News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd April 2010

The 116th season of the BBC Henry Wood Promenade Concerts takes place at the Royal Albert Hall between 16th July and 11th September. The world's greatest classical music festival centres on 76 main concerts (at least one every evening) with consistently low ticket prices, including half price tickets for under 16s, and 500 'promming' tickets at only 5 each, available every day 30 minutes before the doors open. In addition, there is a series of lunch time Chamber Music Proms at the Cadogan Hall, Late Night Proms starting around 10pm, and Proms Plus events, such as pre-prom and composer portrait talks, family orchestra concerts at the Royal College of Music. All concerts are broadcast live on Radio 3, with many televised on BBC4, and available via audio and video webcasts. Among the highlights are concerts marking 150th anniversary of Mahler's birth, including his Symphony No 8 with more than 500 musicians; Leonard Bernstein's West Side Story Symphonic Dances; Wagner's The Mastersingers Of Nuremberg with Bryn Terfel; Maria Friedman and Simon Russell Beale in a celebration of Stephen Sondheim's 80th birthday; Placido Domingo in Verdi's Simon Boccanegra; a recreation of the Last Night of the Proms from 1910; and the complete cycle of Schumann symphonies marking his bicentenary. The Last Night will include the 15th outdoor Proms In The Park, with 35,000 people in Hyde Park, and simultaneous concerts running across the country, plus big screen relays in 19 other cities. All the live events culminate in live big screen link ups with the Royal Albert Hall. Further information can be found on the BBC Proms web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The dance show Burn The Floor, which has toured extensively and played a Broadway season last year, directed and choreographed by Jason Gilkison, will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre 26th July. The show will feature Brian Fortuna and Ali Bastian plus 20 ballroom dancers from around the world, and encompass everything from Viennese Waltz and Quickstep, through Tango, Samba, Mambo and Paso Doble, to Lindy Hop and Jive.

Future productions at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill Gate will include Frank Wedekind's Lulu, adapted and directed by Anna Ledwich, charting the life of a femme-fatale, who skips from one husband to the next, leaving a trail of broken hearts and broken bodies in her wake, with Sinead Matthews, from 10th June, a co-production with Headlong; Lorrie Moore's How To Be An Other Woman, adapted and directed by Natalie Abrahami, set in 1980s New York, telling the story of a mistress, from 25th August; and Tom Basden's Joseph K, based on Franz Kafka's The Trial, about a man who is arrested but doesn't know on what charge, directed by Lyndsey Turner, from 11th December.

On The Casting Couch: Helen McCrory, Robert Glenister, Peter Sullivan and Eleanor Bron will comprise the cast of Simon Gray's The Late Middle Classes, opening the Donmar Warehouse on 1st June; and Ruth Wilson will be joined by Dimitri Leonidas, Ian McElhinney and Justin Salinger in Andrew Upton's adaptation of Through A Glass Darkly, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 16th June.

Following on from his Charles Dickens tour-de-force, Simon Callow will perform Jonathan Bate's Shakespeare - The Man From Stratford, a one man show bringing to life William Shakespeare and the characters he created, directed by Tom Cairns, opening a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on 10th June, and culminating at the Assembly Rooms in the Edinburgh Fringe. The producers are the Ambassador Theatre Group and Assembly Theatre, with Marshall Cordell.

J T Rogers's Medagascar, in which three people, each with very different memories of him, try to uncover the truth behind a young man's disappearance, with Sorcha Cusack, Miranda Foster and Barry Stanton, directed by Tom Littler, will open at Theatre503 in Battersea, on 13th May. It is a co-production with Primavera.

Shakespeare's Globe is continuing Read Not Dead, its programme of staged readings of rarely performed Elizabethan plays on Sunday afternoons in its Education Centre, with plays linked to its current season. These comprise Thomas Betterton's version of King Henry IV on 9th May; John Banks's Virtue Betrayed, or Anna Bullen on 18th July; John Fletcher and Philip Massinger's The Sea Voyage, about the inhabitants of two contrasting remote islands, on 15th August; and John Fletcher's The Chances, with a convoluted plot of revenge, farce and magic, on 19th September. Each reading is preceded at 12noon by an introduction to its background.

Tom Daplyn will perform Justin Butcher's one person play Scaramouche Jones, a bizarre, comic, epic and tragic tale in which a clown about to give his final performance reflects on a life that has taken him all over the world, directed by Jon Constant, at Theatre Delicatessen, the found space in a derelict building at 3 Picton Place, behind Selfridges, from 4th to 22nd May.

The Scoop, the 850 seater open air amphitheatre next to City Hall, the Greater London Assembly building on the south bank opposite the Tower of London, is presenting another summer season of free performances, Wednesdays to Sundays from 4th August to 5th September. It will comprise Jose Zorrilla's Don Juan In Love, a version of the classic tale combining raucous comedy and swash-buckling adventure, and Toad Hall!, a new version of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind In The Willows, as a family show with comedy and puppets. As with the previous shows, they will be directed by Phil Willmott, and produced by Suzanna Rosenthal and The Steam Industry. There is no need to book - just turn up and sit down. Prior to this there will be other performance events, plus free concerts at 12.30pm and 6.30pm, on Wednesdays to Fridays between 30th June and 23rd July; and a season of free screenings of films at 7.30pm on Wednesday to Friday evenings between 15th September and 1st October. Further information can be found on The Scoop web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the National Theatre is planning a production of King Lear with Simon Russell Beale, directed by Sam Mendes in 2012; and that David Suchet is considering bringing his portrayal of Hercule Poirot to the stage, under plans to adapt one of Agatha Christie's detective novels for the theatre. The Rumour Machine grinds on.