News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th March 2007

The Edinburgh International Festival has announced the programme for this year's festival, running from 10th August to 2nd September, for which booking opens on 8th April. Theatre highlights include Euripides's The Bacchae, in a new version by David Greig, with Alan Cumming, directed by John Tiffany; Mabou Mines DollHouse, adapted from Ibsen by Lee Breuer and Maude Mitchell, and directed by Breuer; and American Repertory Theatre's modern music theatre take on the Orpheus myth in Orpheus X, directed by Robert Woodruff. Opera highlights include Cologne Opera's production of Richard Strauss' Capriccio, with Gabriele Fontana, directed and designed by Christian von Gotz and Gabriele Janicke; Vienna Schauspielhaus's Poppea, a 'remix' of Monteverdi's opera, directed by Barrie Kosky; The Wooster Group's La Didone, a contemporary work inspired by Cavalli's opera; and Monteverdi's L'Orfeo, directed by Gilbert Deflo. Dance highlights include Scottish Ballet with Stephen Petronio's Ride The Beast; Compagnie Montalvo-Hervieu performing On Danse; William Forsythe's Impressing The Czar, performed by the Royal Ballet of Flanders. Music highlights include visits by San Francisco Symphony, Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Simon Bolivar Youth Orchestra of Venezuela, Hesperion XXI and the Chamber Orchestra of Europe. Further information can be found on the EIF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, with the leading role cast from a 'reality' television programme, will open at the Adelphi Theatre on 17th July. It will be a revival of the production staged at the London Palladium in 1991 by Steven Pimlott, produced by the Really Useful Theatre Company.

The summer season at the Soho Theatre will comprise premieres of: Philip Ridley's Leaves Of Glass, with Ben Whishaw, Maxine Peake, Ruth Sheen and Trystan Gravelle, the tale of an East End family struggling to cope with loss, directed by Lisa Goldman, opening on 3rd May; Oladipo Agboluaje's The Christ Of Coldharbour Lane, an anarchic comedy about a preaching ex-prisoner's mission to make revolution - starting in Brixton, directed by Paulette Randall, opening on 31st May; Hassan Abdulrazzak's Baghdad Wedding, following three friends struggling with their sexual, cultural and political identity against the backdrop of London and Iraq, also directed by Lisa Goldman, opening on 28th June; Deafinitely Theatre's Playing God, created to reach both hearing and deaf audiences, exploring the controversial coclear implant debate, opening on 26th July; the National Youth Theatre performing Tanika Gupta's White Boy, Marcy Kahan's 20 Cigarettes and a group of new 30 minute plays; plus Moon Walking In China Town, a site specific walkabout piece connecting the theatre to the local community, staged in September to coincide with the Chinese Autumn Moon Festival.

On The Casting Couch: Toby Stephens, Samuel West and Dervla Kirwan will star in Harold Pinter's Betrayal, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 5th June; and Matthew Macfadyen will lead the cast in Bruce Norris's The Pain And The Itch, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 21st June.

The Battersea Arts Centre's future appears to have been secured as it has reached an accommodation with Wandsworth Borough Council. The existing lease has been extended until March 2008, while a Building Preservation Trust is established to take over running the building on a new 999 year lease, and 85,000 funding has been offered towards the Young People's Theatre work, subject to the new lease being concluded. The BAC will present one of its most innovative works, in association with site specific specialists Punchdrunk, when the entire building will be utilised to stage The Masque Of The Red Death, based on the gothic stories of Edgar Allen Poe, created by directors Felix Barrett and David Jubb with architect Steve Tompkins, running from 3rd to 27th October. When a prince and nobles who have sought refuge in a walled abbey to escape a plague, hold a masquerade ball to entertain the abbey's inhabitants, a guest wearing a mask depicting a Red Death victim appears. It is the first of a projected series of an annual Playground Projects, designed to create a relationship between artist, architect and audience to explore and reveal different parts of the building.

Side By Side By Sondheim, the revue featuring the early songs of Stephen Sondheim, performed by Abbie Osman, Josie Walker and Alisdair Harvey, and featuring a new narration by Ned Sherrin, directed by Hannah Chissick, with musical staging by Adam Cooper, will open at The Venue off Leicester Square on 1st May. The producer is NML Productions.

Live Nation, the UK's largest theatre operator, has announced plans to sell off all its North American theatre assets (except for the Hilton Theatre in New York and Boston Opera House) in order to focus on its music businesses. The move follows the spinning off and renaming of the theatre, music and sports interests from Clear Channel in 2005. Since then, Live Nation has disposed of its sports assets, while in Britain securing agreements to operate music venues such as Wembley Arena, and acquiring the Academy Music Group. Live Nation has said that it "cannot predict when, or if, any transaction will occur with respect to (its British) properties".

Tall Stories Theatre Company's production of Olivia Jacobs and Toby Mitchell's stage adaptation of The Gruffalo's Child, Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler's follow up to their children's picture book The Gruffalo, which continues the story of the mouse and the monster, will open a national tour at The Point in Eastleigh on 3rd April, performed by Felix Hayes, Abbey Norman and Yvette Clutterbuck.

This year's London season by the Bolshoi Ballet will be at the London Coliseum from 30th July to 28th August. The programme will comprise a new recreation of the 19th century classic Le Corsaire by Alexei Ratmansky and Yuri Burlaka, with Svetlana Zakharova and Denis Matvienko, Yuri Grigorovich's Spartacus, with Carlos Acosta, Petipa's La Bayadere, Alexei Fadeyechev's Don Quixote, Alexei Ratmansky's The Bright Stream, and the British premiere of Elsinore by Christopher Wheeldon, in a triple bill with Twyla Tharp's In The Upper Room and Asaf Messerer's Class Concert. The season is presented by Victor Hochhauser.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Royal Court Theatre's production of Chekhov's The Seagull, which has just ended a sellout run, will transfer to the West End; that Andrew Lloyd Webber has abandoned plans to write a musical adaptation of Mikhail Bulgakov's The Master And Margarita because it is too complex; and that Stephen Waley-Cohen is in talks to take over the New Ambassadors Theatre, with the intention of transferring The Mousetrap from the St Martin's Theatre next door, back to its original home. The Rumour Machine grinds on.