News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th July 2006

Daniel Radcliffe and Richard Griffiths will star in Peter Shaffer's Equus, directed by Thea Sharrock, opening at a yet to be signed West End theatre on 27th February. The play is a series of sessions in which a psychiatrist tries to discover why a stable boy blinded six horses. The producers are David Pugh and Dafydd Rogers.

New York TheatreNet: The third New York Musical Theatre Festival, running from 10th September to 1st October, aims to help new writing in musical theatre move forward into production. Over 30 musicals will be premiering, with more than 100 concerts and special events, 300 performances, given by over 1000 performers and musicians, in 12 venues around midtown Manhattan, all open to the public. Among the shows will be Journey To The West, book and lyrics by Robert Taylor and Richard Oberacker, music by Richard Oberacker, combining elements of Peking Opera, kabuki, modern dance and martial arts to tell the story of a scholar's messianic quest across the Asia in search of mankind's salvation; Oedipus For Kids!, book and lyrics by Kimberly Patterson and Gil Varod, music by Robert J. Saferstein, in which a child friendly production of Oedipus Rex goes horribly, horribly wrong; Smoking Bloomberg, book, music and lyrics by David Cornue, Sam Holtzapple, Warren Loy and Chris Todd, about a Korean dry cleaner's quest for revenge against Mayor Bloomberg and the smoking ban that has ruined her business; J.O.B. The Hip-Hopera, book and lyrics by Jerome Sable and Eli Batalion, music by Jerome Sable, Eli Batalion and Joe Barrucco, the book of Job - remixed. Further information can be found on the NYMTF web site via the link from New York TheatreNet.

The current Donmar Warehouse production of John Mortimer's A Voyage Round My Father, about his relationship with his blind barrister father, with Derek Jacobi, Dominic Rowan, Natasha Little, Joanna David, Christopher Benjamin, Lily Bevan, Neil Boorman, Osmund Bullock, Jamie DeCourcey, Sadie Shimmin and Katie Warren, directed by Thea Sharrock, will transfer to Wyndham's Theatre, opening on 21st September.

The Chichester Festival Theatre production of Richard Everett's Entertaining Angels, with Penelope Keith as a vicar's widow who decides she no longer needs to be on her best behaviour, directed by Alan Strachan, opens a pre West End tour at Richmond Theatre on 5th September. At Chichester Keith was joined by Polly Adams, Caroline Harker, Michael Lumsden, Abigail Thaw and Benjamin Whitrow. The producers are Michael Codron and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

Kristin Scott Thomas and Mackenzie Crook will star in Anton Chekhov's The Seagull, in an adaptation by Christopher Hampton, directed by Ian Rickson, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 18th January.

The Three Choirs Festival this year rests at Hereford, from 4th to 11th August, celebrating anniversaries of four composers, as well as maintaining its tradition of commissioning new work. Anniversary events include Mozart's Requiem; Gerald Finzi's Dies Natalis, settings of the Herefordshire poet Thomas Traherne; Shostakovich's Chamber Symphony; and Elgar's oratorio The Kingdom, written at his home in Hereford. The new work is James MacMillan's Sun-Dogs, the setting of a poem by Michael Symmons Roberts, performed by the Philharmonia Orchestra, conducted by the composer. Other events include French folk song and dance, a children's violin workshop and ARKangel with a history of tango. Further information can be found on the TCF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Finborough Theatre in Earls Court is presenting a season of new British plays, comprising David Carter's Viral Sutra, which tells the story of the interaction of a disease and the human body from the virus's point of view, with John De Barham, Dee Sadler, Ryan Stuart and Simon Winkler, directed by Alison Comley, opening on 17th August; James Graham's Eden's Empire, a political and personal thriller based on the events of the Suez Crisis in 1956, directed by Gemma Fairlie, opening on 8th September; and Seduced, written and directed by Michael Kingsbury, exploring the sexual and economic needs of two very different couples who meet by answering an advertisement, opening on 4th October.

The autumn season at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds includes in the Quarry Theatre: Duncan Preston in To Kill A Mockingbird, adapted by Christopher Sergel from Harper Lee's novel about prejudice in a small southern town during the American great depression of the 1930s, directed by Michael Buffong, opening on 13th September; John Webster's The Duchess of Malfi, the Jacobean tragedy of a young widow's refusal to obey her brother's command never to remarry, directed by Philip Franks, opening on 25th October; and The Wizard Of Oz, adapted by John Kane from the film musical based on L Frank Baum's novels, with music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, opening on 6th December; and in the Courtyard Theatre: How Many Miles to Basra?, adapted from his radio play by Colin Teevan, relating a journalist's experiences in Iraq a week after the fall of Saddam Hussein, directed by Ian Brown, opening on 28th September; and Flat Stanley, Mike Kenny's adaptation of the children's book by Jeff Brown, about a boy squashed by a notice board who is only half an inch thick, directed by Gail McIntyre opening on 12th December.

The Ocean Theatre Company is getting fully into the spirit of Gilbert And Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance, in an 'interactive' performance with both actors and audience on the open deck and inside the replica of Sir Francis Drake's galleon The Golden Hinde, moored at St Mary Overie Dock on Clink Street, on the south side of the Thames between London and Southwark bridges. The company is led by Alex Weatherhill, Emma Clare, Garry Bailey, Luke Tudball, Jane de Florez, Adrian-Jon Barry and James Storey, and the director is Andrew Miller. Performances continue Thursdays to Sundays until 3rd September. Further information can be found on the OTC web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Northern Ballet Theatre will premiere David Nixon's production of The Three Musketeers, based on Alexandre Dumas's swashbuckling novel set in 17th century France, at the Alhambra Bradford on 23rd September, opening a regional tour. It will be set to a score compiled by Anthony Meredith, using original music by Malcolm Arnold, some of which was composed for a previous unstaged dance version by David Drew. Fight direction will be by Renny Krupinsky.

The Rumour Machine says: that Elaine Stritch will launch a new one woman show featuring songs by Noel Coward in London in December, produced by Howard Panter; that the new West End production of Porgy And Bess, revised and directed by Trevor Nunn, is already pencilling in a Broadway transfer three months before it opens; and that Jessica Lange may return to the West End later this year in Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, directed by John Doyle. The Rumour Machine grinds on.