Gosh, what a falling out is there between Trevor Nunn and Cameron Mackintosh, according to an interview with the former in today’s Daily Telegraph.
Trev’s mighty miffed that Cameron didn’t ask him, co-director John Caird and designer John Napier to renew their association with Les Miserables on the new down-sized touring version.
You can see his point. It must be like having a favourite child handed out to foster parents without your permission. And very young and untried foster parents, too, who happen to have been associated with the show early on.
But although Les Miserables was very clearly an RSC production in his time there, the musical had been taken to Trevor in the first place by Cameron’s office.
Now they want to have a fresh, and presumably cheaper, look at it again.
This sort of thing often happens, but not usually when the show is still running in the West End — as Les Mis is — and then the producer/director is, as often as not, Bill Kenwright, immensely experienced in these matters.
I wonder if Trevor will be equally upset when Cats is handed out to someone else for West End revival, or Sunset Boulevard (that recent small-scale version from the Watermill probably doesn’t count)?
I can understand Cameron wanting to have a brand new look at the show in its 25th anniversary year. But if this touring version turns out to be just like the original only writ smaller, Trevor’s upset really does make sense.
And, after all, the show didn’t exist in any proper dramatic shape or form until he got to work on it at the RSC and created a famous ensemble follow-up to Nicholas Nickleby.
The uproar has quite unsettled me after a delightful trip to Ludlow in Shropshire to see Othello in the castle grounds.
The last time I went to Ludlow, the journey took about a fortnight. It’s speeded up considerably since, with the constant pleasure of the scenic route on the little train from Newport.
Not even a torrential downpour throughout the very long fifth act could dampen the spirit of the audience, who sat stock still in their pacamacs, cagoules and fishing gear while pour old Desdemona had to lie dead and half naked on her marriage bed and suffer the double indignity of drowning, as well.
We discovered that Linda Marlowe was also playing her solo show based on the poems of Carole Anne Duffy in Ludlow that night, so we quickly fixed a late night rendezvous in the Church Inn, supervised by Robert Gore-Langton as master of ales.
The indomitable Linda, it turns out, is returning to Edinburgh yet again this summer with her Hamlet show in which she stars with twelve Georgian puppets. Which sounds immensely foolish of her, but probably a fringe highlight in the making.
Then a second dose of Shakespeare al freso at Regent’ Park last night, Philip Franks’s lively, Casablanca jazz age revival of The Comedy of Errors — accompanied by our delightful young house guest Hannah Harris, daughter of an old friend of the family.
Hannah’s from Melbourne and had never visited the park or the play before. She said she liked it but was surprised by a dearth of young people in the audience.
Actually, the Open Air Theatre is usually crammed with youngsters, local and foreign, but she was probably referring to a bunch of critics she met, as well as veteran casting director Joyce Nettles who was feasting on a hog roast bap and a beaker of Pimm’s. Hannah had never drunk Pimm’s before, either, so that’s another box she can tick.
I also bumped into agent Alan Brodie, who handles the estate of Terence Rattigan. I said how very much I’d enjoyed After the Dance at the National, and then we broke into a shared eulogy of its leading lady, the love of my life in the dark of the stalls, Nancy Carroll.
Which reminds me, Nancy is giving a tea-time conversation at the National this Monday, 5 July, about her life and career so far.
I’m sure she’ll be fascinating. If I wasn’t stomping about on the Isle of Wight (where I’m heading for a few days), I’d certainly be dipping my rich tea biscuit in her cuppa with the rest of you…