News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th April 2001

The summer booking period at the National Theatre, in addition to previously mentioned productions, will include: John Vanburgh's The Relapse or Virtue In Danger with Brian Blessed, Paul Bradley, Alex Jennings, Maxine Peake, James Purefoy and Imogen Stubbs, directed by Trevor Nunn, opening on 20th July; and Robert Lepage in his production The Far Side Of The Moon from 9th to 21st July.

Following the success of last year's event, Greenwich Theatre in association with The Mercury Workshop and the New Musicals Alliance is presenting Musical Futures, a festival of new musical theatre writing from 15th to 26th May. Excerpts from twelve new musicals, ranging from opera to children's music theatre, will be showcased in triple bills on different evenings, each compered by a celebrity guest. In addition there will be accompanying workshops, critic's forum with Sheridan Morley, Charles Spencer, Jude Kelly and Felix Cross, last night cabaret, and three 10-minute mini musicals in their entirety.

The Open Air Theatre season in Regent's Park will now include the return of last year's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance to bring it to a conclusion from 27th August to 8th September. This is the American Joseph Papp Public Theater version with go faster stripes. Among the Sunday concerts will be Voices From Ambridge In Come Rain, Come Shine, on 5th August. A celebration of the British countryside in words and music, it will feature cast members from BBC Radio Four's long running daily serial The Archers. Devised and directed by Gareth Armstrong and Malcom Mckee it will be presented by Ian Liston. The traditional late night free Midsummer Night Concert will be on 23rd June, performed by students of the Royal Academy of Music.

Booking is now open for this year's Edinburgh International Festival, which runs from 12th August to 1st September, and will include 161 performances of 112 productions, including 4 world premieres and 20 British premieres. Among the highlights will be: the Vienna Burgtheater making its first UK appearance; opera concert performances of new works: Peter Eotvos Three Sisters, James MacMillan's Parthenogenesis and Carles Santos Ricardo i Elena; Mikhail Baryshnikov and the White Oak Dance Project in a celebration of postmodern dance; the stage premiere of John Cage's radio play An Alphabet with a cast which includes Merce Cunningham; film director Francois Girard directing Alessandro Baricco's first stage play Novecento; a new production of Tom Murphy's Too Late For Logic; the return of New York City Ballet; the St Petersburg Philharmonic and Russian National Orchestras; and a collaboration between controversial architect Zaha Hadid and choreographer Frederic Flamand. Full details and booking can be found on the EIF web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Zinnie Harris play, Further Than The Furthest Thing, which won the 1999 Peggy Ramsay Award and transferred from the Tron Glasgow to the National Theatre, is to play a season at the Tricycle Theatre from 22nd May. It is based on the experiences of the inhabitants of Tristan de Cunha (the tiny island in the middle of the South Atlantic Ocean) who were evacuated en masse to England in 1961 after a volcanic eruption. The cast includes Paola Dionisotti and Gary McInnes from the original production, and David Burke, Mairead McKinney and Paul Shelley.

In the past many theatres have become bingo halls, but now a theatre has turned bingo into a musical comedy. Michael Heitzman, Ilene Reid and David Holcenberg's Bingo follows the fortunes and feuding of seven die hard players of the game in a church basement. Glenn Casale directs the fully interactive entertainment in which the audience gets to play a round of the game. Today it's receiving its world premiere at the Hermosa Beach Playhouse in California, but tomorrow?

A national tour of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard will open at Theatre Royal Plymouth in August. Faith Brown will star in an entirely new production directed by Robert Carsen and choreographed by Peter Darling.

The London Tattoo will take place at Wembley Arena on 26th and 27th May. It will feature massed international bands, motorcycle and dog display teams, international folk dancers, and a massed parade of standard bearers. The Grand Finale will feature all the performers in a spectacle of light and sound performing Tchaikowsky's 1812 Overture.

The Rumour Machine in New York says: that following the sellout success of The Producers, Mel Brooks and Thomas Meehan have started work on a musical version of another Brooks film Young Frankenstein; that Elaine Stritch is to play Aunt March in a musical based on Louisa May Alcott's Little Women; and that Alan Ayckbourn's House and Garden will be receive their American premiere as part of the autumn season at the Manhattan Theatre Club. The Rumour Machine grinds on.