In the Whatsonstage.com Awards, in which shows with larger audiences have an obvious audience advantage, pieces that start life in a Fringe venue can be nominated again if and when they transfer to the West End. Such was the case this year with the eventual Best New Play winner, David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky, which was first seen in a small-scale production at the Royal Court Upstairs in 2000 but only received its West End premiere last year.
Set in and around the Ilford Palais in the 1950s, the new musical takes its title from The Kinks' 1983 song of the same name. However, Come Dancing is not a compilation of the band’s hits. Aside from the title song, it features all new music and lyrics specially written for it by Davies, who also conceived the story and co-wrote the book with Paul Sirett. At Stratford East, Davies also made his musical debut, playing himself, who acted as the show’s narrator.
By the way, in the press room at Sunday’s Awards Concert, Davies also went on to say that our audience-voted award meant more to him than being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (See WOS TV, 16 Feb 2009). Nice – thanks, Ray!