News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th August 1999

The second wave of London bound hits from the Edinburgh Fringe is on the way. Nixon's Nixon plays at the Bridewell Theatre from 7th to 25th September. Russell Lees' comedy imagines what went on behind closed doors at the meeting between Henry Kissinger and Richard Nixon, on the night before Nixon became the only American President to resign. Directed by Charles Towers, it stars Americans Tim Donoghue and Keith Jochim, and is produced by the Bridewell, P&S Productions and Fifth Amendment.

Then East comes to the Vaudeville Theatre on 15th September. Steven Berkoff directs a 25th anniversary production of his modern classic - the customarily uncompromising mixture of strong language and physical performance style. It features Edward Bryant, Matthew Cullum, Tanya Franks, Jonathan Linsley and Christopher Middleton, with Simon Sharp on piano. It is presented by Julius Green & Ian Lenagan, Marc Sinden and East Productions.

Next, Ennio Marchetto brings his Paper Power spectacular to the Queens Theatre for eight performances from 18th to 23rd October. The living cartoon presents his dazzling transformations, such as Mona Lisa to Venus de Milo to Titanic in a few deft folds. He is presented by Glynis Henderson.

And then there's Terence McNally 's Chorpus Christi, which made a name for itself by postulating a gay relationship between Jesus and Judus, resulting in protests, previously in New York, and now in Edinburgh. Stephen Henry's Theatre 28 production has pulled off a further double whammy, ensuring even greater notoriety. Firstly, former Coronation Street heartthrob-baddie Stephen Billington plays Judas, and secondly, the wacky Bishop of Edinburgh has given it his blessing. Consequently producers are believed to be falling over themselves to organise a transfer, with The Limelight club - a former church - a possible venue.

Jude Law is joining the current rush from screen to stage, and will star in 'Tis Pity She's A Whore at the Young Vic from 1st October to 6th November. John Ford's Jacobean tragedy tells the tale of a brother and sister consumed by incestuous passion. The cast also includes Eve Best, and Annette Badland, Caroline Langrishe, Des McAlerer, Kevin McKidd and Philip Whitchurch. It is directed is David Lan.

Reality Check: When Hugh Grant's mother told the person next to her at a dinner party she had two sons, one a merchant banker, and one a film star, the response was: "How very interesting - which bank?"

Timothy West and Emma Cunliffe are to star Ibsen's The Master Builder, in a new translation by Kenneth McLeish, for English Touring Theatre. An ageing architect faces a double threat with the appearance of a younger female rival. It opens at Crewe Lyceum on 6th October, prior to a national tour, and is directed by Stephen Unwin. West previously played Falstaff for ETT.

After a spell in the Broadway production of Chicago, Ute Lemper is back to make her West End cabaret debut. She will play in her show Life's A Swindle at the Queen's Theatre for two weeks from 25th October. Prior to the Kander and Ebb show, Lemper was best known for cabaret appearances featuring Marlene Dietrich and Edith Piaf torch songs. She is presented by Raymond Gubbay. Alan Bennett's new play The Lady In The Van will follow at the Queens.

After six years, Andrew Lloyd Webber is to relinquish his role as sole sponsor of National Youth Music Theatre, although he may fund individual projects in the future. The Foundation for Sport and the Arts and the Mackintosh Foundation have awarded one off grants of 30,000 to help the company through the next year, while alternative benefactors are sought. If you can help the number to call is 0171 734 7478.

Billy Connolly returns to live performance with a season at the London Apollo Hammersmith from 19th October to 6th November. The final date will be a benefit to help the launch of the charity Tickety-boo Tea.

As the nights draw in, we realise that the panto season is just around the corner -"Oh yes it is!". A sure sign of autumn is that Paul Elliott "Mr Pantomime" is holding an audition for dancers to appear in his 24 shows, staged in theatres from Aberdeen to Plymouth. Director Carole Todd "Ms Pantomime" will preside over a scene sure to be reminiscent of a Busby Berkley backstage musical, on Sunday 5th September at Alford House, Kennington London. Registration is at 10.00am - be prepared to stay all day.

The Go-Between, a new musical based on L P Hartley's classic story of lost love, youth and innocence, will play showcase performances from 12th to 14th September at the Pleasance London. The book is by Russell Labey, and music and lyrics by Richard Taylor, the team whose version of Whistle Down The Wind inspired an interest in someone else to make a musical adaptation.

And Finally . . . The Observer, which sponsors Edinburgh's Assembly Rooms, is launching The Real Fringe Awards. Categories include: Most Annoying Street Performer, Performer Most Obviously Screwing The Director, Comedy Troupe Least Likely To Get Their Own TV Show, and The Dannii Minogue Award For Worst Casting. Competition is going to be really tough.