News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th March 2011

This year's Edinburgh International Festival, running from 12th August to 4th September, will have a strong Asian theme. Theatre highlights include the world premiere of The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, adapted by Stephen Earnhart and Greg Pierce, from the novel by Haruki Murakami, directed by Earnhart; the European premiere of a 6 hour production of One Thousand And One Nights, adapted and directed by Tim Supple, with actors from across the Arab speaking world; the Mokwha Repertory Company production of Shakespeare's The Tempest, transported to 5th century Korea; and a one man adaptation of Shakespeare's King Lear performed by Taiwanese actor Wu Hsing-Kuo. Opera highlights include the Shanghai Peking Opera Troupe with The Revenge Of Prince Zi Dan, which is loosely based on Shakespeare's Hamlet; the Vlaamse Opera production of Rossini's Semiramide, directed by Nigel Lowery; and the Mariinsky Opera with Richard Strauss's Die Frau ohne Schatten, directed by Jonathan Kent. Dance highlights include Scottish Ballet with a new piece by Jorma Elo set to music by Mozart and Steve Reich; the National Ballet of China performing the European premiere of The Peony Pavilion; and New York based choreographer Shen Wei's Re-Triptych. Further information can be found on the EIF web site, via the link form Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Haymarket Theatre has announced further productions in its current season. The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz And Guildenstern Are Dead, which retells the story of Hamlet through the eyes of two of its minor characters, with Samuel Barnett, Jamie Parker and Tim Curry, directed by Trevor Nunn, will transfer from 16th June; and Shakespeare's The Tempest, with Ralph Fiennes, also directed by Trevor Nunn, will play from 27th August.

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its winter season in Stratford on Avon. In the Royal Shakespeare Theatre: David Farr's The Heart Of Robin Hood, which retells the folk tale with Maid Marion as its main character, directed by Gisli Orn Gardarsson, opening on 1st December; and Shakespeare's The Taming Of The Shrew, directed by Lucy Bailey, opening on 25th January. In the Swan Theatre: the premiere of David Edgar's Written On The Heart, exploring the hazards faced and legacy left by the King James Bible's earliest translators, directed by Gregory Doran, opening on 2nd November; Shakespeare's Measure For Measure, directed by Roxana Silbert, opening on 23rd November; and the premiere of Helen Edmundson's The Heresy Of Love, inspired by the life of 17th century female playwright Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz, directed by Nancy Meckler, opening on 8th February.

The 2011/2012 season at Hampstead Theatre will include the premieres of Steve Thompson's No Naughty Bits, charting attempts by Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin to persuade the American television networks to show Monty Python's Flying Circus without cutting the 'naughty bits' out, directed by Edward Hall, opening on 13th September; Nicholas Wright's The Last Of The Duchess, based on the book by Caroline Blackwood, about the last years in the life of Wallis Simpson and her relationship with French attorney Maitre Suzanne Blum, directed by Richard Eyre, opening on 26th October; Simon Stephens's The Trial Of Ubu, which explores the legitimacy of international law in the face of defendants opposed to the morality it represents, directed by Katie Mitchell, opening on 24th January; and Richard Nelson's Farewell To The Theatre, about the actor manager Harley Granville-Barker as he struggles to rediscover his love of theatre in Massachusetts in 1916, also directed by Katie Michell, opening on 7th March; plus the return of Beasts And Beauties, adapted by Melly Still and Tim Supple from Carol Ann Duffy's dark and dangerous fairytale collection from across Europe, directed by Still, opening on 6th December.

Meanwhile, the current Hampstead Theatre production of Mike Leigh's Ecstasy, a dark comedy about the frustrations of a group of working class friends living in north London in 1979, with Sian Brooke, Daniel Coonan, Claire-Louise Cordwell, Allen Leech, Sinead Matthews and Craig Parkinson, directed by Leigh, will transfer to the Duchess Theatre from 12th April to 28th May.

New York TheatreNet: The musical Funny Girl, book by Isobel Lennart, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Bob Merrill, which traces the early life of 20th century stage, screen and radio star Fanny Brice, directed by Bartlett Sher, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, will be part of the Center Theatre Group's 2011/2012 season at the Ahmanson Theatre in Los Angeles, beginning a journey back to Broadway in 2012, courtesy of producer Bob Boyett. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Flying Karamazov Brothers (Paul Magid, Mark Ettinger, Rod Kimball and Stephen Bent), will bring their hit Off Broadway show, a blend of music, comedy, dance, theatre and juggling, written and directed by Paul Magid, with choreography by Doug Elkins, to the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 20th June. The audience is invited to bring objects to the theatre for the Karamazovs to keep airborne.

The Tiger Who Came To Tea, adapted and directed by David Wood, from Judith Kerr's picture book that tells how a young girl's afternoon tea with her mother is unexpectedly interrupted by a mischievous tiger, with Abbey Norman, Alan Atkins and Jenanne Redman, will play daytime performances at the Vaudeville Theatre from 6th July to 4th September.

The summer season at the Soho Theatre will include the Little Bulb theatre company's Edinburgh Fringe hit Operation Greenfield, a devised musical tale of four teenagers preparing for a talent contest, from 17th May; the premieres of Anthony Neilson's Realism, exploring the imagination and fantasies of an ordinary man, directed by Steve Marmion, from 9th June; and Ed Harris's companion piece Mongrel Island, performed by the same company and also directed by Steve Marmion, offering a darkly comic perspective of how the world and workplace invade humanity, from 14th July; and OperaUpClose's new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, translated and adapted by Robin Norton-Hale, relocating the action to the milieu of city traders in the 1990s, directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher, from 11th August.

The spring season at Salisbury Playhouse will include Marivaux's The Game Of Love And Chance, translated by Neil Bartlett, the story of an arranged marriage where the wife to be swaps places with her maid in order to discover the truth about her lover, with Stephen Critchlow, Tom Davey, Jo Herbert, Glyn Kerslake, Hattie Ladbury and Antonio Magro, directed by Philip Wilson, from 31st March; and the musical Guys And Dolls, book by Jo Swerling and Abe Burrows, music by Frank Loesser, based on Damon Runyon's short stories of shady New York characters, with Laura Pitt-Pulford, Rosie Jenkins, Robbie Scotcher, Ben Fox and Gavin Spokes, directed by Peter Rowe, with choreography by Francesca Jaynes, from 28th April, a co-production with Clwyd Theatr Cymru and New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich.