News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th September 2002

Now that the Royal Shakespeare Company has left, the Barbican International Theatre Event is a year round festival, and details of the first tranche of BITE:03 have been announced. Highlights include: Ingmar Bergman directing the Royal Dramatic Theatre of Sweden production of Ibsen's Ghosts; the first visit to Britain by Columbia's Teatro Malandro with Ay! QuiXote, combining western and eastern theatre techniques; Laurie Anderson returning with a new piece Happiness; Peter Hall directing Guiseppe Manfridi's The Cuckoos, in an English version by Colin Teevan; from Spain the Teatre Romea production of Macbeth, directed by Calixto Bieto; from South Africa, iMumbo Jumbo - The Days Of Miracle And Wonder, written and directed by Brett Bailey, for Third World Bunfight; and from Canada, Circa, The Holy Body Tattoo, featuring The Tiger Lillies.

It's Official! Andrew Lloyd Webber's much discussed production of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The Sound Of Music will open at the Victoria Palace Theatre in May. In the same month (at an unannounced theatre) Denise Van Outen will star in a revised and extended version of Lloyd Webber and Don Black's song cycle Tell Me On A Sunday, about a the emotional travails of British girl living in New York. This was previously seen as one half of the show Song And Dance.

The Theatre Investment Fund and the Society Of London Theatre, in association with the Arts Council of England and the Mackintosh Foundation, is inviting further applications for a New Producer's Bursary. The bursaries are intended to support individuals in progressing their careers as theatre producers. Successful applicants will be able to use the bursary to develop and/or present a new production. In addition to a broad package of financial assistance of up to 15,000 per applicant, the scheme also provides the benefit of an established industry figure as a mentor for the project. For further information and an application form, send an A4 SAE to: New Producer's Bursary, Theatre Investment Fund, 32 Rose Street, London WC2E 9ET. The closing date for this round of applications is 7th November.

The annual Pick Of The Fringe season featuring double bills of the Perrier Awards finalists will run on Sundays in October at Her Majesty's Theatre on 6th - The Consultants and Daniel Kitson; 13th - Jimmy Carr and Noel Fielding; 20th - Adam Hills and Phil Nichol; and at the Lyric Theatre on 27th - Omid Djalili and Otis Lee Crenshaw and the Black Liars. Further information can be found on the Perrier Comedy Awards web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

The Moiseyev Russian Dance Company will bring its spectacular show to the London Apollo Hammersmith from 3rd to 7th November. The company has over 250 dance pieces in its repertoire, encompassing not just those of eastern European origin, but from Japan, India, Mexico, China, Egypt and Argentina.

London's Theatres is a large format book about the architecture and history of fifty of London's best known theatres, which has just been published by New Holland Publishers. It features 120 stunning new photographs by Alberto Arzoz, together with an informative text by Mike Kilburn.

Rob Brydon translates his television success Marion And Geoff to the stage at the New Ambassadors Theatre on Sundays from 27th October to 17th November. Brydon plays a thirty something minicab driver, separated from his wife and children who now live with another man, giving us the benefit of his thoughts on the situation as he drives around. The producer is Phil McIntyre.

Broadway Bound: Two previously mentioned musicals are heading for the Great White Way. Despite a rocky out of town debut in Chicago resulting in some drastic reshaping, Movin' Out, the musical collaboration between composer and performer Billy Joel and choreographer Twyla Tharp, will open at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on 24th October. The show has no dialogue, but features a pianist singer, and uses dance to tell the story of the relationships of a group of characters derived from Joel songs. Following a tryout in La Jolla Playhouse, where it was directed by Des McAnuff, Barry Manilow and Bruce Sussman's Harmony is now looking to open 'sometime this season'. It was inspired by a group of unemployed street musicians in Germany in the 1920s who became world famous entertainers.

2D>3D: Contemporary Design For Performance is a showcase for the work of British designers taking place at the Millennium Galleries in Sheffield from 17th October to 12th January. It aims to demonstrate how the two dimensional sketch comes to life in three dimensional reality, with costumes, scale models, photographs, design drawings, story boards, puppets, artefacts, and a digital display of lighting designs. The exhibition features work created by 151 designers for 217 productions made between 1998 and 2002, across the full range of dance, musicals, opera, in national and regional theatres, as well as community and educational theatre, plus work by theatre design students. The event is organised by the Society of British Theatre Designers, and further information can be found on the STBD web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that in addition to his upcoming appearance in The Talking Cure at the National, Ralph Fiennes may play Ibsen's Brand, directed by Adrian Noble, for the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford next year; and that Alan Cumming and Natasha Richardson may return to their original award winning roles in Sam Mendes long running Broadway production of Kander and Ebb's Cabaret (based on his Donmar staging) which is still playing at Studio 54, for a video recording. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . Debbie Isitt, whose The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband has been roundly condemned as 'mutton dressed as lamb' with effects used to disguise poor writing, is planning a musical based on King Kong (obviously unphased by concerns of good taste where New York is concerned). She is quoted as saying: "I want to create blockbuster theatre. Young people go to the cinema because it is exciting and theatre is often boring." Continuing the film analogy, the future of theatre surely lies in pursuing art house films rather than mindless teen market blockbusters.