News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th October 2017

The Old Vic's 200th anniversary season will include the previously announced Alan Ayckbourn's The Divide, a two part comedy exploring a futuristic dystopian society of repression, insurrection and forbidden love, with Clare Burt, Sophie Melville, Sian Thomas, Finty Williams, Jake Davies, Erin Doherty, Thusitha Jayasundera, Richard Katz, Joanne McGuiness, Clare Lawrence Moody, Weruche Opia, Martin Quinn and Letty Thomas, directed by Annabel Bolton, opening on 7th February; Ingmar Bergman's Fanny And Alexander, about sisters whose lives change when their widowed mother remarries a local bishop, adapted by Stephen Beresford, directed by Max Webster, opening on 1st March, Joe Penhall's Mood Music, staging a battle between two songwriters, their lawyers, and their psychotherapists, directed by Roger Michell, opening on 2nd May; A Monster Calls, based on the novel by Patrick Ness, in which a boy awakes one night to find a monster at his window, devised by the company, directed by Sally Cookson, opening on 17th July; and Sylvia, a hip-hop piece about the Suffragist Sylvia Pankhurst, by Kate Prince and Priya Parmar, music by Josh Cohen and DJ Walde, directed and choreographed by Kate Prince, opening on 6th September.

A revised version of the musical Chess, book by Bjorn Ulvaeus, music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus, lyrics by Tim Rice and Bjorn Ulvaeus, about the professional and emotional battles of rival American and Russian world chess champions at the time of the Cold War, directed by Laurence Connor, with choreography by Stephen Mear, will open a season at the London Coliseum on 1st May.

The Hope Mill Theatre Manchester production of the musical Pippin, book by Roger O Hirson, music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz, which brings contemporary sensibilities to a coming of age story of self discovery, set in the court of Emperor Charlemagne, directed by Jonathan O'Boyle, with choreography by William Whelton, will open at Southwark Playhouse, at the Elephant and Castle, on 28th February.

A revival of the Kneehigh Theatre/Birmingham Repertory Theatre staging of Brief Encounter, David Lean's 1945 film based on the Noel Coward play Still Life, which explores betrayal and adultery through three separate love stories set in a railway station, adapted and directed by Emma Rice, will play at the Empire Cinema from 2nd March.

The spring season at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith will include the Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester production of Jubilee, based on Derek Jarman's 1978 film celebration of punk, contemporary adaptation and direction by Chris Goode, with Toyah Willcox, opening on 20th February; Sean O'Casey's The Plough And The Stars, set in a Dublin tenement during the Irish Easter Rising of 1916, directed by Sean Holmes, opening on 20th March; the return of the opera 4.48 Psychosis, music by Philip Venables, based on the play by Sarah Kane about the time of day of the mind's greatest clarity, directed by Ted Huffman, opening on 24th April; and Fatherland, conceived by Scott Graham, Karl Hyde and Simon Stephens, a collage of words, music and movement on the subject of contemporary fatherhood, opening on 31st May.

The musical Sunshine On Leith, book by Stephen Greenhorn, with songs from The Proclaimers, about the lives of two men who leave the army and return home to their families in Leith, directed by James Brining, will open a national tour at West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds on 26th April.