OPENING TONIGHT, Tuesday 28 August 2007 (previews from 22 August), director Thea Sharrock reconceives her fringe production of The Emperor Jones, a hit in 2005 at the 70-seat Gate Theatre where she was then artistic director, for the National’s Theatre’s expansive 1,100-seat Olivier auditorium, as the final production in this year’s Travelex £10 Season (See News, 4 May 2007).
In Eugene O'Neill’s rarely staged 1921 drama, Paterson Joseph reprises his title performance as an American ex-convict who connives his way into a dictatorship over a remote West Indies island. Faced with revolt, the delusional ‘Emperor’ escapes to the dark forest where the searing heat and ominous pulse of his trackers’ drums take their toll.
ALSO TONIGHT, last summer’s sell-out Open Air Theatre production of Sandy Wilson’s 1954 pastiche of 1920s musicals, The Boy Friend, returns to Regent’s Park for a short run to 15 September ahead of a regional tour (See News, 15 Jan 2007). Rachel Jerram, who made her professional debut in the show last year, is once again Polly Brown, the millionaire’s daughter who falls in love with a delivery boy. The 2007 cast also features Kate Nelson, Richard Reynard, Anna Nicholas, Margaret Tyzack and artistic director Ian Talbot, who also directs and steps down at the end of this 75th anniversary season, after 20 years in the job.
OPENING WEDNESDAY, 29 August 2007 (preview 28 August), Satisfaction - the latest dance show from Danish choreographer Peter Schaufuss, set to some of the greatest hits of the Rolling Stones – receives its UK premiere at the West End’s Apollo Theatre, where it has a limited season to 8 September (See News, 4 Jun 2007).
A former director of the London Festival Ballet (now English National Ballet), Peter Schaufuss returned to Holstebro in his native Denmark to found the Peter Schaufuss Ballet, the country’s first independent, international touring ballet company. He made headlines in the UK two years ago with his dance piece based on the life of the Princess of Wales (See The Goss, 10 Mar 2005). Diana The Princess, which Schaufuss described as “not so much a ballet as a ‘musical without words’”, had its UK premiere at The Lowry in Manchester but the planned West End transfer never materialised. In addition to more conventional dance pieces, the Schaufuss repertoire also includes a ballet set to the music of Michael Jackson entitled I’m Bad.
- by Terri Paddock