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Dateline: 7th May, 2006

Chas Early as Bill Hicks

Hicks Makes a Slight Return to the West End
Following sell-out runs at the Edinburgh Fringe 2004 & 2005, a national tour and an extended run Off West End at the Soho Theatre in 2005, Chas Early and Richard Hurst's recreation of comedian Bill Hicks' return for one last show, Bill Hicks: Slight Return, is to play at The Venue in Leicester Square on 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 9th, 10th, 16th and 17th June at 8pm.

Bill Hicks' edgy, confrontational style has influenced many comedians. Chas Early uses his impersonation of the much-missed cult comic to take a look at what Hicks would have made of the world in 2006. Unsurprisingly, he is none too impressed, and everyone from George Bush to Coldplay fall victim to a tirade of abuse.

39 Steps publicity image

39 Steps to the Tricycle
The stage version of John Buchan's The 39 Steps, which premiered at the West Yorkshire Playhouse last year, is to have a new production at Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre from 10th August to 9th September. Adapted by Patrick Barlow, from an original concept by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, the story is performed by four actors playing around 150 parts. No further details have yet been announced but it is hoped that the production will transfer to the West End after the Kilburn showing.

"Nothing," we are told, "will be cut from this spectacular premiere of Britain's most spellbinding thriller which promises to be the most astonishing theatrical tour de force of the year."

A scene from The Miller's Tale, part of the RSC 's Canterbury Tales

West End transfer for RSC Tales?
The Royal Shakespeare Company's version of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, six hours long and spread over two performances, will probably transfer into the West End's Gielgud Theatre in June or July, according to a company spokesman speaking to Playbill, although this has not yet been confirmed. It has recently finished a national tour and ends its performances at Washington's Kennedy Centre today.

If the transfer does go ahead, it will be produced in the West End by Thelma Hold and Bill Kenwright who are producing The Crucible, currently at the Gielgud.

Rock 'n' Roll logo

New Stoppard to Transfer
Tom Stoppard's new play Rock 'n' Roll, which is part of the Royal Court's fiftieth anniversary season, will transfer to the Duke of York's for a short run from 15th July to 24th September. The production runs at the Royal Court from 3rd June to 15th July.

Directed by Trevor Nunn, the cast includes Brian Cox, Sinead Cusack and Rufus Sewell.

Rock 'n' Roll spans the years from 1968 to 1990 from the double perspective of Prague, where a rock'n'roll band comes to symbolise resistance to the Communist regime, and of Cambridge where the verities of love and death are shaping the lives of three generations in the family of a Marxist philosopher.

Sound of Music Dates Confirmed
It has been confirmed that Andrew Lloyd Webber's new production of The Sound of Music, directed by Jeremy Sams, will play at the London Palladium from 5th December (previews from 24th November), booking initially to 14 April, 2007.

Casting Update

  • Frances Conroy will join the cast of The Exonerated at the Riverside Studios from 16th to 21st May.
  • In Wicked at the Apollo Victoria Miriam Margoyles will appear as Madame Morrible and Nigel Planer will play the Wizard.
  • In Caroline, or Change by Tony Kushner and Jeanine Tesori at the National Theatre, the cast will include Clive Rowe, Angela M. Caesar, Malinda Parris and Nataylia Roni. It will be directed by George C. Wolfe, who directed the original Broadway production.
  • Martin Henderson, Larry Lamb and Joe Duttine join Juliette Lewis in Sam Shepard's Fool for Love at the Apollo.
  • Andrew Scott and Sian Brooke will star in Christopher Shinn’s Dying City at the Royal Court.
  • The Shakespeare company at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park this summer will include Sirine Saba, John Hodginkson, Tim Kightley, Gerard Carey, Steven Pacey, Summer Strallen, Dominic Marsh, Michael Medwin and Sheridan Smith. They will perform in The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream.
  • In The Boyfriend, also at Regent's Park, Rachel Jerram will play Polly Browne, Joshua Dallas Tony, Anna Nicholas Mme Dubonnet, Summer Strallen Maisie and the Open Air’s artistic director Ian Talbot Lord Brockhurst.

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©Peter Lathan 2006