WhatsOnStage Logo
Theatre News

Lyric Announces Full Spring Season 09, Farr\'s Last

WhatsOnStage logo
The Lyric Hammersmith has announced the full line-up for its spring season, the last to be programmed by outgoing artistic director David Farr (See News, 14 Oct 2008). Highlights include a new musical adaptation of Wuthering Heights from British Asian company Tamasha, a new interpretation of Gogol\'s The Overcoat by Gecko and the previously announced UK premiere of Tony award-winning musical Spring Awakening (See News, 19 May 2008).

Incoming artistic director Sean Holmes will be in place by January, though a representative of the Lyric told Whatsonstage.com that there will be a \"long transition period\", with Farr remaining for much of the season to ensure a smooth handover.

The season kicks off in the main house from 3 to 28 February (previews from 23 January) with Spring Awakening. The alt-rock musical, which has music by Duncan Sheik and book and lyrics by Steven Sater, is based on the Frank Wedekind’s 1891 play of the same name about sexual discovery. Set in 19th-century Germany, the story centres on brilliant student Melchior, his troubled friend Moritz and Wendla, a beautiful girl on the verge of womanhood.

The creative team behind the original Broadway production, which won eight Tony award in 2007 (including Best Musical), are working with a young British cast let by newcomers Charlotte Wakefield, Iwan Rheon and Aneurin Barnard (See News, 24 October 2008).

Following Spring Awakening in the main house is The Overcoat, created by physical theatre company Gecko to celebrate the 200th birthday of writer Nikolai Gogol, which runs from 23 March to 11 April (previews from 20 March).

Published in 1842, The Overcoat satirises provincial bureaucracy and the pursuit of material wealth, and is one of Gogol\'s most popular short stories. Formed in 2002, Gecko’s previous work includes Taylor’s Dummies, The Race, and its recent high-octane production The Arab and The Jew, which ran at the Lyric Hammersmith earlier this year.

From 17 April to 25 April (previews from 15 April), theatre company Theatre-Rites - winners of the 2008 TMA Award for Achievement in Dance - join forces with award-winning aerialists Ockham’s Razor for a new family show entitled Hang On, directed by Theatre-Rites artistic director Sue Buckmaster. For the show, a high hanging-rig will be suspended above the Lyric stage as “daring performers attempt to create a giant, spinning, human mobile for a live audience”.  The international ensemble will include an Italian juggler and Japanese Taiko drummer.

Brontë goes to Bollywood

The final main house production of the season is Tamasha\'s Wuthering Heights, from 30 April to 23 May (preview 29 April), a co-production with the Oldham Coliseum where it premieres from 13 to 28 March as part of a national tour. Billed as “Brontë goes to Bollywood”, the classic tale of passion, jealousy and revenge is relocated to India, where Shakuntala, headstrong daughter of spice merchant Singh, falls for Krishan, a street urchin.  But can their adolescent love withstand India’s rigid social hierarchies, not to mention Shakuntala’s yearning for a life of luxury?

Tamasha\'s previous productions include A Fine Balance, Fourteen Songs, Two Weddings and a Funeral and the groundbreaking 1996 production East is East, which was adapted successfully for film. Wuthering Heights is written by Deepak Verma, who has has previously worked with Tamasha on his play Ghostdancing, based on Zola’s Thérèse Raquin, which premiered at the Lyric Hammersmith in 2001. He is also known for his long-running role as Sanjay in EastEnders.

In the studio, season highlights include the debut of Lemn Sissay\'s one-man show Why I Don’t Hate White People (28 January to 14 February, previews from 22 January), about his search for his family and his identity and the follow-up to his award-winning play Something Dark. It\'s followed, from 21 April to 9 May, by Vanishing Point\'s new show Interiors, inspired by the 1891 play Interior by Belgian playwright Maurice Maeterlinck.

Other notable events in the season include the opening of the Lyric\'s new eco-friendly roof garden, which promises “an oasis of calm away from the bustle of Hammersmith” (See The Goss, 12 Nov 2008). And for children, the Lyric continues to provide a solid range of daytime family shows in its studio.

- By Theo Bosanquet


Tagged in this Story