LondonNet News Headlines
20/09/01
Have Faith in the Friel Thing
- Almeida leads changing of the guard in Theatreland

BRIAN FRIEL's The Faithhealer looks set to seduce as great an audience as Anna Friel in the recent staging of Lulu. Besides a surname, Anna and Brian also share the Almeida's support of their work. But whereas Lulu opened the theatre's season in their temporary home in the King's Cross bus depot, The Faithhealer marks the final production before the Almeida returns to its freshly renovated Islington base.

Nicholas Kent directs fellow artistic director McDiarmid in this drama of an Irishman part-prophet/part-conman, told not only from the faithhealer's point of view but from the perspective of his wife and manager. Although the action revolves around a dark secret, the burning question on most punters' mind will be why the driving forces behind the Almeida are leaving just as the theatre enters a period of relative prosperity. It is possible the dynamic duo will replace Trevor Nunn when he quits the National theatre.

Elsewhere, other stage doors keep opening and closing with surprising speed. Boston Marriage transfers from the Donmar Warehouse to the New Ambassador's Theatre, The Vagina Monologues moves from the New Ambassadors to the Arts Theatre, where Closer To Heaven closes, while Mamma Mia and the Lion King extend their booking period. With even the Royal Shakespeare Company threatening to abandon its longstanding Barbican base, a culture of fancy free freelancing seems to have taken root in fickle theatreland.




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