Theatregoers at last night’s performance of Mack and Mabel – including 225 attending our Whatsonstage.com Outing – were treated to an extra special night last night. The performance at the West End’s Criterion Theatre was dedicated as a tribute to Jill Fraser, the late artistic director of Newbury’s Watermill Theatre, where the John Doyle actor-musician production originated last year. Fraser passed away suddenly in February after a battle with cancer (See News, 13 Feb 2006). At the curtain call, Doyle - an associate director at the Watermill, who is currently acting as joint artistic director along with fellow associate Edward Hall - joined the company on stage to remember his former colleague. “None of us would be here if it wasn’t for Jill Fraser,” he said before listings the “extraordinary attributes” that made her a “great artist”: vision, tenacity and the ability to allow “people like me the right to fail”. Celebrities attending last night’s performance included Prunella Scales, war reporter-turned-politician Martin Bell and GMTV presenter Penny Smith as well as – adding to the special treat – the musical’s creator Jerry Herman, who blew kisses to the company and received a resounding round of applause from the audience. Herman and the cast, led by David Soul and Janie Dee, later joined Whatsonstage.com theatregoers at a post-show reception in the Criterion bar. Proceeds from the evening are being donated to the Watermill Appeal, which is aiming to raise £3 million to safeguard the theatre’s future and fund essential refurbishments. Speaking last night, Doyle said: “Nothing would matter more to Jill than that her beautiful theatre would go on.”