The European premiere of David Lindsay-Abaire’s Fuddy Meers joined the roll call of recent rapid play closures in the West End. Less than a fortnight after opening, producers announced that the off-beat American comedy will close this Saturday, 12 June 2004.

The production – directed by Angus Jackson and featuring a high-calibre ensemble include Brits Julia McKenzie, Nicholas Le Prevost and Charlotte Randle as well as Broadway’s Katie Finneran and Hollywood screen star Matthew Lillard – opened at the West End’s Arts Theatre on 25 May 2004, following previews from 12 May and an initial three-week run at Birmingham Rep. It had been booking at the Arts up to 28 August.

Fuddy Meers follows Calico, The Holy Terror, Coyote on a Fence (See News 26 Apr & 11 May, 2004), Rattle of a Simple Man (See News, 25 May 2004), and, just announced last week, The Shape of Things (See News, 1 Jun 2004), all of which announced premature closures less than a month after opening.

It’s an inauspicious start too for Scamp - the newly launched theatre and film production company founded by former Donmar Warehouse artistic director Sam Mendes with Caro Newling and Pippa Harris – which co-produced Fuddy Meers with Fiery Angel and Birmingham Rep. Scamp’s future stage projects include new work by Nick Whitby, Owen McCafferty and Heidi Thomas, the UK premiere of Nilo Cruz’s Anna in the Tropics, revivals of Pravda and Macbeth, and a stage musical adaptation of the hit animated film Shrek (See News, 13 Feb 2004).

Lindsay-Abaire’s play – which follows a day of screwball adventures in the life of amnesiac Claire - was first seen in 1999 at New York´s Manhattan Theatre Club and was originally due to receive its European premiere at the 2002 Edinburgh Fringe, a season which was scrapped in favour of a direct West End staging. However, first finances and then scheduling conflicts for its star Jane Krakowski (of Ally McBeal fame) derailed the production (See News, 2 Aug 2002).

- by Terri Paddock

For related coverage this week, see also:

  • ”Top of the Flops” (Features, 7 Jun 2004)
  • ”20 Questions With … Matthew Lillard” (Features, 7 Jun 2004)