West End Review: March 2007

27th March 2008



Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to share their verdicts on God of Carnage (Gielgud), Never So Good (National) and Jersey Boys (Prince Edward). Recorded at Dewynters, London.

You could accuse Macmillan of being quite a lot of not very nice things – and Brenton doesn’t… I was terribly moved.




Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to share their verdicts on God of Carnage (Gielgud), Never So Good (National) and Jersey Boys (Prince Edward). Recorded at Dewynters, London.

Recording Date: 27 March 2008

Transcribed by Keyboard Freedom. © theatreVOICE.

Mark Shenton: Hello, this is Mark Shenton welcoming you to Theatre Voice’s latest regular critical round-up of the most notable recent theatre openings. I’m joined today by critics Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph, Matt Wolf of The International Herald Tribune and David Benedict from Variety to discuss two play premiers and the import of a hit Broadway musical. Two of them are based on real life biographical stories. In Jersey Boys, which has come to the Prince Edward Theatre, the lives and careers of the men that comprised 60s pop hit makers Frankie Valley and The Four Seasons are tracked against the soundtrack of the songs that they made famous. While in Never So Good, running at The National, Lyttelton, it is Howard Macmillan, Britain’s Prime Minister from 1957 to 1963, whose life is charted from Eton schoolboy days to active service in the First World War, his subsequent marriage and government service that included being Minister of Defence and Chancellor of the Exchequer before becoming Prime Minister. And from matters of state, the arrival of Yasmin Reza’s latest Paris hit, God of Carnage, at London’s Gielgud Theatre, reunites her with the team behind her international hit play, Art, including translator Christopher Hampton, director Matthew Warchus and designer Mark Thompson, for another of her dissections of the intricate politics of personal relationships, this time amongst two professional couples who meet to discuss the injury that the son of one couple has inflicted on the son of the other — and come to different sorts of blows themselves. The West End first night for God of Carnage was disrupted by another sort of event, when the lights literally went out owing to a power cut. Charlie, you were there, how did that effect the performance?

Charles Spencer: Well they managed it brilliantly really. In fact actually it was the sort of people on the other side of, you know, the technical side who didn’t do so well because they, I think they should have just kept going but they stopped the show. Maybe they should have had a quick announcement, and then they sort of fussed around a bit backstage. But the four very starry members of the cast were completely unphased about it and although, I mean normally they said, you know, the lighting creates the energy of a show to a large extent, but actually there was no loss of energy and they skipped back and they also had this other thing when it wasn’t just the lighting. Ralph Fiennes has this constant mobile phones going off as a running joke through the show and it wasn’t ever ringing, so he had to sort of anticipate his mobile going off. No, it was a real sort of, one of those nights when what a wonderful lot of old troopers they were, you know.

Mark Shenton: But it was a play that of course depends on the comic momentum and the comic motor. What did you think, David, of the play?

David Benedict: I think the play is like most of Yasmin Reza’s plays, that they’re not quite as good at the playwright thinks they are but they’re an awful lot better than the detractors would have you believe. I think this is, in a bad production you would notice quite how portentous some of the writing is and certainly in a bad translation you really would notice it. I think she’s extraordinarily lucky in Christopher Hampton whose scripts, whose translations are fantastically felicitous. I think this has got some quite heavy weather in it but you don’t notice it because it’s such an expert production from absolutely everybody, whether that’s, you know, clean music at the top, Hugh Vanston’s lighting, that of which we saw, the whole deal – Mark Thompson’s designs, Matthew Warchus’s direction and an absolutely crack playing by a cast. It was like watching championship doubles except that everybody kept switching sides, nobody drops the ball all night long. And as Charlie says, the fact that the ball did get dropped for ten minutes whilst they sorted out lighting cues and what they were going to do in their absence, the fact that they were able to pick it all back up again was kind of extraordinary. Although audiences do love it, when you remind them that theatre really is live.

Charles Spencer: I liked it, I think that there’s something about it, you know, and it does remind you that it is, you know, that things can go wrong and it’s so rare that you get that these days.

David Benedict: And also when robbed of all the technicalities, they basically, they just brought up the working lights, you really are left with the fact OK, what is happening here is four people are doing lines and making us believe that it happens. And the fact that they were able to drag everybody back into the height of an argument…

Charles Spencer: Very quickly.

David Benedict: Very quickly, did really make you feel like oh actually I’m watching really good acting, this is a damn well oiled machine really, really working.

Charles Spencer: I think you’re absolutely right though about Reza, I mean she’s so, I mean I don’t reckon she has many jokes and I’m sure a lot of those jokes are Hampton’s, and then [producer David] Pugh assembles these beautiful casts for her, you know. I mean I think this is one of Pugh’s very best casts actually…

David Benedict: Absolutely.

