News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd April 2005

Telstar, the biographical play about the 1960s record producer Joe Meek, written by Nick Moran with James Hicks, and directed by Paul Jepson, which has recently been touring, will open at the New Ambassadors Theatre on 24th June. It features Con O'Neil and Linda Robson, with Tarl Caple, Gareth Corke, Callum Dixon, David Hayler, Roland Manookian, William Woods and Philip York as singers and record industry wheeler-dealers of the period. A New Vic Workshop production presented by KT2 Productions.

Meanwhile, the final destination has still not been reached by R C Sherriff's anti war play Journey's End, which having already played the Comedy, Playhouse and Duke of York's, and then departed, will return to West End at the New Ambassadors Theatre from 14th September. Set in the trenches of the First World War, a new arrival among a group of British officers is shocked to find the effect the experience has had on his former friend.

The National Theatre has announced its new summer productions. Steven Knight's The President Of An Empty Room, about the intrigues among the volatile community of a Cuban cigar factory, with Georgina Ackerman, Jim Carter, Nona Dumezweni, Paul Hilton, Fraser James, Inika Leigh Wright, Petra Letang, Stephen Moore, Lucian Msamati, Anthony O'Donnell and Tracey Saunders, directed by Howard Davies, will open on 28th June. Brian Friel's Aristocrats, a 'Checkovian' play about three sisters and a brother who return to their ancestral home, with Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald, Gina McKee and Andrew Scott, directed by Tom Cairn, will open on 12th July. Playing With Fire by David Edgar, about the consequences of a populist politician's misguided attempt to revive the fortunes of a multicultural inner city area, directed by Michael Attenborough, will open on 21st September.

The 58th Aldburgh Festival, running from 10th to 26th June, focuses on the music of England and Russia, particularly the works of Purcell, Britten and Tippett, and Tchaikovsky and Stravaisky, exploring the diversity of their influences and their musical lineage. Among the highlights is the world premiere of Richard Ayres's first opera The Cricket Recovers, with a libretto by Rozalie Hirs, from a story by Toon Tellegen, set in a forest populated by animals both real and imaginary, the central characters being a cricket and an elephant, with Allison Bell, Anna Burford, Joanna Burton, Simon Butteriss, Jonathan Gunthorpe and Claire Wild, directed by Nicholas Broadhurst. There are also concert performances of new pieces by Thomas Ades, Harrison Birtwistle, Tansy Davies, Poel Ruders and John Woolrich. As well as performances, there are also films, workshops, lectures, masterclasses, walks and other outdoor events. Further information can be found on the Aldburgh web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

For many years, on the Sunday after Labour Day (the first Monday in September) the new Broadway season is launched with Broadway On Broadway, a free concert on a stage constructed in Times Square, with excerpts from the current musicals and sneak previews of upcoming shows. Now London is to have a similar event with West End Live, on the weekend of June 25th and 26th in Leicester Square. From 12noon until 6pm casts of West End shows will be making appearances, plus a wireless fun zone and other musical, theatrical and dance performances of all kinds.

Peter Bowles and Sian Phillips star in Yasmina Reza's The Unexpected Man, translated by Christopher Hampton, directed by Deborah Bruce, which opens a regional tour at Richmond Theatre on 2nd May. The piece is comprised of interconnected monologues, revealing the unspoken thoughts of a famous novelist and a lifelong fan, who meet on a train journey from Paris to Frankfurt. It is a Theatre Royal Bath Production.

Fabrik-a-Brac presents the British premiere of the award winning Belgian play National Alien Office, by Stanislas Cotton, translated by Anne-Marie Glasheen, directed by Veronique Van Meerbeek, with movement by Frances Barbe, at Riverside Studios from 5th to 22nd May. Performers Michael Brown and Nick Oshikanlu and musicians Adrienne Quartly and Karine Chevalier give two perspectives on the same event, as a man fleeing a war appears at an immigration office and asks for asylum.

The Warehouse Theatre Croydon is holding its 20th International Playwriting Festival, in partnership with Italian festival Premio Candoni Arta Terme and Teatro Ena, Cyprus. It is in two parts: a competition with entries from all over the world judged by a panel of distinguished theatre practitioners, followed by a showcase of excerpts from the selected plays on 19th and 20th November. The deadline for entries is 30th June. Further information and an entry form can be found on the Warehouse web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Polka Theatre spring season includes: Dazzling Medusa: The Story Of Perseus by Geraldine McCaughrean, based on the Greek myth of the son of Zeus's quest to kill the monster with a head of snakes and a deadly gaze, directed by Richard Shannon, with movement by Scot Graham, from 5th May to 11th June; a new play by Mike Kenny, Cinderella's Sisters, a contemporary story of ambition, broken dreams, sibling rivalry and ballroom dancing, from 21st to 25th June; and The Little Mermaid, Hans Christian Andersen's classic fairy tale, in a new adaptation by Mike Kenny, directed by Asha Kahlon, from 6th to 30th July.

The Rumour Machine says: that that Robin Williams will play Peter Sellars in the West End early next year in the premiere of a play by John Antrobus about the actor's last days; that Aladdin will return to the Old Vic at Christmas (oh yes it will) with Ian McKellen reprising his Dame; that the Leslie Bricusse musical Scrooge, in which Tommy Steele has starred for the last two Christmases, will make a London appearance this year, at the London Apollo Hammersmith; and that Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production of Alan Bennett's The History Boys will play on Broadway in April next year, as part of a tour that will also take in Australia. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . As it's almost Christmas, Cirque du Soleil has announced that it will return to the Royal Albert Hall with Alegria, from 5th to 29th January. Book now while there's still time.