|Jack Edwards with Betty in Betty Blue Eyes|
Betty Blue Eyes Posts Early Closing Notices, 24 Sep
Date: 22 August 2011
Cameron Mackintosh's first original musical production in over a decade, Betty Blue Eyes has posted closing notices at the West End's Novello Theatre. The Stiles and Drewe-scored show, which is a screen-to-stage adaption of A Private Function, will play its last performance on 24 September 2011 after a run of six months. The musical comedy had been booking until 28 January 2012.
In a frank press statement Mackintosh said that despite positive reviews, the new musical had "failed to attract an audience in sufficient numbers to remain economically viable." The Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera producer also cites "prevailing economic uncertainties nationally" as a reason theatregoers are avoiding new and "unknown work" - instead attending long-running West End shows.
In a press statement released this evening Mackintosh continued: "It is very curious - after such amazing reviews and positive word of mouth, no-one knows the real reason why Betty couldn't find a bigger audience. We have been consistently playing to just over 50% (of capacity) but it just isn't enough to cover the costs. Of course I am disappointed but I'm not despondent, I am enormously proud of Betty. I know that she will eventually have her day and another life."
Betty Blue Eyes, which opened at the Novello Theatre on 13 April 2011 (previews from 19 March), is helmed by former National Theatre director Richard Eyre. The action is set in a Yorkshire village after the Second World War, where rationing presents a challenge for the locals who want to celebrate the Queen's Royal wedding to Prince Philip in style.
Looking to slaughter an illegally raised pig (a blue-eyed creature named Betty) for the event, chaos ensues when the sow is stolen and a food inspector arrives, determined to stop such activities.
The production's cast includes Sarah Lancashire, Reece Shearsmith, David Bamber, Jack Edwards, Ann Emery, Mark Meadows and Adrian Scarborough.
The show, the first completely new musical produced by Cameron Mackintosh in over ten years, features a book by Americans Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman with music and lyrics by British writing partnership George Stile and Anthony Drewe.
- by Andrew Girvan
|We booked for 'Betty' in April for Friday 23 September for my husband's birthday and were so lucky that this was the day before it closed. We cannot understand why it is closing because it was the best musical we have seen for ages. Funny, great music and special effects. Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith were superb and received a well deserved standing ovation from an almost full house. We do hope that 'Betty' will return in the near future or maybe a tour of the country would be a good idea where seats are usually cheaper. - Heather Scandrett||25 Sep 11|
|the title did not appeaI although I did push myself to go. I thought the show was good 3 stars (5 stars should be only given super amazing) but i cautiously recommended it. I did feel like i was sitting in a college theatre at times, not a west end show. Not a show for the broad legally blonde or priscilla or mamma mia audience. Although funny It did not have the wow factor, the leads did struggle with the singing and the songs were not the most amazing. The story was not the most compelling either. For a big west end show you need great songs/spectacle/or an amazing journey or a film that had huge box office. A private function did not have huge box office. If a show has the zeit geist it will become a hit. - Mike ||26 Aug 11|
|I wholly agree with Joe Spiteri's remarks regarding high prices for shows in a recessionary period.While it is appreciated that initially some shows cost a fortune to mount,after a year the ticket prices MUST be reduced.Producers should also give something back to those loyal supporters who put them in their mega-millions status.There is really NO justification in paying excessive fees to 'stars' amongst others for appearing/collaborating in a show,especially if they have already made their mark.This obsession with producers and their ilk with obscene wealth creation is rapidly beginning to annoy the average,level-headed person.Riots,etc. are bearing testimony to this.If you want your theatres to display Full Houses reduce your greed. - WillyJozie||25 Aug 11|
|What a shame Betty Blue Eyes is closing (just like I was sorry Lend me a Tenor went as that was good) --saw it twice and so good BUT as someome has already mentioned half the shows and plays close early because they are too expensive. the UK ( and the WOrld) is in financial crisis and seems we may go into another recession. People are having to pay more for Food, utilities, fuel etc so luxuries and that includes the theatre can not be done if you can't pay your bills. I go about 5 to 6 months a month but when offers are on. Now we have this silly Premium Seats--what at ime to bring them in. I took my daughter and grandaughter to see GHOST-the Musical (my 2nd time) but with the seats, coming into london and a meal it cost me more than my 5 day trip to Slovakia with Air fare and hotel. Not only are the seats expensive but on top of it when you go online you are charged all the extra charges and in many theatres the cheaper seats (which are not that cheap at £25 with Restricted view--what a cheek). ABout time Producers took less profit and made seats cheaper and then you would find theatres would fill up more and shows/plays would last longer. - Joe Spiteri||24 Aug 11|
Lend Me A Tenor's slick professionalism got my attendance three times but Betty failed despite the vivid poster campaign and industry lead hype. Quite enjoyable but perhaps, as commented up-blog, too English and twee. The tertiary messages could have been stronger [sinister], just how many bubble gum shows do we need - Leggy Blondes etc? In any event it's always worrying to see good shows failing to break even; CM is correct in stating that in uncertain times people revert to what they know (and trust), less willing to take a punt on the unknown. It's also worth remembering the fierce competition within live entertainment and other leisure industries vying for the pound-in-the-pocket; a wonder anyone turns up at all. We can thank the West End's International reputation for that. As for pricing: theatre-land unfathomably avoids basic marketing techniques such as 'tickets from £I5'. I still like bacon.
- Stevie||24 Aug 11|
|Such sad news about 'Betty' as this is one of the most 'feel-good' musicals I have seen since Legally Blonde and Lend me a Tenor. I seldom get carried away to the extent that I did with these fine shows with their perfect amalgam of book, lyrics, music, orchestrations, integrated casting, sets and general sense of joie de vivre. Stiles and Drewe are a talented team and it was brave of Cameron to have taken a chance on their latest (joyous) work. One could cogitate forever over its early demise. Was it simply too 'English'? Was it too narrowly nostaglic for an international audience? Were Stiles and Drewe too little known to the overseas audiences who make up so much of musical theatre's audiences? My enjoyment of the show was 100% but, each time I saw it, I asked myself these questions...the answers to which we shall probably never know. Everyone concerned with the show should be very proud of their achievements. And, perhaps the enchanting 'Betty' will be revived at some time in the future when we can enjoy its beguiling charms afresh? - Clive Burton||24 Aug 11|
|dear mr mackintosh,
when times are hard perhaps its best to turn to old favourites?. i've recently spent £300 on les mis tickets and would easily spend another £300 to see miss saigon. if i were you during this recession i would invest my company's money into a 'saigon' revival or at the very least an anniversary concert.
ps : it will need a proper stage helicopter mind you (not an animation) - bowie||23 Aug 11|
|i do think with a lot of these shows ticket price is a big factor ? people just havent got over £60 each to spend ? i love going to london and seeing shows but where as i could used to get tickets for £20-25 now its more like £35-50 even with offers - robg||23 Aug 11|
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