In a Jan. 4 interview with RSC director Greg Doran, columnist Brian Appleyard writes, “Negotiations for a full-time venue continue, however, with one startling possibility being the Commonwealth Institute building, on Kensington High Street.” The abandonment of the Barbican Centre, the RSC’s long-standing home in the capital, was the brainchild of departed artistic director Adrian Noble. Now that Michael Boyd is in charge, the company has been quick to admit the move as a mistake. Says Doran in the interview, “The whole crisis was brought about by an overreaction to the problem of the Barbican. You had this sense of being trapped, and people got ill at the Barbican, but the plan was not fully agreed by everybody. . . It turned into a horrendous financial mistake. It was a mistake based on the old arts-company idea that if you close one door, another is bound to open. It didn’t.”
A trio of Stratford productions (all directed by Doran) are already booked for the West End, but they won’t be at the new RSC base, wherever it is. In late January and February Shaftesbury Avenue will be RSC-dominated. The Taming of the Shrew opens at the Queen’s on Jan. 15, with its companion production (a ‘sequel’ by John Fletcher, using the same cast) The Tamer Tamed joining it on Jan. 21. Up the road, Doran’s much praised All’s Well That Ends Well, starring Judi Dench, opens on Feb. 19.