In a frank press statement Mackintosh said that despite positive reviews, the new musical had "failed to attract an audience in sufficient numbers to remain economically viable." The Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera producer also cites "prevailing economic uncertainties nationally" as a reason theatregoers are avoiding new and "unknown work" - instead attending long-running West End shows.
In a press statement released this evening Mackintosh continued: "It is very curious - after such amazing reviews and positive word of mouth, no-one knows the real reason why Betty couldn't find a bigger audience. We have been consistently playing to just over 50% (of capacity) but it just isn't enough to cover the costs. Of course I am disappointed but I'm not despondent, I am enormously proud of Betty. I know that she will eventually have her day and another life."
Betty Blue Eyes, which opened at the Novello Theatre on 13 April 2011 (previews from 19 March), is helmed by former National Theatre director Richard Eyre. The action is set in a Yorkshire village after the Second World War, where rationing presents a challenge for the locals who want to celebrate the Queen's Royal wedding to Prince Philip in style.
Looking to slaughter an illegally raised pig (a blue-eyed creature named Betty) for the event, chaos ensues when the sow is stolen and a food inspector arrives, determined to stop such activities.
The show, the first completely new musical produced by Cameron Mackintosh in over ten years, features a book by Americans Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman with music and lyrics by British writing partnership George Stile and Anthony Drewe.