Temperatures were running high at last night’s press performance (25 July 2006) for Jason Robert Brown musical The Last Five Years at Southwark’s Menier Chocolate Factory – but the management had a handy solution. Critics, and other theatregoers, were all provided with hand-held, battery-operated fans. Between scenes in the packed house, the buzz of said fans spinning into brief action could be clearly heard (most were discreetly switched off so as not to compete when the performers were singing). Joint artistic director David Babani told Whatsonstage.com that the venue hopes to avert any discomfort during future heat-waves by installing air-conditioning in time for next summer’s season. As ever, it’s a question of cost – and at the Menier, it’s an estimated £28,000 job, which seems rather steep for a venue that, despite its massive reputation, is still only 150 seats! Meanwhile, this summer, the Menier is having to contend with other heat-related problems. The phone system at its box office call centre (which, by the way, also affects Whatsonstage.com’s adjacent offices – small world!) has literally blown up this week. That means no telephone bookings. Luckily, the Menier has quickly set up an alternative box office, which can be reached on 0871 230 2616. (Fyi, if you’re trying to call Whatsonstage.com, call 07748 603 841 for editorial matters and 07947 228 347 for commercial matters.)