News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th March 2011

This year's Laurence Olivier Awards were dominated by National Theatre productions with After The Dance taking 4 awards, including Revival (Play), Actress (Play) - Nancy Carroll and Supporting Actor (Play) - Adrian Scarborough; and The White Guard also winning 4, including Director - Howard Davies. Roger Allam secured Best Actor (Play) - Henry IV, while Clybourne Park took New Play, and The Railway Children won Entertainment. Legally Blonde headed the musical awards with New Musical, Sheridan Smith - Best Actress (Musical) and Jill Halfpenny Supporting Performance (Musical). Into The Woods took Musical Revival, and David Thaxton won Actor (Musical) - Passion. Highlights of the awards ceremony can be viewed on BBC iPlayer, and full details of all the nominees and winners can be found on the Society Of London Theatre web site via the link opposite below.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Anthony Jay and Jonathan Lynn's stage adaptation of their television sitcom Yes, Prime Minister, directed by Lynn, which is currently touring, with Simon Williams and Richard McCabe, will return to the West End, at the Apollo Theatre, from 6th July.

The autumn season at the Almeida Theatre in Islington will include the premiere of My City, written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff, in which a man meets his primary school headmistress after 15 years, provoking unexpected memories and inspiration, opening on 15th September; and Reasons To Be Pretty, written and directed by Neil LaBute, a comic drama about how a man's social circle is thrown into turmoil when his remark about a female co-worker's pretty face (and his girlfriend's lack thereof) get back to the girlfriend, opening on 17th November. The Almeida's summer festival will include Greyscale theatre company with The Theatre Brothel, vignettes performing in various parts of the building, from 6th July; and Belarus Free Theatre presenting 14 plays from 13 European countries in Eurepica. Challenge, from 20th July.

The Live Theatre Newcastle production of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, inspired by William Feaver's book telling the true story of a group of Ashington coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes, directed by Max Roberts, previously seen at the National Theatre, and on Broadway, will open a pre West End tour at the Theatre Royal in Windsor on 6th April. The cast will see original members Christopher Connel, Trevor Fox, Brian Lonsdale, Deka Walmsley and David Whitaker, joined by David Leonard, Caroline Faber and Viktoria Kay. It is presented by Bill Kenwright.

New York TheatreNet: The British musical Tomorrow Morning, book, music and lyrics by Laurence Mark Wythe, about a couple, both when they are about to marry, and 10 years later, when they are about to divorce, with D B Bonds, Autumn Hurlbert, Matthew Hydzik and Mary Mossberg, directed by Tom Mullen, with choreography by Lorin Lattaro, will open at the York Theatre on 30th March. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions at the New End Theatre in Hampstead will include: Patrick Suskind's The Double Bass, translated by Michael Hoffman, in which a tormented double bassist prepares for the opening night of Wagner's Das Rheingold, performed by Christopher Hunter, opening on 6th April, produced by The Noontide Sun; and The Accordionist, written and performed by Bethany Jameson and Romano Viazzani, a story of desire, drink and dogged optimism with live accordion music, directed by Andrew Morton, opening on 7th April, produced by Verite Productions.

On The Casting Couch: Richard Schiff is joining Cameron Blakely, Josh Cohen, Tom Conti and Natalie Walter in Smash!, opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory on 31st March; Marcus Brigstocke, David Baron, Mark Holgate, Tim Lewis, Andrew Loudon, Amy Noble, Blair Plant and Grace Rowe will feature in The Railway Children, at Waterloo Station from 28th June; Kevin Spacey will be joined by Gemma Jones in Richard III, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 29th June; and Lenny Henry and Chris Jarman will head the cast of The Comedy Of Errors, opening at the National Theatre in November.

All My Shows Are Great: The Life Of Lew Grade by Lewis Chester, published by Aurum, is an entertaining portrait of someone who was truly larger than life - a genuine show business tycoon. From humble Jewish immigrant beginnings in east London, Lew Grade became the world Charleston dance champion, from which he drifted into becoming a theatrical agent. Soon he was a top impresario, with his brothers Bernard (Delfont) and Leslie Grade, putting together variety bills, owning theatres, and eventually booking showbiz's biggest names from both sides of the Atlantic. The birth of commercial television saw Grade win a franchise with ATV, where he was a pioneer of popular culture, responsible for hits including Sunday Night at the London Palladium, Thunderbirds, The Saint, The Prisoner and The Muppets. Grade then went into films, most notoriously with Raise The Titantic!. He once said "Some of my shows are good, some are bad, all of them are great".

The site of the preserved remains of the Rose Theatre, the first Elizabethan playhouse on Bankside, will host performances of Constanza Hola's Weak Edward, a Latin American adaptation of Christopher Marlowe's Edward II, directed by Diego Poupin, from 9th to 30th April. Further information can be found on The Rose web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at the Oldham Coliseum will include Amanda Whittington's Satin 'n' Steel, relating the backstage comedy and drama of a club circuit singing duo, with Roxanne Pallett and Matt Healy, directed by Joyce Branagh, from 14th April; A Passionate Woman, written by and featuring Kay Mellor, with Anthony Lewis and Stuart Manning, a comedy about a middle aged woman who embarks on a revelatory and emotional journey following the death of her son, from 18th May, a co-production with the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich; and the premiere of Philip Goulding's A Fine Bright Day, a tale of autumnal love, where lives are reshaped by a chance meeting, directed by Kevin Shaw, from 16th June.

Steven Berkoff will perform One Man, a double bill of one man plays comprising Dog, a day in the life of a football hooligan and his pit bull terrier, and Tell Tale Heart, a tale of dementia and murderous compulsion, adapted from an Edgar Allan Poe short story, at the Riverside Studios, in Hammersmith, from 12th to 23rd April.

The Rumour Machine says: that Angela Lansbury may join Rupert Everett in the forthcoming West End production of Pygmalion, having worked with him in the Broadway production of Blithe Spirit in 2009. The Rumour Machine grinds on.