Charles Spencer: A really cracking cast. And particularly Ralph Fiennes, I thought, was a revelation to me because he’d always struck me as a bit of sort of carrot up the bum actor, and here he is playing a man with a carrot up the bum but sending himself up rather nicely.

David Benedict: I mean I did think Fiennes was good. I found his performance particularly one note.

Charles Spencer: Yes.

David Benedict: It happens to be the right note, thank goodness.

Charles Spencer: Yes.

David Benedict: Whereas I think the others are doing rather extraordinary things. I mean the point about Reza is she never writes about what she appears to be writing about. Art was supposedly a play about art, it was nothing of the sort, it was a play about male friendship. This is supposedly about the lack of sophistication and how we’re all savages really and this, that and the other, you know, actually that’s what she’s writing about, she pretends it’s a play about what are we going to do about our children beating each other up, and of course it isn’t about that. But the, just the energy of what is going on between them, the fact that actors can pick up on the comic element of this and because, as you say, with what Hampton is doing it just, I mean it is, I think it’s, as I say, a much slighter play than she believes it to be. But whilst you’re watching it you just, you just buy it because the playing is so good and everybody else, other than Fiennes, has this two-dimensional quality. And particular Tamsin Greg I thought who, who starts off quite slowly. I mean there’s a fantastic piece of design in this, I mean it sounds disgusting but she gets so tense that she throws up. I mean it’s just the most incredible pyrotechnic effect.

Charles Spencer: How did she do it, did you work out how they did it? Have they got a tube or something?

David Benedict: She has, yes, there’s a tube. She’s got a very wide bracelet on one arm that will have a tube up the side of it and I assume that it, that she’s got her hand to her mouth so….

Mark Shenton: This is what’s known as a spoiler. However it’s not the only vomit scene on the London…

David Benedict: No, no, it happens quite early. But, you know, that is, that’s done incredibly well. But she starts of a sort of demure, trying to ameliorate the situation. The two couples meet in the apartment, they’re trying to sort out the statement they’re going to make because one of the children has beaten up the other one – hit him in the face with a stick and two teeth have been lost. And she’s the mother of the aggressive child and she’s just trying to be placatory, and you think that’s her role, but actually you begin to see her as this oppressed wife of Ralph Fiennes and there’s a sort of maniacal glee. There’s something that she does, which I won’t spoilt, later on in the play that basically that the audience is so happy when she finally does, she takes revenge and she releases this sort of maniacal laugh of happiness that she’s done it, which is really rather shocking and you suddenly see this enormous emotional well spring beneath that demure surface.

Charles Spencer: No, she’s a lovely actress. I thought the one, the one thing that doesn’t work actually, and you don’t realise it at the time, it’s only afterwards, is actually the marriage between the other couple which is Ken Stott and Janet McTeer, those two would have, they’re completely, they would never have been married. I mean, you know…

Mark Shenton: Or certainly wouldn’t have lasted as long as they seem to have.

Charles Spencer: No, exactly, no. It’s, you know, because she’s a sort of earth mother peace nick and he’s a nasty, little, racist misanthrope really, and it’s not a real marriage that. And I think that’s the thing with Reza plays – while you’re watching them they’re absolutely enjoyable, but they’re absolutely no substance really and…

Mark Shenton: They’re soufflés.

Charles Spencer: And they’re soufflés, and they’re very nice for ninety minutes, they don’t outstay their welcome and then you forget all about them.

David Benedict: But I mean , you know, there’s to my mind a thoroughly second rate revival of Vortex next door, I would, I’d sit through The God of Carnage three times rather than see the Vortex again. And it’s very, very skilled and, as I say, when it’s done as well as this it’s thoroughly enjoyable, and the audience was having a damn good time.

David Benedict: They did love it.

Mark Shenton: She is kind of repetitious though, isn’t she, I mean the plays always, endless loop around themselves, you know, internally repetitious and then between each play they’re repetitious. And it’s accentuated, I think, by the fact that the same design, director team, translator team approach them each time. Life Times Three, this felt to me like a real rerun of Life Times Three…

David Benedict: Oh I think it’s a much better play than Life Times Three.

Mark Shenton: Which was a rerun of itself because it repeated itself twice over. So…

Charles Spencer: Yes, she’s got tricks and she uses them, hasn’t she? I mean what it is, it’s a classic, it’s the old tone, it’s the classic mood of old comedy, you know. And funnily enough I was in Paris where it’s on at the moment, and they have plays there that you just don’t see here at all, you know, and they’re all these sort of slightly sort of old-fashioned looking farces and comedies and, which is absolutely the mainstay of French theatre and of course it fits in very well with that. Though she of course would not say they were comedies, they’re tragedies.

