News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th April 2010

It has been confirmed that television cast production of The Wizard Of Oz, adapted by John Kane from the 1939 film based on L Frank Baum's Oz stories, music and lyrics by Harold Arlen and E Y Harburg, will play at the London Palladium, beginning on 19th March. The production is expected to be directed by Jeremy Sams and choreographed by Arlene Phillips, with additional new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyricist Glenn Slater.

This year's Opera Holland Park season will run from 1st June to 13th August, with the City of London Sinfonia as resident orchestra, and will comprise: Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, directed by Olivia Fuchs; Bizet's Carmen, directed by Jonathan Munby, with choreography by Lynne Page; Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Stephen Barlow, with choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane; Beethoven's Fidelio, directed by Olivia Fuchs; Verdi's La forza del destino, directed by Martin Duncan; and Zandonai's Francesca da Rimini, directed by Martin Lloyd-Evans. In addition, there will be matinee performances of a 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.

Forthcoming productions at the Soho Theatre will include Must, in which New York performance artist Peggy Shaw recounts her experiences of the medical profession, co-written and directed by Suzy Wilson, from 28th May, produced by Fuel, in collaboration with the Clod Ensemble; Dandy In The Underworld, written and directed by Tim Fountain, based on Sebastian Horsley's autobiographical tales of Soho life, performed by Milo Twomey, from 9th June; and the previously mentioned OperaUpClose small scale contemporary production of Puccini's La Boheme, translated and directed by Robin Norton-Hale, from 27th July.

Supporting Wall is to stage Election Drama: A Theatrical Response, '24 hour plays' by 5 writers, including Che Walker, Rex Obano, Anders Lustgarten and Phil Willmott, which will be written, cast and rehearsed following the result of the general election, and performed at the New Players Theatre, under The Arches in Villiers Street, on 8th May.

Edinburgh Festival Theatre is to stage its second in house Christmas production with musical The Secret Garden, book and lyrics Marsha Norman, music by Lucy Simon, adapted from Frances Hodgson Burnett's children's novel, directed by Anna Linstrum, from 9th December. It tells the story of an orphan brought back from India to live in her uncle's house in England, who is desperately unhappy until one day she and her sickly cousin discover the key to a secret garden. The production will then tour in Britain, followed by a season at the Princess of Wales Theatre in Toronto.

The Warehouse Theatre Croydon is holding its 25th International Playwriting Festival, in partnership with Italian festival Premio Candoni Arta Terme and Teatro Ena, Cyprus. It is in two parts: a competition for previously unproduced full length plays with entries from all over the world, leading on to the presentation of the best work in the festival weekend in March 2011. The deadline for entries is 31st July. Further information and an entry form can be found on the Warehouse web site via the link from the London Venues, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The National Theatre has announced the shows that will comprise its outdoor International Theatre event in Square 2, located on the riverside next to its Stage Door: from the Netherlands, Dries Verhoeven with Life Streaming, featuring an internet connection with performers in Sri Lanka discussing the experience of the tsunami; the return of Markeline's Carbon Club, the coalminers' cabaret from the Basque Country; the Polish Teatr Biuro Podrozy with Carmen Funebre, using fire, stilts and visual images to depict the terrible nature and impact of war; Roger Bernat's Domini Public, in which the audience become pawns in a life-size board game, from Spain; the French Compagnie Carabosse's Chez Cocotte, a Heath Robinson style fantasy for a retired railwayman and 55 pressure cookers; and from Britain, Metro-boulot-dodo's FIB, a collaboration with musicians, dancers and digital artists that asks the question: why do people lie?

Thomas Hopkins and Theatrica Ltd will stage Philip Ridley's Vincent River, about an East End mother seeking answers about the murder of her gay son and the young man stalking her since his death, with Nicola Duffett and Elliott Jordan, directed by Robert McWhir, at the Landor Theatre in Clapham, from 18th May.

Forthcoming productions at Trafalgar Studios 2 will include the musicals Wolfboy, book and direction by Russell Labey, music and lyrics by Leon Parris, adapted from Brad Fraser's play about two very different boys thrown together in an institution, opening on 8th July; and State Fair, book by Tom Briggs and Louis Mattioli, music by Richard Rodgers, lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, adapted from the film based on the novel by Phil Stong, which relates a family's adventures at the Iowa State Fair in 1946, directed by Thom Southerland, with choreography by Sally Brooks, seen previously at the Finborough Theatre last year.

This year's Theatre Book Prize has been awarded to Jann Parry's Different Drummer, a biography of the ballet choreographer Kenneth MacMillan. The judging panel comprises a member of the theatrical profession, a critic and an academic, who this year, were Matthew Kelly, Mark Shenton and Jane Moody. The Theatre Book Prize is run by the Society for Theatre Research to encourage the writing and publication of books on British theatre history and practice.

Guildford Shakespeare Company is to stage Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Simon Usher, in Guildford Castle gardens from 17th June to 3rd July; and The Tempest, directed by Hannah Chissick, at the edge of the University of Surrey lake from 22nd July to 7th August.