News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th July 2003

It's Official 1! As previously forecast here, Felicity Kendall is to star in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days, directed by Peter Hall, opening at the Arts Theatre 18th November. Probably Beckett's best known play after Waiting For Godot, it is a monologue given by a woman buried up to her waist in a mound of earth in the first Act (and up to her neck in the second) to her husband whose back can be seen upstage. The production is part of the current Peter Hall season at the Theatre Royal Bath, and is presented Theatre Royal Bath Productions and Fiery Angel.

This year's Stella Artois Screen Tour, which is running over the next four months, is presenting interesting films in unusual places, including: The Pianist at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Batman at Gorton Monastery in Manchester, Backbeat at Abbey Road Studios, and Halloween at Newham Brothers coffin factory in Birmingham. Further information can be found on the SAST web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Francesca Annis and Nicholas Le Provost will star in Lars Noren's Blood, directed by James MacDonald, at the Royal Court Theatre opening on 18th September. Noren specialises in the drama of family life, and has been described as the Swedish Eugene O'Neil.

It's Official 2! As previously forecast here, Tommy Steele will return to the musical stage after an absence of ten years, playing the title role in Leslie Bricusse's Scrooge, adapted from the film based on Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol. The show opens at Birmingham Hippodrome on 16th October and will then play seven other dates, including Liverpool Empire from 8th December to 12th January. The production will be directed by Bob Thomson, and the tour will be presented by Bill Kenwright.

On The Casting Couch: Nigel Havers and Ardal O'Hanlon are joined by Patsy Kensit, Patrick Rycart, Geoffrey Hutchings and Carol Royle in Ronald Harwood's adaptation of See U Next Tuesday at the Albery Theatre from 2nd October; Olivia Williams and Tom Hollander lead the cast of John Osborne's The Hotel In Amsterdam from 17th September, and Kelly Reilly and Richard Coyle star in Patrick Marber's After Miss Julie from 20th November at the Donmar Warehouse; while Tim Howar, Hannah Waddingham, Dianne Pilkington and Cornell John headline Ben Elton's Tonight's The Night at the Victoria Palace from 6th November.

Rosemary Leach, Sian Phillips and Angela Thorne are to star in Rodney Ackland's The Old Ladies, directed by Frith Banbury, which opens a regional tour at the Key Theatre Peterborough on 30th September. Adapted from the novel by Hugh Walpole, the psychological thriller is set in the 1920s, and is a tale of three impoverished pensioners who have rooms in an old house, one of whom manipulates the others. The producer is TEG Productions.

Once again the Royal Festival Hall is presenting Free Summer On The South Bank from 2nd to 25th August. There are free dance, music, performance and participation events all day every day in the Ballroom, foyers and terraces of the RFH. Events include a Bollywood film dance workshop; participatory African drumming; club dancing from Lindy Hop to hip-hop; opportunities for dressing up in exotic costumes; two conferences considering the future of dance, chances to watch a Jazz dance routine being created by Irven Lewis; an eighteenth century ball and etiquette class; a Salsa workshop; and the return of Peggy Spencer's Balroom Blitz. Further information can be found on the RFH web site from the London Venues section of TheateNet.

Brits On Broadway It is now confirmed: that Patrick Stewart and Aidan Gillen will star with Kyle MacLachlan in Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which explores the relationship between two brothers when a tramp enters their lives, directed by David Jones, for the Roundabout Theatre Company, this autumn . . . and that Alfred Molina will star in Fiddler On The Roof, directed by David Leveaux, opening on 12th February at the Minskoff Theatre produced by Nederlander Presentations. Set in a Jewish community in rural Russia in the changing world of 1900, the show was inspired by the stories of Sholom Aleichem, and has a book by Joseph Stein, music by Jerry Bock, and lyrics by Sheldon Harnick. The production will recreate the original Jerome Robbins choreography.

Shakespeare's Globe Exhibition has a new display about theatrical life and the process of putting on a play in the time of Shakespeare, which runs until 12th October. It is a collection of unique documents brought together for the first time, including original contracts for the Rose, Fortune and Hope Theatres, together with the records of Philip Henslowe, who built the Rose Theatre. There are also contemporary accounts of events such as the deaths of audience members, actors and even playwrights. To coincide with the display, there tours to the nearby site of the Rose Theatre during afternoons when matinee performances are taking place at Shakespeare's Globe.

The Rumour Machine says: that Robert Lindsay and Lee Evans will star in Susan Stroman's multi Tony Award winning production of Mel Brooks The Producers, when it finally opens in London at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the autumn of next year; that Kenneth Branagh's National Theatre debut in David Mamet's Edmond, directed by Edward Hall, will make a speedy transfer to New York, where the play is set; and that following the experience and success of working together on Brand, Ralph Fiennes will reunite with director Adrian Noble for a comedy in the West End late next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.