News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th November 2006

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Richard Schiff will star in the British premiere of Glen Berger's Off Broadway hit Underneath The Lintel, directed by Maria Mileaf, opening at the Duchess Theatre on 12th February. Inspired by Klezmer/Yiddish music from the 1920s, the one person play is the story of a Danish small town librarian, whose search for the borrower of a 113 year overdue book, sets him on a life changing quest. The producers are Michael Edwards and Carole Winter.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced details of the remainder of its Complete Works festival and beyond in Stratford. In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre: final additions to the long term History Cycle project to be staged in its entirety in 2008, Henry IV Parts I & II, with David Warner, and Henry V, all directed by Michael Boyd; the premiere of a new ensemble play by American writer Adriano Shaplin; and Coriolanus, with Janet Suzman, Timothy West and William Houston, directed by Gregory Doran. In the Courtyard Theatre: King Lear and Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, with Ian McKellen and Frances Barber, directed by Trevor Nunn; Twelfth Night, directed by Neil Bartlett; and the return of The Comedy Of Errors, directed by Nancy Meckler. In the Swan Theatre: Macbeth, directed by Conall Morrison, together with Ionesco's re-imagined version Macbett, in a new translation by Tanya Ronder, directed by Romanian Silviu Purcarete; and the return of the Indian production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Tim Supple.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Maggie Smith is to star in Edward Albee's rarely performed play The Lady From Dubuque, directed by Anthony Page, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on 20th March. A surreal Pirandellian style play, it is about the arrival of a mysterious woman at the house of a younger woman with a terminal illness (or is it?). The producer is Robert Fox.

The spring season at the Soho Theatre begins with the Graeae Theatre Company production of Sarah Kane's Blasted, a violent confrontation between a middle aged journalist, a young woman and a soldier, with David Toole, Jennifer-Jay Ellison and Gerard McDermott, directed by Jenny Sealey, opening on 18th January. The production by Graeae, Britain's leading disabled theatre companies, integrates both British Sign Language and Audio Description with the onstage action.

New York TheatreNet: As previously forecast here, the current Old Vic production of Eugene O'Neill's A Moon For The Misbegotten, with Kevin Spacey, Eve Best and Colm Meaney, directed by Howard Davies, will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre on 9th April, and playing until 10th June. It is the story of a quick witted young woman, her scheming father, and their landlord, an alcoholic washed up actor, to whom she is attracted. The producers will be Elliot Martin, Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, co-producers in London.

The current touring production of Richard O'Brien's The Rocky Horror Show, which styles itself as 'the world's favourite rock'n'roll musical', with David Bedella and Suzanne Shaw, plus a roster of celebrity narrators, directed by Christopher Luscombe, with choreography by Jenny Arnold, will be doing the Time Warp again at the Comedy Theatre from 21st December to 27th January.

The spring season at Birmingham Rep will include Charlotte Jones's Martha, Josie And The Chinese Elvis, a day in the life of a dysfunctional family, with Maureen Lipman, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, opening on 16th February; Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a new adaptation by Bryony Lavery, with Jill Halfpenny, also directed by Kavanaugh, opening on 23rd March; and Terry Johnson's Hysteria, which imagines an encounter between Salvador Dali and Sigmund Freud, opening on 23rd April. In The Door studio, there will be the premieres of Mike Kenny's Whiter Than Snow re-telling the story of Snow White, presented in collaboration with Graeae Theatre Company; Jennifer Farmer's Bulletproof Soul, set in Uganda; Peter Wynne-Willson's family show Playmakers; and Dennis Kelly's docu-drama Taking Care Of Baby, about the case of Donna McAuliffe, who was imprisoned for killing her children. In addition, during March and April, the Generation festival will feature national and international work from visiting companies aimed at teenagers and twenty-somethings.

Richard Fleeshman, Diane Langton, Donna McKechnie and Frances Ruffelle will star in the British premiere of the Sherman Brothers' musical comedy Over Here, directed and choreographed by Tony Stevens, at the Apollo Theatre, from 8th January to 16th February. The action takes place during the Second World War, on a cross country New York bound train, where a singing sisters double act recruit third singer, who is a Nazi spy, and weaves secret codes into the group's arrangements. The producer is Swingtime One.

Christmas on the South Bank will include Cirkus Cirkor and Kaleidoskop's production of Hans Christian Andersen's The Mermaid, told through a mixture of circus, theatre, dance and video, at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, from 23rd December to 7th January; Ennio Marchetto, the world's only 'living origami transformationist', in a Yuletide selection of around 50 characters from his repertoire of over 200, including a few new ones making their debut, at the Purcell Room, from 23rd to 30th December; and Elena Riu and Blue Scream Theatre's Edinburgh Fringe hit The Adventures Of Tom Thumb, a modern retelling of the Grimm's tale with music, theatre and puppetry, which sees Tom Thumb as a bedridden 80 year old, dreaming of escaping his nursing home for one last adventure with the fairy queen, also at the Purcell Room, from 27th December to 2nd January.

The Sherman Theatre Cardiff production of one of the lesser known works of Roald Dahl, Danny The Champion Of The World, adapted by David Wood, directed by Phil Clark, about a boy living with his poacher father in a caravan on a grand estate facing eviction, is playing at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham, until 27th January, concluding a national tour presented by Birmingham Stage Company.

The spring season at Hampstead Theatre will include the UK premiere of Nothing But The Truth, written by and starring John Kani, about an aging librarian confronting the betrayals, jealousies and animosities of the past, directed by Janice Honeyman, opening on 5th February; Alistair Beaton's King Of Hearts, a satire in which the heir to the throne falls for an unsuitable girl and finds himself in conflict with the Prime Minister, co-directed by Max Stafford-Clark and Ramin Gray, opening on 5th March, a co-production with Out of Joint; a revival of Polly Teale's Shared Experience production of Diane Samuels's Kindertransport, about an evacuee from Germany to Manchester in 1938, opening on 25th April; Nell Leyshon's Glass Eels, about a young girl reacting to her widowed father's new girlfriend by embarking on a journey of sexual discovery, directed by Lucy Bailey, opening 28th June; and the premiere of Richard Bean In The Club, a farce in which a corrupt MEP's personal and political life collide in a Strasbourg hotel, directed by David Grindley, opening on 25th July.

Impropera, the company that improvises opera to its audience's suggestions, will present Made Up, with Niall Ashdown, Susan Bisatt, Morag McLaren, and David Pearl, accompanied by Anthony Ingle and Peter Furniss, at the Jermyn Street Theatre, from 12th to 23rd December.