News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th February 1997

Revue returns to the London stage with Then Again... at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith from 27th March to 19th April, with Desmond Barrit, Dawn French, Sheila Hancock, Neil Mullarkey and John Gould at the piano. Among those contributing material are Geoff Atkinson, Nicolas Bloomfield, Julian Clary, Richard Curtis, Stephen Fry, Tony Grounds, Harold Pinter and Howard Schuman. The director is Neil Bartlett.

Following his successful Christmas TV series, as Charles Dickens reading his short stories, Simon Callow is to revive Micheal MacLammoir's one man tribute to Oscar Wilde - The Importance Of Being Oscar. He will play a limited season at the Savoy Theatre from 18th March, prior to the previously mentioned Damn Yankees. It is presented by Brian Brolly and directed by the doyen of one person shows, Patrick Garland. Unusually for a limited run show, it may have a web site hosted by TheatreNet, so keep visiting.

The Main House productions in this year's Chichester Festival season will be: The Admirable Crichton opening on 22nd April with Ian McShane Barbara Jefford and Michael Denison; Lady Windermere's Fan following on 30th April with Stephanie Beacham, Googie Withers and John McCallum; and Blithe Spirit joining from 17th June with Maureen Lipman, Steven Pacey, Belinda Lang and Twiggy Lawson. The second half of the season comprises of Sandy Wilson's Divorce Me Darling and Somerset Maugham's Our Betters with Kathleen Turner. Details for the Minerva Theatre are still under wraps.

A West End revival of Nell Dunn's Steaming is planned for April. Set in a municipal Turkish bath, the story involves a disparate group of women who stage a sit in, to prevent the council closing it down. The cast of the original production, which caused a stir because of its nudity and language, included Georgina Hale and Brenda Blethin. This time, so far only Jenny Eclair is known.

Casting has been finalised for Beauty And The Beast which opens on 13th May at the Dominion Theatre. As previously mentioned, Julie-Alanah Brighten (recently in the chorus of Oliver!) is Belle, but Alasdair Harvey (recently Raoul in Phantom) is Beast, not Graham Bickley as previously thought. Derek Griffiths, Barry James, Mary Miller and Norman Rossington also star. It will be the most expensive West End show ever staged, with the cost claimed to be 10m.

Danny And Me at the Arts Theatre has carved itself a notch on the Proscenium Arch of all time flops. Originally scheduled for an eight week run, it fizzled out after ten days, with only nine performances given. Five shows were cancelled, mostly because of poor houses, and the smallest audience actually played to was eight. The producer says it is to tour!