News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd September 2011

Ben Brown's Three Days In May, a political thriller set in 10 Downing Street during 1940, when the government had to decide between surrendering to Germany or escalating the war, with Warren Clarke as Winston Churchill, and Jeremy Clyde, Robert Demeger, James Alper, Dicken Ashworth, Timothy Knightley, Paul Ridley and Michael Sheldon, directed by Alan Strachan, will open at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 2nd November. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage the musical Pippin, book by Roger O Hirson, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, which brings contemporary sensibilities to a coming of age story of self discovery, set in the court of Emperor Charlemagne, directed and choreographed by Mitch Sebastian, after Bob Fosse, opening on 7th December..

Antony Sher is to play in upcoming productions at the National Theatre: Travelling Light, a new play by Nicholas Wright, about Eastern European immigrants' influence on the golden age of Hollywood, directed by Nicholas Hytner, will open in January; and Carl Zuckmayer's The Captain Of Kopenick, telling the true story of an ex-convict, who uses the power of a military uniform to assume command of his town and raid its treasury, will open in 2013.

The winter season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn will comprise The Riots, compiled by Gillian Slovo from accounts of police, victims, onlookers, politicians, teachers and lawyers, exploring what happened in London this summer, directed by Nicolas Kent, from 17th November; Marie Jones's Stones In His Pockets, in which two actors play all the characters in the tale of what happens when a remote part of Ireland gets a taste of Hollywood, with the arrival of a film company to shoot a new blockbuster, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, from 15th December; and The Bomb - A Partial History, examining the history of the nuclear bomb, with contributions from Lee Blessing, Ryan Craig, John Donnelly, David Greig, Elena Gremina, Amit Gupta, Zinnie Harris, Ron Hutchinson, Diana Son and Colin Teevan, directed by Nicolas Kent, from 9th February.

New York TheatreNet: Hugh Jackman will bring his solo show, now retitled Hugh Jackman, Back On Broadway, to the Broadhurst Theatre for an 8 week season opening on 10th November. Jackman performs a personal selection of his favorite musical numbers that reflect on his life and career, staged by Warren Carlyle, backed by an 18 piece orchestra. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Covent Garden is to join the trend for cinema relays of performances, with Royal Opera House Cinema showing opera and ballet in over 700 venues worldwide, featuring 10 productions, 5 screened live and 5 pre-recorded. The season will begin with Faust on 28th September, and includes the Royal Opera productions of Adriana Lecouvreur, Tosca, Cendrillon, Il Trittico, Madame Butterfly in 3D and Rigoletto, and the Royal Ballet's The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo And Juliet and La Fille Mal Gardee. Further information can be found on the ROH web site, via the link from London Theatres in the Links section of TheatreNet

Vauxhall Gardens A History by David E Coke and Alan Borg, recently published by Yale Books, reveals how the foremost pleasure garden of 18th and 19th century London linked high and popular culture. From their early beginnings in the Restoration until the final closure in Queen Victoria's reign, Vauxhall Gardens developed from a rural tavern and place of assignation into a dream world filled with visual arts and music, and finally into a commercial site of mass entertainment. A social magnet for Londoners and tourists, they also became a dynamic centre for the arts in Britain. By the 18th century, when the Gardens were owned and managed by Jonathan Tyers, a friend of Handel, Hogarth and Fielding, they were crucial to the cultural and fashionable life of the country, patronised by all levels of society, from royal dukes to penurious servants. This meticulously researched and beautifully illustrated book offers a fascinating picture of an important, but now sadly lost, part of our cultural history.

The Bush Theatre will open its new home in a former library in Shepherds Bush with Sixty Six Books, in which 66 playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from 12 countries, including Jeanette Winterson, Neil Bartlett, Andrew Motion, Wole Soyinka, Roy Williams, Tim Rice, Neil LaBute and Kate Mosse, respond to each of the books in the King James Bible, performed by 130 actors, including Nicholas Burns, Arthur Darvill, Peter De Jersey, Mariah Gale, Beverly Klein, Ralf Little, Pauline McLynn, Hattie Morahan, Bill Paterson, Claire Price, Miranda Raison, Rafe Spall and Michelle Terry, marshalled by 23 directors, headed by Josie Rourke, staged all over the building, with the full cycle performed over 24 hours on 14th October.

Scottish Ballet's autumn season will include double bills comprising a revival of Ashley Page's Pennies From Heaven, an interpretation of a range of popular songs from the 1930s, and Kings 2 Ends, a new work by Jorma Elo, set to Mozart's Violin Concerto No 1 and Steve Reich's Double Sextet, at the Theatre Royal Glasgow from 29th September; and a revival of Kenneth MacMillan's Song Of The Earth and Kings 2 Ends, at Sadler's Wells from 3rd November; and Ashley Page's The Sleeping Beauty at the Theatre Royal Glasgow from 17th December.

The Rumour Machine says: that Simon Cowell, having ruined British television with so called reality shows, now wants to degrade West End theatre, with a musical comedy about the X Factor process, enlisting the book writing talents of Harry Hill and composer and lyricist Steve Brown. The Rumour Machine grinds on.