News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd June 2007

The autumn season at Sadler's Wells will include visits by Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with programmes including Revelations and Night Creature; the launch season of Christopher Wheeldon's ballet company, Morphoses, with the world premiere of two works; Hofesh Shechter with In Your Rooms and Uprising; Cast No Shadow, a multimedia event combining the images of Isaac Julien and the choreograpy of Russell Maliphant; Carlos Acosta performing with guest artists from Ballet Nacional de Cuba; Birmingham Royal Ballet with a mixed bill and David Bintley's Edward II; James Thierree in a new show of illusions Au Revoir Parapluie; Rambert Dance Company performing a new work by Gary Stewart; Welsh National Opera with the London premiere of James MacMillan's The Sacrifice, libretto by Michael Symmons Roberts, the story of a ruler's ultimate sacrifice to safeguard the future of his war torn, faction ridden country, directed by Katie Mitchell; and the return of Matthew Bourne's Nutcracker!

New York TheatreNet: It has now been confirmed that the musical Young Frankenstein, adapted from the 1974 film, music and lyrics by Mel Brooks, book by Brooks and Thomas Meehan, directed and choreographed by Susan Stroman, will open at the Hilton Theatre on 8th November. The cast will be headed by Roger Bart, Megan Mullally, Sutton Foster, Christopher Fitzgerald, Fred Applegate, Andrea Martin and Shuler Hensley. The show will play a pre-Broadway season at the Paramount Theatre in Seattle from 4th August to 1st September.

Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, Bampton Classical Opera presents its season of outdoor performances at Bampton Deanery and Westonbirt School, from 20th July to 27th August, continuing its policy of breathing new life into little known works of the classical period. This year sees the British premiere of Georg Benda's singspiel Romeo And Juliet, with Joana Seara, Ilona Domnich, Mark Chaundy, Adrian Powter, directed by Jeremy Gray. Performances include a picnic interval. Further information can be found on the LFO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Lyric Theatre Hammersmith has announced its autumn season, which opens as previously mentioned, with the National Theatre Of Scotland production of The Bacchae featuring Alan Cumming. Headlong Theatre's premiere of Rough Crossings, adaptated by Caryl Phillips from the book by Simon Schama, the story of a plantation slave and a British Naval Officer who embark on an epic journey in search of freedom, directed by Rupert Goold, will open on 28th September; Water, a multimedia production about global warming, created by theatre company Filter, director David Farr and designer Andi Watson, will open on 18th October; Told By An Idiot theatre company and poet Carol Ann Duffy's radical reworking of the story of Casanova, as a female, with Hayley Carmichael, will open on 8th November; Told By An Idiot will also stage a new version of Beauty And The Beast, with Lisa Hammond, directed by Paul Hunter, opening on 7th December; and last season's production of Kafka's Metamorphosis, about a young man who awakes one morning from a horrible dream to find himself transformed into a giant insect, adapted and directed by David Farr and Icelandic aerialist specialist Gisli Orn Gardarsson, will return in January.

On The Casting Couch: Peter Capaldi, John Hodgkinson, Lyndsey Marshal and Judith Scott are the cast of Absurdia, the triple bill of Absurdist comedies opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 31st July; and Lesley Manville and Joanne Froggatt will be joined by Diana Rigg Colin Morgan and Charlotte Randle in All About My Mother, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 4th September.

Beckett Remembering Remembering Beckett: Uncollected Interviews With Samuel Beckett And Memories Of Those Who Knew Him is a suitably Beckettian title for James Knowlson's collection of reminiscences by and about Samuel Beckett, recently published by Bloomsbury. In the first part of the book Beckett talks about his family, early life, friendship with James Joyce, and Resistance work in Paris and life in Vaucluse during the war. In the second part, some of Beckett's closest friends and colleagues remember him, as a schoolboy, as a struggling writer, and as an international success in the 1950s, including actors Billie Whitelaw, Brenda Bruce and Jean Martin, and writers Edward Albee, Paul Auster, J M Coetzee and Aiden Higgins. Beautifully designed and illustrated, the book contains wonderful insights into Beckett's world.

The autumn season at the Theatre Royal Windsor will include Gary Wilmot in the musical Half A Sixpence, music and lyrics by David Heneker, book by Beverley Cross, adapted from H G Wells's novel Kipps, about an orphan who inherits a fortune and climbs the social ladder, before losing everything and realising that you can't buy happiness, directed by Bob Tomson, opening on 15th August; the stage premiere of Our Man In Havana, adapted by Clive Francis from Graham Greene's tale of an unsuccessful vacuum cleaner salesman recruited as a spy, whose bogus reports start to prove alarmingly close to the truth, with Simon Shepherd, Kelly Adams and Clive Francis, directed by Richard Baron, opening on 17th September; Tom Conti in Bernard Slade's Romantic Comedy, about a playwright who meets the love of his life on the day of his wedding to someone else, opening on 1st October; and Linda Gray in Terms Of Endearment, adapted by Dan Gordon from the novel by Larry McMurtry, a comedy drama telling the story of a headstrong daughter, her over protective mother, and the men in their lives, opening on 22nd October.

Stagestruck! 200 Years Of Theatre Royal Brighton, an exhibition at Brighton Museum & Art Gallery, celebrates one of Britain's oldest working theatres, the people that have made it work, and the drama and spectacle that have filled its stage. Vintage prints and photographs, costumes and props, and reconstructions of special effects of the 19th century stage, highlight the changes in stagecraft and the richness of the theatrical experience over the years, giving a glimpse into the real and make believe worlds of the theatrical tradition. It includes the first opportunity for visitors to view previously unseen material from the archives of the Theatre Royal and Museum, as well as artefacts assembled from other theatre collections. The exhibition continues until 2nd September.

The Rumour Machine says: that Robert Downey Jr may make his West End debut in the new year in a biographical play about Peter Sellers by John Antrobus, produced by Anthony Haas; that singer Tori Amos and Samuel Adamson are working on a stage adaptation of George MacDonald's book The Light Princess for the National Theatre; and that Christopher Eccleston may play Macbeth in the West End, in the not too distant future, produced by Sonia Friedman. The Rumour Machine grinds on.