currently beleaguered theatre producers could merge the titles of
two recent flops to describe their predicament: the shape of things
is a holy terror.
lot of confidence has been lost in the West End because a lot
of poor work has been put on there..."
Cameron, producer of Journey's End
is this the rattle of a dying art? Are the producers all on a fence?
Or are they simply being reduced to talking gibberish Fuddy
shows alluded to above The Holy Terror, Coyote
on a Fence, Rattle of a Simple Man, The Shape of Things
and Fuddy Meers have all recently run for less
than a month.
to producer Sonia Friedman: "If you look at each of those plays,
they will have their own story about why they failed.
play, wrong environment? Simon Callow's The Holy Terror came
to an abrupt end
will be about audiences fearing the risk, some will be about the
plays not being good enough, some will be the wrong play in the
will also, perhaps, be about the time of year: the arrival of sunny
days and warm nights is always a disincentive to linger indoors
in a hot, airless theatre.
Friedman goes on, "The West End is a very competitive environment,
and in order to stand out here, you've got to have that unique selling
point. It can be a hit transfer; it can be a star actor; it can
be a title play from a great playwright.
it can't seem to be is just a good piece of theatre without anything
around it. But then along comes Journey's End that debugs
all those theories."
Sherriff's 1920s classic Journey's End has broken all the
Sherriff's 1920s classic, newly transferred from a limited run at
the Comedy to an open-ended one at the Playhouse, has broken the
its producer, Phil Cameron, admits as much: "It's an unlikely
candidate to be a hit, but it's a very good play and a very good
production and it's not reliant on star names to make it so."
still possible to succeed in the West End, though Cameron goes on:
"A lot of confidence has been lost because a lot of poor work
has been put on there."
musicals on the way
the theatre always seems to have the capacity to bounce back.
an industry suported by a vast public: over 4 million people went
to a West End show in the first quarter of this year alone - far
more than go to football matches, for instance and productions
at the National Theatre are routinely playing to 100% capacity.
Mackintosh has just spent over £7m on refurbishing the
Prince of Wales Theatre
Mackintosh has just spent over £7m on refurbishing the Prince
of Wales Theatre; and there's a big set of new musicals on the way
in the autumn, including Andrew Lloyd Webber's latest, The Woman
in White, the much lauded New York hit The Producers,
and stage versions of Mary Poppins, Billy Elliot and
wait. So it's too early to write off the West End just yet.
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