News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th October 2008

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Chichester Festival Theatre production of Calendar Girls, adapted by Tim Firth from the 2003 film, about the members of the WI who posed for a calendar naked, but with their modesty preserved by artfully placed cakes, knitting and flower arrangements, with Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Sian Phillips, Gaynor Faye, Brigit Forsyth, Julia Hills, Elaine C Smith, Joan Blackham, Abby Francis, Gary Lilburn, Gerald McDermot and Carl Prekopp, directed by Hamish McColl, will open at the Noel Coward Theatre on 4th April. Currently touring, the production will be reshaped during a Christmas break, and then tour again from February, prior to its West End debut. The producers are David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers.

Arthur Miller's A View From The Bridge, with Ken Stott, directed by Lindsay Posner, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on 5th February. It is the story of a longshoreman who has raised his orphaned niece, but become infatuated with her, and jealousy transforms him from a respected, honourable man to a virtual stranger shamed and broken by his own actions. The producers are Stanhope Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions.

The Almeida Theatre in Islington has announced its productions for the whole of 2009, which comprise: Tom Kempinski's Duet For One, about a concert violinist who is forced to rethink her career and her life after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, with Juliet Stevenson and Henry Goodman, directed by Matthew Lloyd, opening on 29th January; the British premiere of Jez Butterworth's Parlour Song, which explores what happens when two ordinary people discover they hate who they have become, directed by Ian Rickson, opening on 26th March; the European premiere of Australian playwright Andrew Bovell's When The Rain Stops Falling, an epic play spanning four generations and two continents about people who emigrate from London to Australia in the 1950s, directed by Michael Attenborough, opening on 21st May; Austrian playwright Odon Von Horvath's Judgement Day, in a new adaptation by Christopher Hampton, set in 1937, when a diligent village stationmaster's distraction causes a tragedy and the community seeks a scapegoat, directed by James Macdonald, opening on 10th September; the world premiere of Samuel Adamson's A Quiet Island, in which the worlds of two damaged people collide on a Greek island, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, opening on 29th October; and Patrick Hamilton's Rope, the classic thriller inspired by a true incident when two students committed a murder as an academic exercise, directed by Roger Michell, opening on 16th December. Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, directed by Michael Attenborough, will follow in 2010.

Edinburgh Fringe hit Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, created by Dylan Emery and Adam Meggido, in which the audience suggest titles, themes and ideas that contribute to the invention of a new musical at every performance, is to take up a Monday night residency at the King's Head Theatre in Islington, opening on 3rd November. The show will be created by a rotating ensemble of actors and improv artists, including Chris Ash, Ruth Bratt, Dylan Emery, Pippa Evans, James Lovelock, Sean McCann, Adam Meggido, Phillip Pellew, Oliver Senton, Nathan Taylor and Lucy Trodd, plus a special guest at each performance. The producer is The Sticking Place.

The autumn season at Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold will include Manon Eames's Drowned Out: The Lost Voices Of Tryweryn, about the submerging of a Welsh village by a reservoir to provide water for Liverpool against fierce local opposition, with Rhodri Evan, Wyn Bowen Harries, Iola Hughes, Gwyn Vaughan Jones, Jenny Livsey, Sara Lloyd, Betsan Llwyd, Phil Reid, Dyfan Roberts, Simon Watts, Manon Wilkinson, Dylan Williams, directed by Tim Baker, which opened on 16th October; Michael Healey's The Drawer Boy, in which an outsider visiting two farmers transforms all their lives as buried secrets of love and tragedy are revealed, with Robert Blythe, Ifan Huw Dafydd and Guy Lewis, directed by Barry Kyle, from 7th November; and Cinderella - The Panto With Soul, by Alan Ellis and Peter Rowe (who also directs), in which the traditional story is given a makeover with rock 'n' roll classics, performed by a cast of actor/musicians, from 21st November.

On The Casting Couch: Matt Di Angelo will be joined by David Haig, Doon Mackichan, Jim Creighton, James Hayes and Javone Prince in Loot opening at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn on 15th December.

The latest exhibition at the National Theatre, running until 9th November, is The Half: Photographs Of Actors Preparing For The Stage, featuring the work of Simon Annand. For 25 years actors have given Annand unprecedented access to photograph them in their dressing rooms during the thirty minutes before curtain up, known as 'the half'. These rare images show the myriad ways actors focus for the performance ahead, and offer a gallery of our most celebrated actors, including Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Day Lewis, Judi Dench, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Jeremy Irons, Glenda Jackson, Jude Law, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Martin Sheen, Felicity Kendal, Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes.

News In Briefs is a new topical sketch show by Iain Hollingshead and Tom Peck, with Joshua Martin, Chris Cambridge, Sophia Behn and Peter McMillan, directed by Jessica Dawes, (some of the cast and creatives of Blair On Broadway), which will play on Monday nights in The Basement at Leicester Square Theatre, in Leicester Place, from 20th October. The producers are Hannah MacInnes, Iain Hollingshead and Tom Peck.

Future in house productions at Dundee Repertory Theatre, featuring its resident ensemble of actors John Buick, Kevin Lennon, Irene Macdougall, Robert Paterson, Ann Louise Ross and Emily Winter, include the return of its award winning production of the musical Sunshine On Leith, book by Stephen Greenhorn, with songs from The Proclaimers, about the lives of two men who leave the army and return home to their families in Leith, directed by James Brining, from 1st November; and Laurence Boswell's version of the classic tale Beauty And The Beast, directed by Jemima Levick, from 1st December.

Peter Dunne's The Dreamers Of Inishdara, a fantasy comedy set on a headland on the coast of Ireland cut off at high tide, with Patricia Quinn, Gemma-Leah Devereux and Peter Dunne, directed by Gemma Colclough, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre on 26th November. The producer is Primrose Productions.

The Rumour Machine says: that Andrew Lloyd Webber may bid for the Rodgers and Hammerstein Organisation, which, in addition to R&H, owns the rights to 100 songwriters including Lloyd Webber's musicals in America, and is thought to be worth around 140m; and that the producers of the film version of Mamma Mia! have asked writer Catherine Johnson and director Phyllida Lloyd to come up with a sequel, after its world wide success. The Rumour Machine grinds on.