News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th June 2011

The Live Theatre Newcastle production of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, inspired by William Feaver's book telling the true story of a group of Ashington coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes, directed by Max Roberts, previously seen at the National Theatre, and on Broadway, which is currently touring, will make its West End debut at the Duchess Theatre on 11th October. The cast currently sees original members Christopher Connel, Trevor Fox, Brian Lonsdale, Deka Walmsley and David Whitaker, joined by David Leonard, Caroline Faber and Viktoria Kay. It is presented by Bill Kenwright.

Once again the National Theatre will be presenting Watch This Space, the 15th year of its free outdoor festival in the riverside Theatre Square, from 1st July to 11th September. The programme of over 300 street theatre, music, circus, late night cinema, installations, dance, cabaret and other events runs every day of the week, beginning at different times from midday to 10.30pm. Events will include Teatr Biuro Podrozy's sci-fi extravaganza full of robots, aliens and cosmonauts; ThisSideUp Acrobatics with its unique 'controlled falling' routine; a 21st century take on Punch And Judy; Mumusic Circus with a mixture of violin playing, hand balancing and paper hats; a custard pie throwing championship; Cie Bilbobasso presenting a couple dancing the tango as they are engulfed by flames; and The Alternative Village Fete, an urban twist on the traditional British summer institution.

The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn is to reprise its 2010 production of Arthur Miller's Broken Glass, about a Jewish couple in New York in 1938, whose lives are deeply affected by the events of Kristallnacht in Germany, leading to problems in their relationship, with Antony Sher and Tara Fitzgerald, directed by Iqbal Khan, opening on 10th August, which will then transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 16th September. The producer is PW Productions.

New York TheatreNet: New York Classical Theatre company will stage free outdoor performances of Shakespeare's Henry V, with a cast of 40, directed by Stephen Burdman, opening on July 6th, as part of the River to River Festival. Audience members will journey with Henry and his army from England (Battery Park in Manhattan) across the English Channel (New York Harbour) by boat to France (Governors Island), where the Battle of Agincourt will be staged in front of Fort Jay. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Slava's Snowshow, Russian clown Slava Polunin's wordless show that sees a group of clowns overcoming various physical obstacles, culminating in the coup de theatre of a blizzard, is returning to Britain, opening a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Nottingham on 20th September, and ending with a Christmas season at the Royal Festival Hall from 17th December to 8th January. The producers are Mark Goucher, Matthew Gale and Jenny King by arrangement with Slava and Gwenael Allan.

Antic Disposition will stage Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Tony Austin, Ben Benson, Maurice Byrne, Callum Coates, Robin Rightmyer, Christopher Rowland, Ami Sayers, Geoffrey Towers and Tony Wredden, directed by Ben Horslen and John Risebero, in Middle Temple Hall, from 20th August to 3rd September.

On The Casting Couch: Sean Palmer, Clare Foster, Kim Medcalf, Harriet Thorpe, Michael McKell, David Burt, Rachel Stanley, Alexis Owen Hobbs, Samuel Holmes and Peter Martin will head the cast of the musical Crazy For You, opening at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park on 8th August.

Custom/Practice will stage Shakespeare's Othello, with Nana Amoo-Gottfried, Cary Crankson, Ruth Pickett, Emily Randall, Steve Clarke, Richard Kiess, Daniel Wiltshire and John Sears, directed by Suba Das, in a production drawing on Grand Guignol, at the preserved remains of the Rose Theatre, the first Elizabethan playhouse on Bankside, opening on 7th July.

Office Party, an interactive entertainment event, written by, directed by and featuring Ursula Martinez and Christopher Gree, co-written and originally directed by Cal McCrystal, set at a company's annual celebration, with Glenn Wool, Janice Connolly, Petra Massey, Amanda Haddingue and Matthew Baynton, will be staged in the office of Product Solutions, next to the Pleasance Theatre in Islington, opening on 13th October. The producer is Just For Laughs Live.

Heartbreak Productions is presenting its 20th season of classic plays performed outdoors in historic settings across the country, with Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew, with Helen Rynne, Phillipa Flynn, Andrew Cullum, Neil Jennings and Larry Stubbings, directed by Maddy Kerr; Carlo Collodi's Pinocchio, with Mike Sabbaton, James Keningale, Alex Moore, J J Henry and Jon Wadley, directed by Peter Mimmack; and Jane Austin's Pride And Prejudice, with Laurence Aldridge, Rowena Lennon, Adrian Fear, Gabriel Douglas and Laura Danielle-Sharp, directed by Marie McCarthy. Heartbreak Productions works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, until 29th August. The diverse venues include Chiswick House, Chepstowe Castle, Calke Abbey and Cliveden. Further information can be found on the HP web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the National Theatre production of Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, which relocates Carlo Goldini's The Servant Of Two Masters to 1960s Brighton, with James Corden, directed by Nicholas Hytner, will transfer to the Adelphi Theatre in November, following its national tour; that when its current Broadway run has ended, the Royal Court Theatre production of Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem, a comic picture of contemporary rural England, with Mark Rylance and Mackenzie Crook, directed by Ian Rickson, may return to the West End - after which Rylance would like to reprise his performance as Olivia in his all male production of Twelfth Night at Shakespeare's Globe next season, possibly alongside Richard III; and that next year may see a stage adaptation of Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran's television series Birds Of A Feather, with original stars Linda Robson, Pauline Quirke and Lesley Joseph. The Rumour Machine grinds on.