Set against the backdrop of a travelling funfair and named after his top-selling 1975 album, All the Fun of the Fair tells the story of widower and funfair owner Levi Lee (Essex), who’s coming to terms with the loss of his wife and battling the attentions of a newly-divorced woman. He’s also struggling to deal with his rebellious teenage son’s tangled love life, and the gloomy predictions of a gypsy fortune-teller.
Essex will be joined in the principal cast by Christopher Timothy (best known from TV’s All Creatures Great and Small and Doctors), Louise English (Me and My Girl, Annie, Oliver!, Hello, Dolly!), Nicola Brazil (Hairspray, Grease, Wicked) and in the leading role as Levi’s son, Michael Pickering (Wicked, High School Musical).
Also in the cast are: Cameron Jack, Susan Hallam-Wright, Chris Holland, Kieran Jae, Tom Kanavan, Tim Newman, Robert Rees, Emily Tierney, Tricia Adele Turner, Shona White and Danielle York. The musical, co-written by Jon Conway, is directed by David Gilmore and designed by Ian Westbrook, with lighting by Ben Cracknell and sound by Steve Jonas. It’s produced in the West End by Alan Darlow, Jon Conway and Lee Dean, following a national tour which launched from Bromley’s Churchill Theatre in September 2008.
All the Fun of the Fair features hits from Essex’s pop career, including “Winter\'s Tale”, “Hold Me Close”, “Gonna Make You a Star”, “Rock On”, “Silver Dream Machine” and the title song, adapted specially for the show. A new soundtrack will be re-released by Universal in April to coincide with the West End opening.
Currently at the Garrick, the UK premiere of Douglas Carter Beane’s Broadway comedy The Little Dog Laughed, which continues until 10 April 2010 and stars Rupert Friend, Tamsin Greig, Gemma Arterton and Harry Lloyd.