News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th November 2005

The recent Tony Award winning Broadway production of Edward Albee's Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf? starring Kathleen Turner, Bill Irwin, Mireille Enos and David Harbour, directed by Anthony Page, is to transfer to the Apollo Theatre, opening on 31st January. The iconic darkly comic play details the breakdown of the 23 year marriage of a combative couple during a 'quiet evening with friends'. The produces are Nica Burns and Max Weitzenhoffer, Jenny Topper, Lee Dean and Ian Osborne.

The spring season at Sadler's Wells will include regular visitors with new works including Phoenix Dance Theatre, the Richard Alston Company and the Russell Maliphant Company; the return of Scottish Ballet with Ashley Page's Cinderella and a triple bill, Northern Ballet Theatre with David Nixon's Madam Butterfly and I Got Rhythm, Rambert Dance Company with Merce Cunningham's Pond Way and Mark Baldwin's Constant Speed, Les Ballets C. de B. with Alain Platel's vsprs, and Carlos Acosta in a mixed programme; another chance to see the Akram Khan-Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui-Antony Gormley-Nitin Sawhney collaboration Zero Degrees, and Sylvie Guillem and Russell Maliphant dance Push; plus first appearances of Kabuki featuring Ebizo Ichikawa XI with Fuji Musume and Kasane, Compania Metros with a dance interpretation of Carmen, Sangeetham with an Indian song and dance programme, and the Brazilian dance spectacular Brasil Brasileiro.

Angela Rippon is to make her musical theatre debut, with Michael Starke and Barry Howard in a new production of Anything Goes, directed by Ian Talbot, which will open an extensive regional tour at The Lowry in Salford on 27th January. The show, with book by Guy Bolton and P G Wodehouse, and music and lyrics by Cole Porter, is the classic tale of a mixed bunch of unlikely characters on board a transatlantic liner in the 1930s. The producer is Mark Goucher.

The latest exhibition at the Theatre Museum, Unleashing Britain: Ten Years That Shaped The Nation 1955-1964, opening on 30th November, will examine a decade during which new writing and staging transformed British theatre. It charts a period that encompassed the English Stage Company's arrival at the Royal Court Theatre, groundbreaking productions by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop, the establishment of a London home for Royal Shakespeare Company and the formation of the National Theatre. The exhibition draws together costumes, set designs, props, production materials, photographs and newspapers chronicling the time, including the original set and costume designs of Waiting For Godot, the first prompt book for Look Back In Anger - and 'Minnie' the magic piano from Salad Days. There are also filmed interviews with leading practitioners of the period including Peter Hall.

The Place is presenting White Christmas, a season of short works and premieres by pioneering choreographers, from 29th November to 17th December. Those whose work will be featured include Richard Alston, Darshan Singh Bhuller, Rafael Bonachela, Kim Brandstrup, Carol Brown, Robert Cohan, Siobhan Davies, Jeremy James, Shobana Jeyasingh, Charles Linehan, Henri Oguike, Arthur Pita, Hofesh Shechter, Luca Silvestrini, Kenneth Tharp, Filip van Huffel and Zenadia Yanowsky. Further information can be found on The Place web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at the New End Theatre Hampstead will start with Caroline John in Nightingale, a one woman play written and directed by Lynn Redgrave, which will open at on 17th January. It tells the story of fictional Edwardian character, based on Beatrice Kempson, Redgrave's maternal grandmother, and reflects on the struggles of being a woman in Edwardian society. The season will also include the London premiere of Taboos, by Carl Djerassi, which explores contemporary sexual behaviour, directed by Andy Jordan, opening on 23rd February, and the British premiere of Sit And Shiver, a family drama set at a Jewish 'wake', written and directed by Steven Berkoff.

The Birmingham Stage Company is presenting the world premiere of Michael Morpurgo's Kensuke's Kingdom, adapted by Stuart Paterson, directed by Greg Banks, playing at the Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham until 28th January, prior to a national tour. Iain Ridley and Ozzie Yue star in the Crusoe-esque story of a boy swept off his parents yacht and washed up on a Pacific island, were he meets a man who has been its sole inhabitant for 40 years.

Auction house Cooper Owen is holding a Music And Silver Screen Legends sale at Proud Galleries, Camden on 7th December. Among the lots are the original artwork by graphic designer John Pasche for the Rolling Stones 'Tongue' logo; several items owned by Elvis Presley including a Hot Dog machine, tie pins and a diamond ring; caricatures by John Lennon on a theatre seating plan; a three track master tape of Jimi Hendrix's Love and Confusion; a selection of items owned by Marilyn Monroe including signed contracts, a signed sepia portrait, a Pucci dress, stilettos and jewellery; a waistcoat worn by James Dean in the film Giant, together with his contract for the film; and a shirt worn by Peter Sellers in The Pink Panther. The catalogue can be viewed on the CO web site, which can be found via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Tamasha Theatre production of A Fine Balance, based on the novel by Rohinton Mistry, directed by Kristine Landon-Smith will play at the Hampstead Theatre from 16th to 28th January. The company comprises Sagar Arya, Sudha Bhuchar, Shiv Grewal, Divian Ladwa, Narinder Samra, Amit Sharma, Rehan Sheik and Sameena Zehra. Set in India in 1975, during a State of Emergency, four strangers sharing a flat find themselves crossing divides of caste, class and religion to form unexpected friendships.

The Warehouse Theatre Croydon is staging the world premiere of Woody Allen's Murder Mysteries, tales of a private eye in 1940s New York, adapted and directed by Janey Clarke, from the short stories of Woody Allen, linked with a jazz score by Warren Wills, playing from 9th December to 19th February.

The Rumour Machine says: that a new play by Charlotte Jones, The Lightning Play, an emotional thriller about a family set at Halloween, will premiere at the Almeida Theatre in the spring; and that Daddy Cool, a compilation show of the songs of Boney M will open at the Shaftesbury Theatre in May. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . While Theatre 503 at the Latchmere us being refurbished, its latest production, Last Tuesday by Donald Margulies, is on the road - staged on a London bus. It examines the consequences of political actions and how they pervade everyday life as six people travel home after a busy day. The cast comprises Jonathan Craze, Darlene Johnson, David Nicholson, Martha O'Toole, Michele Hallak, Jane Perry and Ian Rose, directed by Paul Higgins. The bus departs at 8pm on Tuesdays to Saturdays until 3rd December, from Cleopatra's Needle on the Embankment, and the journey lasts 30 minutes. Tickets are free, but reservations are essential. Booking and further information can be found on Theatre 503 web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.