News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th August 2005

The Society Of London Theatre's eighth Kids Week in the West End is now on, running until 2nd September, designed to introduce young people to the theatregoing experience with thousands of free tickets and special events. Children between 5 and 16 can go free (when accompanied by a paying adult) to over 25 West End shows, with up to two additional children at half price. Over 35 accompanying events will be taking place during the two weeks, including backstage tours, workshops, classes, storytelling and 'meet the cast' opportunities, plus special activities the under 5s. There are also freebies and discounts at restaurants, and on travel and accommodation packages. Latest information can be found via the link opposite.

Edinburgh Fringe Report: Two shows are already heading south. RadioPlay, Ed Gaughan's one man show, directed by Wes Williams, will play at Battersea Arts Centre from 6th to 25th September. The producer is Flywheel Productions. On an overnight coach journey from Penzance to London, the passengers want to sleep, but the driver wants company - and he has the microphone - so he entertains them with a multitude of characters, voices and music. The Pleasance production of Terry Mackay's National Hero, with Timothy West, Nichola McAuliffe, Carolyn Backhouse and Tom Cotcher, directed by Guy Retallack, opens a prospective pre West End tour at the Lowry Salford on 5th September. When a bomb disposal expert facing retirement is catapulted into the limelight by a terrorist attack, he is forced to choose between the woman he married, the woman he loves, and international fame.

London is to have an Avenue Of The Stars to rival the Walk Of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles. Silver plaques will be embedded in the courtyard of the actor's church, St Paul's Covent Garden, to honour British and Commonwealth performers of the last century. Nicole Kidman, Laurence Olivier, Rex Harrison and Dame Edna Everage will be among the 100 stars honoured at an inauguration ceremony on 18th September. More names will be added each year. New York has a Theater Hall Of Fame, with plaques commemorating Broadway stars and creatives, in the lobby of the Gershwin Theater, into which eight new names are inducted at a ceremony in January of each year.

It's Shereden mania this autumn, as Stephanie Cole and George Baker star in Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, the classic comedy of romance, confusion and commitment, set in Regency Bath, directed by Christopher Morahan, opens a regional tour at Theatre Royal Bath on 4th October. While Northern Broadsides's autumn tour of Sheridan's The School For Scandal, the satire of affairs, indiscretions and intrigue in polite society, opens at its home base of The Viaduct Halifax on 8th September. An interesting conjunction between Restoration comedy and Northern Broadsides's 'e by gum' style.

To celebrate its first 100 years, the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art commissioned photographer Cambridge Jones to spend the centenary year photographing 100 of the great names who trained at RADA. The resulting Who's Who of British acting, stage and screen can be seen in Off Stage: The RADA Centenary Portraits, the latest exhibition at the National Theatre, running from 22nd August until 17th September. Alongside actors including Ralph Fiennes, Jane Horrocks, John Hurt and Richard Wilson, there are also those who have 'passed on' to other roles in the business, such as director Mike Leigh and producer Thelma Holt. The secret of the striking images is Jones's ability to capture the person behind the role.

The autumn season at Greenwich Theatre includes: Skullduggery Theatre Company's I Am Star Trek, book by Rick Vorndran, music by Scott Ethier and lyrics by Clay Zambo, directed by Joseph C Walsh, about the life of Gene Roddenberry and his mission to bring science fiction to television; the world premiere of Longitude, adapted by Arnold Wesker, from the book by Dava Sobel, about John Harrison's quest to invent an accurate navigation system for ships at sea, directed by Fiona Laird; Red Shift's premiere stage production of Ted Lewis's Get Carter, the tale of racketeering, corruption, violence and murder in a northern town in the 1970s, adapted and directed by Jonathan Holloway; LipService (aka Maggie Fox and Sue Ryding) in Horror For Wimps, in which onstage characters come face to face with an assortment of horror movie stalwarts; and the Natural Theatre Company giving its own idiosyncratic take on Aladdin, by Andrew Pollard, directed by Fiona Laird.

Christie's is holding a sale of vintage film posters at 85 Old Brompton Road, London, at 10.30am on Sunday 11th September, with viewing on 9th and 10th September. It will feature over 400 posters of great (and not so great) films across all genres, including Modern Times, the 1953 War Of The Worlds, Goldfinger, 2001 A Space Odyssey, Breakfast At Tiffany's, Shall We Dance, Creature From The Black Lagoon, Get Carter, La Dolce Vita, The Ipcress File and Notorious, with some unusual items like French versions of The Lavender Hill Mob and Gilda, and an Austrian Blonde Venus. Further information can be found on the Christie's web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Peter Hall will direct Judi Dench and Peter Bowles in Noel Coward's Hay Fever, in the West End next April; that Stephen Fry and Kenneth Branagh have written the screenplay for a film of Mozart's The Magic Flute, which Branagh will direct early next year; and that Francesca Zambello, who is now to direct Disney's stage musical of The Little Mermaid, may also direct The First Wives Club, a new Broadway bound musical adaptation of the 1996 film comedy, about three divorced women who seek revenge on their former husbands, with a score comprised of previous hits and new material by the writing team of Holland, Dozier and Holland. The Rumour Machine grinds on.