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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th September 2014

The winter season at the Almeida Theatre in Islington will include a revival of the 2011 Royal Shakespeare Company production of Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, with Ian McDiarmid, Jamie Beamish, Rebecca Brewer, Susannah Fielding, Scott Handy, Caroline Martin and Emily Plumtree, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 15th December; the premiere of Mike Bartlett's Game, in which a family explores a dangerous new way to live in the face of the current housing crisis, directed by Rupert Goold, opening on 3rd March; and Simon Stephens's Carmen Disrupted, a reinvention of Bizet's Carmen exploring the possibility of love in a fractured contemporary urban world, directed by Michael Longhurst, opening on 17th April; plus Wallace Shawn's The Fever, a monologue in which in a hotel in a distant city a man is searching for answers, performed by Tobias Menzies, directed by Robert Icke, playing in a suite at The May Fair Hotel, from 7th January to 7th February.

London Open House, the annual scheme to allow the public into architecturally interesting but usually private buildings across the capital, takes place on 20th and 21st September. Over 800 locations will include some of theatrical interest, such as the Arcola, Bush, Hackney Empire, Park, Richmond, Sadler's Wells, Theatre Royal Stratford East, Unicorn, Wilton's Music Hall and Young Vic theatres; the Fairfield, Royal Albert and Royal Festival concert halls; National Centre for Circus Arts, and Rambert Dance Studios; BBC Television Centre and Channel 4 Television; BFI Imax, Mitcham Granada, Odeon Muswell Hill, Phoenix and Regal Camberwell cinemas, and Sands Film Studio & Rotherhythe Picture Research Library; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. There will also be talks, conducted walks and other accompanying special events taking place at various locations over the course of the weekend. Entrance is free, but because of limited access, a few of the buildings require prebooking. Further information can be found on the London Open House web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Carly Bawden, Simon Lipkin, Mike McShane, David Robert, Andy Nyman and Catherine Tate will feature in the John Weidman-Stephen Sondheim musical Assassins, at the Menier Chocolate Factory from 21st November; Tamsin Greig will be joined by Haydn Gwynne, Anna Skellern and Jerome Pradon in the Jeffrey Lane-David Yazbeck musical Women On The Verge Of A Nervous Breakdown, opening at the Playhouse Theatre on 12th January; and Mark Rylance, Iestyn Davies and William Purefoy will feature in Claire van Kampen's Farinelli And The King, at the Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe from 11th February.

The winter season at the Hampstead Theatre will include the premiere of Roy Williams's Wildfire, a thriller looking at what is expected and what can be delivered in modern policing, directed by Maria Aberg, opening on 12th November; and the return of Tiger Country, written and directed by Nina Raine, exploring the clinical and ethical issues of staff in a frenetic London hospital, opening on 15th December.

New York TheatreNet: The West End production of David Hare's Skylight, with Bill Nighy, Carey Mulligan and Matthew Beard, in which a teacher leading a threadbare existence is visited by her much older, much richer, former lover, intent on seeing if their relationship can be rekindled, directed by Stephen Daldry, will transfer to the Golden Theatre, opening on 2nd April. The Steppenwolf Theatre Company production of Lisa D'Amour's Airline Highway, in which a rag-tag collection of strippers, hustlers, and philosophers come together to celebrate the life of a burlesque performer who has requested a funeral before she dies, directed by Joe Mantello, will open at Manhattan Theatre Club's Samuel J Friedman Theatre, on 23rd April. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Live Theatre in Newcastle will stage the premiere of Ron Hutchinson's Flying Into Daylight, based on an original story by Victoria Fischer, music created and performed by Julian Rowlands, about a woman who leaves a mundane life in Britain and goes to Buenos Aires to learn the tango, with Summer Strallen and Jos Vantyler, directed by Ron Hutchinson and Max Roberts, with choreography by Amir Giles, opening on 2nd December.

The professional premiere of Joe Orton's Fred And Madge, in which a normal unhappily married couple are inhabiting a play about themselves, with Andrew Brock, Jake Curran, Loz Keystone, Jordan Mallory-Skinner, Jodyanne Richardson and Geordie Wright, directed by Mary Franklin, will open at The Hope Theatre, in Islington, on 19th September. The producers are Rough Haired Pointer and Adam Spreadbury-Maher.

Clive Francis's The Small Hand, adapted from Susan Hill's contemporary ghost story involving a dealer in antiquarian books who stumbles across a derelict Edwardian house, with Andrew Lancel, Diane Keen and Robert Duncan, directed by Roy Marsden, will open a prospective pre West End tour at the Theatre Royal in Windsor, from 7th October. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Forthcoming productions at The Old Red Lion Theatre, at the Angel Islington, will include premiere of Miran Hadzic's The Love And Devotion Of Ridley, a darkly comic contemporary tale of working for love or for money, with Terry Diab, Stewart Lockwood, Tom Machell and Lottie Vallis, directed by Katharine Armitage, from 23rd September; The Silence Of Snow: The Life Of Patrick Hamilton, a bioplay about the 1930s thriller writer, written and performed by Mark Farrelly, directed by Linda Marlowe, from 25th September; and the premiere of Sarah Simmonds's Unidentified Item In The Bagging Area, in which a dissatisfied middle aged woman makes a new friend who introduced her to a different world, directed by Louise Shephard, from 14th October, produced by Pink Snail Productions.


Opening This Week

The Play That Goes Wrong - Duchess
A comedy relating the tribulations of an amateur dramatic society producing a 1920s murder mystery, written by and featuring Henry Lewis, Jonathan Sayer and Henry Shields.
Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville
Christina Bianco, Anna-Jane Casey, Damian Humbley and Ben Lewis in the sellout Menier Chocolate Factory production of the legendary revue that has been lampooning Broadway theatre on and off for the last 30 years.
Ballyturk - National Lyttelton
A dark comedy in which the lives of two men unravel, with Cillian Murphy, Stephen Rae and Mikel Murfi, written and directed by Enda Walsh.
Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
Howard Brenton’ new epic play about a soldier from the First World War and the founding father of plastic surgery, with Patrick Driver and James Garnon, directed by John Dove.


First Nights

14th - The Play That Goes Wrong - Duchess
15th - Forbidden Broadway - Vaudeville
16th - Ballyturk - National Lyttelton
17th - Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
22nd - Evita - Dominion
22nd - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
23rd - Teh Internet Is Serious Business - Royal Court
25th - James I: The Key Will Keep The Lock / James II: Day Of The Innocents / James III: The True Mirror - National Olivier
26th - Great Britain - Haymarket
29th - Urinetown - Apollo
1st - Electra - Old Vic
2nd - Speed-the-Plow - Playhouse
9th - Henry IV - Donmar Warehouse


13th - The Crucible - Old Vic
13th - The Pajama Game - Shaftesbury
13th - To Kill A Mockingbird - Open Air
20th - The Importance Of Being Earnest - Harold Pinter
20th - Jeeves & Wooster In Perfect Nonsense - Duke of York’s
21st - Let It Be - Garrick
27th - My Night With Reg - Donmar Warehouse
27th - Richard III - Trafalgar Studios 1
4th - Wolf Hall / Bring Up The Bodies - Aldwych
10th - Doctor Scroggy’s War - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Pitcairn - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Julius Caesar - Shakespeare’s Globe
11th - Ballyturk - National Lyttelton