of Rain, directed by Joe Mantello, opening at Bernard B Jacobs Theatre on 9th April. The trio play dual roles, first as a brother, sister and childhood friend meeting to divide the legacy of their late fathers, partners in an architecture firm, who try to solve a mystery from decades earlier, and second, moving back in time as the previous generation, to reveal the solution.

Pam Gem's biographical play Mrs Pat is receiving its world premiere, directed by Sue Dunderdale, at the Theatre Royal York until 1st April. Isla Blair plays the flamboyant (and notoriously badly behaved onstage) Victorian/Edwardian actress Mrs Patrick Campbell, the close friend of George Bernard Shaw, who created the role of Eliza in Pygmalion (written specially for her), but who died in poverty. The company also includes Philip Joseph, Ifan Meredith, Joseph Raishbrook, Rebecca Jenkins, and Karina Fernandez.

Second Act Trouble: Behind The Scenes At Broadway's Big Musical Bombs by Steven Suskin, recently published by Applause, does exactly what it says on the tin, collecting together 28 vivid first person accounts of 25 doomed musical productions, by people who were either intimately involved, or who reported on the events as they happened. It puts the reader with the creators, in the rehearsal rooms, at out of town tryouts, in late night, hotel room production meetings, and even after the fact recrimination sessions. Generally these accounts come from newspapers and magazines, which means they have previously been lost to history. Among the contributors are Patricia Boswoth, Mel Gussow, William Gibson, John Gruen, Ellen Stern, Caryl Rivers and Bruce Weber. The book ends with a 37 page account of the one performance 1965 Broadway debacle Kelly by Lewis H Lapham, to whom the producers gave complete access to all aspects of the production - even including him in a limo trip to see the tryout in Philadelphia.

The Brighton Festival, running from 6th to 28th May, will celebrate its 40th birthday with 10 world premieres, 5 UK premieres and 6 exclusive events. Among the highlights will be The Lost And Found Orchestra, which uses household objects as instruments, by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the creators of Stomp; Warp Moves, a collaboration between Random Dance and artists from Warp records; Souterrain, a site specific performance inspired by the story of Orpheus in the Underworld by Wild Works, a new company headed by Bill Mitchell; The Evocation Of Papa Mas, a journey into the heart of Trinidadian carnival from Told By An Idiot; Cooped, an idiosyncratic take on the pulp gothic novella by physical comedy company Spymonkey; The Light Players, a pyrotechnic theatre piece by Groupe F; and Ten Thousand Several Doors a site specific reworking of The Duchess Of Malfi by Prodigal Theatre. Further information can be found on the BF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Sandi Toksvig and Bonnie Langford have joined forces in Short & Curly, the first one woman show to have a cast of two (well the are both quite short), which launched at the Leicester Comedy Festival, and is playing selected one night dates until July. With more than fifty years' show business experience between them, they present an evening of comedy, songs, sketches, and reminiscences.

The Jerwood Directors Award at the Young Vic offers an opportunity for three directors to explore a specific idea, or to investigate a specific question related to their art, outside the pressures of a full scale production. To do this, it provides financial and organisational resources for a five week rehearsal period (not to support a fully realised production). Applicants can be of any age, but must have had five years professional experience as a director. The deadline for applications is 13th April. Further information can be found on the Young Vic web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Tim Fountain has written a stage adaptation of James Leo Herlihy's novel (and 1969 film) Midnight Cowboy, which will receive its premiere at this year's Edinburgh Fringe; that Rosamund Pike is to star in Tennessee Williams's rarely performed Summer And Smoke, directed by Adrian Noble, in a prospective pre West End season at Nottingham Playhouse in September; and that film producers Bob and Harvey Weinstein are planning a Broadway stage spectacular based on the 2000 martial arts film Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon. The Rumour Machine grinds on.