Lyricist Tim Rice admits that he’s not a fan of musical theatre, especially recent offerings which he rates as “pretty awful… pretty ghastly”. In an interview in The Times yesterday, Rice - best known for his early collaborations with Andrew Lloyd Webber (Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Jesus Christ Superstar and Evita) – argues that musicals are now being driven by producers (motivated primarily by money and thus intent on more sure-fire spin-offs of blockbuster films, books and pop groups) rather than writers. Top of his hate hit-list are Dirty Dancing (“Why bother? Other than to make money.”) and The Lord of the Rings (“It’s just: ‘What’s big? Let’s make a musical out of it.’”), both of which represent a “nightmarish attitude”, according to Rice. The lyricist is also concerned that he “can’t think of one” young musical writer or writing team delivering the goods commercially. Rice’s current project is Blondel, the 1983 musical he wrote with the late composer Stephen Oliver, which he has updated and is co-producing for a limited run this month at north London’s 300-seat Pleasance Theatre (See News, 5 Oct 2006). As for the future, Rice confirms that he and Lloyd Webber have been in talks about working together again (See The Goss, 13 Jul 2005). For his next new musical, Lloyd Webber plans to adapt Mikhail Bulgakov’s banned Russian novel The Master and Margarita (See The Goss, 25 Aug 2006). Perhaps the composer can entice Rice to work with him on that?