At the Criterion Theatre, Patrick Barlow’s comic stage adaptation of John Buchan’s whodunit The 39 Steps has added four months to its schedule (See News, 23 Aug 2006). Following a sell-out summer season at north London’s Tricycle Theatre, the play – which premiered last June at Leeds’ West Yorkshire Playhouse – transferred to the West End, opening on 20 September 2006 (previews from 14 September) and originally booking until 13 January 2007. It will now continue until 21 April 2007.
The 39 Steps - in which Richard Hannay must break a spy ring and prove his innocent - was memorably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935. In the stage version, directed by Maria Aitken, four actors play “150 roles” between them and recreate all of the story’s thrills and spills, including the chase on the Flying Scotsman and the escape on the Forth Bridge.
The current cast is Charles Edwards (playing Hannay), Catherine McCormack, Rupert Degas and Simon Gregor. The production is presented in the West End by Edward Snape Ltd for Fiery Angel Ltd and Tricycle London Productions Ltd in association with the West Yorkshire Playhouse
Meanwhile, at the Shaftesbury Theatre, Boney M musical Daddy Cool, which premiered belatedly on 21 September 2006 (previews from 15 August), has added more than six month to its booking period (See News::E8821149587024}, 7 Jun 2006). Originally booking to 24 February 2007, it is now taking bookings through to 1 September 2007.
The musical – in which EastEnders’ Michelle Collins, pop star Javine and So Solid Crew’s Harvey (pictured) lead a 35-strong cast - features the hits of Seventies disco group Boney M, reinterpreted with contemporary influences and set alongside a modern London story loosely based on Romeo and Juliet (See News, 19 Jan 2006). Daddy Cool has a book by Amani Naphtali and Stephen Plaice. It’s directed by Andy Goldberg, designed by Jon Morrell and produced by record mogul Frank Farian and Robert Mackintosh.
There will be no performances on Friday 8 or Saturday 9 December 2006, in order for the Daddy Cool company to take part in the prestigious German television show, Wetten Dass on ZDF, transmitting across Europe on 9 December. Performances will recommence on Monday 11 December.
And finally, Guys and Dolls has extended its run by a further four weeks at the Piccadilly Theatre, where Patrick Swayze, Samantha Janus, Amy Nuttall and Norman Bowman currently star as Nathan Detroit, Miss Adelaide, Sarah Brown and Sky Masterson, respectively (See News, 29 Sep 2006). Michael Grandage’s multi award-winning production, which was previously booking to 6 January 2007, is now booking to 3 February 2007.
Based on Damon Runyon’s short stories about New York gamblers and their girls in the 1940s, Frank Loesser’s 1950 musical was made into a 1953 Hollywood film starring Marlon Brando, Jean Simmons and Frank Sinatra. The current London production is designed by Christopher Oram, with choreography by Rob Ashford, musical supervision by Jae Alexander, lighting by Howard Harrison and sound by Terry Jardine and Chris Full. It’s presented by the Ambassador Theatre Group and Live Nation in association with the Donmar Warehouse.
- by Caroline Ansdell & Terri Paddock