News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st August 2012

The National Theatre has announced new productions, which will include in the Olivier: Arthur Wing Pinero's farce The Magistrate, the tale of a respectable magistrate engulfed in scandal by the behaviour of his wife and stepson, with John Lithgow, Nancy Carroll and Joshua McGuire, directed by Timothy Sheader; and in the Lyttelton: two monologues by Alan Bennett, performed by Alex Jennings, Hymn, a memoir of music in childhood, and Cocktail Sticks, from A Life Like Other People's; and Simon Stephens's Port, about two children abandoned and growing up in 1980s Stockport, directed by Marianne Elliott; plus the return of 1927 Theatre Company's production of The Animals And Children Took To The Streets, written, directed by and featuring Suzanne Andrade, with Esme Appleton and Lillian Henley, combining music, performance and storytelling with film and animation to take audiences on a theatrical journey.

The Children's Touring Partnership production of David Wood's Goodnight Mister Tom, adapted from Michelle Magorian's novel about a boy evacuated from London during the Second World War who is put in the care of an elderly recluse, with Oliver Ford Davies, directed by Angus Jackson, will play a season at the Phoenix Theatre opening on 27th November.

It has been announced that the musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, the story of a boy who wins the chance to visit the mysterious Willy Wonka's idiosyncratic sweet manufacturing plant, book by David Greig, music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, directed by Sam Mendes, with choreography by Peter Darling, will open at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane (not as previously announced the London Palladium) in June, following previews from 18th May. The producers are Warner Bros Theatre Ventures, Neal Street Productions and Kevin McCormick.

The autumn season at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court will include Hugh Leonard's A Life, in which a man looks back on the triumphs and his tragedies of his life as he desperately tries to put his emotional accounts in order, directed by Eleanor Rhode, opening on 4th October, a co-production with Snapdragon Productions; and the premiere of Shamser Sinha's Khadija Is 18, exploring the lives of two teenage refugee girls in the East End of London, directed by Tim Stark, from 1st November, a co-production with B29 Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The Peccadillo Theatre Company will stage Jeffrey Hatcher's Ten Chimneys, a comedy set at 1930s Broadway stars Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne's country estate during rehearsals for Chekhov's The Seagull, with Byron Jennings, Carolyn McCormick, Mariette Hartley, Michael McCarty, Charlotte Booker, Julia Bray and John Wernke, directed by Dan Wackerman, opening at Theatre at St Clement's on 30th September. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Defibrillator Theatre Company will take over 3 suites at the Grange Holborn Hotel to perform 3 plays by Tennessee Williams, previously unproduced in Britain, under the umbrella title The Hotel Plays, opening on 5th October. The plays are Green Eyes, revealing the impact of war through the sexual fantasies of a newlywed couple in New Orleans, directed by James Hillier; The Travelling Companion, in which an inexperienced hustler and an insecure older writer negotiate their relationship, directed by Anthony Banks; and Sunburst, about a retired actress falling hostage to two young men scheming to steal her priceless sunburst diamond, directed by Robert Hastie.

The autumn season at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds will include Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, in a new adaptation by Tim Luscombe, about a poor girl brought up by rich relatives who questions and breaks the accepted rules of polite society, with Geoff Arnold, Karen Ascoe, Pete Ashmore, Richard Heap, Ffion Jolly, Tim Luscombe and Leonie Spilsbury, directed by Colin Blumenau, from 13th September; and Rapunzel And The Rascal Prince, adapted from the fairytale by the Brothers Grimm and directed by Colin Blumenau, from 30th November.

Forthcoming productions at Trafalgar Studios 2 will include Zelda, written and performed by Kelly Burke, a bio play about Zelda Fitzgerald, including excerpts from her writing; playing in tandem with Barbershopera: Cabaret Sauvignon, with Rob Castell, Lara Stubbs, Pete Sorel Cameron and Will Kenning, both opening at on 18th September.

As the picnic hampers and travel rugs are packed away for another year, Glyndebourne Touring Opera takes to the road until December, following a launch mini season of performances on its home turf from 4th to 20th October. The repertoire comprises: this season's new production of Mozart's Le nozze di Figaro, directed by Michael Grandage; Melly Still's 2009 production of Dvorak's Rusalka; and a new work The Yellow Sofa, music by Julian Philips, text by Edward Kemp, based on a short story by Eca de Queiros about Lisbon's bourgeois society towards the end of the 19th century, directed by Frederic Wake-Walker.

Carl Djerassi's Insufficiency, about deadly rivalry in an American university chemistry department, with Tim Dutton, Karen Archer, Sara Griffiths and Walter Van Dyk, Directed by Andy Jordan, will play at the Riverside Studios, in Hammersmith, from 20th September.

Forthcoming productions at York Theatre Royal will include Alan Sillitoe's The Loneliness Of The Long Distance Runner, about boy who turns to long distance running as a both an emotional and a physical escape from his deprived background, adapted by Roy Williams, with Elliot Barnes-Worrell, Doreene Blackstock, Curtis Cole, Dominic Gately, Savannah Gordon-Liburd, Jack McMullen, Richard Pepple, Alix Ross, Sean Sagar and Luke James, directed by Marcus Romer, from 14th September, a co-production with Pilot Theatre; Susan Watkins's The Guinea Pig Club, the story of cosmetic surgeon Archibald McIndoe's work with the savagely burned fighter pilots and aircrew in the Second World War, directed by Damian Cruden, from 5th October, a co-production with Vroom Productions; and Robin Hood And His Merry Men, written, co-directed by and featuring Berwick Kaler, co-directed by Damian Cruden, with choreography by Nicola Boyd-Anderson, from 13th December.