Theatre to stoke the fires of hope
Alecky Blythe's London Road, a verbatim musical about the Ipswich prostitute murders was one of the biggest, and most unlikely, hits of this year. Now the playwright is taking her unconventional techniques to the Potteries for a play which will have its world premiere at the New Vic Theatre in April. Blythe has already spent time in Staffordshire interviewing Stoke City footballers, Potteries workers, schoolchildren and bingo players but has settled on a local talent contest, Stoke's Got Talent, as the subject matter for Where Have I Been All My Life? "I'm interested not necessarily in the eye of the storm, if you like, but more in the ripples it creates outside," says Blythe. The play will be the centrepiece for the 50th anniversary of the New Vic company – a change from its celebrated plays about mining and pottery workers. "The New Vic documentaries of the past were about working lives, about solidarity; about industry... The fact that this documentary seemed to be all about the desire to achieve 15 minutes of fame instead... saddened me at first," says Theresa Heskins, the Vic's artistic director. "But I'm starting to realise it's not about that at all. It's about aspiration ... regeneration and hope."
Eat to the art beat
The Turner Prize winner, rock star, choreographer and one-time tiler of the toilets at the London Library, Martin Creed is preparing to make his debut on London's food scene. The artist (for that is his day job) has been commissioned to design a new restaurant, to open in the "Gallery" space at Sketch, Mayfair, in March. The entire space will become a work of art from the walls and floor (Work No 1347) to Creed's choice of cutlery and crockery (Work No 1343). Whether diners will eat under flickering lights is to be confirmed. "Martin is choosing every single knife, fork, spoon, table and chair," I'm told. "No two forks will be the same." The main attraction will be a floor made of 96 types of marble laid in zigzags. Creed previously used marble to revitalise the Scotsman Steps in Edinburgh, a project unveiled almost a year behind schedule. He is unlikely to be allowed delays this time as the restaurant will have to close for weeks while the work is installed. Chez Creed will be in place for 18 months, after which it will be replaced by another artist's vision.
The show must go on
Comic actors across London are boning up on their pratfalls as James Corden's triumphant run in One Man, Two Guvnors is scheduled to end on 25 February. The National Theatre must be thinking of the sold-out show as a long-runner, so is it looking for a successor to Corden? "We are indeed exploring that option but nothing is confirmed yet," a spokesperson tells me. Owain Arthur stands in for Corden on his odd days off. He's already had practice stepping into the big man's shoes. He took over the role of Timms from Corden when The History Boys had its second run in 2005 in a cast that included Matt Smith and Ben Barnes.
The boy wonders of Broadway
Talking of takeovers, a poverty-stricken New York window cleaner is becoming the unlikely go-to role for teen heart-throbs keen to make their mark on Broadway. Daniel Radcliffe started the trend when he chose J Pierrepont Finch, the hero of How to Succeed In Business without Really Trying, as his first post-Potter role. When he finishes his contract on 1 January, Darren Criss aka Kurt's boyfriend in Glee, will take over for three weeks. After that Nick Jonas, of tweeny poppers the Jonas Brothers, will play the part until July. Who next? High School Musical's Corbin Bleu? Justin Bieber?
Move over Wallander and Blomkvist, there's a new Scandi crime story in town. Jo Nesbo's 2008 novel Headhunters has been made into a film which will open in April. The Norwegian movie, produced by the company behind the Millennium Trilogy and the English and Swedish versions of Wallander, stars Nikolaj Coster-Waldau as the ruthless headhunter-turned-art-thief. Nesbo turned down Working Title when they tried to buy The Snowman, the seventh novel in his Harry Hole detective series, explaining that he did not want to sell the rights to a series he was still writing. Headhunters is a standalone novel. The author had no input into the film, except for one contribution, he told Screen Daily. "They had trouble with the the punchline. So I wrote the last line of the movie." No spoilers here.