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Variations & Personals Post Early Closings

By • West End
Variations & Personals Post Early Closings Two recent American imports - Eric-Emmanuel Schmitt's Enigmatic Variations, starring Donald Sutherland at the Savoy, and Personals, the musical revue from the makers of TV's Friends at the Apollo - have posted early closing notices. They will both close on 29 July 2000.

Earlier this month, Enigmatic Variations optimistically added six weeks to its run, taking the booking period up to 9 September. The extension was seen as a figurative two fingers to the critics who had generally panned the show when it opened in May. Sutherland took personal offence to the bad reviews and responded with a highly emotional column in The Times which in turn prompted replies in other newspapers. The six-week extension has now been abandoned.

Enigmatic Variations marked the return to the London stage after a 36-year absence for the Canadian star of over 100 films including The Dirty Dozen, M*A*S*H, Klute, Ordinary People and JFK. In it, Sutherland plays a Nobel Prize-winning author who has adamantly steered clear of love, contenting himself with hired sex brought over to his self-imposed exile on a Norwegian island. Having previously refused all requests for interviews, he decides to succumb to one. The arrival of the journalist, played by Broadway veteran John Rubinstein, triggers a cascade of confrontations and discoveries that link the two men.

The psychological drama is translated by Donald's son, Roeg Sutherland, directed by Anthony Page and designed by Ming Cho Lee. Arriving in the UK following engagements in Los Angeles and Toronto, Enigmatic Variations opened at the Savoy on 31 May, following previews from 24 May. It closes on 29 July after a run of nine weeks.

Personals, first produced in New York in 1985, was written by Marta Kauffman and David Crane who later went on to create American TV's hugely popular Friends. Fashioned, like the sitcom, around six young and single New Yorkers, Personals documents the perils and pleasures of blind dating via the 'personal ads' industry as well as the general quest for relationship bliss.

The book and lyrics are by Crane and Kauffman, together with Seth Friedman, and the score by composers including Alan Menken, Stephen Schwartz and Michael Skloff. The cast for the West End production are Martin Callagan, Marcus Allen Cooper, Carmen Cusack, Christina Fry, David Malek and Vicki Simon. It is directed by Dion McHugh with musical direction by Matthew Freeman and designed by Susie Caulcutt with lighting design by Nick Richings, choreography by Sam Spencer-Lane and sound design by Scott Myers.

Personals received its UK premiere in 1998 at the fringe New End Theatre in Hampstead. It opened at the West End's Apollo Theatre on 15 June, following previews from 13 June. The show had been booking to 26 August but will now close at the end of this month after a run of seven weeks.


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