News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th July 1997

Producers Duncan Weldon and Paul Elliot are to revive their long standing relationship to produce the new musical version of The Three Musketeers. With book by Peter Raby, music by George Stiles and lyrics by Paul Leigh it came second in last year's International Musical Of The Year competition. There will be showcase performances next month in Denmark, where the competition was based, with a cast which includes Desmond Barrit and Helen Hobson. The full scale production will follow next year. Meanwhile Enter The Guardsman, the competition winner, which as previously reported opens at the Donmar Warehouse in September, is rumoured to be facing dissension within the creative team about how to bring it to the stage.

The South Bank Centre has been offered a 17m donation by publisher Paul Hamlyn in order to help realise Richard Rogers' 151m redevelopment plan. This encloses the windswept concrete wasteland surrounding the venues with a conservatory, and thus trebles the foyer space. Hamlyn's offer is conditional on the Lottery application being awarded in full. If it goes ahead on schedule, renovations should be complete by May 2001, the 50th anniversary of the Royal Festival Hall which opened as part of the Festival Of Britain. The South Bank will then be renamed the Paul Hamlyn Centre. What next - The Royal Macdonalds Opera House?

Patrick Marber's Closer will transfer from the Cottesloe to the Lyttleton in October, instead of the West End as anticipated. This is seen as a way of bolstering direct income for the National for Trevor Nunn's first season as director. Meanwhile casting continues: Julian Glover, James Hazeldine and Rupert Penry-Jones will star in Chips With Everything, Arnold Wesker's 1962 play about the class war among conscripts in the Royal Air Force; and Penny Downie, Stephen Moore and John Woodvine join Ian McKellen in Nunn's first production, Christopher Hampton's new version of Ibsen's An Enemy Of The People.

A new musical, Tales My Lover Told Me, will play a six week season at the King's Head from mid October. Book and lyrics are by Chris Burgess and music by Sarah Travis. First showcased at the King's Head a couple of years ago, it is the story of the emotional vicissitudes of a group of thirtysomething friends, and features Denise Black and Sue Kelvin.

Robert Fox's previously mentioned production of Edward Albee's A Delicate Balance, headed by Maggie Smith and Eileen Atkins, and directed by Anthony Page now has a West End home. It will open at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 21st October after a short tour. Not the least of its delights will be Ms Smith playing the accordion, presumably meaning that it will be a squeeze-box set play.