Moon Over Buffalo, the vehicle bringing Joan Collins back to the West End after more than a decade, has been renamed Over the Moon. The Ken Ludwig comedy opens at the London's Old Vic Theatre on 15 October 2001 (previews from 9 October) following dates in Bath and Guildford.

Explaining the name change, director Ray Cooney said: "We found that 90% of the British public didn't know that Buffalo was an American city. People seemed to think the title referred to a moon and a large, hairy animal. So we came up with a new title - Over the Moon - which we think sums up this light, frothy, romantic comedy perfectly."

Though the play premieres at Guildford's Yvonne Arnaud Theatre next week, the final decision to change the title only came this past Monday. The new name will apply for all UK dates and spokeswoman Anna Arthur assured that it met with full approval from author Ludwig of Lend Me a Tenor fame.

Set in Buffalo, New York in 1953, the screwball comedy investigates the notoriously broken nature of showbiz romances. George and Charlotte have been together for 30 years and their marriage and stage careers are perfect - until Charlotte discovers that George is having an affair with the juvenile lead in their current production. Confrontations and chaos ensue during the evening performance of the play in which they're all appearing. And on a night, when, rumour has it, a big Hollywood director is in town.

Collins and co-star Frank Langella are joined in the Over the Moon cast by Emma Barton, Paul Bentley, Cameron Blakeley, Robert Fitch and Sarah Wateridge.

Born in London, Collins first appeared on stage at the age of nine. She went on to achieve international fame as a model and actress in films such as The Stud, The Bitch, The Clandestine Marriage and, perhaps most notably, the American TV series Dynasty. She last appeared in the West End in 1990, starring in Noel Coward's Private Lives at the Aldwych Theatre. She later made her Broadway debut in the same role.

Co-produced by Yvonne Arnaud Theatre and Ray Cooney Presentations, Moon Over Buffalo is directed by Ray Cooney, designed by Tim Goodchild and presented in the West End by Bill Kenwright. The production is scheduled to run at the Old Vic up to 12 January 2002 when it will be followed by the long-planned return of The Island, the classic South African prison drama from Johannesburg's Market Theatre.

- by Terri Paddock