News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st January 1997

Rumour has it that Ben Elton's stage adaptation of his novel Popcorn will be coming to the Apollo Theatre soon. The novel (currently being remaindered!) centres on the theme of violence in the movies, as two killers hold hostage a Hollywood director, on the evening he receives an Oscar for his explicitly violent work. The tryout in Nottingham last October received a great deal of attention, with rumours of West End producers fighting for the chance of bringing it in, but since then there has been an ominous silence. Now apparently, contracts are about to be signed.

Even though the Royal Opera House closes for rebuilding on 15th July, plans for it's performing future still remain vague. Both the ballet and opera companies will be touring around London and the country. The Royal Opera is planning an English language production of The Merry Widow at the Shaftesbury Theatre. Thomas Allen and Felicity Lott will star, with staging by Graham Vick. It is part of a programme to encourage new audiences by performing work outside the company's normal repertoire, at closer to normal theatre prices. The company will visit the Edinburgh Festival, followed by a season at the Barbican Theatre, while the Royal Shakespeare Company is touring. Plans for 1998 include concert Ring cycles at the Royal Albert Hall.

Romance Romance the American musical of two halves opens at the Gielgud Theatre on 4th March. The show is a double bill of contrasting one act musicals on the subject of falling in love, one set in turn of the century Vienna, the other in contemporary America. Keith Herrman and Barry Harman are the writers, Caroline O'Connor and Mark Adams are the lovers, and Steven Dexter is the director. It is produced by Pat Gilgallon and Roger Lawrence.

The Irish comedy Women On The Verge Of HRT, previously mentioned here, has found a West End home at the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 3rd March. It stars Marie Jones, Eileen Pollock and Phelim Drew.

The National Theatre is converting the Olivier into an "in the round" space for a season running from April to June. Seats will be built on the stage, and the circle will not be used. The season will consist of Brecht's The Caucasian Chalk Circle, directed by Simon McBurney from Theatre de Complicite, opening on 21st April; and Peter Weiss's Marat/Sade directed by Jeremy Sams, opening on 14th May. The alterations will be demountable, so that if successful, further "in the round" productions can be staged in the future. Guys And Dolls returns in July.

Broadway set a new Box Office record for the last week of 1996 taking $13.9 million, breaking the previous record by $1 million. This figure was in part achieved by David Copperfield's magic spectacular which set its own record with 16 performances in one week.