News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st October 2008

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Sean Mathias will succeed Jonathan Kent as artistic director at the Haymarket Theatre for its second producing season, which will open with Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, with Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart, directed by Mathias, on 6th May, following a regional tour. The play (in which, famously, 'nothing happens - twice'), sees two men by a roadside amuse themselves with a comical wordplay of poetry and nonsense, as they wait for someone to arrive. It will be produced in partnership with Duncan C Weldon Productions.

Trafalgar Studios 1 is to provide Christmas shelter to two diverse shows. Maria Friedman: Rearranged, in which Maria Friedman performs new arrangements of show tunes and contemporary songs, by some of the most renowned orchestrators in Britain and America, accompanied by an 11 piece band, a revised version of the show seen earlier this year at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark, directed by David Babani, will play mid evenings from 27th November to 4th January. The producers are Chocolate Factory Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Robert G Bartner and Bob Boyett. The children's show Horrid Henry - Live And Horrid!, adapted by John Godber from Francesca Simon's children's novels about a contemporary 9 year old 'Just William' character, directed by Hannah Chissick, which is currently touring, with Steven McGill, Alex Tregear, Ruth Calkin, Philip Bosworth, Rachael Swift, Clark Devlin, Katy Porrett and Howie McCullough, will play early evenings from 21st November to 11th January. The Watershed production will be presented by Michael Edwards and Carole Winter, in association with Novel Entertainment and Sheffield Theatres.

Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane, in which a young man charms his way into the home of two middle aged siblings, who vie for his attention, leading to blackmail and murder, with Imelda Staunton and Matthew Horne, directed by Nick Bagnall, will follow at Trafalgar Studios 1, opening on 30th January. It is a Michael Edwards and Carole Winter and English Touring Theatre co-production.

The 31st London International Mime Festival will run from 10th to 25th January, featuring companies from around the world spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning juggling and vaudeville, together with a programme of talks and workshops. Performers will include from France, Buchinger's Boot Marionettes with The Armature Of The Absolute, an adult puppet show about the avant-garde writer Alfred Jarry; from Russsia, Akhe Engineering Theatre with Plug'n'Play, an end-of-civilisation cabaret; from Spain, Circus Klezmer, a circus theatre event set at an eastern European Jewish wedding; from Germany, mask theatre Familie Floez with Hotel Paradiso, set in a cross between Fawlty Towers and the Bates Motel; from America, Tomas Kubinek performing his surreally eccentric vaudeville act; and from Britain, RedCape Theatre with The Idiot Colony, set in the hair salon of an asylum. Performances will be at the Barbican, ICA, Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House, Shunt Vaults and South Bank Centre. Further information can be found on the LIMF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

American performer Mandy Patinkin, accompanied by Paul Ford will play a short season of Mandy Patinkin In Concert, featuring works from the great American songbook, at the Duke of York's Theatre from 8th to 18th January. The producer is Michael David.

The spring season at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester will include Shakespeare's Macbeth, directed by Matthew Dunster, from 25th February; George Bernard Shaw's Widowers' Houses, about a young doctor who falls in love with a woman whose fortune has been made from the ownership of slums, directed by Greg Hersov, from 15th April; the world premiere of Edna O'Brien's Haunted, a memory play about love and betrayal telling the story of a man, his wife and his passion for a young lover, with Brenda Blethyn, directed by Braham Murray, from 13th May; and the return of The Pianist, Mikhail Rudy's stage version of Roman Polanski's film, with Peter Guinness, directed by Neil Bartlett, from 17th June; as well as the previously mentioned Everybody Loves A Winner, about bingo, written and directed by Neil Bartlett, from 1st July.

On The Casting Couch: Charlotte Wakefield, Aneurin Barnard and Iwan Rheon, with Lucy Barker, Natasha Barnes, Chris Barton, Jamie Blackley, Hayley Gallivan, Natalie Garner, Mona Goodwin, Evelyn Hoskins, Edd Judge, Harry McEntire, Jamie Muscato, Gemma O'Duffy, Jos Slovick and Richard Southgate, many of whom will be making their professional stage debuts, form the young cast of the Tony Award winning musical Spring Awakening, opening at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith, on 3rd February.

The Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, is in talks with Manchester City Council and theatre operator Live Nation about establishing a new production, training and performance base for both the Royal Opera and the Royal Ballet at the Palace Theatre.

New York TheatreNet: The upcoming production of David Mamet's American Buffalo, with John Leguizamo, Cedric Kyles (aka Cedric the Entertainer) and Haley Joel Osment, directed by Robert Falls, opening at the Belasco Theatre on November 17th, is offering a peek into the creative process. A series of online postings reveal what actually happens backstage, in and out of rehearsal, including interviews with the cast, producers, and other members of the production's creative team, with new material added each day. These can be accessed from the show's web site, via the link from Shows in the Links section of New York TheatreNet, which can be found from the link below right.

The next productions at the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court will be William Saroyan's The Time Of Your Life, a glimpse into the lives of the disparate characters frequenting a seedy waterfront bar in San Francisco in 1939, directed by Max Lewendel, opening on 28th November, an Icarus Theatre Collective production; and John Antrobus's Captain Oates' Left Sock, an anarchic comedy set at an NHS therapy session, directed by Russel Bolam, opening on 9th January, a Green For Go production.

The Rumour Machine says: that a stage play, The Last Cigarette, adapted by Simon Gray and Hugh Whitemore from the final volume of Gray's Smoking Diaries, featuring a cast of two men and a woman, may go into production early next year with Felicity Kendal, directed by Richard Eyre. The Rumour Machine grinds on.