News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th April 1998

The cast of Sondheim Tonight at the Barbican Hall on 17th May, the charity show in aid of the Alan Jay Lerner Fund for Research into Lung Cancer at The Royal Marsden Hospital, will include the eclectic mix of Jonathan Pryce, Julia McKenzie, Dame Edna Everage, Elaine Stritch, Len Cariou, Maria Friedman, Cleo Laine, and Ned Sherrin, in the presence of Stephen Sondheim.

The National Theatre will hold A Midsummer Dream in the new Theatre Square on 20th June, with a free programme of outdoor events from 12.00noon to 11.00pm. These will include all kinds of music, from folk through jazz to palm court; an extract from A Midsummer Night's Dream reworked by Peepolykus; and The Whalley Range All Stars in Angel. From the beginning of July throughout the summer, there will be free lunchtime and early evening street entertainment in the Square on Saturdays and Olivier and Lyttleton matinee days, in addition to the usual programme of foyer music.

The Off Broadway musical No Way To Treat A Lady, an adaptation of the 60's black comedy film, is coming to the Arts Theatre on 3rd August. It tells the story of a serial killer of old ladies (originally played by Rod Steiger) who assumes a different "character" for each murder, doggedly pursued by a harassed detective (originally George Segal). Based on a William Goldman novel, the book, music and lyrics by Douglas Cohen won a Richard Rodgers Award. It is directed by Neil Marcus, staged by Donna McKechnie and produced by Ballantrae Theatre Productions.

New York City Ballet returns to London for the first time in ten years with An Evening Of American Ballet at the Queen Elizabeth Hall from 30th July to 2nd August. The programme will span Ballachine to contemporary dance, and the company will include British born dancer Christopher Weedon.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket is presenting a series of free talks and masterclasses for young people interested in the theatre, at roughly monthly intervals throughout the year. Comic . . . Timing by Maureen Lipman is on 28th April. Future events will feature Helena Kaut-Howson, Tim Supple, Joan Plowright, Phyllida Lloyd, Gillian Diamond, Peter Hall and Tom Stoppard. For details call 0171 930 8890/8800.

The Almeida Theatre's plans for world domination race on. The West End season at the Albery Theatre starting with Phaedra starring Diana Rigg, Toby Stephens, Julian Glover and Barbara Jefford, will be followed by another Racine play: Britannicus in early November. If successful the new Edward Albee work The Play About The Baby directed by Howard Davies is also expected to come in. Meanwhile on home territory, the cast of The Doctor's Dilemma opening on 3rd June will be Tony Britton, Patsy Byrne, Victoria Hamilton, Martin Jarvis, Iain McDiarmid, and Simon Scott. Alec McCowen has withdrawn due to ill health.

For real marathon enthusiasts only: The Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's production of The Posessed, adapted from Dostoyevsky's novel, with a cast of 48, lasts seven and a half hours, and is performed in Russian with English surtitles. It opens at the Barbican on 27th June as part of the BITE:98 season and the City of London Festival.

The Rumour Machine says: that Peter Hall will re-direct the revival of Peter Shaffer's Amadeus in the autumn, rather than Jeremy Sams as previously rumoured, with David Suchet as Salieri; and that John Wood is confirmed for Michael Codron's transfer of Tom Stoppard's The Invention Of Love opening on 4th November. The Rumour Machine grinds on.