Cabaret impresario Kit Hesketh-Harvey, best known as one half of the duo Kit and the Widow whose show Rummaging for Fluff ran in February at the Vaudeville Theatre, has applied his writing talents to a new musical which receives its world premiere this month at the fringe Bridewell Theatre. Hesketh-Harvey contributed to the book and lyrics for Killing Rasputin which opens 30 November, following previews from 25 November, and runs until 16 January 1999.

Set in pre-revolutionary Russia, the musical traces the story of two key players in the events that led to the abdication and death of the Romanovs - Grigor Efimovich Rasputin, the peasant healer from Siberia who ingratiated himself into the imperial court, and Felix Yusupov, a decadent aristocrat.

As the play opens, Yusupov is a transvestite in a St Petersburg nightclub who is trying to seduce Dmitri Romanov, nephew to the Tsar. His subsequent meeting with Rasputin signals a spiritual transformation but, as Yusupov begins to abandon the trappings of his amoral life, Rasputin descends into spiritual degeneration, dragging the imperial family down with him. To save the Romanov dynasty and the Russia he loves, Yusupov has only one option - to kill his erstwhile saviour.

Hesketh-Harvey collaborated with composer James McConnel on the musical. The two last worked together on Edna: The Spectacle, the latest showcase for Dame Edna Everage which ran this autumn at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. Stephen Clark, who also worked on the book for Killing Rasputin, has credits including Martin Guerre and Eyam, his most recent musical which played this year at the Bridewell. Killing Rasputin is directed by Ian Brown.