A West End return for Me and My Girl has been on and off the cards for more than ten years, and now it looks to be firmly back on the cards, thanks to government tax reforms.
Producer Edward Snape told The Stage newspaper that changes to the tax code, which mean that producers no longer pay National Insurance contributions on entertainers' earnings, have made it more attractive to stage bigger-cast productions, including big musicals.
First seen in 1937, Me and My Girl has music by Noel Gay and lyrics by L Arthur Rose and Douglas Furber who also jointly wrote the book, which was revised in 1984 by actor-writer-comedian Stephen Fry with contributions by Mike Ockrent. The score includes "The Lambeth Walk", "The Sun Has Got Its Hat On" and the title song.
Snape, with co-producer Alex Armitage (Noel Gay's grandson), mounted a tour of Me and My Girl in 2006, which went on to win Best Regional Production at the WhatsOnStage Awards, and revived it again, under the helm of director Anna Mackmin, at Sheffield Crucible in 2010 – both times tipped for West End transfers that failed to materialise.
Robert Lindsay - with the help of "his girl" Emma Thompson - famously made the part of cockney millionaire heir Bill Snibson his own in the 1980s. Lindsay won an Olivier and a Tony, while the production played for more than eight years in London and three years on Broadway. Other Bills to have leaned on the show's famous lamppost in recent years have included Gary Wilmot and Tim Curry.
Earlier this year, Homeland's Damian Lewis was reportedly in talks to take on the role, and his involvement hosting last month's Evening Standard Awards seemed like a public audition. Lewis told the Standard he was yearning to return to the musical stage and, on the night, opened the Awards ceremony with a pitch-perfect cockneyfied performance of "Leaning on a Lamppost" from Me and My Girl.