News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th March 1998

Brassed Off, a new stage adaptation of the hit film by Paul Allen, is breaking records at the Crucible Theatre Sheffield, and will come to the National Theatre in June. The story pitches a colliery brass band in competition finals at the Albert Hall against looming South Yorkshire pit closures in 1994. Peter Armitage, Shaun Dooley and Freya Copeland lead the cast, and are supported by a genuine colliery band - initially the legendary Grimethorpe. Deborah Paige is the director.

Cheek By Jowl returns to the West End with a new production of Much Ado About Nothing opening at the Playhouse Theatre on 5th June, for a limited season until 25th July. Saskia Reeves, Matthew Macfadyen and Sarita Choudhury head the cast, directed by Declan Donnellan. This is the final production by the company in its present form, before it takes a heartsearching sabbatical.

Renewing their Jeffry Bernard Is Unwell association, Ned Sherrin is to direct Keith Waterhouse's adaptation of his latest novel Good Grief in the West End in October. The premise is a comic look at mourning, with Penelope Keith as a newspaper editor's widow, having difficulty expressing what other people perceive as a proper sense of bereavement.

This year will see playwright Peter Shaffer back with a vengeance. In addition to Black Comedy at the Comedy Theatre next month, and a proposed West End revival of his best known work Amadeus by Jeremy Sams in the Autumn, he also has a brand new play. As yet untitled (although it could be Amadeus II - This Time It's Russian) it concerns the relationship between Tchaikovsky and his brother Modest, who wrote the libretti for The Queen Of Spades and Iolanta.

Dame Edna Everage will be succeeded at the Haymarket Theatre by Jasper Carrott for a two week season from 12th October. Tom Stoppard's The Invention Of Love which ends its current run at the National Theatre in April will follow, opening on 4th November, presented by Michael Codron. There are no casting details at the moment. The Haymarket was previously the West End home of Stoppard's Arcadia.

The Vivian Ellis Prize, encouraging new writing in musical theatre, now has a web site with a link from our Information section. A reminder that the deadline for entries is 3rd April.

powerhouse: uk - lower case only please - Cool Britannia made flesh by Nigel Coates, will be launched at Horse Guards Parade on 4th April. Staged inside four bouncy castles (though carefully designed not to look like them) featuring lifestyle, communicating, learning and networking zones, this is an exhibition celebrating how Britain leads the world in design, fashion, technology, engineering and scientific research. It will tour the world promulgating the official Ministry of Information message in a caring, sharing, People's way. Opening times at Horse Guards will be 10.00am to 6.00pm daily until 19th April, with a 3.00 entry charge. Roll up for a preview of the shape of Domes to come.

On The Casting Couch: at the Donmar Warehouse, Miles Anderson, Barbara Flynn, Neil Stuke Emily Woolf and Andrew Tieman feature in Joe Penhall's The Bullet directed by Dominic Cooke from 8th April; and Harold Pinter, Brid Brennan, Douglas Hodge, Coiln Macfarlane, Bill Nighy, Lia Williams and Penelope Wilton play in Three By Pinter the triple bill directed by Karel Reisz and Joe Hamston opening on 13th May. Jemma Redgrave will play the title role in the Peter Hall Company's Major Barbara at the Piccadilly from 14th May.