News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th June 2009

The autumn season at the National Theatre will include in the Lyttelton: the premiere of David Hare's The Power Of Yes: A Dramatist Seeks To Understand The Financial Crisis , a socialist analysis of the world financial crisis, and how government has dealt with its consequences, opening on 6th October; in the Cottesloe, Our Class, a new play by Polish writer Tadeusz Slobodzianek, about a group of Jewish and Catholic schoolchildren in Poland in the 1920s, and how they change under the influences of Communism and Nazism, with Tamzin Griffin, Amanda Hale, Edward Hogg, Sinead Matthews and Jason Watkins, directed by Bijan Sheibani, opening on 23rd September. There will also be short early evening performances of Caryl Churchill's Three Sleepless Nights, with Lindsey Coulson, Ian Hart, Hattie Morahan and Paul Ready, directed by Gareth Machin, from 30th July; and a monologue adapted by Richard Nelson from Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, from 7th September.

Production in the Olivier will include the previously mentioned Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage And Her Children, in a translation by Tony Kushner, the story of a woman who drags her cart of goods for sale across the battlefields, profiteering from a war that destroys her children one by one, with Fiona Shaw, directed by Deborah Warner, opening on 16th September; and Terry Prachett's Nation, adapted by Mark Ravenhill, in which two teenagers from different worlds learn to survive on a South Pacific island after a tsunami changes their lives, with Gary Carr and Emily Taaffe, directed by Melly Still, opening on 24th November.

Dreamboats And Petticoats: The Musical, a stage show based on the compilation album of late '50s and early '60s pop classics, book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, with Ben Freeman, Scott Bruton, Jennifer Biddall, David Cardy, Daisy Wood-Davis and AJ Dean, directed by Bob Tomson, choreographed by Carole Todd, currently touring, will transfer to the Savoy Theatre, opening on 29th July. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield.

The autumn season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds will include in the Quarry Theatre: Bertolt Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, in a new version by Alastair Beaton, directed by Nancy Meckler, opening 30th September, a co-production with Shared Experience and Nottingham Playhouse; a new musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, book by Garry Lyons, music by Tim Sutton, lyrics by Garry Lyons and Tim Sutton, directed by Ian Brown, from 28th November; and in the Courtyard Theatre, Frederick Knott's classic thriller Dial M For Murder, directed by Lucy Bailey, opening on 16th September, a co-production with Fiery Angel; and Cinderella, by Mike Kenny, directed by Gail McIntyre, from 11th December.

A South African musical The Mysteries - Yiimimangaliso, a version of the English medieval Chester Mystery plays, adapted and directed by Mark Dornford-May, with choreography by Lungelo Ngamlana, performed by a company of 33, led by Pauline Malefane, will play a season at the Garrick Theatre, from 15th September to 3rd October. The Isango Portobello Theatre Company Cape Town production is performed in English and four South African languages. It is presented by Eric Abraham.

New York TheatreNet: Roundabout Theatre will stage Patrick Marber's, After Miss Julie, which relocates August Strinberg's play - a sexual liaison between a footman and his master's daughter - to a country house in Britain on the night of the Labour party's groundbreaking General Election victory in 1945, with Jonny Lee Miller and Sienna Miller, directed by Mark Brokaw, opening at the American Airlines Theatre on 22nd October.

Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, hosts outdoor opera performances in the round in the Peto garden, plus promenade style jazz and world music and chamber concerts, from 20th June to 1st August. This season's opera productions are Iford Festival Opera with Rossini's The Barber Of Seville, directed by Andre Heller-Lopes; and Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, directed by Bernadette Iglich; and The Early Opera Company performing Monteverdi's The Coronation of Poppea, directed by Martin Constantine. The garden opens for picnics at 6pm with opera performances beginning at 7.30pm. Further information can be found on the Iford Arts web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include Moliere's The Miser, the classic comedy of manners, with Derek Griffiths, directed by Helena Kaut-Howson, from 2nd September; Simon Stephens's Punk Rock, exposing the dislocation, disjunction and violence simmering under the surface of a group of articulate, aspirational young people directed by Sarah Frankcom, from 7th October, a co-production with the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith; John Osborne's The Entertainer, with David Schofield as the struggling music hall comedian in 1950s Britain, directed by Greg Hersov, from 4th November; Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, in which a seance summons up the ghost of a novelist's first wife, who is determined to cause trouble for him and her replacement, with Suranne Jones, directed by Sarah Frankcom, from 9th December; and Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin In The Sun, the story of a struggling Black family being raised in a crowded apartment in Chicago in the 1950s, directed by Michael Buffong, from 27th January.

Singin' In The Rain, the stage adaptation of the classic film set in Hollywood in the early days of talking pictures, screenplay and adaptation by Betty Comden and Adolph Green, music by Nacio Herb Brown, lyrics by Arthur Freed, with Tim Flavin, Jessica Punch, Graeme Henderson and Amy Griffiths, directed by Alison Pollard, with choreography by Graeme Henderson, will open a national tour at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on 29th June. The producer is UK Productions.

The Rumour Machine says: that following the success of British shows at the Tony Awards, the current West End production of the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical A Little Night Music, which originated at the Menier Chocolate Factory, directed by Trevor Nunn, with choreography by Lynne Page, will transfer to Broadway in December, although it is unlikely that any of the original cast will go with it; that the recent London production of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, which tells the true story of a group of coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes, and went on to become artists of note, directed by Max Roberts, which originated at the Live Theatre in Newcastle, will be Broadway bound next March; and that the current West End production of the Jerry Herman-Harvey Fierstein musical La Cage Aux Folles, directed by Terry Johnson, with choreography by Lynne Page, which also originated at the Menier Chocolate Factory, will transfer to Broadway next spring, with its original star Douglas Hodge, courtesy of Sonia Friedman Productions. The Rumour Machine grinds on.