Elton's Popcorn Delays West End ClosingDate: 13 July 1998
Following closing announcements last month, Ben Elton's black comedy Popcorn has now bucked the expected August finish and extended its booking period by another six weeks to 12 September 1998. Popcorn, which opened at the Apollo Theatre in April 1997, had been booking to 1 August.
Last month, spokesperson Cameron Duncan told What's On Stage that, after 15 months, the play had 'lived its useful life' in the West End and would now be embarking on a UK tour from September. The 'final weeks' notices posted at the theatre were an encouragement, he said, for people to catch the show in the West End while they still could.
The trick has worked better than expected. Producers are now putting off a final completion date to accommodate 'popular demand', says another spokesperson. A UK tour is still in the offing - 'eventually' - but no dates or venues have yet been confirmed and schedules are still being juggled.
Popcorn satirically tackles the issue of film violence and its effect on people. A Tarantino-type director and his family are held hostage at gunpoint by his biggest fans, the notorious 'mall murderers', who hatch a televisual plot for shirking responsibility of their crimes.
Popcorn premiered at the Nottingham Playhouse in September 1996 (when the novel version was simultaneously published) before transferring to the Apollo in April 1997. It won the 1998 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy and has been credited with drawing in new, younger audiences to the theatre.