Feelgood Ousts Long-Run Inspector from GarrickDate: 14 March 2001
One of the West End's longest running plays, Stephen Daldry's award-winning production of JB Priestley's An Inspector Calls, has posted closing notices. It will finish its run at the Garrick Theatre, where it has been resident for nearly six years, on 14 April 2001.
According to the Society of London Theatre, the closure is only temporary and the production will re-open in the autumn at an as-yet unconfirmed venue. In the meantime, it will be replaced at the Garrick by Feelgood, Alistair Beaton's new political satire, starring Henry Goodman. Feelgood is will open at the Garrick on 26 April 2001 (previews from 21 April).
Now renowned internationally for his film directorial debut with Billy Elliott, Stephen Daldry first mounted his neo-expressionistic reworking of Priestley's classic 1946 thriller at the National Theatre a decade ago. It had subsequent seasons at the West End's Aldwych Theatre and on Broadway before transferring to the Garrick in October 1995.
The drama throws the comfortable and complacent middle class world of the Birlings into chaos when a mysterious police inspector arrives at the family home one night to enquire about the death of a young local girl. In total, the acclaimed production won 19 major awards in London and New York. An Inspector Calls had been booking at the Garrick up to 28 July 2001.
Beaton’s Feelgood has proved to be an instant hit at the fringe Hampstead Theatre, where it opened on 31 January (previews from 25 January). Hitting a chord in New Labour times, 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.
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. The cast for Feelgood also features Sian Thomas, Nigel Planer, Amita Dhiri and Pearce Quigley.
Feelgood completed its sell-out run at the north London Hampstead Theatre on 10 March and is currently on a short regional tour prior to its West End transfer.
- by Terri Paddock