News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th October 1997

Rumour has crystallised into fact regarding David Hare's new play, directed by Richard Eyre, in his first assignment since leaving the National Theatre, and starring Liam Neeson. It will definitely be titled The Judas Kiss (not Tree), and it will open directly in the West End, as a spin off production by the Almeida Theatre. The company hopes to emulate its success with Ralph Feinnes Hamlet, which played the Hackney Empire and then moved to New York. So a six week season at the Playhouse Theatre from 12th March will be followed by a limited Broadway run. The play is about the relationship between Oscar Wilde and Lord Alfred Douglas, and although it has been scheduled for the last year, it will appear as an afterthought to the current Wildemania - two productions of The Importance Of Being Earnest open next week alone.

Meanwhile the next Almeida production on its home turf will be John Byrne's new version of Gogol's The Government Inspector. Starring Brian Murphy, Tom Hollander and Ian McDairmid, and directed by Jonathan Kent, it opens on 4th December.

At the Aldwych Theatre, The Boys In The Band will be followed on 8th January by a transfer from the National Theatre of David Hare's other play Amy's View which ends at the Lyttleton on 8th November. There is no casting information at present. It is rumoured that Andrew Lloyd Webber's Whistle Down The Wind will in turn follow this in June. It will be directed by Gail Edwards, responsible for the tour of Aspects Of Love and the revival of Jesus Christ Superstar, which some people have said looks like a touring production of the original.

The Theatre Investment Fund and The Society Of London Theatre are running a Workshop For New Producers from 27th to 29th November. It will be an intensive course for anyone interested in producing in the commercial theatre. Designed for those with limited or no previous experience, it will be conducted by leading industry practitioners, at a cost of 350. Application forms are available from TIF at The Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London W1V 8AV. If you have thought about producing but not known how to go about it, this is for you. We need all the new producers we can find.

Australian Adam Garcia is to star in the stage version of Saturday Night Fever, which is confirmed to open at the London Palladium on 5th May. Garcia originally came to London in the tap show Hot Shoe Shuffle. Anita Louise Coombe joins him as the female lead, and the director is Arlene Phillips. The show is produced by Robert Stigwood and Paul Nicholas and David Ian Associates, the team which brought you the stage version of Grease. Adaptation of the original film script will include toning down the language in order to position it as a family show (which of course the film wasn't).

Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens with book and lyrics by Charlotte Nan and music by Jonathan Croose and Robin Forest, which has just opened in Southampton, moves to the Hackney Empire in November, before a break over Christmas. It is hoping to take advantage of the traditional January slump to grab a West End theatre early in the New Year.

The Rumour Machine says: that Jack Dee wants to make his West End debut as an actor, and taking over in Art may be the vehicle - one run of commercials and they think they can play Hamlet; and that the curse of The Stage front page has struck again - this week it's the offering from the Jeffrey Archer school of playwriting: A Letter Of Resignation. Any bets on Scissor Happy for next week? The Rumour Machine grinds on.