News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th April 2011

Simon Callow will perform his one man show Being Shakespeare, compiled by Jonathan Bate, directed by Tom Cairns, which toured last year under the title of Shakespeare - The Man From Stratford, at the Trafalgar Studios 1 from 15th June. The show brings a collection of Shakespeare's most memorable characters to the stage as it explores the man behind the world's most famous plays.

The 2011/2012 season at the Royal Lyceum Theatre in Edinburgh will include Wondrous Flitting, a black comedy about a clash of worlds inspired by a chapter in Edward Hollis' novel The Secret Lives Of Buildings, written and directed by Mark Thomson; Liz Lochhead's Mary Queen Of Scots Got Her Head Chopped Off, an idiosyncratic version of events involving Elizabeth I and Mary Queen Of Scots, directed by Tony Cownie, a co-production with Dundee Repertory Theatre; the premiere of Abi Morgan's 27, which examines life inside a convent where a group of nuns are asked to take part in a scientific experiment, directed by Vicky Featherstone, a co-production with the National Theatre of Scotland; Stuart Paterson's Beauty And The Beast, directed by Neil Murray; Peter Arnott's The Infamous Brothers Davenport, exploring the destructive relationship between two young brothers amidst the magical world of Victorian seance and illusion, conceived and directed by Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison, a co-production with Vox Motus; John Steinbeck's Of Mice And Men, the classic tale of the American depression of two itinerant farm workers who buy a small farm of their own, but find the ensuing hardship tests their friendship to its limits, directed by John Dove; the premiere of D C Jackson's contemporary take on Pierre Beaumarchais's The Marriage Of Figaro, directed by Mark Thomson; and Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant of Inishmore, a bloody black farce in the Celtic urban violence tradition, about a cat loving IRA dissident, also directed by Mark Thomson.

The next production at Theatre 503 in Battersea will be Alice Birch's Many Moons, in which four London neighbours find that their lives converge in surprising and sinister ways, with Esther Hall, Jonathan Newth, Edward Franklin and Esther Smith, directed by Derek Bond, from 17th May. It is a co-production with Sophie Watson and paper/scissors/stone.

New York TheatreNet: Joely Richardson and Cotter Smith will star in the premiere of Michael Weller's Side Effects, about a Midwestern couple whose seemingly picture-perfect marriage is actually falling apart, directed by David Auburn, opening at the Lucille Lortel Theatre on 19th June. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Nothing Is Ever As It Seems, an exhibition marking the centenary of the birth of the playwright Terence Rattigan, is running at the British Library until July. It includes scripts, letters, photographs and other memorabilia from the Rattigan archive. Highlights include the typescript with autograph amendments of First Episode, his first staged play, set in an undergraduate lodging house; the original script of Flare Path, submitted to the Lord Chamberlain's office under its first title of Next Of Kin, together with Rattigan's RAF notebooks and flying log; and the script of the original radio version of Cause Celebre, and a letter to Robin Midgley, director of its stage adaptation, discussing changes to the script for the theatre.

This year's Opera Holland Park season will run from 7th June to 12th August, with the City of London Sinfonia as resident orchestra, and will comprise: new productions of Donizetti's Don Pasquale, directed by Stephen Barlow; Mascagni's L'amico Fritz, directed by Annilese Miskimmon; Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Liam Steel; Puccini's La rondine, directed by Tom Hawkes, with choreography by Jenny Weston; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Lindsay Posner; and Catalani's La Wally, directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans, plus the return of the family opera Fantastic Mr Fox, music by Tobia Picker, libretto by Donald Sturrock, based on Roald Dah's story, directed by Stephen Barlow. The Theatre is located in the middle of Holland Park and uses the ruins of Holland House as a backdrop to the performances. Both stage and audience are covered by a canopy. Further information and online booking can be found on the OHP web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at the Watermill Theatre in Newbury will include the musical Radio Times, book by Abi Grant, songs by Noel Gay, set during the broadcast of a Second World War radio programme, with a cast of actor-musicians headed by Gary Wilmot, directed by Caroline Leslie, with choreography by Alistair David opening on 10th August; Charles Dickens's Great Expectations, adapted by Neil Bartlett, directed by Paul Hart, from 29th September; and Kenneth Grahame's The Wind In The Willows, adapted by Toby Hulse, directed by Robin Belfield, from 24th November.

The musical Thrill Me: The Leopold & Loeb Story, book, music and lyrics by Stephen Dolginoff, examining the relationship between Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb - wealthy and intelligent Chicago students who murdered someone for the thrill of committing the perfect crime, with Jye Frasca and George Maguire, and offstage voices provided by Les Dennis, Patricia Quinn and Lee Mead, directed by Guy Retallack, will transfer from the Tristan Bates Theatre to the Charing Cross Theatre (formerly the New Players) opening on 18th May. The producers are CliMar Productions and Tristan Bates Theatre.

The Rumour Machine says: that Conor McPherson's The Veil, set in 19th century Ireland, will receive its premiere at the National Theatre in October with Jim Norton, Ursula Jones, Adrian Schiller and Fenella Woolgar; and that the current Broadway production of Larry Kramer's The Normal Heart, the landmark play about the early days of the AIDS crisis, with Joe Mantello, John Benjamin Hickey, Ellen Barkin, Lee Pace and Jim Parsons, directed by Joel Grey, may be West End bound courtesy of producers including Elton John and David Furnish. The Rumour Machine grinds on.