News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 19th August 2011

The Christmas season at the Arts Theatre, off Charing Cross Road, will comprise A Christmas Carol, with Simon Callow using an adaptation of Charles Dickens's own performing version of the classic story, directed by Tom Cairns, from 8th December to 14th January, presented by Riverside Studios and Assembly Festival; The Lazy Elf, an interactive children's show set in Santa's workshop, written and directed by Jo Noel Hartley, playing daytime performances from 10th to 23rd December, a Jam Theatre Company production; and Tina C: The Reason For The Season, an alternative adult Christmas show from country singer Tina C, created by Christopher Green, playing late night performances from 14th to 30th December , produced by Arts Theatre Productions.

Further productions in the autumn season at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Tell Them That I Am Beautiful, text by Gilles Aufray, based on stories from around the world involving greed, hospitality, sacrifice, knowledge, truth, freedom and love, created and performed by Marcello Magni, Kathryn Hunter, Patrice Naiambana and David Bartholomew Soroczynski, directed by Marcello Magni, opening on 9th September; Alexander Pushkin's The Queen Of Spades, in a new adaptation by Raymond Blankenhorn and Max Hoehn, in which the past life of a mental patient confined to a cell is revealed to in a series of dreams, directed by Max Hoehn, from 12th October; Catherine Trieschmann's How The World Began, in which a former New York high school biology teacher creates a firestorm with an off hand comment about the origins of the universe in her new job in rural Kansas, directed by Des Kennedy, from 15th November; and the musical Goodbye Barcelona, book by Judith Johnson, music and lyrics by K S Lewkowicz, about two British people who join the international Brigadistas fighting in the Spanish Civil War, directed by Karen Rabinowitz, from 24th November.

On The Casting Couch: Thandie Newton will be joined by Anthony Calf and Tom Goodman Hill in Ariel Dorfman's Death And The Maiden, opening at the Comedy Theatre on 24th September; and Sophie Okonedo and Ben Daniels will feature in Joe Penhall's Haunted Child, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 8th December.

The Debt Collectors, written and directed by John Godber, about two out of work actors who successfully redeploy their skills working for a debt collection agency, with Rob Hudson and William Ilkley, will open a regional tour at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle Under Lyme on 7th September.

New York TheatreNet: The Transport Group production of the musical Lysistrata Jones, book by Douglas Carter Beane, music and lyrics by Lewis Flinn, which relocates the story of Aristophanes's Lysistrata to a contemporary college, where the girls refuse sexual favours to the basketball team until they win a game, directed and choreographed by Dan Knechtges, seen recently in a gymnasium off Washington Square, will be remounted on Broadway, opening at the Walter Kerr Theatre on December 14th. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Santa Claus And The Christmas Adventure, an interactive show for young children set in Santa's workshop, will play daytime performances at the Ambassadors Theatre, from 29th November to 31st December. After the show children will receive a gift, be able to meet Santa, and put their wish lists into his post box.

Head for Heights will stage Juan Radrigan's Beasts, translated by Catherine Boyle, about a family in a remote part of Chile in 1974, examining the effect of isolation and fear on the human spirit, with Carolyn Pickles, Anne Marie Cavanah, Claire Cogan and Sean O'Callaghan, directed by Sue Dunderdale, at Theatre 503 in Battersea from 30th August.

The Well Read Play by Stephen Unwin, Artistic Director of the Rose Theatre in Kingston, recently published by Oberon Books, reveals how a professional director approaches reading a play. The book provides clear and practical information on how to understand the workings of the play, spot clues that the playwright has planted, imagine how it can be staged, and decide whether it will stand the test of time. Absorbing and informative, whether for purposes of study, staging, or simply leisure, it is a guide to understanding drama, which is a cornerstone of British culture. An accessible and entertaining guide for general readers, this well presented book is an important addition to the bookshelves of all students, directors, teachers and all lovers of theatre and literature.

The Unicorn Theatre for children at London Bridge will stage a revival of its 2007 production Billy The Kid, adapted directed by Tony Graham, from the novel by Michael Morpurgo, about a boy whose career playing football for Chelsea is interrupted by the Second World War and its consequences, with Dudley Sutton and Sam Donovan, opening on 28th September.

The autumn season at the Watford Palace Theatre will include the musical Britain's Got Bhangra, book by Pravesh Kumar, music by Sumeet Chopra, lyrics Dougal Irvine, charting the rise of British Bhangra from the 1980s to the present day, directed by Pravesh Kumar, opening on 16th September, a co-production with Rifco Arts and the Warwick Arts Centre; the premiere of Julian Mitchell's Family Business, looking at the complex relationships that underpin family life, directed by Matthew Lloyd, from 7th October, a co-production with Oxford Playhouse; and Jack And The Beanstalk, by Andrew Pollard, from 25th November.

The Rumour Machine says: that a stage version of David Seidler's A King's Speech, written before the movie but so far unproduced, directed by Adrian Noble, will open a prospective pre West End season at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford in January. The Rumour Machine grinds on.