Following last week’s backstage expose by star Nichola McAuliffe in the Daily Mail (See News, 10 Sep 2004), preparations for the West End premiere of Murderous Instincts have become more troubled still, with additional preview performances now cancelled.

Originally due to begin last Friday (10 September) at the Savoy Theatre, the start of previews for the £2 million salsa-inspired musical were last week postponed until 20 September 2004. They are now scheduled to begin on 27 September, with the press night still set for 7 October (See News, 28 Jul 2004). However, according to show insiders, there's a chance that the London run may now be called off completely.

Yesterday, the Independent newspaper made further Murderous Instincts revelations concerning marital strain between show creator Cinda Fox and her producer-husband Manny and the on-again, off-again sacking of director Bob Carlton. After a less than rave review in a local newspaper, Manny Fox allegedly gave Carlton a rather public interval dressing down during a performance at the Theatre Royal Norwich, where the show completed a brief pre-London run earlier this month.

Carlton – who last week was officially replaced as director by Michael Rooney, the American choreographer and son of Hollywood legend Mickey Rooney – is reportedly now considering legal action with the assistance of Equity. Other members of the company to have left the production in the last-minute lead-up to its London opening include actor Nick Lashbrook and associate musical director Carol Sloman.

In McAuliffe’s Daily Mail diary piece, she reported that Manny Fox had a “habit of sacking everyone”. “This show has had, to date, eight directors, four PR companies and innumerable general managers. But for the past week we’ve had the same team, and if they last another couple of days, I might even start to learn their names.”

In Murderous Instincts, McAuliffe plays a rum tycoon’s glamorous widow whose grown children and their spouses return to visit the family estate and fight over inherited fortunes in the wake of their father's death. It features a score by Alberto Carrión.

McAuliffe is joined in the cast by Kevin Colson as Adolfo, Ben Goddard (Juan), John Capes (Reed), Simon Clark (Tweedman), Jonathan D Ellis (Miguel), Christopher Frampton (Christopher), Sarah Ingram (Felicia), Arvid Larsen (Colin) and Natalie O’Donnell (Lauren). Prior to its London transfer, Murderous Instincts played at Norwich’s Theatre Royal from 27 August to 4 September 2004.

- by Terri Paddock