UK Roundup

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The National Theatre has announced its Spring/Summer season, and being that their productions win all awards and be among the most critically acclaimed shows, I thought I'd let you know what's on the agenda!

The Olivier
  • A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum - Sondheim's comedy will be directed by Edmond director Edward Hall, and with Desmond Barrit in the lead role
  • Stuff Happens - a David Hare political drama taking its name from Donald Rumsfeld's 'stuff happens' quote. Rumsfeld, Dick Cheney, Tony Blair and George Bush are expected to appear as characters. Cue lookalikes!
  • Cyrano de Bergerac - in a new version by Derek Mahon (an Irish poet), CDB will be directed by Howard Davies, who won the Best Director award at the Critics' Circle Awards, and star Stephen Rea
  • Measure for Measure - Shakespeare's comedy will run in repitoire from May 27th, with Simon McBurney directing and a cast led by Paul Rhys and Naomi Frederick
  • His Dark Materials - for those of you who didn't catch this a first time, His Dark Materials will return next Christmas for a three/four month run.

Lyttleton
  • The Permenant Way - a continuation of David Hare's railway drama, currently running in the Cottesloe Theatre, where it's sold out.
  • The History Boys - Alan Bennet's new play set in a school staffroom, where artistic director Nicholas Hytner will direct and Frances de la Tour will star
  • Iphigenia at Aulis - Euripides' drama about a ship commander who sacrifices his daughter in return for good sailing weather. It is directed by Katie Mitchell.
  • The House of Bernarda Alba - a play about passion, repression and the power of sexual desire, set in Spain  just before the outbreak of the Civil War. It will be a new version by David Hare (yes, for those who have been reading carefully - Hare will have 3 productions in the new season).

Cottesloe
  • The Pillowman- - like The Permenant Way, this will continue into the Spring/Summer season with a three week extension. Disturbing new drama by Martin McDonagh.
  • Sing Yer Heart Out For The Lads - Roy Williams' play about football was previously seen during the Transformation Season in 2002, but will return for a new production in the Cottesloe.
  • Lifegame - every night a different guest is interviewed, and then their interview is turned into a piece of devised drama! Will play for ten performances only, and staged by company Inprobable Theatre.
  • The False Servant- - 18th century drama in a new version by Martin Crimp, directed by former Almeida artistic director Jonathan Kent.
  • The Night Season - second play from writer Rebecca Lenkiewicz
  • If This Is A Man - writer/star Anthony Sher (in a one-man play) is directed by Richard Wilson, known best for comedy One Foot in the Grave. A play about Italian scientist Primo Levi.
  • The Mandate - a revival of lost Russian Farce The Mandate completes the line-up, and it's directed by Declan Donnellan, who also writes the new version.

Check www.nationaltheatre.org.uk for more information.

Critics, as we know, can make or break shows. So how about an awards ceremony voted for by.. critics?! Well, it happened, and the 15th annual Critics' Circle Awards have announced their verdict. Jerry Springer the Opera was decided as their best musical of 2003, Michael Frayn's Democracy was best play and best actor/actress was Michael Sheen (for Caligula) and Eve Best respectively (the latter for Mourning Becomes Electra).

If everyone in America relies on Playbill.com for their theatre news, in Britain everyone relies on Whatsonstage.com, our best equivalent. For the past two months they've been polling together theatregoers votes for their own Whatsonstage.com Awards, voted for purely by theatregoers with nominees also drawn from their opinions. The National Theatre's Edmond picked up 3 awards, including Best Actor (Kenneth Branagh), and Anything Goes won 6 awards - Best Actor and Actress in a Musical, Director, Revival, Set and Choreography. The £10 season at The National Theatre was announced as Theatre Event of the Year whilst Jerry Springer the Opera beat off competition from Thoroughly Modern Millie for Best New Musical, making it winner three times over if you include the Evening Standard Awards.

Full list of nominations/winners and acceptance speeches can be found at http://www.whatsonstage.com/dl/page.php?page=awardsreal&yr=2004

In other news, Anne Hathaway is expected to take the lead role in The Woman in White, a role that was sung in the workshop by Laura Michelle Kelly, who favoured the more prestigious role in Mary Poppins. A leading newspaper gossip-columnist confirmed the news.

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Jake is currently studying at Bristol University and hopes to eventually pursue a career in the theatre industry as a writer/director. His favourite writers include American playwright Rebecca Gilman and he's a big supporter of new writing in Britain. In addition to BroadwayWorld, Jake also writes for BBC.co.uk, Whatsonstage.com and Theatremonkey.com.


 

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