Unlike Richard Alexander and Marek Rymaszewski’s musical (See News, 15 Nov 2006), Keeler has been developed with the sanction and involvement of Christine Keeler, the former topless model and dancer whose affair the Secretary of State for War John Profumo rocked the political establishment. It’s based on the now 64-year-old Keeler’s 2001 autobiography The Truth at Last.
Profumo was forced to resign from the Tory Cabinet for lying to the House of Commons over his affair with Keeler, and it emerged that, during their relationship, she had also been involved with a Soviet intelligence officer and assistant naval attache in London. The ensuing scandal was in part responsible for the resignation of Prime Minister Harold MacMillan and the suicide of the man who introduced Keeler and Profumo, Stephen Ward.
In Keeler, the woman at the centre of the scandal is played by newcomer Alice Coulthard – a part played in the musical by Emma Williams (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bat Boy) – with Johnny Lynn Pirkis as Profumo and Stacey Cadman as Mandy Rice-Davies.
Best known as an actor from TV’s Just Good Friends and myriad stage musicals, Paul Nicholas, with his producing partner David Ian, has presented West End hits including Grease and Saturday Night Fever. Keeler is co-directed by Alexander Holt and designed by Michael Ozouf.
- by Terri Paddock