News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th February 2003

The Open Air Theatre Regent's Park has announced its 71st season, running from 9th June to 6th September. It opens with the perennial Park favourite A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed with a Mediterranean slant by Michael Pennington; joined on 13th June by The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh; and High Society, the stage musical adaptation of the film based on Philip Barry's The Philadelphia Story, with music and lyrics by Cole Porter, directed by Ian Talbot and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, playing from 24th July. In addition there will be a daytime children's show, Granny And The Gorilla written by Stuart Paterson and directed by Tony Graham, opening on 30th July, once again presented jointly with the Unicorn Theatre for Children.

Alan Bennett's Talking Heads will get its New York stage premiere at the Off Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre on 22nd March, with Lynn Redgrave, Kathleen Chalfant and Daniel Davis. The six character monologues, originally written for television, will be performed in two programmes of three.

Laban is celebrating the official opening of its stylish new 22m Lottery funded centre in Deptford Creekside, designed by Hertzog & de Meuron with 'plastic fantastic' exterior walls that can be illuminated in bright and changing colours. The centre brings culture to a part of London that was hitherto only known for the stabbing of Christopher Marlowe in 1593 (and things aren't that different today). In addition to 13 dance studios, dance health and Pilates facilities associated with its core work as a 'university of dance', there is a dance library, a 300 seater theatre purpose built for contemporary dance, a 100 seater studio theatre, and an outdoor theatre. Laban is launching the new spaces with a wide ranging programme of contemporary dance, music and physical theatre performances by professional artists and companies. Further information can be found on the Laban web site via the link from the Training section of TheatreNet.

Paul Copley stars in the premiere of Got To Be Happy by Simon Burt, directed by Owen Lewis, at the Bush Theatre from 2nd April to 3rd May. Set during a hot summer in a manic pub kitchen, it revisits Arnold Wesker's patch through the contemporary mores of the cook, a young and ambitious deputy manager, and his student waitress girlfriend.

The 11th Opera Holland Park season runs from 10th June to 9th August, with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra as resident orchestra. It comprises: Beethoven's Fidelio directed by Olivia Fuchs, Puccini's Tosca directed by James Robert Carson, Massenet's Werther directed by Tom Hawkes, Cilea's L'arlesiana directed by Jamie Hayes, Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor directed by Nik Ashton, and Verdi's Stiffelio directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans. Further information online booking can be found on the OHP web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Dervla Kirwan, Rupert Penry-Jones and Emma Cunniffe star in Christopher Hampton's Les Liaisons Dangereuses, which launches the new artistic regime at the Bristol Old Vic on13th March.

Denny Doherty, one of the two surviving members of 1960s group The Mamas And The Papas, has collaborated with Canadian playwright Paul Ledoux on Dream A Little Dream, a musical celebration of his former group. Doherty will also star in the multi-media production featuring the group's hits, directed by Randal Myler, which will open on 14th April at Village Theatre in Greenwich Village, in the neighbourhood where the group began playing.

Susannah Doyle and Brian Protheroe are to star in the world premiere of Grimm Fantasies, by American John Michael Heuer, at the King's Head Theatre from 30th March to 4th May. A successful businessman with an eye to a future in politics meets a mysterious woman who may have psychic powers to see into the secrets of his past - or may have been part of it. The director is Timothy Childs, and the producer is Playmaker Theatre Productions.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recent Southwark Playhouse production of Franz Kroetz's Through The Leaves with Simon Callow and Ann Mitchell, which received a great deal of press attention (not least for Callow's bath scene) may find its way to the West End in the spring; that Franco Zeffirelli's previously mentioned revival of Pirandello's comedy Each In His Own Way with Joan Plowright, will open at an Ambassador Theatre Group theatre in April; and that the Double Dame extravaganza The Breath Of Life will suffer a cast change when it transfers to Broadway, with Maggie Smith looking for a new partner - possibly Eileen Atkins. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . The 'creative industries' contribution to recycling isn't just limited to churning out 'musicals' cobbled together from the back catalogue of clapped out pop groups. The simultaneous world wide release of blockbuster films, such as Harry Potter and Lord Of The Rings, means that many more copies of the prints are needed for the thousands of screens. However, once the distributors have executed the bank raid, most of these copies are recycled, often into polyester fibres for the clothing industry. So you might be wearing what was once an original print of Titanic.