Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Edinburgh International Festival has announced the programme for this year's festival, running from 13th August to 5th September, for which booking opens on 27th March. Theatre highlights include The Gospel Of Colonus, a contemporary musical adapted from Sophocles's Oedipus Rex, music by Bob Telson, book, lyrics and direction by Lee Breuer, with the Blind Boys of Alabama; Alistair Beaton's Caledonia, a satirical exploration of Scotland's futile attempt at establishing a colony in Panama, directed by Anthony Neilson, a National Theatre of Scotland production; The Sun Also Rises, adapted from Ernest Hemingway's 'bullfighting' novel, directed by John Collins, a co-production by the Elevator Repair Service and New York Theatre Workshop; Tennessee Williams's Vieux Carre, set in a seedy boarding house in New Orleans run by a half mad landlady, directed by Elizabeth LeCompte, a Wooster Group production; and Teatro Cinema, a blending of live action and film projection in Sin Sangre (Without Blood) and The Man Who Fed Butterflies. Opera highlights include Bliss, music by Brett Dean, libretto by Amanda Holden, adapted from Peter Carey's novel about an advertising executive who sees his life in a new light after a near fatal heart attack, with Peter Coleman-Wright, directed by Neil Armfield. Dance highlights include Pina Bausch Tanztheater performing Agua; Paco Pena Dance Company with Quimeras; and MAU performing Lemi Ponifasio's Tempest: Without A Body. Further information can be found on the EIF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.
Olivier Cotton's Wet Weather Cover, with Michael Brandon, Steve Furst and Pepe Balderrama, directed by Kate Fahy, which recently played at the King's Head Theatre in Islington, will transfer to the Arts Theatre off Charing Cross Road from 6th April. Two actors, one British, one American, bicker and spar, while trapped in a leaking trailer, when the filming of an epic movie on location in Spain is delayed by torrential rain. It will be followed at The Arts by Lilies On The Land, adapted from letters and interviews with Second World War Land Girls, with Rosalind Cressy, Sarah Finch, Dorothy Lawrence and Kali Peacock, directed by Sonia Ritter, from 8th June, produced by Fresh Glory Productions.
The spring season at Nottingham Playhouse will include the premieres of Arthur And George, adapted by David Edgar from Julian Barnes's novel about Arthur Conan Doyle's involvement in the case of a young Anglo-Indian solicitor, George Edalji, who was accused of mutilating horses, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, from 22nd April, a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre; and Michael Eaton's The Families Of Lockerbie, a docudrama about the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, directed by Giles Croft, from 10th June; plus Peter Nichols's A Day In The Death Of Joe Egg, about a couple who are struggling to save their marriage whilst trying to look after their only child, who has cerebral palsy, with Mark Benton, directed by Matt Aston, from 19th March; and the reggae musical The Harder They Come, adapted by Perry Henzel from the 1972 film, about a poor boy who dreams of becoming a singer, but finds the harsh realities of Jamaican life drive him into violence and crime, from 14th May, a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre.
The new 25th Anniversary touring production of the musical Les Miserables, book and lyrics by Alain Boublil, book and music by Claude-Michel Schonberg, English lyrics by Herbert Kretzmer, adapted from the novel by Victor Hugo, with John Owen-Jones, Earl Carpenter and Gareth Gates, directed by Laurence Connor and James Powell, with musical staging by Michael Ashcroft, will play the Barbican Theatre, where it originally premiered in 1985, from 14th September to 2nd October. It will be the first time anywhere in the world that there will be two different productions of the same musical playing in the same city at the same time.
The Tricycle Theatre is to present a Women, Power And Politics season of works focusing on the history and current role of women in British politics, comprising 9 new plays in 2 parts - Then and Now - to be performed on alternate evenings from 11th June to 17th July, directed by Indhu Rubasingham. Then, examines the history of women and politics, and features new plays by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, Marie Jones, Moira Buffini and Lucy Kirkwood, covering topics including Elizabeth I, the Suffragette movement in Ireland, the relationship between Margaret Thatcher and the Queen, and the political protests at Greenham Common during the 1980s. Now, presents plays with a more contemporary focus, by Joy Wilkinson, Bola Agbaje, Zinnie Harris, Sam Holcroft and Sue Townsend, examining issues surrounding women's current participation in politics, including voter apathy, candidate selection, student politics and the birth of New Labour.
Following redevelopment, the New Diorama Theatre has now opened, situated north of Euston Road between Great Portland Street and Warren Street Underground stations. The 80 seater black box venue will be home to the Quicksilver Theatre company, and will be run with an emphasis on artists from different disciplines collaborating and working together to create new work. It will begin performances with Power Of Three: Love, War And Death, written and directed by Robert Gillespie, exploring the gap between what people say they want and what they actually do want, opening on 9th April, prior to an official launch season in September.
The Rumour Machine says: that Michael Ball may play the title role when a revised version of the Broadway show Shrek The Musical opens in the West End next year; that one of the leading examples of the gay playgue currently sweeping through New York, which has seen almost every recent new play explore some aspect of the gay diaspora, Geoffrey Nauffts's Next Fall, an examination of faith in a modern gay relationship, directed by Sheryl Kaller, recently elevated from Off to On Broadway, may also be West End bound; and that the Off Broadway musical The Marvellous Wonderettes, set at 1958 High School prom, and a reunion 10 years later, as four girls find life didn't turn out like they planned, using songs of the period, written and directed by Roger Bean, will play a regional British tour this autumn. The Rumour Machine grinds on.