David Benedict: Yes, well she’s…

Charles Spencer: Silly old cow.

Mark Shenton: But one of the interesting things I think is also the fact that she’s one of the few commercial playwrights to open a play cold in the West End and she has a kind of ongoing relationship with David Pugh, the producer, which once upon a time would have happened, Michael Codron had ongoing relations with Ayckbourn, with Stoppard and so on and the would bring plays of theirs in to the West End, and there’s very little of that about these days.

David Benedict: Well interestingly you say that because that is the perception, but in fact Pugh has only done one Reza play before – he did not do Life Times Three, he did not do The Unexpected Man, he wasn’t particularly fond of them. And actually he’s chosen very wisely I think, you know, this one looks like having the same kind of commercial legs that Art has done, you know, it’s a play about parents looking after their children, it’s fairly universal, that could certainly cross to America very easily. And she premiered it herself in Switzerland, it’s, as Charlie says, it’s playing with Isabella Per in Paris currently, and this is going to have a track record.

Charles Spencer: It’s a franchise, isn’t it?

Mark Shenton: And of course the stalls were full the other day of people who’d been in Art and you sort of sat there wondering, you know, is Warren Mitchell going to take over from Ralph Fiennes perhaps. There were all those sorts of worries. Meanwhile moving on to Never So Good, good enough for you David?

David Benedict: I think that I could be very mean and say that I think the title is wrong, which would be so good? Never.

Mark Shenton: Oh come on.

David Benedict: I don’t think it’s as bad as that but I do think that it’s an awful lot of playwriting ideas in search of a play, for me it had absolutely no tension, no narrative drive, it wasn’t until the beginning of the second act that I worked our why Harold Brenton had written the play. It’s, Jeremy Irons is very nice, there’s some good work by [designer] Vicky Mortimer, but it really didn’t do it for me in spades, I have to say.

Mark Shenton: Did it do it for you Matt?

Matt Wolf: Well there’s something about this play for me is that obviously Harold Macmillan wasn’t part of my childhood or my history or my upbringing, so I went to it really as a sort of novice and I was surprisingly engaged, I have to say. I mean I see what David is saying about why he wrote it because whenever somebody makes a bio play or a bio pic, you sort of assume it’s about something more than itself. I mean obviously there was some sort of motor by which I assume Howard Brenton, that one-time socialist firebrand, is actually writing a deeply sympathetic portrait of a statesman who, you know, twenty years ago presumably he couldn’t have been less interested in. But it’s about levels of statesmanship, sort of a kind of morality which has completely vanished. The problem with these sorts of plays, and it’s actually slightly true of Jersey Boys, is that they always succumb to: ‘And then what happened?’, ‘And then what came next?’ and it’s very, very hard to end them. We can talk more about that later.

Mark Shenton: Yes, there’s an awful lot of history in this, isn’t there, and of course Brenton has written plays about Churchill, he’s also written plays about Paul most recently at The National and In Extremis at The Globe. He’s on a history cycle, isn’t he, Charlie?

Charles Spencer: Yes, I mean I think this is an absolutely terrific play actually, I mean I think it’s a play about, I think actually if you’re looking for the subject it’s a play about England and how England has changed. I think that’s why he wanted to write it and I think that the, I think that it’s an absolutely extraordinary, one of the most startling examples of an artist reinventing himself that I can remember actually. I mean the idea that thirty years after The Romans in Britain he would be writing a play that is incredibly sympathetic to Macmillan. I mean there is not a, hardly an ounce. I think, you know, you could accuse Macmillan of being quite a lot of not very nice things, and Brenton doesn’t. I mean he makes him very sympathetic, he makes him slightly ruthless but certainly not really, really ruthless, and even when he’s out of touch he gives him good lines at the end. I was terribly moved, I mean I suppose someone on the right to see someone on the left finding such sympathy in this man which I think gives it a unique, if you bring that knowledge to the play it does add an extra depth. I thought the relationship between the sort of public, you know, the public affairs and then that very sad relationship with his wife was beautifully caught and just things like, you know, familiar territory but beautifully done; the First World War scenes, fantastically well done I thought, and I thought that the Suez thing, also well-known and familiar, was done like a sort of thriller. You could see that he’d done Spooks. I thought it was a fantastic evening actually and the National at its very best. And Irons, not an actor I normally like, very good, though I don’t think actually quite as persuasive as Edward Fox was ten years ago.

Mark Shenton: In Letter of Resignation at the…

Charles Spencer: Letter of Resignation, but a lovely performance from Irons and I thought there was less of the vanity you normally get in his acting.

