News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th June 2017

With 53,232 performances, of 3,398 shows (686 of which will be free and 215 pay what you wish), 1,683 premieres, from 62 countries, in 300 venues, the 70th Edinburgh Festival Fringe, running from 4th to 28th August, retains its position as the world's largest arts festival. In fact, the number of shows has more than doubled since the year 2000. Some of the wackier events will include Volcano Theatre flooding St James Church for a production of Chekhov's The Seagull; Boris Johnson and Michael Gove tasked with saving the nation in Chris Bryant's Brexit the Musical; Ukulele Death Squad blending Flamenco, Mexican and Folk; Adventurers Wanted: A 250 Hour Epic Tabletop Roleplaying Game spanning the entire season; Kinsey Sicks: Things You Shouldn't Say looking at the Trump administration in four part harmony and drag; and Liz Carr's Assisted Suicide The Musical. Comedy makes up 35% of the programme, Theatre 28%, Music 14%, Children's Shows 4%, Events 3%, Musicals & Opera 3%, Dance & Physical Theatre 4%, Cabaret & Variety 4%, Spoken Word 3% and Exhibitions 1%.

Henrik Ibsen's The Lady From The Sea, about a wife's crisis when a former lost fiancee returns, with Nikki Amuka-Bird, directed by Kwame Kwei-Armah, will open at the Donmar Warehouse in October.

The musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Fantastic Mr Fox, book by Sam Holcroft, music by Arthur Darvill, lyrics by Darren Clark, Arthur Darvill, Sam Holcroft and Ali Muriel, with Richard Atwill, Patrick Burbidge, Jade Croot, Lillie Flynn, Sandy Foster, Gruffudd Glyn, Richie Hart, Thomas Hewitt, Edward Hole, Kelly Jackson and Tanya Shields, directed by Maria Aberg, will return to the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith from 26th July to 20th August, it is a co-production with the Nuffield Southampton and the Curve Leicester.

Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, Neville Holt Opera will stage Puccini's Tosca, directed by Oliver Mears, from 15th to 22nd June; and Benjamin Britten's Noye's Fludde, on 1st and 2nd July, with a cast of 130 children, directed by Oliver Mears; both performed in a temporary theatre, prior to the opening of its new Stable Theatre next year. Further information can be found on the Neville Holt web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The London Transport Museum, in Covent Garden, is currently hosting Musical London, a display of posters featuring the delights of West End theatres, concert halls, opera houses, music halls and entertainment venues, drawn largely from the golden age of its collection in the 1920s and 1930s.

The Rumour Machine says: that the recent Tony Award winning Lincoln Center Theater production of the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King And I, based on Margaret Landon's novel Anna And The King Of Siam, with Kelli O'Hara and Ken Watanabe, directed by Bartlett Sher, with musical staging by Christopher Gattelli, and original Jerome Robbins choreography, will open at the London Palladium next summer. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . Welsh National Opera has created Magic Butterfly, a free immersive virtual reality opera experience that allows visitors to step inside the worlds of The Magic Flute and Madam Butterfly. Staged in a shipping container, it will open outside Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff on 14th July, and then tour the country, ending at the Victoria & Albert Museum in January.