News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th July 2003

Nigel Havers and Ardal O'Hanlon will star in See You Next Thursday, adapted by Ronald Harwood from Francis Verber's comedy, opening at the Albery Theatre on 2nd October. Set in Paris, it is about the complicated life of a publisher, involving his wife, mistress, friends, and a weekly dinner party to which he always invites a simpleton. Robin Lefevre directs the play, which was originally seen last year at the Gate Theatre Dublin.

The 25th Dance Umbrella, running from 28th September to 8th November, presents the best of national and international contemporary dance at venues across London. Highlights include: a premiere by Michael Clark Company, Saburo Teshigawara's KARAS with Luminous, a hit of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival, and Rosas artistic director Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker performing in a duet at Sadler's Wells; a world premiere from Stephen Petronio Company featuring music by Laurie Anderson and Lou Reed, and an evening of new work by Russell Maliphant Company at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; Laurie Booth's installation performance with artist Thomas Richards featuring dozens of frozen shirts hung out to thaw at Greenwich Dance Agency; the UK premiere of Boobies from Israel's Inbal Pinto Dance Company at The Barbican; and the Merce Cunningham Dance Company with Anniversary Events, commissioned to celebrate the 25th birthday of Dance Umbrella and the 50th anniversary of MCDC, in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Full details of programmes and venues can be found on the Dance Umbrella web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

The annual Christmas battle of the ballets is opening up a new front. Having been 'nutcrackered out' last year with three different versions to choose from, this year London has a war of the Cinders. The Royal Ballet is eschewing the big N and staging a new physical production of Cinderella, retaining Frederick Ashton's choreography, from 23rd December to 8th January. With the Coliseum, its usual London home, closed for restoration, English National Ballet is going way out west to the Apollo Hammersmith with Michael Corder's Cinderella from 10th to 20th December, followed inevitably by Christopher Hampson's The Nutcracker from 24th December to 11th January. Meanwhile Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker! returns to Sadler's Wells from 2nd December to 24th January.

Dulwich Picture Gallery's current exhibition, Shakespeare In Art, running until 19th October, considers how the world's greatest and most performed dramatist provided inspiration for many of Europe's greatest artists of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. With some seventy works, by artists including Hogarth, Delacroix, Romney, Blake, Fuseli, Millais and Holman Hunt, there are many different views of Shakespeare's plays, in a range of styles, from Rococo to Sublime, from Classic to Romantic. There are both 'acted' and 'imagined' Shakespeare scenes, as well as portraits of great actors including Garrick, Kemble and Siddons, and a look at theatrical production and scenography.

Julie Andrews is to make her directorial debut with a production of Sandy Wilson's musical The Boy Friend, the show in which she made her name, running from 5th to 31st August, at the Bay Street Theater on Long Wharf in Sag Harbor New York. The show stars Meredith Patterson, Byron Jennings, Veanne Cox and Tony Roberts. It is a family affair as Andrews former husband Tony Walton is designing the sets and costumes, and her daughter Emma Walton is part of the team that founded and runs the theatre. There are hopes that the production will find its way to Broadway.

The British Academy of Composers and Songwriters, in association with BBC Radio 3, and the Performing Right Society, is launching The British Composer Awards, celebrating the music of classical composers living and working the in the UK. The awards will be presented at the Barbican Centre on 18th December. The categories are: Solo and Duo; Chamber; Vocal and Choral; Wind and/or Brass Ensemble; Orchestral; Stage Works; Liturgical; Multi-media; Community and Educational Project; Making Music; and BBC Radio 3 Listeners. The winner of the Radio 3 Listeners award will receive a BBC Radio 3 commission or performance, and the winner of the Community and Educational award will receive funding from the PRS Foundation towards a project in 2004. Nominations are invited for works that have received their UK premiere between 1st April 2002 and 31st March 2003. Further information can be found on the BACS web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

Robert Powell, Simon Ward, Derren Nesbitt, Claire Wilkie, Elizabeth Power and Nick Waring star in Trevor Baxter's new adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray, directed by Elijah Moshinsky, which opens a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor from 19th to 23rd August. It tells the tale of a Faustian pact whereby a man retains his youth while the portrait in his attic ages. This will be followed by Samantha Janus in a prospective pre West End production of Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark, from 16th to 27th September. The classic thriller is the story of one blind woman's struggle to outwit the criminal underworld. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is tackling yet another children's classic for this year's Christmas season in Stratford. Beauty And The Beast, written and directed by Laurence Boswell, with music by Mick Sands, and choreography by Stuart Hopps, will run from 10th December to 22nd February. Recently appointed an Associate Director of the RSC, Boswell, who describes the piece as a 'fairy tale thriller', has written and directed two previous versions of the story - so hopefully this time he will get it right.

The New York opening of Bombay Dreams has been finalised for 29th April at the Broadway Theatre. Thomas Meehan is collaborating with Meera Syal on a new book for the show, a love story set against the backdrop of the Bollywood film industry, with music by A R Rahman and lyrics by Don Black. It is directed by Steven Pimlott and choreographed by Anthony Van Laast and Farah Khan.

And Finally . . . The first and only authorised stage production of sketches from Monty Python's Flying Circus will hit the boards at this year's Edinburgh Fringe - performed in French. Les Spectacles Remy Renoux will present the UK premiere of their show (previously staged in Paris) in the Pleasance Courtyard with English subtitles. The only trick they seem to have missed is not using Scottish subtitles.