Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Royal Shakespeare Company will play a 10 week season at The Roundhouse in Chalk Farm with a repertoire of plays from its Stratford season, performed by an ensemble of 44 actors, opening on 2nd December. As with its previous season, a thrust stage will be constructed with a 750 seater auditorium wrapped around it, recreating the configuration of the RSC's Courtyard Theatre. The plays will be Romeo And Juliet, with Sam Troughton and Mariah Gale, directed by Rupert Goold; Antony And Cleopatra, with Darrell D'Silva and Kathryn Hunter, directed by Michael Boyd; The Winter's Tale, with Greg Hicks and Kelly Hunter, directed by David Farr; Julius Caesar, with Sam Troughton and John Mackay, directed by Lucy Bailey; As You Like It, with Katy Stephens and Jonjo O'Neill, directed by Michael Boyd; and King Lear, with Greg Hicks, directed by David Farr; plus productions of Hamlet and The Comedy Of Errors aimed at young theatregoers.
Clifford Odets's The Country Girl, with Martin Shaw, Jenny Seagrove, Mark Letheren, Nicolas Day, Peter Harding, Thomasin Rind and Luke Shaw, directed by Rufus Norris, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 11th October, following a regional tour, which opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 21st July. It tells the story of fading, alcoholic actor, playing an out of town date in a last chance comeback, and his long suffering wife. The producer is Bill Kenwright.
Following its appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, the jazz musical Five Guys Named Moe, featuring the music of Louis Jourdan, will return to its original home at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, opening on 7th September. It will feature its original star and creator Clarke Peters, with Ashley Campbell, Chris Colquhoun, Carlton Connell, Paul Hazel and Horace Oliver, directed by Paulette Randall, with choreography by Paul J Medford. The producers are Underbelly Productions and Theatre Royal Stratford East, by arrangement with Cameron Mackintosh.
Jeremy Paul's The Secret Of Sherlock Holmes, examining the great detective's relationships with his friend Dr Watson, and his enemy Professor Moriarty, with Peter Egan and Robert Daws, directed by Robin Herford, will open at the Duchess Theatre on 20th July, following a national tour earlier this year. The producers are Richard Temple and Ian Fricker.
The summer season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough will include Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, adapted and directed by Chris Monk, opening on 9th July; Communicating Doors, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, in which a woman goes through a door in a hotel room and finds herself in the same room 20 years earlier, and then, in an effort to get back, 40 years earlier, opening on 6th August; and the premiere of Life Of Riley, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, in which a dying man plans a final flourish to surprise his family and friends, opening on 21st September.
BBC Radio 2 is to broadcast a series of eight 60 minute programmes examining 80 years of musical theatre, both in the West End and on Broadway, written by Brian Sibley, beginning on 6th September. Each episode will explore a theme, rather than look back over the history of musical theatre chronologically.
The autumn season at the Peacock Theatre will include the London debut of the Brazilian dance show Bale de Rua, combining hip hop, African dance, samba and capoeira, from 2nd November; and return visits by Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo, ballet's very-grandes dames, from 14th September; French-Canadian new circus company The 7 Fingers with Traces, which tells the stories of its members, from 28th September; and Raymond Briggs's The Snowman, with a score by Howard Blake from the animated film, choreographed by Robert North, directed by Bill Alexander, from 1st December.
Smokey Joe's Cafe, the back catalogue show of songs by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, with Steph Fearon, Marc Akinfolarin, Miguel Angel, Edward Baruwa, Simon Hardwick, Ngo Ngofa and Philippa Stefani, directed and choreographed by Mykal Rand, will play at the Landor Theatre in Clapham, from 13th July.
Theatre Craft: A Director's Practical Companion From A To Z, recently published by Faber and Faber, is an all-encompassing compendium (797 pages!) by John Caird, the co-director of the legendary productions of The Life And Adventures Of Nicholas Nickleby and Les Miserables. Caird's goal is not only to share his expertise, but also to stimulate the imagination of anyone creating a play, musical or opera. Although both enlightening and entertaining, it is sharply focussed on the practical, entirely avoiding the use of anecdotal material. The book includes over 400 alphabetical entries and extensive cross-referencing that offers advice on all areas of directing - from Acting, Adaptation and Agents to Sound Effects, Superstitions, Trap Doors and Wardrobe - for both professional and amateur. Whatever the theatre space, from the backroom of a pub to the stages of the West End or Broadway, this authoritative volume is an essential reference tool for the modern theatre practitioner.
Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, West Green House, near Hartley Wintney in Hampshire, hosts opera performances between 24th July and 8th August, continuing its practice of presenting overlooked British operas. This season comprises the New Chamber Opera production of Francesco Cavalli's Erismena, Princess Of Media, adapted and directed by Michael Burden; and the Opera Project productions of Mozart's Cosi Fan Tutte, translated and directed by Richard Studer; and John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, adapted by Benjamin Britten, directed by Richard Studer. The gardens open for picnics at 5pm, with performances beginning at 7pm to accommodate a supper interval.
The Rumour Machine says: that a revised version of the Broadway show Shrek The Musical will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane next June; that the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark plans to stage the British premiere of the Stephen Sondheim-John Weidman musical Road Show, the story of two brothers and their attempts to grab a piece of the American dream, inspired by the colourful lives of the Mizner brothers, next year; that that Dominic West may star in a West End production of Simon Gray's Butley, as a professor trying to cope with the strains of divorce and academia, directed by Lindsay Posner; and that a revised version of the musical adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, in which a man brings his new young wife to his country estate, where his first wife still has a strong hold, book by Christopher Hampton, music by Sylvester Levay, which premiered in Vienna in 2006, may be West End bound next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.