News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th April 2010

English National Opera has announced its 2009/2010 season at the London Coliseum. It will include new productions of Gunod's Faust, directed by Des McAnuff, a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York; Handel's Radamisto, directed by David Alden; Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Rufus Norris; the British premiere of Alexander Raskatov's A Dog's Heart, based on Bulgakov's satiric novel about a stray dog who becomes human, directed by Simon McBurney, a co-production with De Nederlandse Opera; Donizetti's Lucrezia Borgia, directed Mike Figgis; Monteverdi's The Return Of Ulysses, directed by Benedict Andrews, a co-production with the Young Vic; Berlioz's The Damnation Of Faust, directed by Terry Gilliam, a co-production with De Vlaamse Opera, Antwerp; Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Christopher Alden; Verdi's Simon Boccanegra, directed by Dmitri Tcherniakov, a co-production with Bayerische Staatsoper, Munich; and the world premiere of Nico Muhly's as yet untitled opera, libretto by Craig Lucas, inspired by the true story of a teenager attempting to arrange his own murder via the internet, directed by Bartlett Sher, a co-production with the Metropolitan Opera, New York. There will also be revivals of Christopher Alden's production of Janacek's The Makropulos Case; Jonathan Miller's productions of Puccini's La Boheme and Gilbert & Sullivan's The Mikado; and Nikolaus Lehnhoff's production of Wagner's Parsifal.

The National Theatre has added a further production to its summer season. Mike Bartlett's Earthquakes In London, with Jessica Raine, Lia Williams, Anna Madeley, Bill Paterson and Geoffrey Streatfeild, directed by Rupert Goold, will open at the Cottesloe on 4th August, a co-production with Headlong. Spanning from 1968 to 2525 and back again, the play is a 'fast and furious metropolitan crash of people, scenes and decades as three sisters attempt to navigate their dislocated lives and loves, while their dysfunctional scientist father predicts global catastrophe'.

It has been confirmed that a revised version of Ira Levin's thriller Deathtrap, about an aging writer who attempts to murder his protegee and claim the credit for his work, with Simon Russell Beale, Jonathan Groff and Anna Massey, directed by Matthew Warchus, will open at the Noel Coward Theatre on 7th September. The producers are David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers

On The Casting Couch at Chichester Festival Theatre: Kathryn Evans, Tim Flavin, Lauren Hall, Oliver Brenin, Steven Houghton and Louise Plowright will head the company in the Michael Stewart-Mark Bramble-Harry Warren-Al Dubin musical 42nd Street; Rupert Everett and Stephanie Cole will be joined by Honeysuckle Weeks, Susie Blake, Phil Davis and Peter Eyre in George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion; Peter Polycarpou, Emma Williams and Michael Xavier will lead the cast of the Stephen Clark- Howard Goodall musical Love Story; and Sean Foley and Nicholas Le Prevost will play in the double bill of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Critic and Tom Stoppard's The Real Inspector Hound.

The Lyric Hammersmith/Liverpool Everyman Production of Ghost Stories, three tales of the ocult, written and directed by Andy Nyman and Jeremy Dyson, with Nyman, Nicholas Burns, David Cardy and Ryan Gage, will transfer to the Duke of York's Theatre, opening on 6th July.

This year's Pitlochry Festival Theatre season will include Kiss Me Kate, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, book by Bella and Samuel Spewak, the backstage musical adaptation of Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew, from 14th May; Michael Frayn's Noises Off, showing the onstage and behind the scenes travails of a group of actors performing a farce, from 20th May; Tom Stoppard's Rough Crossing, the comedy with music set on board a 1920s transatlantic liner, adapted from Ferenc Molnar's Play At The Castle, from 27th May; William Inge's Bus Stop, in which the disperate passengers on a cross country bus are stranded overnight in a diner by bad weather, from 3rd June; Oscar Wilde's An Ideal Husband, where a woman's attempt to ruin a politician's career by producing incriminating evidence about his past is thwarted by the faithfulness and forgiveness of his wife, from 15th July; and Nana, adapted by Olwyn Wymark from Emile Zola's scandalous tale of lust, wealth and corruption, from 18th August.

The Old Vic Theatre is to stage Beth Steel's Ditch, with Craig Conway, Dearblha Molloy, Danny Webb, Gethin Anthony, Matti Houghton and Paul Rattray, directed by Richard Twyman, in the tunnels under Waterloo Station from 13th May, a transfer from the HighTide Festival. It is set in a dystopian future, when much of Britain is underwater, and people struggle to retain a semblance of civilisation in the face of the inevitable onset of global war.

The spring season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, now more famous as 'My Fair Lady without the songs', the story of the transformation of a flower seller into a lady by an eccentric phonetics professor, with Cush Jumbo, Simon Robson, Terence Wilton, Ian Bartholomew, Gaye Brown and Sue Wallace, directed by Greg Hersov, opening on 17th May; and Brandon Thomas's Charley's Aunt, the classic farce revolving around the delayed arrival of a chaperone in the form of an aged aunt from Brazil 'where the nuts come from', with Jack Farthing, Brodie Ross, Sarah Ovens, Annabel Scholey, Oliver Gomm, Malcolm Rennie and Briony McRoberts, directed by Braham Murray, opening on 28th June.

Ernest Hall's Liars' Market, with Lucy Beaumont, Jamie Kenna, Howard Teale and Anny Tobin, directed by Alan Dossor, will play at Union Theatre in Southwark from 27th April. Set in Bradford in 1947, it shows how far people will go to get what they desire, and the choices they make when someone stands in their way. The producer is JMK Productions.

The Guthrie Theater/Berkeley Repertory Theatre production of Tiny Kushner, a collection of five one act plays by Tony Kushner, with the original cast of J C Cutler, Kate Eifrig, Jim Lichtscheidl and Valeri Mudek, directed by Tony Taccone, will transfer to the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn, opening on 3rd September. The plays comprise Flip Flop Fly!, a bizarre lunar encounter; Terminating Or Sonnet LXXV Or 'Lass Meine Schmerzen Nicht Verloren Sein' Or Ambivalence, about an analyst, her former patient and their lovers; East Coast Ode To Howard Jarvis: A Little Teleplay In Tiny Monologues, an outrageous 1990s scheme to avoid paying taxes; Dr Arnold A Hutschnecker In Paradise, in which a doctor is receiving supervision from an angel in heaven; and Only We Who Guard The Mystery Shall Be Unhappy, where former First Lady Laura Bush is reading stories to dead Iraqi children.