The week after former US president Bill Clinton was spotted at the Old Vic (See The Goss, 26 Sep 2006), his former intern Monica Lewinsky was also in the West End. She was amongst the many celebrities at last night’s opening (5 October 2006, previews from 22 September) of Bent, starring Alan Cumming, at the Trafalgar Studios (See News, 10 Aug 2006).

Since his 1998 success with Sam Mendes’ Donmar staging of Cabaret - which he accompanied, with Tony Award-winning success, to Broadway - Cumming has been largely based in the US. His other stage credits include Conquest of the South Pole, La Bete, Hamlet and Accidental Death of an Anarchist in London and Design for Living and The Threepenny Opera in New York.

In Nazi Germany, homosexual Max (Cumming) is sent to Dachau, his lover killed en route. At the concentration camp, he denies being gay, preferring to wear the yellow star of the Jews, but when he falls in love with fellow prisoner Horst (played by newcomer Chris New), he must make a stand.

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For 1st Night Photos, our Whatsonstage.com photographer was on hand at the theatre for arrivals and at the post-show party at Dune. First night celebrity guests included Geri Halliwell, Graham Norton, Russell Brand, Stephen Gately, Patsy Kensit, Thandie Newton, Michael Ball, Maria Friedman, Neil Pearson, Saffron Burrows, Simon Callow, Maureen Lipman, Maria McErlane and Neil Pearson.

Written by Martin Sherman, Bent was first seen in London in 1979 at the Royal Court, starring Ian McKellen, who also appeared in the 1990 National Theatre revival. The 1980 Broadway premiere was led by Richard Gere as Max, a part played by Clive Owen in the 1997 film version.

The new stage production is directed by Daniel Kramer and designed by Mark Bouman. Cumming and New are joined in the cast by Kevin Trainor, Benjamin Wilkin, Richard Bremmer, Hugh Ross, Ricky Champ, Charles Mayer, Laurence Spellman and Matthew Spencer. It’s presented by Sonia Friedman Productions and Mark Rubinstein Ltd.

- by Terri Paddock