News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th October 2011

The stage version of the 1935 film Top Hat, a backstage musical of mistaken identity, featuring a score by Irving Berlin, adapted by Matthew White and Howard Jacques, from the screenplay by Dwight Taylor and Allan Scott, with Summer Strallen, Tom Chambers, Martin Ball, Vivien Parry, Ricardo Afonso and Stephen Boswell, directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Bill Deamer, which is currently touring, will transfer to the Aldwych Theatre in April. The producers are Kenny Wax, Lee Menzies, Stewart Lane and Bonnie Comley.

Matthew Bourne will celebrate the 25th anniversary of his dance company, now called New Adventures, at Sadler's Wells next year, with revivals of Early Adventures, a triple bill of early works, comprising Spitfire, which places Perrot's Pas De Quatre in the world of men's underwear advertising, Town And Country, looking at notions of national character and identity from a bygone era, and The Infernal Galop, a satire of English perceptions of the French, opening on 22nd May; and Play Without Words, based on the 1963 film of Robin Maugham's novel about a master/servant relationship in the Swinging '60s, set to music by Terry Davies, opening on 18th July; and the world premiere of Sleeping Beauty, as a gothic tale for all ages, with a supernatural twist, moving from Edwardian times to the present day, opening in December.

On The Casting Couch: Sophie Okonedo and Ben Daniels will feature in Joe Penhall's Haunted Child, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 8th December.

Forthcoming productions at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough will include The Nutcracker Prince, by Andrew Pollard, based on the Christmas story by E T A Hoffman, directed by Adam Sunderland, from 25th November; and Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit, in which a seance summons up the ghost of a novelist's first wife, who is determined to cause trouble for him and her replacement, directed by Chris Monks, from 20th December.

New York TheatreNet: The recent New York Theatre Workshop production of the play with music Peter And The Starcatcher, by Rick Elice, music by Wayne Barker, adapted from Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson's 'prequel' to J M Barrie's Peter Pan, with a company of 12 actors portraying 50 characters, directed by Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, with musical staging by Stephen Hoggett, will be remounted on Broadway, at a theatre yet to be announced, next spring. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The 8th annual 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala will take place at the Old Vic Theatre on Sunday 13th November. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday 12th November, and form teams to write and rehearse 6 short plays to be performed 24 hours later.

Forthcoming productions at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry will include Mother Goose, by Iain Lauchlan and Will Brenton, with Alan Hockley, from 29th November; and Nora, Ingmar Bergman's adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, in which a woman rebels against the confines of a Victorian marriage, translated by Frederick J Marker and Lise-Lone Marker, directed by Patricia Benecke, opening on 1st February.

The First Actresses: Nell Gwyn To Sarah Siddons, an exhibition running at the National Portrait Gallery until 8th January, explores art and theatre in 18th century England through portraits of women. The exhibition comprises 53 large paintings of actresses in their celebrated stage roles, intimate off stage portraits, and mass produced caricatures and prints, and explores how they contributed to the growing reputation and professional status of leading female performers. Actresses featured include Nell Gwyn, Kitty Clive, Hester Booth, Lavinia Fenton, Susannah Cibber, Peg Woffington, Sarah Siddons, Mary Robinson, Dorothy Jordan and Elizabeth Farren. Highlights include a little known version of Reynolds's famous portrait of Sarah Siddons as the Tragic Muse, Hogarth's The Beggar's Opera, Gainsborough's portraits of Giovanna Bacelli and Elizabeth Linley, and the Three Witches from Macbeth (portrayed as Elizabeth Lamb, Viscountess Melbourne, Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire and Anne Seymour Damer) by Daniel Gardner.

This year's pantomime at the Hackney Empire will be Cinderella, written and directed by Susie McKenna, with Joanna Riding, Peter Straker, Sophie Louise Dann, Kat B, Tony Whittle, Mathew Dempsey, Tee Jaye, Wayne Perry and Sophia Ragavelas, opening on 1st December.

Creation Theatre Company, which specialises in site specific productions in unusual locations, will stage Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Conor McReynolds and Richard Kidd, directed by Charlotte Conquest, at The North Wall arts centre, in Oxford, a former swimming pool, from 8th December.

Conor McPherson's Port Authority, comprising three monologues exploring how different generations of men face up to the responsibility of love: a boy leaves home for the first time, a man starts a job for which he is not qualified, and an older man has been sent a mysterious package, directed by Tom Attenborough, will open at The Vault at Southwark Playhouse, under London Bridge Station, on 27th January. The producers are Tim Johanson Productions and Ollie Jordan.

The next production by Holiday On Ice will be Tropicana, a Latin American themed show, created and choreographed by Robin Cousins, featuring a cast of 40 skaters and aerialist from around the world, with a giant, state of the art LED screen as the backdrop, enhancing the action with a light show and explosive effects, which will open a national tour at the Brighton Centre on 13th January.

The Rumour Machine says: that Tom Stoppard is writing a stage adaptation of the 1998 film Shakespeare In Love, which will make its debut in the West End, directed by Jack O'Brien, produced by Disney Theatrical Productions in partnership with Sonia Friedman; and that Ken Stott will play the title role in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a translation by Christopher Hampton, directed by Lindsay Posner, in the West End in the autumn of next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.