Abandoned warehouses, monstrous babies and dry ice are scary in any language, it seems.
Ghost Stories, which had a 13-month run in the West End in 2010 and played to 210,000 people, is to transfer to Moscow. The show – which takes the form of a lecture on the spirit world interspersed with three effects-laden horror stories – will open at the Yauza Palace in October and will be performed in Russian. Andy Nyman, star of the show, has adapted it with his co-creator Jeremy Dyson. “We've taken out the references to O2 and Tesco, but other than that, the show is the same,” he tells me. “It's still going to be set in England. Russians don't believe they have ghosts, in the traditional sense. They think ghosts live in England and Scotland.” The show became a word-of-mouth hit in London following an online campaign. “It wasn't really embraced by the theatre world. It's not like we were inundated with Olivier Awards,” says Nyman. “But a quarter of a million people – many of whom had never set foot in a theatre before – came to see it.
Half-baked comedy for £31? You're taking the Michael...
How much do you like Michael McIntyre? Enough to pay £31 to see him practise his unfinished jokes and train for his distinctive cross-stage skipping? The comedian, who is expected to earn £20m from his Autumn 2012 tour, has started a run of previews of new material at a string of theatres around the country, culminating with two dates on the opening weekend of the Edinburgh Fringe. McIntyre will play the 3000-seater Edinburgh Playhouse (the largest working theatre in the UK) on 5 and 6 August with a “Work in Progress” show for which all tickets – from the stalls to the gods – will cost £31. Tickets for the full tour cost £35 (plus £5.25 booking fee at some venues). The average price of a ticket for a fully finished show on the Edinburgh Fringe, meanwhile, is £10. And that's how you become a multimillionaire comedian. Badoom-tish.
It's Showtime for another star of the burgeoning Britpack
Homeland returns to Channel 4 in October and another British actor has signed on to join Damian Lewis and David Harewood in the transatlantic cast. Rupert Friend (below), star of The Young Victoria and former beau of Keira Knightley, last seen playing a rapist at the Arcola Theatre, will play regular Peter Quinn, a CIA analyst in the second season. British actress Zuleikha Robinson, better known as Ilana in Lost, will also join the cast, playing a Middle Eastern journalist.
This be the verge... a salute to the services
For Wordsworth it was the daffodil-strewn fells of the Lake District. Today's poets find inspiration in more prosaic settings – like service stations. Wendy Cope's last collection included an ode to Stafford Services. And on Tuesday night, at the Filling Station, a former petrol station in King's Cross which has been converted into a cultural hub, Luke Wright will wax lyrical on his love-hate relationship with motorway rest stops. “My favourite is South Mimms Services,” he tells me. “Actually I don't really like it, it's just that familiarity breeds grudging feelings of home.” The poet will be joined at the Motor Culture event by Stephen Bayley, talking about car design, and Geoff Dyer.