News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 29th June 2001

The Royal Shakespeare Company/Young Vic production of Lee Hall's adaptation of Carlo Goldoni's eighteenth century farce A Servant To Two Masters will return to the West End at the Albery Theatre from 24th July to 22nd September. Jason Watkins continues his barnstorming performance as the Venetian servant who finds that working for two masters at the same time has its disadvantages. Since its last appearance at the new Ambassadors the show has toured the UK, American and Australia. The director is Tim Supple.

Tim Donohoe and Keith Jochim star in Russell Lees Nixon's Nixon which opens at the Comedy Theatre on 23rd July. The show speculates on what took place during the meeting of Richard Nixon and his Secretary of State Henry Kissinger on the night before Nixon resigned the American Presidency to avoid impeachment. The comedy drama was seen at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe and subsequently the Bridewell Theatre, and has since toured in America, Canada and Hong Kong. It is directed by Charles Towers and produced by P&S and Fifth Amendment.

Britain's most prolific playwright Alan Ayckbourn is once again outdoing even himself with his 60th play at the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough. Ayckbourn already has two new plays in production, GamePlan and FlatSpin, which feature one group of actors in two separate comedies that share the same set, under the banner Damsels in Distress. Now he is making it a trilogy by adding. RolePlay. This tells of a couple hosting an introductory supper for their parents, which is interrupted by the unscheduled arrival of their neighbour. The seven strong company of Robert Austin, Saskia Butler, Bill Champion, Tim Faraday, Jacqueline King, Alison Parageter and Beth Tuckey will take the plays on tour after the Scarborough season.

At the National Theatre, Howard Davies award winning production of Arthur Miller's All My Sons returns on 7th August with Laurie Metcalf joining Ben Daniels and James Hazeldine. Based on a true story from World War Two, it tells of a manufacturer who suffers the consequences of selling defective aeroplane parts that have put pilots lives at risk. Charlotte Jones's new play Humble Boy, a comedy about broken vows, failed hopes and the joys of bee keeping, directed by John Caird, which opens on 9th August, will star Simon Russell Beale, Cathryn Bradshaw, Denis Quilley, Diana Rigg and Marcia Warren. Mark Ravenhill's new play Mother Clap's Molly House, a story set in eighteenth and twenty first century gay brothels, directed by Nicholas Hytner, which opens on 4th September, will star Deborah Findlay, Iain Mitchell, Paul Ready, Ian Redford and Jay Simpson.

Alan Bates and his son Benedick Bates are to star in Oscar Wilde's The Picture Of Dorian Gray which opens at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 17th July. The Faust inspired story sees a portrait in his attic age while Gray retains his youth. Trevor Baxter directs the prospective West End production, and Bill Kenwright is the producer.

Gary Wilmot, Su Pollard and David Alder will star in Ian Talbot's production of Joe Papp's version of Gilbert & Sullivan's The Pirates Of Penzance when it returns to the Open Air Theatre Regent's Park from 27th August to 8th September. The show will then embark on a 13 date national tour.

The Royal Exchange Manchester will celebrate its 25th anniversary with some of the stars from previous productions in classics plays. Tom Courtenay will open the season in Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, translated by Michael Frayn and directed by artistic director Gregory Hersov, from 10th September to 20th October. Amanda Donohoe will play Henrik Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, directed by former artistic director Braham Murray, from 29th October to 1st December. Patricia Routledge follows in J B Priestley's Time And The Conways, also directed by Braham Murray, from 5th December to 19th January. Pete Postlethwaite stars in Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, directed by Gregory Hersov, from 23rd January to 2nd March.

The London New Play Festival is now seeking submissions for its 12th season. Nine plays (of approximately 20 minutes in length) will be selected, which will be performed in three showcase events at one of the Really Useful Theatres on Shaftesbury Avenue. Writers of the works chosen will receive script development advice. Entries should be sent to Julia Parr, LNPF, 40-47 Altenburg Gardens, London SW11 1JL by 19th July.

The autumn season at Sadler's Wells will include Birmingham Royal Ballet in Swan Lake and a mixed programme; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater with two mixed programmes; Welsh National Opera performing Beethoven's Leonore and Berlioz Beatrice And Benedict; Mark Morris Dance Group presenting World Premiere, I Don't Want To Love, Peccadillos and Grand Duo; the Michael Clark Company; Ballet Frankfurt with Artifact and Eido:Telos; Rambert Dance Company in two mixed programmes; and the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe returning at Christmas.

Upcoming performers in Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues at the New Ambassador's Theatre will be: from 10th July - Mariella Frostrup, Amy Irving and Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and from 31st July - Jerry Hall, Ricki Lake and Meera Syal.

The Rumour Machine says: that Kim Cattrall (of Sex And The City fame) will play Judi Dench's daughter in Peter Hall's production of The Royal Family at the Haymarket; that Eleanor Bergstein is adapting his screenplay of the 1980s film Dirty Dancing as stage musical for producer Dodger Theatricals, which successfully performed a similar feat on Broadway with Footloose; that Joan Collins will star in a West End production of Ken Ludwig's comedy Moon Over Buffalo, in which two former Hollywood stars are reduced to mounting two simultaneous shows in Buffalo, with Ray Cooney directing, in the autumn; and that the latest names touted for Chicago are Claire Sweeney (of Brookside) and John Altman (of EastEnders). The Rumour Machine grinds on.