News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th December 2010

The opening productions in the first full season at the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon will be Macbeth with Jonathan Slinger, directed by Michael Boyd, from 16th April, and The Merchant Of Venice, with Patrick Stewart, directed by Rupert Goold, from 13th May.

The Place is presenting its 22nd Resolution! season of new dance ideas and fledgling talent, running from 6th January to 18th February. 102 works, selected from hundreds of applicants from this country and abroad, have an opportunity to present their work, with three different 30 minute programmes each night. The First Footing strand is open to all who have completed full time dance training, while Evolution is for those who have appeared in the season in previous years, and Aerowaves premieres works produced elsewhere in Europe. It offers a chance to spot the choreographic and dancing stars of tomorrow at bargain prices. This year sees some of Britain's most talented dancers cutting their choreographic teeth. Further information can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at the Trafalgar Studios 2 will include the Finborough Theatre production of the musical Ordinary Days, by Adam Gwon, the story of four young New Yorkers whose lives are unexpectedly interconnected by circumstance, with Julie Atherton and Daniel Boys, directed by Adam Lenson, from 8th February; and the Edinbirgh Fringe hit, Frances Ya-Chu Cowhig's Lidless, about a former Guantanamo Bay interrogator whose past comes back to haunt her when a former detainee pays her a visit, with Nathalie Armin, Christian Bradley, Antony Bunsee, Greer Dale-Foulkes and Penny Layden, directed by Steven Atkinson, from 15th March, a HighTide production.

The Hurly Burly Show, a burlesque review featuring Polly Rae, directed by William Baker, with choreography by Ashley Wallen, will open at the Garrick Theatre on March 11th. The producers are AEG Live and Steve Dixon.

On The Casting Couch: Joseph Drake, Luke Brady, Clare Burt, Daniel Cerqueira, Peter De Jersey, Johnnie Fiori, Lily James, Penny Layden, Nathan Osgood and Duncan Wisbey will comprise the cast of Tanya Ronder's adaptation of DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little, opening at the Young Vic Theatre on 7th February.

Forthcoming productions at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, will include the premiere of Terence Rattigan's Less Than Kind, set in post Second World War London, where a woman is torn between her loyalties to her lover and her son, with Michael Simkins, Sara Crowe, Caroline Head, David Osmond, Katie Evans and Gillian Roy, directed Adrian Brown, opening on 18th January, produced by Planet Theatre Productions and Alex von Saxe Productions; Alan Ayckbourn's Drowning On Dry Land, which charts the rise and fall of a B-list celebrity, from 22nd February, a Dare Theatre Company production; The Kissing Dance, the musical adaptation of She Stoops To Conquer, Oliver Goldsmith's Georgian comedy of class, courtship and dysfunctional families, book and lyrics by Charles Hart, music by Howard Goodall, from 22nd March, produced by Chantelle Staynings; and Henrik Ibsen's Little Eyolf, about a couple whose relationship suffers a crisis after the death of their son, directed by Anthony Biggs, from 3rd May.

New York TheatreNet: New York City Opera will stage Prima Donna, music by Rufus Wainwright, libretto by Bernadette Colomine, about a faded opera singer in Paris determined to make a comeback, with Janis Kelly, who originated the leading role in the Opera North production in 2009, directed by Tim Albery, in spring 2012. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The National Theatre of Scotland has announced its 2011 season, which will include David Harrower's Knives In Hens, about a relationship triangle in a rural setting, and a woman's quest to find out what she wants from life, directed by Lies Pauwels; Truant, exploring family values, the challenges of modern parenting and the place of children in society, written and directed by John Retallack, a production involving young people and professional actors; Tall Tales For Little People, by Gerry Mulgrew, from the stories of Duncan Williamson, a co-production with Communicado; Ena Lamont Stewart's Men Should Weep, about a large and impoverished family living in 1930s Glasgow, directed by Graham McLaren; Andrew O'Hagan's The Missing, merging reportage, social history and memoir to chart a path from Glasgow of the 1970s to the grim secrets of Gloucester in the mid 1990s, directed by John Tiffany; the premiere of Abi Morgan's 27, a meditation on religious faith and the question of what the future may hold, directed by Vicky Featherstone; and Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Graham McLaren, told using a mixture of actors and puppets.

Sturdy Beggars Theatre Company will stage Witold Gombrowicz's Ivona, Princess Of Burgundia, a black social satire exploring the ridiculous and deadly consequences of the impulsive actions of a bored prince, in the Network Theatre in a railway arch under Waterloo Station, off Waterloo Road, opening on 5th January.

Putting It On: The West End by Michael Codron and Alan Strachan, recently published by Duckworth Overlook, tells the story of probably the most important commercial West End producer of plays in post war British theatre. Michael Codron produced works by almost every major British dramatist of the period, including Alan Ayckbourn, Alan Bennett, Michael Frayn, Simon Gray, David Hare, Joe Orton, John Mortimer, Harold Pinter and Patrick Marber. Codron's CV reads like a concise history of the post war stage, and the book examines the sea-changes in the commercial sector and the rise of the subsidised theatre. It also reveals what it was like working with the greatest actors of that time, including Alec Guiness, John Gielgud, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay, Richard Briers, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, Felicity Kendall, Penelope Keith and Julie Waters. The book provides a fascinating insight into the victorious ups and hair-raising downs of producing, and an extraordinary career, dramatic in every sense of the word, which is unlikely to be paralleled.

Life Of Riley, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, in which a dying man plans a final flourish to surprise his family and friends before he dies, with Laura Doddington, Liza Goddard, Laura Howard, Jamie Kenna, Ben Porter and Kim Wall, which premiered at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough in September, will open a regional tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 26th January.

Ruby Wax: Losing It, text by Ruby Wax, music and lyrics by Judith Owen, in which the duo present a darkly comic examination of the pressures of contemporary life that result in 1 in 4 people suffering mental illness, directed by Thea Sharrock, will play at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark from 15th February.

The spring season at Nottingham Playhouse will include the return of the comedy with music Forever Young by Erik Gedeon, adapted by Giles Croft and Stefan Bednarczyk, in which the inmates of a theatrical retirement home behave badly, performing rock 'n' roll classics, from 3rd February; and Sophocles's Oedipus, in a new version by Steven Berkoff, from 23rd March, a co-production with Liverpool Playhouse and Everyman.