`Tis the season of amateur productions and local newspapers are packed with rave notices. For example:
A new musical, bravely entitled: Dolly, has just opened at the Borough of Lewisham Theatre (The BLT). Presented by the Lewisham Amateur Dramatic Society (The LADS). Dolly has been freely adapted from Ibsen's A Doll'sHouse and features songs culled from Ingmar Bergman's movies.
The Lewisham Bugle has raved that "Abigail Binswanger as Nora, was unforgettable". The show plays until Tuesday, Nov. 18. Ticket availability is good.
RODENTS The Globe, the amazing recreation of Shakespeare's theatre has enjoyed a fabulous first season and we now await next season with baited breath. However, all is not entirely quiet... A new company has taken up residence: Rats.
Ironically, Elizabethan playhouses were closed down due to rodent infestation to prevent the spread of the bubonic plague. Numerous experts have been called in to stop the invasion, but to date the most effective deterrent is of the feline variety. Next year, the season will feature Cats.
Apparently Rocket have two UK projects lined up for next year - a transfer of the off-Broadway Production As Bees In Honey Drown (most likely to the Hampstead Theatre) and a major musical workshop which they are keeping firmly under wraps.
AN ELTON SPECTACLE
Elton's eye-glasses are the subject of the play Elton John's Glasses, which has just won David Farr, the Artistic Director of The Gate Theatre in Notting Hill, the Writers' Guild of Great Britain prize for Best Regional Play. Celebrated producer Michael Codron will be taking the play to the West End.
Codron is a busy man these days. He has just confirmed that the Gielgud Theatre will be the venue for Alan Ackybourn's Things We Do For Love, which has enjoyed huge success at Scarborough and in the regions. It is thought that Hugh Laurie will star but nothing is confirmed yet.
The production opens March 3, 1998. Codron produces Pinter, Aykbourn, Stoppard<, you name 'em. A knighthood is deserved says I.
Casting news. Tom Hollander, the star of Mojo (Royal Court), and The Beggars’ Opera (Donmar Warehouse), is lined up to tread the boards with Liam Neeson in the Almeida Theatre’s production of David Hare’s new play: Judas Kiss which will open at the Playhouse on March 19. Try getting tickets for that one! The Almeida is one of our leading theatre companies, attracting some of our greatest actors, including Ralph Fiennes (Hamlet and Ivanov).
It is confirmed that Judi Dench, Samantha Bond and Ronald Pickup will stay with David Hare's latest play Amy's View, a smash at the National, when it transfers to the Aldwych.
The respected Donmar Warehouse, an "Off-West End" producing theatre in Covent Garden, has just formed a commercial arm to be known as Warehouse Productions. This will enable them to keep the profits derived from transfers. This will help finance future productions. It has also been suggested that productions under the banner of Warehouse Productions and it's director, Sam Mendes, (currently the director of Cameron Mackintosh's Oliver! at the Palladium), will attract big names in much the same way as the Almedia has done.
Nicole Kidman was seen leaving the Earlham Street theatre a few weeks ago. Eavesdroppers in the famous industry eatery The Ivyhave assured me that she has "no immediate plans to do any theatre". Its just an idea she is toying with. We will have to wait until next spring.
Let's return to Lewisham, which is to London what a Newark NJ suburb is to New York's Manhattan. When being driven through a rain-swept Lewisham many years ago, Franz Lehar was delighted to see that a production of his operetta Goonight Vienna was playing at the Town Hall. "Stop the car!" ordered Franz. Breathlessly, he flung on his opera cloak, donned his top hat and mounted the steps of the theatre two at a time. Rapping on the shuttered box office window he announced: "I am Lehar! Open up!" The shutter was raised and an elderly lady peered out at him. "How is business?" asked the composer. "Well, Mr. Lehar", said the lady, "As bad as if we were in Vienna presenting Goodbye Lewisham".
--By Ashley Herman