News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 23rd November 2007

The previously mentioned production Noel Coward's The Vortex, with Felicity Kendal, Dan Stevens, Phoebe Nicholls, Barry Stanton, Annette Badland, Daniel Pirrie, Paul Ridley, Cressida Trew, Timothy Speyer and Vivien Keene, directed by Peter Hall, which is currently touring, will open at the Apollo Theatre in February. It is a dark comedy of emotional blackmail and drug abuse in the relationship of a young musician and his socialite mother. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

The Young Vic has announced the second half of its 2007/2008 season, which will include: Thomas Babe's A Prayer For My Daughter, in which, on a summer night in New York, two cops and two crooks battle with wits and fists to uncover the truth about a crime, with Corey Johnson and Colin Morgan, directed by Dominic Hill, from 31st January; and Bertolt Brech's A Good Soul Of Szechuan, in a new adaptation by David Harrower (hence the title change), about the impossibility of being a good person thanks to man's frailties, with Jane Horrocks, directed by Richard Jones, from 7th May; joining English National Opera's previously mentioned small scale productions of Lost Highway, adapted from the David Lynch film, with music by Olga Neuwirth and libretto by Elfriede Jelinek, with Alice Lisa Saffer, directed by Diane Paulus, from 4th April; and a new production of Harrison Birtwhistle's Punch And Judy, with Andrew Shore, Lucy Schaufer, Gillian Keith and Graham Clark, directed by Daniel Kramer, from 19th April.

The new season at the Peacock Theatre will see return visits by Argentina's premiere tango company Tango Por Dos with Buenos Aires Tango, celebrating its 20th Anniversary under the direction of Miguel Angel Zotto; Bounce, the streetdance company, with a multimedia hip-hop interpretation of One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest; the Korean company Ye-Gam with Jump, the unique show that combines a family sitcom with Tae-kwon-do; and Havana Rakatan, a journey through the dance and music of Cuba; plus English National Ballet with Angelina's Star Performance, bringing the adventures of the star struck mouseling from Katherine Holabird's stories to the stage for the first time, choreographed by Anthony Dowson, to music by Tchaikovsy, orchestrated and arranged by Daryl Griffith.

The next production by Southwark Playhouse, in railway arches underneath London Bridge station, will be Rainer Werner Fassbinder's The Bitter Tears Of Petra Von Kant, in a new translation by David Tushingham, with Sasha Behar, Naomi Taylor, Deirdra Morris, Clara Perez, Mabel Aitken and Anna Egseth, directed by Yvonne McDevitt, opening on 10th December, presented by the Oslo Group. It is a modern tragedy of power, desire and obsession set in the fashion industry.

Shared Experience is reviving its production of Helen Edmundson's two part adaptation of Tolstoy's War And Peace, directed by Nancy Meckler and Polly Teale, opening a regional tour at Nottingham Playhouse on 7th February, which will include Hampstead Theatre, from 10th April. The epic story depicts the impact of the Napoleonic Wars on Russian society over a period of 15 years. The company of 15, playing 72 roles between them, comprises Richard Attlee, Marion Bailey, Geoffrey Beevers, Louise Ford, Theo Herdman, Barnaby Kay, Jeffery Kissoon, Des McAleer, Hywel Morgan, Sophie Roberts, Vinette Robinson, David Sturzaker, Simon Thorp, Kate Wimpenny and Jonathan Woolf.

On The Casting Couch: Eileen Atkins, David Haig and Marcia Warren will be joined by David Burke, Mariah Gale, Harry Lloyd, William Chubb and Russell Tovey, plus Sarah Annis, John Branwell, Selina Griffiths, Emma Noakes, Philippa Urquhart and Jem Wall in The Sea, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on 23rd January.

A report by the Theatres Trust four years ago estimated that West End theatres were in need of some 250m investment in order to make them comfortable and accessible for a modern audience, and that theatre owners could not be expected to meet the full cost alone. So far there has been a deafening silence from public funding bodies. Now a report by a London Assembly committee has suggested that a restoration levy be placed on all ticket sales to provide funds. Broadway has had a $1.50 restoration levy on tickets for some years - although so far there has been no discernable sign of any restoration being undertaken. Delfont Mackintosh Theatres, which has invested some 35m in refurbishment of its London venues in the last few years, has already been imposing a 75p restoration levy on ticket sales for 3 years, and the Ambassador Theatre Group is proposing to introduce a 1 levy in the new year.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre 503 in Battersea will include Mark O'Rowe's Crestfallen, in which three women fight through their journeys of revenge, reunion and redemption, with Niamh Cusack, Orla Fitzgerald and Pauline Hutton, directed by Roisin McBrinn, from 27th November; and Matthew Hurt's The Time Step, about two sisters' determination that their son/nephew will win a children's talent show, with Marnie Baxter and Suzanne Harbison, directed by Linda Marlowe, from 16th December.

The Magic Cavern Christmas Show, a theatre show of magic and illusion with Richard Leigh or David Major, will play 4 shows a day at the Barons Court Theatre in Fulham, from 12th December to 6th January. The producer is False Impressions.

The new year season at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court will include Howard Brenton's Weapons Of Happiness, which examines a 'British revolution' through workers occupying a factory to save it from closure, directed by Nathan Curry, from 29th January; critic Nicholas De Jongh's Plague Over England, exploring attitudes to homosexuality in the 1950s, sparked by John Gielgud's arrest for importuning, directed by Tamara Harvey, from 27th February; Charles Wood's Jingo, an anti war/anti imperialist farce set in Singapore in 1942, directed by Tom Littler, from 26th March; and Joanna Baillie's Witchcraft, which paints a picture of a superstitious world where women are forced to embrace the darkest side of femininity, directed by Bronwen Carr, from 23rd April.