Mel Smith makes his musical debut later this month in Hairspray which opens on 30 October 2007 (previews from 11 October) at the Shaftesbury Theatre (See News, 10 Jul 2007). But after his limited contract in the Broadway import ends, he could be taking a very different turn in the West End – as Winston Churchill in a belated transfer of last year’s Edinburgh Fringe hit play Allegiance.

In a Brief Encounter interview in this month’s issue of What’s On Stage Magazine, Smith told us: “The only thing I’m wary of is going into anything for too long a run because I’m capable of getting bored quickly. But it’s fun to imagine that I might do Hairspray and then a few weeks later come back into the West End as Winston Churchill, which is the plan for the middle of next year. I’d be quite pleased with that.”

Written by Irish journalist and author Mary Kenny, Allegiance centres on the real-life 1921 meeting between Churchill, then Colonial Secretary under Lloyd George, and Irish nationalist leader Michael Collins, held at Churchill’s London home at a time when negotiations over the Anglo-Irish Treaty had reached a standstill.

The play, which was well received at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, lured Smith back to the stage last August after a 20-year absence. The actor attracted as many headlines for his outspoken attempts to flout Edinburgh’s then newly invoked smoking ban as for his doppelganger performance as Churchill.