News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th April 2008

English National Opera has announced its 2008/9 season at the London Coliseum. It will include the British premieres of john Adams's Doctor Atomic, directed by Penny Woolcock; and Kaija Saariaho's L'amore de loin; and new productions of Mascagni's Caveliera rusticana and Leoncavello's Pagliacci, directed by Richard Jones; Handel's Partenope, directed by Christopher Alden; Musorgsky's Boris Godunov, directed by Tim Albery; Vaughan Williams's Riders To The Sea, directed by Fiona Shaw; Puccini's La boheme, directed by Jonathan Miller; Britten's Peter Grimes, directed by David Alden; and Mozart's Cos fan tutti, directed by Abbas Kiarostami. There will also be revivals of Jonathan Miller's production of Rossini's The Barber Of Seville; Jo Davies's production of Verdi's Aida; Nicholas Hytner's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute; David Alden's production of Janacek's Jenufa, and Anthony Minghella's production of Puccini's Madam Butterfly. In addition, a 'multimedia' production Purcell's Dido And Aeneas, directed by Katie Mitchell will be staged the Young Vic.

Last year's Edinburgh Fringe hit Dickens Unplugged, a musical comedy journey through the life and works of Charles Dickens, written, directed by and featuring Adam Long, master of compression and founding member of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, with Joseph Attenborough, Matthew Hendrickson, Simon Jermond and Gabriel Vick, will open at the Comedy Theatre on 9th June. The producers are Mark Goucher and Wimpole Theatre, in association with the Araca Group New York.

The 2008/2009 season at the Donmar Warehouse will comprise a revised version of Pam Gems's Piaf, the bioplay about the French singer Edith Piaf, with Elena Roger, directed by Jamie Lloyd, opening on 13th August; August Strindberg's rarely seen Creditors, a comic tale of obsession, in a new translation by David Grieg, directed by Alan Rickman, opening on 30th September; T S Eliot's The Family Reunion, the upmarket country house murder mystery, directed by Jeremy Herrin, opening on 25th November, together with readings of Eliot's verse, including The Wasteland, directed by Josephine Hart on 1st December and 5th January, Murder In The Cathedral, directed by Douglas Hodge, on 2nd December, The Cocktail Party, directed by Jamie Lloyd, on 17th December, and Four Quartets, performed by Stephen Dillane, directed by Katie Mitchell, from 14th January; and the premiere of Be Near Me, Andrew O'Hagan's novel about a Catholic priest who takes over a depressed Scottish parish and is drawn into the unstable world of two local teenagers, adapted by and featuring Ian McDiarmid, directed by John Tiffany, opening on 26th January, a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland.

The next production at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will be Simon Gray's The Common Pursuit, with Ben Caplan, James Dreyfus, Nigel Harman, Robert Portal, Reece Shearsmith and Mary Stockley, directed by Fiona Laird, opening on 27th May. It is the story of a group of Cambridge undergraduate friends who launch a literary publication, but, as the years go by, they find it hard to stay true to the ideals of their youth.

On The Casting Couch at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park: Janie Dee, Natalie Dew, Richard O'Callaghan, Oscar Pearce, Clive Rowe and Tim Woodward will feature in Twelfth Night; Laura Donnelly, Nicholas Shaw, Claire Benedict, Richard O'Callaghan and Oscar Pearce will head Romeo And Juliet; and Lisa O'Hare, Millicent Martin, Topol, Paul Bentley and Thomas Borchert, will lead Gigi.

Forthcoming productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston, include Glyn Maxwell's The Only Girl In The World, a verse play about the final victim of Jack the Ripper, with Jennifer Kidd, John Wark and Andrew Mathys, directed by Alex Clifton, opening on 1st May, produced by Fractured Venus; and Wolves At The Window, Toby Davies's adaptation of Saki stories, with Jeremy Booth, Gus Brown, Anna Francolini and Sarah Moyle, directed by Thomas Hescott, from 27th May.

New York TheatreNet: This year's Lincoln Center Festival, running from 2nd to 27th July, will include the National Theatre of Scotland production of Euripides's The Bacchae, in a new version by David Greig, with Alan Cumming, John Bett, Paola Dionisotti, Ewan Hooper and Cal MacAninch, directed by John Tiffany, in which the god of wine and dance has lured the women of Thebes away to Mount Cithaeron, but the young king Pentheus disguises himself as a woman and tries to get them to return home; and the Gate Theatre Dublin productions of Samuel Beckett's Eh Joe, a television play adapted and directed by Atom Egoyan, with Liam Neson as an isolated unspeaking male, addressed by unseen female (Penelope Wilton) reminding him of a past love affair that ended with the her suicide, and First Love, with Ralph Fiennes as a man made homeless after his father's death, who becomes reluctantly involved with a woman he meets on a park bench, directed by Michael Colgan.

A further show has been added to the Peter Hall Company season at the Theatre Royal Bath. The co-production with the Royal Opera House is Faeries, a family show inspired by children's book illustrator Arthur Rackham, combining puppetry, dance and storytelling, directed and choreographed by Will Tuckett, with puppets by Blind Summit Theatre, in the Egg studio from 22nd to 30th July.

Despite being threatened with closure last year, after controversial changes in its local authority funding, Battersea Arts Centre has signed a new 125 year lease, which will secure its home for the long term future. It has announced a redevelopment plan designed by Steve Tompkins of Haworth Tompkins Architects, which will not only include making more spaces available for performance, but also living accommodation for artists. The annual BURST festival of Theatre, Music and Play, which runs at BAC from 8th to 24th May, will feature over 30 companies from around the world, including the British premiere of Doris Uhlich's over '65s dance work Und, the Edinburgh Fringe interactive performance pieces Ontroerend Goed's The Smile Off Your Face (in which the audience is tied to chairs and blindfolded) and Breathe's Just to(o) long? (in which the audience takes part in a dinner party), and the world premiere of a new work by Adrian Howell.

James Sherman's Off Broadway comedy hit Beau Jest, with Lara Pulver, Adam Rayner, Sue Kelvin, Alexander Giles, Jack Chissick and Alex Hardy, directed by Susie McKenna, will receive its British premiere at the Hackney Empire on 8th May. When a Jewish girl attempts to hide from her parents that she has a gentile boyfriend, by hiring an actor to pretend to be her 'beau', complications ensue.