News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th July 2001

Eric Sykes and Russ Abbot are to star in Ray Cooney's Run For Your Wife 2, which is opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 29th August. The farceur supreme's sequel to his best play and biggest hit continues the tale of a bigamist taxi driver trying to keep two wives happy. Eighteen years on, there is a Romeo and Juliet twist, when the son from one marriage meets the daughter from the other. Meanwhile, the original Run For Your Wife, first performed in 1983, will open a nationwide tour at the Horsham Arts Centre on 8th October, with Jeffrey Holland, Sophie Lawrence and Eric Potts, directed by Ian Dickens.

Joe Penhall has been commissioned by Trevor Nunn to write the book for a stage adaptation of Pete Townshend's 1973 rock opera album Quadrophenia, following a workshop of his treatment at the Bush Theatre. It tells the story of a scooter riding teenager in 1964, who is at first drawn to, and subsequently alienated by, the Mod culture of the period. A film adaptation was made in 1979.

The National Museum of Childhood at Bethnal Green is currently staging a free Children's Midsummer Night's Dream exhibition. The museum has acquired the child sized woodland glade set (complete with a fountain) from a new film version of Shakespeare's play, made with a cast of Southwark children. There is a trail through an enchanted forest for younger children to follow, while older children and adults can see a display about the making of the film, with costumes, props, puppets, and clips from the finished article. There is also a daily children's costume workshop.

New writer Leo Butler's play Redundant, which won this year's George Devine Award, will open at the Royal Court Theatre on 12th September, directed by Dominic Cooke.

On The Casting Couch: Celia Imrie, Harriet Walter, Peter Bowles, Toby Stephens and Phillip Voss are joining Judi Dench in The Royal Family, the Edna Ferber and George Kaufman backstage comedy based on the Barrymore dynasty, directed by Peter Hall at the Haymarket Theatre from 24th October; Anthony Page's much trailed production of Tennessee Williams Cat On A Hot Tin Roof opening at the Lyric Theatre on 18th September, will star Brendan Fraser, Francis O'Connor, Ned Beatty, Clive Carter, Gemma Jones and Abigail McKern; and David Calder and Edward Hughes will join Penelope Wilton in Lillian Hellman's Little Foxes, about a powerful Southern family who taint everything they touch, directed by Marianne Elliot, at the Donmar Warehouse from 4th October.

Musician Peter Gabriel and writer, director and performer Robert Lepage are collaborating on a new theatre project called Zulu Time, which will be staged at the Roseland Ballroom in New York on 21st September. The piece is set in an airport and tells a story of loneliness and travelling, employing a diverse selection of music, and Lepage's trademark mixture of new technology and traditional theatre techniques (including puppetry) to create a multimedia event.

English National Opera's next season at the Coliseum features eight new productions, including the first London staging of Spontini's La Vestale since 1842, directed by Francesca Zambello; ENO's first ever productions of Berg's Lulu directed by Richard Jones, and Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress directed by Annabel Arden; Prokofiev's War And Peace directed by Tim Albery; and working towards a new Ring Cycle, staged concerts of The Valkyrie. Among ten revivals are Turnage's The Silver Tassie directed by Bill Bryden; Handel's Ariodante directed by David Alden; Donizetti's The Elixir Of Love directed by Jude Kelly; and Bach's St John Passion staged by Deborah Warner. Full details can be found on the ENO web site via the link from the Dance, Opera, Orchestras and Choirs section of TheatreNet.

Robert Powell and Liza Goddard are to star in a regional tour of Murder By Misadventure by Edward Taylor starting at the Grand Theatre Swansea on 22nd August. A thriller writer who falls out with his writing partner attempts to carry out the plot of their latest bestseller, but things go wrong when the body disappears. The show is produced and directed by Ian Dickens.

The Young Vic is to present two Direct Action co-productions with the National Theatre Studio this autumn. David Rudkin's Afore Night Come, directed by Rufus Norris, will run from 25th September to 13th October. Set in a rural Midlands community, it illustrates our inability to avoid reaping what we have sown. Max Frisch's Andorra, directed by Gregory Thompson, will follow from 23rd October to 10th November. It explores the public guilt of a small town in atrocities committed during the Second World War.

Stephanie Cole stars in Peter Nichols comedy So Long Life, which premieres at the Theatre Royal Bath on 29th August, prior to a regional tour. Set at an 85th birthday party, the play tackles the problem of how children cope with their aged widowed mother, who is no longer capable of living on her own. Cheryl Campbell and Paul Shelley play the children, and Dominic Hill directs the Theatre Royal Bath Productions/Show of Strength Theatre Company co-production.

A veritable who's who in Broadway lighting design, led by Jules Fisher, makes up the faculty of the 9th annual Broadway Lighting Master Classes, which will be held in New York from 6th to 9th December. The programme includes visits to two Broadway shows, complete with a backstage tour, and a discussion with the design team of one of them, and a manufacturers showcase. For the first time this year there will be an accompanying Broadway Sound Master Classes programme from 7th to 9th December, led by Abe Jacob, the godfather of contemporary sound design. It also includes a visit to a Broadway musical, with a backstage tour and critique of the sound design, and a manufacturers showcase. Full details can be found on the Entertainment Design web site via the link from The Emporium section of TheatreNet.

A musical based on Terry Pratchett's Only You Can Save Mankind will premiere at the Theatre Royal Plymouth next spring, with the West End in mind. It is the first of Pratchett's Johnny Maxwell trilogy, his only works about real people, and in a contemporary setting. The book and lyrics are by Shaun McKenna and the music Leighton James House. Jonathan Butterell will direct a Theatre Royal/Broadhouse Productions co-production.