At the Duchess, Peter Quilter’s Olivier and Whatsonstage.com Award-nominated Glorious! opened on 3 November 2005 (previews from 1 November), following its September world premiere at Birmingham Rep and a five-week regional tour (See News, 31 Aug 2005). It will now close just one week earlier than planned on 22 April 2006, after a five-and-a-half month West End run.
Based on the life of Florence Foster Jenkins, Glorious! tells the true story of the eccentric American otherwise known as the “socialite soprano”. During the 1930s and ‘40s, the somewhat delusional singer made a career out of doing concerts, although she couldn't hit a single note. The “dire diva of din” recorded many records, including one entitled Murder on the High Cs and perhaps her most famous recording of Mozart's Queen of the Night aria. After doing a series of private concerts at the Ritz Carlton in New York, the singer braved Carnegie Hall - and sold out months in advance.
Lipman, who stars as the dire diva, is joined in the cast by Barrie Ingham, William Oxborrow, Josie Kidd, Lolly Susi and Janie Booth. Alan Strachan directs.
At The Venue, Pete and Dud - Come Again, a hit at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, received its London premiere on 7 March 2006 (previews from 2 March) and had been booking until 3 June. It will now finish, five weeks earlier than planned, on 29 April.
Uniquely amongst works about the duo, this new comedy drama – which has been expanded to two acts since its Edinburgh premiere - focuses on the pair’s love-hate relationship from Dudley Moore’s perspective. Returning from Hollywood in 1982 after his Oscar nomination for Arthur, Moore appears on a chat show where, through a series of flashbacks and sketches, the highs and lows of his earlier showbiz marriage with Peter Cook is revealed.
No further productions have yet been announced for either the Duchess or The Venue.
- by Terri Paddock