News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th June 2006

The autumn season at Sadler's Wells will include visits from Ballet Nacional de Cuba with the British premiere of Don Quixote and a mixed bill Magia de la Danza; George Piper Dances aka The Ballet Boyz - Michael Nunn and Billy Trevitt - with new works by Rafael Bonachela, Liv Lorent, Will Tuckett and Charles Linehan; The Forsythe Company performing Three Atmospheric Studies; Rosas with D'un soir un jour and Quatuor No 4/Die Grosse Fuge/Verklarte Nacht; Birmingham Royal Ballet performing Apollo/Pulcinella/The Firebird and Romeo And Juliet; the all-female Cholmondeleys and all-male Featherstonehaughs combining in Lea Anderson's YIPPEEE!!! (2006); Dutch National Ballet performing Vier Letzte Lieder, Frank Bridge Variations and The Second Detail; Rambert Dance Company with a new work by Darshan Singh Bhuller and Divine Influence; Opera North performing Rigoletto, La voix humaine and Peter Grimes; Glyndebourne on Tour with Cosi fan tutte, Die Fledermaus and The Turn Of The Screw; and the return of Matthew Bourne's Swan Lake.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the musical Porgy And Bess, with music by George Gershwin, lyrics by Ira Gershwin and DuBose Heyward, who also wrote the book, adapted from his novel, revised and directed by Trevor Nunn, will open at the Savoy Theatre on 9th November. Set in the black quarter of Charleston, South Carolina in 1912, it centres on a cripple who offers shelter to a woman who has left her brutish lover. The producers are Richard Frankel, Tom Viertel, Steven Baruch, Marc Routh, Howard Panter for Ambassador Theatre Group and Tulbart Productions.

The autumn season at Salisbury Playhouse will open on 6th September with the world premiere of the musical Two Cities, with music and lyrics by Howard Goodall, and book by Joanna Read, who also directs, adapted from Charles Dickens's A Tale Of Two Cities, set during the French Revolution. The season will also include Corpse!, Gerald Moon's comedy thriller involving identical twins, directed by Philip Wilson; Oscar Wilde's A Woman Of No Importance, the comedy of high society that reveals a long hidden secret, directed by Lucy Pitman-Wallace; Sleeping Beauty, in a new version by Joanna Read and Stuart Thomas, directed by Jeremy Bond; William Nicholson's Shadowlands, about the relationship of the novelist C S Lewis and the poet Joy Gresham, directed by Joanna Read; and Nicholas Wright's Vincent In Brixton, the story of the time the painter Vincent Van Gogh spent in a London boarding house, directed by Peter Rowe.

There will be a radical site specific contemporary staging of The Tempest, mixing live performance, video and installation, at The Horse Hospital in Bloomsbury (as its name suggests, a former hospital for sick horses at a decommissioned army base) from 5th to 29th July, directed by Peter Benedict and Jim Hollands. The company will comprise Victor Spinetti, Peter Benedict, Ludvig Bonin, Edmund Dring, Nicola Duffett, Charles Grant, Laurie Hagen, Ricci Harnett, Damian Kell, Barry Martin, Maddy Sparham and Iain Stirland.

New York TheatreNet: The Royal Court Theatre production of My Name Is Rachel Corrie, directed by Alan Rickman, has finally found a New York home at the Off Broadway Minetta Lane Theatre, opening on 15th October. The 'factional' one person play was developed by Rickman and Katharine Viner from the writing of the American protester who perished beneath a bulldozer as she protected a Palestinian home. The show was to have played the New York Theatre Workshop earlier this year, but the theatre got cold feet after the controversy generated by its announcement. It will be presented by Dena Hammerstein and Pam Pariseau for James Hammerstein Productions.

Oxford Shakespeare Company will again be performing a season of open air productions, directed by Chris Pickles, with The Taming Of The Shrew, at Wadham College Gardens in Oxford from 3rd to 18th August, and the East Front Garden of Hampton Court Palace from 19th to 26th August; Macbeth, in the Great Hall of Hampton Court from 4th to 7th August and in the North Garden of Lincoln's Inn in London from 8th to 19th August; and Oscar Wilde's The Importance Of Being Earnest at Oxford from 17th July to 18th August, and the East Front Garden of Hampton Court from 19th to 26th August.

On The Casting Couch: Adrian Dunbar, Dervla Kirwan, Peter McDonald and Marcella Plunkett will star in Exiles, opening at the National Theatre on 2nd August; Lynda Bellingham, Adjoa Andoh, Heather Craney, Jason Frederick, Lorna Gayle, Marcel McCalla, Javone Prince, Vinette Robinson and Victor Romero Evans will make up the cast of Sugar Mummies, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 10th August; and Richard Coyle and Rachael Stirling will star in Look Back In Anger, opening at the Theatre Royal in Bath on 16th August.

The Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova has returned to the Victoria Palace after an absence of 57 years. Pavlova appeared there when the Frank Matcham designed theatre opened in 1911, and Alfred Butt, its owner, erected a gilded statue of her on the top of its tower in tribute. However, the statue was removed in 1939, partly in an effort to save it from possible war damage, and partly because it was considered to be a landmark target for bomber pilots. By the time the war had ended the statue had mysteriously disappeared, and so could not be returned. Now a replica fibreglass and gold leaf statue of Pavola, in a classical tutu in the arabesque position, created by Harry Franchetti from photographs of the original, has been restored her to her former place.

The Rumour Machine says: that Willy Russell has adapted Blood Bothers as a film, which will be directed by Alan Parker; that Maggie Smith will star in Edward Albee's rarely performed play The Lady From Dubuque, directed by Anthony Page, in the West End next March; that James Naughtie is adapting his Blair/Brown expose book The Rivals: The Intimate Story Of A Political Marriage for the operatic stage; and that Cameron Mackintosh will transfer this year's Tony Award winning musical Jersey Boys, featuring the back catalogue of the pop group Frankie Valli and Four Seasons, to the West End in next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.