Evening Standard critic Nicholas de Jongh’s debut play Plague Over England received strong reviews when it premiered in February – in a sell-out four-week run – at the intimate Finborough Theatre in Earl’s Court. But when the long-rumoured West End transfer materialises (See The Goss, 13 Mar 2008), care of producer Bill Kenwright, it may be with a new leading man to replace Jasper Britton, who also found favour with the critics for his performance as the late thespian John Gielgud. Those pesky “artistic differences” have apparently arisen between author and actor.

Set in 1953, Plague Over England centres on Gielgud when, at the height of his fame as an actor, he was arrested in a Chelsea public lavatory. He pleaded guilty the following morning to the charge of persistently importuning men for immoral purposes. Poised to appear in the West End in a play he was directing and recently knighted, his conviction caused a national sensation – breaking the great taboo of public discussion of homosexuality. Tamara Harvey directed at the Finborough.