Cast Problems Force Feelgood Closure, 27 OctDate: 28 September 2001
Alistair Beaton's political satire Feelgood will close at the West End's Garrick Theatre on 27 October 2001, the end of its current booking period. Producers say they have been unable to re-cast the show - which currently stars Henry Goodman and Nigel Planer - and must now close it when the original cast's contracts run out next month.
Feelgood opened at the Garrick Theatre on 21 April 2001 (ousting, after nearly six years, Stephen Daldry's award-winning production of JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, which has just reopened this week at the smaller Playhouse Theatre). Beaton's comedy was first-seen in January at the north London Hampstead Theatre where it had a sell-out run.
Hitting a chord in New Labour times (particularly pre-election), the political satire lacerates a party more obsessed with image than content. Set at a party conference, in the leader's hotel suite, the spin-doctors are sweating over the Prime Minister's speech. With public opinion increasingly volatile, there are jitters at the top. The speech has got to be perfect. But, unbeknownst to the spin-doctors, there's a journalist down the corridor preparing to expose a scandal so far-reaching that it could topple the government.
A frequent presenter and current affairs commentator on BBC Radio 4, Beaton's stage plays include The Metropolitan Mikado, The Ratepayers' Iolanthe and The Nose, while for television, he has written for Spitting Image and Not the Nine O'Clock News. Feelgood, a co-production between the Hampstead and the Out of Joint theatre company, is directed by Max Stafford-Clark, former artistic director of the Royal Court who founded Out of Joint in 1993. It is designed by Julian McGowan with lighting by Johanna Town and sound by Simon Baker.
Henry Goodman's many acclaimed stage credits include Guys and Dolls (at the National), Chicago (Adelphi), Hysteria (Royal Court and West End) and Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (National), for which he won last year's Olivier Award for Best Actor. He's joined in the cast by Nigel Planer (best known for his TV turn in The Young Ones) as well as Peter Capaldi, Sian Thomas, Amita Dhiri, Pearce Quigley and Jonathan Cullen.
Producers say the plan now is to take a re-cast Feelgood on a national tour in 2002 before returning it to London for another West End season. The play is presented in the West End by Nica Burns for Really Useful Theatres, Max Weitzenhoffer and Lee Deen, by arrangement with Hampstead Theatre and Out of Joint.