News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th November 2009

The spring season at Sadler's Wells will include a number of premieres with first time visits by English Touring Opera with Donizetti's Don Pasquale, Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro and Britten's A Midsummer Night's Dream; Danza Contemporanea de Cuba; Compagnie Marie Chouinard; the tango musical Tanguera; and Pictures At An Exhibition, Mussorgsky's piano suite inspired by 10 paintings, directed by Daniel Kramer, choreographed by Frauke Requardt, seen previously at the Young Vic; plus the return of its Flamenco Festival; Richard Alston Dance Company; Sutra, the collaboration of Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Anthony Gormley and Shaolin Monks and a new Cherkaoui/Gormley work Babel (words); Akram Kahn; Rambert Dance Company; Kabuki; Les Ballets C De La B; Classical Opera Company with Mozart's Zaide; Paco Pena; Nederlands Dance Theater; Hofesh Shechter; and Sylvie Guillem, Robert Lepage and Russell Maliphant's Eonnagata. The Peacock Theatre season will include first appearances by new street dance company Blaze; and The Merchant's Of Bollywood, a dance spectacular about the Indian film industry; plus the return of Havana Rakatan; The 7 Fingers (Les 7 Doigts de la Main); and Insane In The Brain, Bounce's hip hop staging of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest.

Judi Dench will be joined by Oliver Chris, Annabel Scholey, Rachael Stirling, Charles Edwards, James Laurenson, Ben Mansfield, Reece Ritchie, Annabel Scholey and Tam Williams in A Midsummer Night's Dream, opening at the Rose Theatre, Kingston, on 15th February; and Kim Cattrall and Matthew Macfadyen will be joined by Simon Paisley Day and Lisa Dillon in Private Lives, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 3rd March.

A musical adaptation of Enid Blyton's The Famous Five, book and lyrics by Richard Williams, music and lyrics by Leon Parris, in a story set on Kirrin Island, involving sunken ships and abandoned treasure, directed by Russell Labey, will open at the Tabard Theatre in Chiswick on 8th December.

The first season at the newly reopened Bristol Old Vic company at the Theatre Royal will include in house productions of Juliet And Her Romeo, a reworking of Shakespeare's play, in which the two lovers are pensioners in an old people's home, with disapproving children, using the original text re-ordered and cut, directed by Tom Morris, from 10th March; and Caryl Churchill's Far Away, which envisions an apocalyptic future in which the whole world is at war, including the animals, resulting in odd cross species alliances, directed by Simon Godwin, from 24th May.

Dreamboats And Petticoats: The Musical, the stage show based on the compilation album of late '50s and early '60s pop classics, book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, directed by Bob Tomson, choreographed by Carole Todd, which recently closed at the Savoy Theatre, will return to the West End at the Playhouse Theatre, opening on 6th January. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield. The next pop back catalogue to be dragged kicking and screaming to the stage will be Neil Sedaka's, in the biomusical Laughter In The Rain, book by Philip Norman, which will open a regional tour at the Churchill Theatre in Bromley on 1st March, also produced by Kenwright and Mansfield.

The Book Of William: How Shakespeare's First Folio Conquered The World by Paul Collins, recently published by Bloomsbury, features the history of a volume that has been sold all over the world for almost 400 years. Broken down into five acts, each tied to a different location and century, Collins's travelogue follows the trail of the first printing of Shakespeare's collected plays, from its birth in 1623, through a Sotheby's auction on a pristine copy preserved since the 17th century, the Fleet Street machinations of the 18th century, the 19th century quests for lost Folios, obsessive acquisitions by 20th century oilmen, and the high-tech hoards of 21st century Japan. Finally, Collins speculates on Shakespeare's cross-cultural future as Asian buyers enter their Folios into the electronic ether, and recounts the book's remarkable journey as it is found in attics, gets lost in oceans and fires, is bought and sold, and ultimately becomes immortal.

This year's Spitalfields Winter Festival, centred on Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe, is shorter than usual, running from 9th to 12th December. The festival explores the sound of the festive season through the centuries, from some of the earliest written Christmas music up to the present day, employing musical forces ranging from local residents, workers and schools, to vocal ensemble Stile Antico. It includes free events and a treasure hunt around the Spitalfields area. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site via the link from Festivals, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Future productions at Trafalgar Studios 2 will include Barbershopera II, by Rob Castell and Tom Sadler, which tells the unlikely story of a Catalan matador who inherits a Norfolk barbershop, with Rob Castell, Tom Sadler, Lara Stubbs and Pete Sorel-Cameron, directed by Sarah Tipple, playing late evening performances from 5th January; The World's Wife, adapted from the poems of Carol Ann Duffy, imagining the wives' perspective of famous men through the ages, performed by Linda Marlow, directed by Di Sherlock, opening on 11th January; and Naomi Wallace's The Fever Chart, three stories that explore the possibility of humanity in inhumane conditions set in different locations in the Middle East, directed by Katie Posner and Marcus Romer, opening on 11th March, a Pilot Theatre and York Theatre Royal production.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Theatre Royal Windsor production of Agatha Christie's A Daughter's A Daughter (written under the pseudonym of Mary Westmacott) set in the heady world immediately following the end of the Second World War, involving a mother and daughter making unwise decisions in their attempts to 'live life to the full', may transfer to the Trafalgar Studios 1 over Christmas; that the Old Vic will stage Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing, which explores the difference between art and emotion, as a writer has an affair with the wife of an actor in one of his plays, next spring; and that Roy Smiles's, Kurt & Sid, which imagines a meeting between Nirvana's Kurt Cobain, and his hero, Sex Pistols bassist Sid Vicious, directed by Tim Stark, seen recently at Trafalgar Studios 2, may be West End bound. The Rumour Machine grinds on.