THEATRE / Notices

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The Independent Culture
Today is Samuel Beckett's birthday. Calm and collected after her skirmish with the keepers of his holy flame, Deborah Warner is off to Glyndebourne to direct Don Giovanni. Her operatic skills were first exploited by Opera North, who enticed her with a production of Berg's Wozzeck, which opened to thunderingly good notices. The company has a reputation for its theatrical verve, thanks to a policy of luring serious theatre talent into the opera house.

Opera North has likewise struck gold with Chabrier's L'Etoile, directed by Phyllida Lloyd. (Book now for its last two performances at this year's Edinburgh Festival). Best known for her work at Bristol Old Vic and the Royal Court (Six Degrees of Separation, Hysteria), Lloyd is now working on Pericles at the National with the choreographer Jonathan Lunn and her long-term collaborator, the composer Gary Yershon. Opera North's latest coup is an eagerly-awaited production of The Magic Flute from Theatre de Complicite's Annabel Arden.

Neil Bartlett and Gloria Theatre Company once expressed interest in Oliver], probably the most famous musical to have its own exclamation mark (a piece of punctuation known in the print trade as a screamer). Bartlett's interpretation is now on indefinite hold. Why? Cameron Mackintosh's new production at the Palladium.

If you believed the rumours, virtually the whole of Equity was 'a cert' to play Nancy. In fact, Mackintosh took the unusual step of holding open auditions.

Notorious for their resemblance to cattle-markets, open auditions attract literally hundreds of actors, many of whose credentials are frighteningly far removed from a producer's requirements. (The recasting of the public-school drama Another Country attracted an unlikely crop of actors the wrong side of 30.)

Parents whose children attended the open casting sessions for the title role should bear in mind that its most famous occupant ended up as an osteopath.

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