News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th August 2006

As it did last year, the Royal Shakespeare Company is to transfer three of its current Stratford productions for a season the Novello Theatre. Much Ado About Nothing, with Tamsin Gregg and Joseph Millson, directed by Marianne Elliott, will play from 7th December; Antony And Cleopatra, with Patrick Stewart and Harriet Walter, directed by Gregory Doran, will play from 11th January; and The Tempest, with Patrick Stewart, Mariah Gale and John Light, directed by Rupert Goold, will play from 22nd February.

The National Theatre has announced two further productions. Emile Zola's Therese Raquin, in a version by Nicholas Wright, with Charlotte Emerson, Ben Daniels, Mark Hadfield, Emma Lowndes and Judy Parfitt, directed by Marianne Elliott, will open on 13th November. A young wife, with a sickly husband and forbidding mother in law, falls in love with another man, and together they murder the husband, setting in motion a spiral of guilt, which ruins their lives. Waves, a multimedia show based on Virginia Woolf's experimental novel The Waves, a fragmented and dreamlike tale of friendship, loss, identity and love, with a company including Kate Duchene, Anastasia Hille and Liz Kettle, devised and directed by Katie Mitchell, will open on 16th November.

Edinburgh Fringe Report: Among the shows wending their way south will be: New York theatre company The Civilians's production of the docu-musical (I Am) Nobody's Lunch, book and direction by Steve Cosson, and music and lyrics by Michael Friedman, 'a vaudevillian romp through the anxious chatter of contemporary America', with Quincy Bernstine, Matt Dellapina, Brad Heberlee, Daoud Heidami, Caitlin Miller and Jennifer R Morris, which will play at the Soho Theatre from 6th to 23rd September; and Martin Casella's The Irish Curse, a comedy exploring how society defines masculinity, through a weekly men's group meeting in a church hall, where they discuss their shortcomings, currently with David Haydn, Jason Kavanagh, Daniel Kerr, Michael Lindall and Timothy Morand, directed by Stephen Henry, which will play a season at the King's Head Theatre in Islington, from 16th January.

20 leading Edinburgh Fringe venues of the have formed a new organisation, the Association of Independent Venue Producers, to help safeguard the Fringe's future and lobby for greater support in the light of increased competition. The venues include the Fringe's big three: the Assembly Rooms, the Gilded Balloon and the Pleasance, and between them account for 85 percent of ticket sales. Among their concerns is the fact that the festival is losing its international appeal, with an estimated 70% of Fringe ticket sales now sold to Scots. Members are looking for greater advertising and marketing support for the event across the UK and Europe, as currently the total campaign budget is only 115,000. Despite the economic benefits that the city enjoys as a result of its events, the Fringe currently receives minimal official support from bodies such as the City of Edinburgh, the Scottish Executive, the Scottish Arts Council and tourist body Visit Scotland.

On The Casting Couch: Broadway original Tonya Pinkins will be joined by Clive Rowe, Anna Francolini, Hilton McRae, Angela M Caesar, Ramona Keller, Joy Malcolm, Nataylia Roni and Malinda Parris in Caroline, Or Change, opening at the National Theatre on 19th October; and Clarke Peters, Nicola Hughes, Cornell John, Dawn Hope and O-T Fagbenie will star in Porgy And Bess, opening at the Savoy Theatre on 25th October.

Cirque Surreal, will perform Voyagers, a story of travellers through time and space under a mysterious lunar influence, at Sandown Park Racecourse from 16th October to 4th November and Woowich Common from 11th November to 2nd December. The British company combining circus skills with illusion, dance, drama and humour features performers from 10 countries.

New York TheatreNet: High Fidelity, the romantic comedy musical adapted from Nick Hornby's London novel, relocated to Brooklyn, directed by Walter Bobbie, with choreography by Christopher Gattelli, will make its Broadway debut at the Imperial Theatre on 7th December. The show has book by David Lindsay-Abaire, music by Tom Kitt, and lyrics by Amanda Green. It tells the story of a record store owner (and obsessive Top 5 listmaker) who, when his current relationship turns sour, revisits the women from his former relationships to find out where he went wrong. The cast is led by Will Chase, Jenn Colella, Christian Anderson, Jay Klaitz, Katy Mixo,n Emily Swallow, Kirsten Wyatt and Anne Warren.

The current Tricycle Theatre production of John Buchan's 1930s spy thriller The 39 Steps, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow, in a heroic and idiosyncratic style, from the original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, with 4 actors playing 150 roles, will transfer to the Criterion Theatre on 20th September. The cast comprises Charles Edwards, Catherine McCormack, Rupert Degas and Simon Gregor, directed by Maria Aitken. The producer is Fiery Angel.

The Global Search For New Musicals competition has selected 6 shows from 300 submissions, to be featured in 45 minute excerpts as part of the Cardiff International Festival of Musical Theatre, from 3rd to 5th November. The shows are: About Face, inspired by Much Ado About Nothing, music by Jeffrey Lodin, book and lyrics by David Arthur; The Fabulist, about the life, times and fantastical tribulations of the storyteller Aesop, music and lyrics by David Spencer, book by Stephen Witkin; Like You Like It, which relocates As You Like It to a 1980s shopping mall, music by Daniel S. Aquisto, book and lyrics by Sammy Buck; Kind Hearts And Coronets, adapted from the film, music by Steven Lutvak, book and lyrics by Robert L Freedman; Casanova Returns, about the famed lover returning to Venice at the age of 50, music by Mike Reid, lyrics by Sarah Schlesinger, book by Ed Gallardo and Artie Gallardo; and Top Of The Heap, charting a friendship tested by the darker aspects of show business in the 1950s, music by Jeffrey Lodin, book and lyrics William G Squier.

The Russian Imperial Ice Stars production of Swan Lake On Ice, featuring Olga Sharutenko and a company of over 25 European and National Championship skaters, choreographed by Tatiana Tarasova and directed by Tony Mercer will open an 8 month UK tour at The Lowry in Salford on 17th October.

The Rumour Machine says: that Andrew Lloyd Webber is working on a musical based on Mikhail Bulgharkov's play The Master And Margarita, a satire about the absurdities of the Stalinist Russian regime; that Neil LaBute's Off Broadway hit Fat Pig, about how a man reacts to his friends's horror when he dates an overweight woman, will come to the West End sometime this year, directed by LaBute; and that the Menier Chocolate Factory has long term plans to stage Andrew Lippa's hit Off Broadway musical The Wild Party, based on Joseph Moncure March's 1928 poem about a decadent evening in the apartment of two vaudevillians. The Rumour Machine grinds on.