News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st January 2000

Strindberg's Miss Julie, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, opens at the Haymarket Theatre on 29th February. It stars Christopher Eccleston, Aisling O'Sullivan and Maxine Peake, and is directed by Michael Boyd. A footman seduces his mistress, and then persuades her to commit suicide, in order to protect himself from the repercussions. The producers are Thelma Holt and Bill Kenwright.

The D'Oyly Carte Opera Company production of Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore will open at the Savoy Theatre (the true home of G&S) on 27th February. The show was G&S's first big hit in 1878. This production was seen briefly last July at the Royal Festival Hall. It is presented by Raymond Gubbay and The Turnstyle Group.

The Creative Freedom Awards are seeking nominations for Theatre and other categories for their 4th annual event, celebrating creativity and innovation in British Art and Media. Voting for the winner in the Theatre category is by a professional jury, but anyone can make a nomination. For more details and to submit a nomination, visit the CFA web site via the link from the Information section of TheatreNet. Nominations close on 31st January, and the awards will be presented on 13th April at The Scala, King's Cross.

The Almeida Theatre returns to the Albery Theatre with the world premiere of Nicholas Wright's Cressida, which will run from 4th April to 10th June. It stars Michael Gambon, with Daniel Brocklebank, Anthony Calf, Lee Ingleby, Charles Kay, Michael Legge and Malcolm Sinclair. Set in the world of "Shakespeare In Love", it tells the story of an actor manager's attempts to turn a new boy actor into a female star. Nicholas Hytner directs.

The Lyric Hammersmith will present Fascinating Aida in a revised version of their show Barefaced Chic, from 15th to 26th February. In FA's new line up, Dillie Keane and Adele Anderson are joined by American Charlotte Nytzen, whose experience spans opera and musical theatre. Clarke Peters directs and Edward Snape is the producer. They will be followed by the Sheffield Theatres production of As You Like It, directed by Michael Grandage, from 1st to 25th March. The company includes Ben Daniels, Victoria Hamilton, Bernard Horsfall, Nicholas le Provost, Samantha Spiro and Una Stubbs.

STAR - the Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers - is holding a free half day seminar, Credit Card Security In The Entertainment Industry, at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on 29th February. The issues covered will include secure on-line transactions, and protection from fraud. Further details and registration from Don Keller Arts Marketing on 0181 800 4882.

The Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Macbeth, currently playing at the Swan in Stratford, will join its Young Vic Theatre season from 18th April to 3rd June. It features Antony Sher and Harriet Walter and is directed by Gregory Doran. As already announced, Goldoni's The Servant Of Two Masters plays from 10th February to 11th March, and Tales From Ovid by Ted Hughes runs from 28th June to 22nd July. Tim Supple directs both.

On The Casting Couch: Mark Strong, Patrick Marber and Kimberly Williams star in Peter Gill's new adaptation of David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, opening at the New Ambassadors Theatre on 16th March.

The Criterion Theatre is the latest West End venue to be sold, as the entire block of buildings in which the theatre stands has changed hands. The theatre should be secure as it has a lease with 52 years remaining, but a change of ownership may result in the rent being raised. Criterion Theatre Trust chief Sally Greene is hopeful that despite the sale to a property developer, the theatre will be unaffected. Greene also heads the Old Vic Theatre Trust, which is close to achieving the goal of raising 2m for the final payment to secure its future.

Vanessa Redgrave is to play Prospero in The Tempest at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, directed by Lenka Udovicki. I followed the period logic of a male Cleopatra, but it's answers on a post card for this one. The other productions in the season, running from 12th May to 24th September are: Mark Rylance as Hamlet, directed by Giles Block; Two Nobel Kinsmen, about two cousins whose friendship turns to hate when they fall in love with the same woman, by William Shakespeare and John Fletcher, directed by Tim Carroll; and Antipodes - or The World Upside Down, a comedy by Richard Brome, Ben Jonson's manservant, about a man driven mad by his obsession with world travel, directed by Gerald Freeman. This year's visiting international production will be a commedia dell'arte version of Romeo & Julieta performed in Portuguese by Grupo Galpo, a Brazilian street theatre company.

The world premiere season of Blast!, the musical extravaganza at the London Apollo, Hammersmith, is extending to 21st April. It features a company of 40 brass players, 12 percussionists and a 16 dancers, performing a wide variety of music from classical to rock, and intricate movement involving sabres and flags, as well as their instruments. The explosion of sound, colour and movement will be previewed in audio and video on the Blast! web site when it relaunches this week. Find the site via the link opposite.

The Royal Exchange Manchester's new season includes two world premieres. Snapshots by Fiona Padfield from 1st March, explores the complex relationship of two sisters. The Ghost Train Tatoo by Simon Robson from 22nd March, looks at how three children cope with their parents divorce. Both plays are directed by Braham Murray with Sarah Frankcom.