News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st August 2007

The Donmar Warehouse is to stage Arthur Miller's early and rarely performed play The Man Who Had All The Luck, about a man blessed with what appears to be almost supernatural good fortune while those around him fall in defeat, with Andrew Buchan, directed by Sean Holmes, from 28th February.

Edinburgh Fringe Report: Once again ticket sales broke all previous records at 1,697,293, an 10.8% rise on last year, however discounted sales were up by nearly 47%, attributed to poor weather and the strength of the . There were 31,000 performances of 2,050 shows in 250 venues - up from 28,014 performances of 1,867 shows in 261 venues last year. Theatre made up 31% of the programme, Comedy 30.5%, Music 17%, Children's 5.5%, Musicals 5%, Opera 5%, Dance and Physical Theatre 4.5%, Exhibitions 3.5% and Events 3%. The Festival Fringe Society is already circulating information for companies wanting to appear in next year's Fringe, running from 3rd to 25th August. Interested parties can subscribe to receive a monthly email bulletin, and download a substantial amount of advice about venues, and mounting and selling a show - but they should remember to factor into their calculations that the average audience size for a Fringe show is 6 (or is that just an urban myth?). Further information can be found on the Fringe web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The winners have been announced of the inaugural Musical Theatre Matters Awards, the first ever musical theatre awards to be presented at the Edinburgh Fringe, selected from 83 shows, considered for the 6 awards. The Best New Musical was Tir Nan Og, music and lyrics by Dave Anderson, about a Scottish exile's quest for eternal youth, which will also be offered a place in Perfect Pitch, the festival of new British musicals, which will run at Upstairs At The Gatehouse in Highgate Village from 15th to 28th October. The 12 shows included, in varying stages of development, running anything from 20 minutes to just over an hour, will be presented in different combinations of 2 or 3 each evening. The producer is Andy Barnes. Further information about the awards and the festival can be found on the Musical Theatre Matters web site via the link from Writing in the Links section of TheatreNet

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage the musical La Cage Aux Folles, adapted from the French play by Jean Poiret (and later film), book by Harvey Fierstein, music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, centred on a gay couple running a Saint-Tropez nightclub that features a drag show, directed by Terry Johnson, with choreography by Lynne Page, opening on 3rd December.

The autumn season at the Everyman and Playhouse Theatres in Liverpool will include at the Everyman: the world premiere of Lizzie Nunnery's Intemperance, about life in the slums of the prosperous Victorian Liverpool as St George's Hall is completed, directed by Gemma Bodinetz, opening on 21st September; and Sarah Nixon and Mark Chatterton's rock 'n' roll pantomime Aladdin - Genie In The Sky With Diamonds, from 23rd November; and at the Playhouse: Headlong Theatre's Rough Crossings, adapted by Caryl Phillips from the book by Simon Schama, the story of a plantation slave and a British Naval Officer who embark on an epic journey in search of freedom, with Ed Hughes, Patrick Robinson and Peter De Jersey, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 16th October; and the return of The Flint Street Nativity, Tim Firth's adaptation of his television film about a school nativity play, in which adults play the children and the classroom becomes a battle ground, directed by Matthew Lloyd, opening on 29th November.

New York TheatreNet: Eve Best, Ian McShane, Raul Esparza and Michael McKean will star in a Broadway production of Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, directed by Daniel Sullivan, which will open at the Cort Theatre on 4th December. The action takes place at a 'meet the in-laws' occasion with a typically Pinteresque family in north London.

The Royal Shakespeare Company is holding a sale of costumes from past productions, covering a range of periods, including early English, Elizabethan and 20th Century, at its rehearsal room in Arden Street in Stratford upon Avon, from 10am to 5pm on 29th September. The sale, which will be open to the public, will comprise over 7,000 items from the hire stock of 40,000 garments made by the RSC wardrobe department, including costumes, shoes, hats and accessories, and among the special pieces will be the Snow Queens's coat from The Lion, The Witch And The Wardrobe.

On The Casting Couch: David Haig, Fiona Glascott, Liz Crowther, Patricia Hodge and Toby Stephens will be joined by Catherine Bailey, Timothy Bateson, Tristan Beint, Janet Brown, Nicholas Day, Elisabeth Dermot-Walsh, John Hopkins, David Shaw-Parker, Jo Stone-Fewings and Lucy Tregear, in The Country Wife, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on 9th October; Christian Slater will be joined by Helen Baxendale, Elizabeth Croft, Arthur Darvill, Mark Edel-Hunt, Jonathan Newth and Fanos Xenofos in Swimming With Sharks, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 16th October; and Penelope Keith will be joined by William Ellis, Harry Hadden-Paton, Daisy Haggard, Janet Henfrey, Maxwell Hutcheon, Rebecca Night, Roger Swaine and Tim Wylton in The Importance Of Being Earnest, which follows at the Vaudeville Theatre, opening on 29th January.

Opera North's autumn tour will open at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 15th September, and continue until 23rd February. It features the world premiere of Jonathan Dove's The Adventures Of Pinnochio, an authentic Victorian retelling of the classic story, directed by Martin Duncan; the British premiere of Reinhard Keiser's The Fortunes Of King Croesus, about the legendary rich and powerful king and his son, directed by Tim Albery, a co-production with Minnesota Opera; a new production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly, also directed by Tim Albery; together with a revival of Matthew Warchus' production of Verdi's Falstaff. The company will also host performances of the puppet theatre company Faulty Optic's production of Dead Wedding, a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth, with music by Mira Calix.

Performing Shakespeare by Oliver Ford Davies, recently published by Nick Hern Books, is an authoritative, hands on guide through the practical challenges involved in performing Shakespeare, with Ford Davies's personal thoughts drawn from a lifetime of experience, on the entire process of preparation, rehearsal and performance. These are combined with the wisdom gained in a series of interviews with a Who's Who of distinguished fellow actors, including Judi Dench on where she starts in building a character, Barbara Jefford on the essentials of playing Shakespeare, Simon Russell Beale on Hamlet's interplay with other characters, Ian McKellen on researching a role, Juliet Stevenson on Shakespeare's language, and Adrian Lester on playing Rosalind in As You Like It. An invaluable guide both to those who act, and to all those who wish to gain deeper insights into the performance of Shakespeare's plays.