News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th January 2007

This year's 10th anniversary season at Shakespeare's Globe, running from 4th May to 7th October, will again feature new plays alongside Shakespeare. Under the title Renaissance And Revolution, the season will comprise: Othello, Labour's Lost, both making their Globe debut, and The Merchant Of Venice, all employing Renaissance staging, costume and music; together with the premieres of Holding Fire!, by Jack Shepherd, about the revolutionary Chartist movement of the 1830s, and We, The People, reconstructing the creation of the American Constitution from surviving speeches, letters and official documents; plus the return of last season's In Extremis, by Howard Brenton, re-examining the story of Abelard and Heloise to explore the relationships between logic and religion, humanism and fundamentalism, faith and power.

The spring season at The Bush Theatre will include the world premiere of Georgina Fitch's I Like Mine With A Kiss, in which two best friends in their 30s (plus a mother and a teenage daughter) give three generational viewpoints on the problems and choices of contemporary women, with Linda Broughton, Michelle Butterly, Ruairi Conaghan, Heather Craney, Andrew French and Jade Williams, directed by Mike Bradwell, opening on 16th February; the Citizen's Theatre production of Tom Fool, by Franz Xaver Kroetz, translated by Estella Schmid and Anthony Vivis, which shows that life at its most ordinary is never far away from disruption, chaos and violence, directed by Clare Lizzimore, opening on 30th March; Elling, adapted by Simon Bent from the novel by Ingvar Ambjornsen, about a dysfunctional couple trying to convince their social worker that they have reassimilated back into society, with John Simm, directed by Paul Miller, opening on 27th April; and the English premiere of Trance, written and directed by Shoji Kokami, translated by Amy Kassai, dramaturgy by Tony Bicat, associate director Lucy Foster, in which three school friends (now a writer, a psychiatrist, and a drag artist), who meet by chance, vie with each other in telling the story of their lives, opening on 8th June.

The Royal Festival Hall will reopen after its 91m restoration and refurbishment programme as scheduled with an Overture Weekend on 8th June. In the auditorium the seating has been slightly reduced to 2882 to increase the leg room, and the sometimes controversial acoustic has been 'refined', using the latest techniques. Highlights of the first season will include an opening concert featuring all four resident orchestras - the London Philharmonic, Philharmonia, London Sinfionetta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment - joining forces for the first time; Bryn Terfel in the Stephen Sondheim-Hugh Wheeler musical Sweeney Todd, about the demon barber of Fleet Street, directed by David Freeman; The Lost And Found Orchestra, which uses household objects as instruments, assembled by Luke Cresswell and Steve McNicholas, the creators of Stomp; and Carmen Jones, Oscar Hammerstein's contemporary black American reworking of Bizet's opera, directed by Jude Kelly, with choreography by Rafael Bonachela, from 1st August to 2nd September.

The spring season at Theatre503 in Battersea, the first under artistic directors Tim Roseman and Paul Robinson, will include the current production of Ronan Noone's one person comedy The Atheist, with Ben Porter as a journalist who never lets the truth get in the way of a good story, directed by Ari Edelson; the premieres of Andrew Bovell's Ship Of Fools, about two sets of outcast travellers 500 years apart, directed by Toby Frow, opening on 20th February; and Robin French's double bill Breakfast Hearts and Choirplay, directed by Jennie Fellows, opening on 20th March.

Further productions have been announced at the Trafalgar Studios 2: Bernard Pomerance's The Elephant Man, based on the life of John Merrick, rescued from a freak show to become a favourite of the aristocracy and literati, directed by Bruce Guthrie, opening on 5th April, produced by Ashley Herman and Sean Sweeney / Creative First; Edmund White's Terre Haute, imagining the relationship of Gore Vidal and Oklahoma bomber Timothy McVeigh, with Peter Eyre and Arthur Darvill, directed by George Perrin, opening on 10th May, produced by Nabokov; and Two Men Talking, written and performed by Paul Browde and Murray Nossel, telling of growing up white, middle class and privileged in South Africa under apartheid, opening on 7th June, produced by Scamp Theatre and Barrow Street Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The Donmar Warehouse production of Frost/Nixon, Peter Morgan's play about the extended interviews David Frost had with Richard Nixon after his resignation from the White House, following the Watergate scandal, starring Michael Sheen and Frank Langella, directed by Michael Grandage, is now confirmed to open on Broadway at the Bernard B Jacobs Theatre on 22nd April. The producers are Matthew Byam Shaw, Arielle Tepper Madover, Robert Fox, Act Productions and the Donmar Warehouse.

Keeler, by Gill Adams, based on Christine Keeler's autobiography, telling her version of the Profumo affair of the early 1960s, involving the model, a cabinet minister and a Russian spy, with Alice Coulthard, Johnny Lynn Pirkis, Stacey Cadman and Brian Cowan, directed by Paul Nicholas and Alexander Holt, will open at Upstairs at the Gatehouse, in Highgate Village, on 14th February. The producers are Paul Nicholas and Tenth Planet Productions.

The revolutionary Australian dance show Tap Dogs has returned to the UK with a regional tour running until 25th March. The 'six guys from a building site' dressed in Blundstone boots and jeans, tap, stomp, jump, grind and splash their way through a series of routines created by choreographer Dein Perry and director/designer Nigel Triffitt. They have become a world wide phenomenon - even making it to the old BBC1 ident. The producer is Back Row Productions.

This year's The Night Of 1000 Voices charity event celebrating musical theatre, at Royal Albert Hall on 6th May, will salute the work of writing team of John Kander and Fred Ebb. Myleene Klass will introduce West End and Broadway stars, including Joel Grey, Ruthie Henshall, Anthony Crivello, Teri Bibb, Kenneth Nichols and David Michael Johnson, together with the company of Avenue Q The event will also include the Sing Live choir, and The City of London Philharmonic. This year's beneficiaries will be The National Autistic Society and ADDISS.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Sheffield Theatres production of the Stein-Bock-Harnick musical Fiddler On The Roof, with Henry Goodman, directed by Lindsay Posner, will transfer to the Piccadilly Theatre in the spring; and that Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg are working with Michael Legrand on Marguerite, a musical based on Alexandre Dumas' Camille, set during the German occupation of France. The Rumour Machine grinds on.