News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd January 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, The Last Cigarette, adapted by Simon Gray and Hugh Whitemore from the final volume of Gray's Smoking Diaries, with Felicity Kendal, Nicholas Le Prevost and Jasper Britton, directed by Richard Eyre, will receive its premiere at in the Minerva Theatre in Chichester on 17th March, prior to the main Chichester Festival Theatre season.

In addition to its previously announced spring season, Sadler's Wells had added further off-site shows, joining Pictures At An Exhibition at the Young Vic. Hofesh Shechter's The Choreographer's Cut: In Your Rooms/Uprising, will feature 17 dancers and 20 musicians, performing to an eclectic score on tiered stages at the Roundhouse at Chalk Farm on 27th and 28th of February. Focus On Forsythe, a celebration of the career of William Forsythe, will comprise City Of Abstracts, an interactive film piece, at Tate Modern, Fabric nightclub, Midland Goods Shed in St Pancras and Sadler's Wells, between 20th April and 3rd May and Nowhere And Everywhere At The Same Time, in which dancers perform around hundreds of swinging pendulums, in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern on 30th April and 1st May. The Clod Ensemble will perform Under Glass, with people in a series of glass jars, cabinets and test tubes, choreographed by Suzy Wilson, to a score by Paul Clark, at the Village Underground in Shoreditch, from 9th to 16th May. This year's summer show at Sadler's Wells will be Shall We Dance, conceived and performed by Adam Cooper, blending tap, jazz and classical dance to tell the story of a man's quest for true love, set to music by Richard Rodgers, playing from 23rd July to 30th August.

New York TheatreNet: Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie, which relocates Strinberg's play - a sexual liaison between a footman and his master's daughter - to a country house on the night of the Labour party's General Election victory in 1945, with Sienna Miller, directed by Mark Brokaw, will open on Broadway at the American Airlines Theatre in September.

Protein Dance company's 10th anniversary production Dear Body, a satire exploring the lengths to which some people will go to achieve the perfect look, choreographed by Luca Silvestrini, with music by David Coulter, and animation by Rachel Davies, has just opened a regional tour. It features David Lloyd, Vicki Manderson, Sally Marie, Nuno Silva, Michael Spenceley and Sarah Storer, with an ensemble cast of amateur performers drawn from local communities. The final performances will be at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank on 28th and 29th April.

Kneehigh Theatre Company's Don John, radical re-imagining of Mozart's Don Giovanni, relocating it in England during the Winter of Discontent in 1978, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, text by Anna Maria Murphy, with Nina Dogg Filippusdottir , Carl Grose, Kristin Hutchinson, Craig Johnson, Patrycja Kujawska, Dave Mynne, Gisli Orn Gardarsson and Mike Shepherd, will play at Battersea Arts Centre, opening on 9th April. It is produced in association with the Royal Shakespeare Company and Bristol Old Vic.

On The Casting Couch: Celia Imrie and Michael Feast will head a cast that includes David Burt, Simon Dutton, Hugh Ross, John Warnaby, Michael Brown, Steven Hansell, Sam Heughan, Leon Ockenden in Plague Over England, opening at the Duchess Theatre on 23rd February.

The winter season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds will include: in the Quarry Theatre, the previously mentioned production of Shakespeare's Othello, with Lenny Henry, Conrad Nelson, Andy Cryer, Matt Connor, Richard Standing and Fine Time Fontayne, directed by Barrie Rutter (who will also appear), opening on 14th February, a co-production with Northern Broadsides; J B Priestley's When We Are Married, the classic Edwardian comedy about love, marriage and middle class propriety, directed by Ian Brown, opening on 8th April, a co-production with Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse; and Nicholas Wright's two part adaptation of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, the children's trilogy, about a fantastical journey through parallel worlds, from 28th May, a co-production with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. In the Courtyard Theatre, The Hounding Of David Oluwale, adapted by Oladipo Agboluaje, from the book by Kester Aspden, about the death of a Nigerian immigrant at the hands of the police, from 31st January, a co-production with New Wolsey Theatre in Norwich and Birmingham Repertory Theatre; and Alan Ayckbourn's Bedroom Farce, the story of three married couples, at different stages in their relationships, whose lives intersect over the course of an evening - with self-assembly furniture as an added complication, from 6th June.

The programme for Henri Oguike Dance Company's spring tour, which has just opened, comprises Front, set to Shostakovich's 9th Symphony, played live by the Pavao Quartet, White Space, set to music by Scarlatti, and Finale, set to the carnival rhythms of Renee Aubry, all choreographed by Oguike. It also features the dance film Falling, inspired by the spacewalk of astronaut Steve MacLean, choreographed by Oguike to a piano and vocal score by Errollyn Wallen, and a spoken narrative by Maclean, directed by Dan Faberoff. The tour includes performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall on the Southbank on 24th and 25th March.

The Rumour Machine says: that last year's Chichester Festival Theatre companion piece productions of Ronald Harwood's Collaboration, about the 1930s writing partnership of the composer and Nazi sympathiser Richard Strauss, and the Jewish writer Stephan Zweig, and Taking Sides, imagining the interrogation of Willhelm Furtwangler, conductor of the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra throughout the Nazi era, by an American from the De-Nazification Tribunal in post-war Germany, both plays featuring Michael Pennington and David Horovich, and directed by Philip Franks, will return to Chichester in April, and then transfer to the Duchess Theatre in June; and that Matthew Warchus will direct Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, with Ralph Fiennes, Ken Stott and Carey Mulligan, in the spring of next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.