The Week in Performing Arts - 21/3/12
Sweeney Todd, a Stephen Sondheim musical, has opened in the West End to rapturous reviews. Imelda Staunton and Michael Ball hold the two main roles, playing Mrs Lovett and Sweeney Todd respectively. Apparently the cast and artistic team are making the show as grisly as possible, and Ball commented on the applause from audience at crucial moments of gore: "Tonight for the first time they clapped when I killed the judge”. The Daily Mail’s theatre reviewer Quentin Letts said ominously, “Sweeney Todd is a dark night”.
Simon McBurney, artistic director of acclaimed theatre group Complicite, is in the final stretch of his latest project: taking on Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Master and Margarita. Bulgakov’s work has developed a reputation for being impossible to adapt, but McBurney says that nothing is impossible to adapt, and “In this case, the really tough part is finding Bulgakov's voice”. Andrew Lloyd-Webber ditched plans to make a musical out of the novel, saying darkly, "It's un-do-able. It's just too difficult for an audience to contemplate."
The Royal Ballet are soon to open a new triple bill of shows, including two new works and a revival of Polyphonia. Spoken of as a ‘radical departure for the company’, the work will involve a fusion of pop music (provided and played by Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt of Miike Snow. Three of the songs are orchestrated by Rufus Wainwright), modern club fashions, and Jungian theory. The Royal Ballet are keeping their cards close to their chest with this one, and speculation abounds, but it’s good to see that they are still promoting their £3 tickets to encourage young people to come.
Dominic Cooke will step down as artistic director of The Royal Court in April 2013 but is planning to start the handover to his successor a year early, so the top theatre is currently sorting through applications. Watch this space for an announcement very soon, we hope… The RSC’s Artistic Director Michael Boyd is stepping down this year, around much conjecture over the identity of his successor. Perhaps Cooke will be taking a trip to Stratford? Executive Director of the Royal Court, Kate Horton, will be leaving and taking up the post of deputy Executive Director at the National Theatre.
Audrey Niffenegger, novelist of best-selling novel The Time Traveller’s Wife (which was then made into a film with Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams), will be picking up her pen for The Royal Ballet next season. She will collaborate on ‘Raven Girl’ - a “modern twist on a fairytale”, according to Kevin O’Hare – with the company’s in-house choreographer, Wayne McGregor.