News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 30th November 2012

The premiere of Clive Exton's Barking In Essex, a black comedy about a gangster newly released from prison intent on retrieving the loot from his last job, with Lee Evans and Sheila Hancock, directed by Harry Burton, will open at Wyndham's Theatre on 16th September. The producer is MJE Productions.

Highlights of this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards include: Best Actor - Simon Russell Beale - Collaborators; Best Actress - Hattie Morahan - A Doll's House; Best Play - Nick Payne's Constellations; Best Musical - Hugh Wheeler and Stephen Sondheim's Sweeney Todd; Best Director - Nicholas Hytner - Timon Of Athens, who also won a special award for his directorship of the National Theatre; a Beyond Theatre award for Danny Boyle for the opening ceremony of the Olympics; and awards to Judi Dench and David Hare for their contribution to theatre. The full listing can be found at Evening Standard web site, via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The King's Head Theatre, in Islington, will stage the premiere of the musical Quasimodo, book, music and lyrics by Lionel Bart, adapted from Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris, with a cast of 8, directed by Robert Chevara, from 20th March.

The spring season at the Palace Theatre in Watford will include Ronald Harwood's Equally Divided, a comedy about trying to do the right thing (and get your just desserts) with Beverley Klein, directed by Brigid Larmour, from 7th February; the premiere of Tom Wells's Jumpers For Goalposts, a story about football, friendship and finding your way, directed by James Grieve, a co-production with Paines Plough and Hull Truck Theatre, from 5th April; Yasmeen Khan's Break The Floorboards, a Bollywood and street dance drama about a young boy attempt to escape the harsh reality of his home town, directed by Pravesh Kumar, with choreography by Andy Kumar and Tommy Franzen, a co-production with Rifco Arts, from 3rd May; and The Firework-Maker's Daughter, a family opera, music by David Bruce, libretto by Glyn Maxwell, adapted from Philip Pullman's novel about a girl who wants to be a firework maker whose father won't tell her the final trade secret, directed by John Fulljames, from 17th May, a co-production with the Opera Group, Opera North and ROH2.

Pulling Focus will stage Honk!, the musical adaptation of Hans Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, music by George Stiles, book and lyrics by Anthony Drew, with Kathryn Rutherford, Kate Scott, Lydia Grant, Marina Kelman, Lydia Jenkins , Joe Sterling, Tim Oxbrow, Alex Papachristou, Benjamin Vivian-Jones and Mark White, directed by Madeleine Loftin, with choreography by Mark White, at the Tabard Theatre, in Chiswick, from 10th December.

New York TheatreNet: The Flea Theater is staging Amy Freed's Restoration Comedy, a combination of the 17th century bawdy English comedies, Colley Cibber's Love's Last Shift and John Vanbrugh's The Relapse, with Michael Axelrod, Jaspal Binning, Naomi Bland, Brantley Brice, Emily Brown, Allison Buck, Alex Coelho, Whitney Conkling, Matthew Cox, Greg Engbrecht, Eloise Eonnet, Kelechi Ezie, James Fouhey, Justin Garascia, Rosa Gilmore, Cleo Gray, Kerry Ipema, Finn Kilgore, Chase Kinney, Alex Mandell, Anthony Martinez, Jennifer McCormick, Bonnie Milligan, Zac Moon, Seth Moore, Erik Olson, Ivano Pulito, Alexander Seife, Stephen Stout, Liz Tancredi, Jennifer Tsay and Mari Yamamoto, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar, opening on December 10th. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The Edinburgh Fringe hit Coalition, Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky's satire about the disintegration of the government, set just before the next general election, with Thom Tuck, Jo Caulfield, Jessica Regan, Phil Mulryne, Alistair Barrie, John Dorney and Phill Jupitus, will play at the Pleasance Theatre, in Islington, from 22nd February. It is a co-production by the Pleasance Theatre and The Spontaneity Shop.

Theatre's Strangest Acts, by Shereden Morley, published by Robson Books, is a collection of weird and wonderful tales from the world of theatre. It includes such unusual stories as the legendary ghost of Drury Lane, how an actor can exorcise the curse of Macbeth, and the theatre manager who fried bacon and eggs in the Royal Box to feed her starving cast at the interval. If you have ever wondered whether what happens in the stalls is actually more dramatic than what happens on stage, which shows were so bad that they closed during the interval on the first night, or how the Green Room was named, then this is the book for you.

Ex Libris Macabre, devised by Little Jade Productions, exploring the darker side of Christmas through traditional tales, in candlelit rooms at Theatre Delicatessen at Marylebone Gardens, the former the BBC London building, with Jade Alexander, Sonia Allan, Liz McMullen, Akie Kotabe and Tom Judd, directed by Joseph Thorpe, will play from 3rd to 22nd December.

The 2013 season at Northampton Theatres will include Willy Russell's One For The Road, a family comedy set in a suburban estate in the north of England, directed by Laurie Sansom, from 1st February; Alan Ayckbourn's Mr Whatnot, about a piano tuner who falls in love with a client's engaged daughter, directed by Cal McCrystal, from 16th March; Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Gary Sefton, from 19th April; Brian Friel's Dancing At Lughnasa, the story of 5 sisters in rural Ireland in the 1930s, directed by Richard Beecham, from 24th May; and the premiere of To Sir, With Love, adapted by Ayub Khan-Din from E R Braithwaite's autobiographical novel about a young black teacher working in the East End of London in the post Second World War period, from 6th September.

The Rumour Machine says: that Roger Allam will return to Shakespeare's Globe next year in Shakespeare's The Tempest; and that Angela Lansbury may return to the New York stage next autumn in Enid Bagnold's The Chalk Garden, the story of an eccentric woman raising her 16 year old granddaughter, who lives in a fantasy world and runs wild in the garden of a manor house, until their lives change with the appointment of a mysterious governess. The Rumour Machine grinds on.