UPDATED, Wed 19 Jul 2006 @ 5.45pm: This story has now been updated with information about cancelled preview performances.

Daddy Cool has revised its first month performance schedule yet again, including cancelling its first eight previews. Last month, producers of the Boney M musical pushed the opening night back to 21 September 2006, in order for the company to take nine days out to stage a one-off gala performance on 17 September in Berlin, home of Boney M and its creator Frank Farian (See News, 7 Jun 2006).

Those plans have now been scrapped and performances from 11 to 20 September have been put back on sale at the West End’s Shaftesbury Theatre. However, the first eight previews have now been cancelled because, a show spokesperson told Whatsonstage.com, “the company needs several extra days for technical reasons”. Due to begin on 15 August, previews will now commence on 22 August.

According to a statement sent today to London ticket agents “the proposed gala performance in Berlin will no longer take place” because “the logistic and needs of the production have conspired to make it difficult to achieve Frank Farian’s ambitions”.

Originally, Daddy Cool was due to receive its world premiere at the Shaftesbury Theatre on 16 May 2006, after postponed previews from 26 April. Four months ago, the opening was shifted to 6 September 2006 (See News, 17 Mar 2006). Farian and his co-producer Robert Mackintosh explained at the time that that initial four-month postponement would allow the team “to spend more time in pre-production in order to achieve the technical and creative possibilities of the show”.

The musical – in which EastEndersMichelle Collins, pop star Javine and So Solid Crew’s Harvey will lead a 35-strong cast - features the hits of Seventies disco group Boney M, reinterpreted with contemporary influences and set alongside a modern London story loosely based on Romeo and Juliet (See News, 19 Jan 2006). Caught up in local rivalry between east and west London crews, music lover Sunny meets and falls in love with Rose, the daughter of the East End’s notorious club owner, Ma Baker. The lovers’ relationship fuels the hostility between the two gangs.

Daddy Cool has a book by Stephen Plaice with Amani Naphtali. It’s directed by Andy Goldberg and designed by Jon Morrell with choreography by Sean Cheesman, musical staging by Lizzi Gee, lighting by David Hersey, musical supervision by Mike Dixon and orchestrations by Steve Sidwell. Bend It Like Beckham’s Gurinder Chadha acts as creative associate.

In 1975 Boney M was created and produced by Frank Farian, who put together a band fronted by four dancer/singers. The band had their first hit single with “Daddy Cool”, and went on to have 38 top 10 hits between 1975 and 1988 including, in the UK, “Mary’s Boy Child”, “Rivers of Babylon” and “Brown Girl in the Ring”.

- by Terri Paddock