WYP's Smoking with Lulu & Tynan Transfers to SohoDate: 7 January 2002
Canadian playwright Janet Munsil makes her London debut with her acclaimed play about the late, legendary British theatre critic Kenneth Tynan. The UK production of Smoking with Lulu, first seen at Leeds' West Yorkshire Playhouse in November 2000, transfers to London's Soho Theatre for a limited run from 15 February to 30 March 2002 (previews from 13 February).
The fictional story is based on the real-life meeting between Tynan and 1920s silent movie icon Louise Brooks. Obsessed by his lifelong erotic fantasies of Brooks' amoral character Lulu in the 1928 film Pandora's Box, Tynan spent three days in 1978 with the then ageing and ailing Brooks at her apartment. The purpose of the meeting was for Tynan to gather material for a New Yorker profile on Brooks which was to launch the actress once again into the limelight after decades of anonymity.
In Smoking with Lulu, Munsil juxtaposes the glamour and beauty of the young film star with the poignant reality of the dying Brooks and the intense fascination Tynan still felt for her.
For three decades, Kenneth Tynan reined supreme on both sides of the Atlantic as the sharpest, most controversial and wittiest theatre critic of his generation. An inveterate smoker and ridden with emphysema, he died in 1980. His years' worth of indiscreet diaries has recently been published by Bloomsbury.
Smoking with Lulu stars Coronation Street's Thelma Barlow, as well as Peter Eyre and Sophie Millet, who all repeat their Leeds' performances. The play is directed by David Giles and designed by Kenneth Mellor, with sound and video design by Mic Pool. It is presented by Michael White and Soho Theatre Company, with associate producer Richard Jordan.
- by Terri Paddock