News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th July 2010

This year's Kids Week in the West End, organised by the Society Of London Theatre to introduce young people to the theatregoing experience, with thousands of free tickets and special events, is proving so popular that it is being extended to a third week, and will now run until 3rd September. Children between 5 and 16 can go free (when accompanied by a paying adult) to 32 West End shows, with up to two additional children at half price. Booking is now open for the extra week. Further information can be found on the Kids Week web site via the link opposite.

The Complicite production of A Disappearing Number, conceived and directed by Simon McBurney, with the original cast, comprising David Annen, Firdous Bamji, Paul Bhattacharjee, Hiren Chate, Divya Kasturi, Chetna Pandya and Shane Shambhu, Saskia Reeves and Simon McBurney, will play at the Novello Theatre from 14th to 25th September. It is inspired by the story of the collaboration of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and G H Hardy, Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University.

The new season at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith will include the return of Simon Stephens's Punk Rock, exposing the dislocation, disjunction and violence simmering under the surface of a group of articulate, aspirational young people, directed by Sarah Frankcom, opening on 8th September, a co-production with the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester; Richard Bean's The Big Fellah, about a New York fireman who decides to live up to his Irish heritage by joining the IRA, with Finbar Lynch, David Ricardo-Pearce, Rory Keenan, Youssef Kerkour, Claire Rafferty, Fred Ridgeway and Stephanie Street, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, opening on 24th September, a co-production with Out of Joint theatre company; Sarah Kane's Blasted, a violent confrontation between a middle aged tabloid journalist and a young woman, directed by Sean Holmes, opening on 28th October; Dick Whittington, a traditional pantomime by Joel Horwood and Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, directed by Steve Marmion, opening on 3rd December; Roald Dahl's Twisted Tales, dark short stories for adults, adapted by Jeremy Dyson, co-conceived and directed by Polly Findlay, opening on 24th January, a co-production with Liverpool Everyman/Playhouse; and Vivienne Franzmann's Mogadishu, in which an incident of violence by a pupil on a teacher is twisted so that the victim appears the perpetrator, directed by Matthew Dunster, opening on 7th March, a Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester production.

It has been confirmed that the Gate Theatre Dublin production of Samuel Beckett's Krapp's Last Tape, in which an old man is listening to a series of tapes he has recorded detailing events in his life, performed by Michael Gambon, directed by Michael Colgan, will open the Duchess Theatre on 15th September.

The autumn season at Dundee Repertory Theatre will include the Rep Ensemble of Kevin Lennon, Ann Louise Ross, Irene Macdougall, Robert Paterson, Emily Winter, Angela Hardie and Duncan Anderson in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House, in a new version by Samuel Adamson, in which a woman rebels against the confines of a Victorian marriage, directed by Jemima Levick, from 19th October; and Charles Way's new version of Sleeping Beauty, directed by Jemima Levick, from 29th November; plus Robert Paterson, Emily Winter and Irene Macdougall directing each other in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads monologues: A Bed Among The Lentils, Her Big Chance and A Chip In The Sugar from 22nd September.

The musical revue examining contemporary relationships, Closer Than Ever, lyrics by Richard Maltby Jr, music by David Shire, with Clare Burt, Michael Cahill, Ria Jones and Glyn Kerslake, directed by Robert Mcwhir, with choreography by Matthew Gould, will play at the Landor Theatre in Clapham from 14th September.

Cirque du Soleil's latest show Totem, tracing the journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly, directed by Robert Lepage, which premiered in Montreal earlier this year, will play a season at the Royal Albert Hall in January.

The autumn season at the Royal Theatre Northampton will include: The Talented Mr Ripley, adapted by Phyllis Nagy from Patricia Highsmith's psychological thriller, with Michelle Ryan, directed by Raz Shaw, from 17th 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 Laurie Sansom, from 15th October; and C S Lewis's The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe, adapted by Adrian Mitchell, in which a wardrobe in a house in wartime Britain is a portal to another world, from 30th November.

Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran's Von Ribbentrop's Watch, about a wine merchant in the credit crunch who discovers the watch of Nazi foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop among his possessions, with Paul Brightwell, Jessica Dickens, Jack Ellis, Andrew Paul, Gwyneth Strong and Barbara Young, directed by Brigid Larmour, will premiere at Oxford Playhouse, on 9th September, a co-production with Watford Palace Theatre, where it transfers from 21st September.

Caroline O'Connor will perform her one woman show Caroline O'Connor: The Showgirl Within, directed by Michael Gracey, with choreography by Ashley Wallen, at the Garrick Theatre from 27th September to 3rd October. The producers are Neil Eckersley and Paul Spicer for Speckulation Entertainment and Stuart Piper and Jon Bath for Cole Kitchenn.

The autumn season at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre will include the musical Little Shop Of Horrors, music by Alan Menkin, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, loosely based on Roger Corman's 1960 film about a flesh eating plant, with James Haggie, Shirley Darroch, Sean Kingsley and Harry Myers, directed by Peter Rowe, with choreography by Francesca Jaynes, from 1st September; Anton Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard, in the version by Tom Stoppard, picturing rural Russia at the brink of the Revolution, with Josie Lawrence, directed by Rachel Kavanaugh, from 15th October; and a musical adaptation of Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, book and lyrics by Garry Lyons, music and lyrics by Tim Sutton, in which an orphaned child returned from the colonies finds new life in a forgotten garden, directed by Ian Brown, with choreography by Ann Yee, from 24th November, a co-production with the West Yorkshire Playhouse.

The Rumour Machine says: that Amanda Holden and Richard Blackwood will head the cast of Shrek The Musical, opening at Drury Lane next June, probably joined by Nigel Lindsay in the title role and Nigel Harman; that book writer and lyricist Lee Hall and Elton John are working on a musical adaptation of George Orwell's allegorical novel Animal Farm; and that following the success of its shows in the Tony Awards, the Menier Chocolate Factory is considering opening a permanent Off Broadway 'branch' in New York. The Rumour Machine grinds on.