David Benedict: Yes. I did think that the Suez scene which is what, basically the Suez crisis, the famously shameful episode in British politics that many a playwright discuses – David Hare often mentions it in various places, that’s the best part of the play for me by a long shot because it finally gets its teeth in to something. I mean it’s partly because he’s very clearly drawing parallels with, you know, another more recent foreign policy adventure which was all about looking after oil according to Brenton, i.e. the Iraq war, and the parallels are unmissable in the lines that are given to various people and that bit is dramatised. But so much of the rest of it is, as Matt says, an ‘And then?’ play. So much of it is discussion and I completely take your point, Charlie, that it’s fascinating that a leftwing playwright is so sympathetic to a rightwing politician, fascinating from an authorial point of view. But unfortunately for me it almost never span into drama. And the points at which we see time gaps, we see a shift in time, a whole group of dancers come on the stage and dance. Do they dance for thirty seconds, one minute, a minute and a half or two minutes? There’s absolutely no reason for them to be there other than to pass time. They come on, it’s completely dramatically inert, and there are so many other bits where you see hoary old devices of the young man and the old man interrogating each other – that’s never really taken far enough, it’s just the young man becomes the voice of his conscience who pricks him occasionally. There are very, very interesting discussions about the responsibilities of power, about paternalistic conservatism which is there presumably to make us think about different types of conservatism now, but it’s a discussion, it’s not, for me it’s not a drama.

Matt Wolf: Well part of me felt that maybe, you know, with this kind of play, one of the fascinating things about Frost/Nixon I think was that Peter Morgan didn’t attempt to dramatise all of Frost’s life from cradle to grave or all of Nixon’s life, he focused on one salient moment and then brought enough information to the table to charge it up. And I couldn’t help but wonder with this, although I don’t, I’m not quite sure what moment it would have been, whether there could have been one moment from Macmillan’s life which could have been emblematic of the whole rather then trying to…

David Benedict: The Suez crisis, surely.

Matt Wolf: Yes, trying to embrace everything with exactly the same approach as Tom Stoppard employed in The Invention of Love, very much more movingly I thought in The Invention of Love. I thought after a while Brenton didn’t quite know what to do with this younger/older self thing, and he kind of abandoned it.

Mark Shenton: Well he does cover like fifty years or more in all.

Charles Spencer: And I think that’s what I like about it, as much as anything, and I think it’s actually got a lot in common with Coward’s Cavalcade and all those, and Forty Years On. It’s actually…

David Benedict: It’s a pageant…

Charles Spencer: It’s a pageant in a way. But I find if you find yourself immersed in the character it becomes extremely moving, and it is actually what happened to England and what happened to people in England. I think it gets better than almost in any play I’ve ever seen as well, that ending of the age of deference, where at the end he just does not understand that Peter Cook can stand up and insult him to his face in the club. And yet there is something almost heroic about it, he takes it with dignity and then says he goes off and enjoys this period of old-fartdom. But I loved it and I actually think that this will be a very big hit. I think a lot of, it’s the sort of play a lot of people are going to want to see.

Matt Wolf: It won’t play on Broadway, but that’s not a slight. I’m not saying that as a slight.

Charles Spencer: Actually I preferred it to, I greatly preferred it to Frost/Nixon which I thought was too centred on one thing and actually was like a documentary more than a play. I mean it was beautifully acted, I absolutely agree, but I didn’t think it was much of a play. I think this is a much better play, possibly baggier and looser and not so well constructed but richer and more rewarding.

Matt Wolf: It’s interesting the way Jeremy Irons all of a sudden seems to have leapfrogged from this kind of young gay blades in The Rover and The Real Thing to playing old men.

David Benedict: Well he hasn’t been on stage for such a long time between the two.

Matt Wolf: Well I know, but he seems to have missed that middle ground and now he’s playing geriatrics, I mean that unendurable Embers last year which was appalling, I mean this is…

Mark Shenton: Acclaimed by Nicholas de Jongh as one of the most greatest theatrical experiences in life.

Matt Wolf: Yes, but he only gave it four stars out of this, and then this, you sort of wonder what…

Charles Spencer: That was Christopher Jackson, wasn’t it?

Mark Shenton: Yes, it was, yes. Of course this is a play that I think only the National can do in fact, because if you look at the cast up there, twenty-three people I counted at the curtain call and also that very spectacular Act One finale which I don’t want to spoil again, which if you were asleep you would certainly be woken by. I was sitting next to the Chairman of the National Theatre on the press night and he turned to me and said, ‘I don’t know how we get these things through health and safety’; he said it was rather remarkable. Health, talking of health and safety brings us to Jersey Boys. Did it improve your health, Charlie?

Charles Spencer: Yes, well it left me very cheerful, but I’m a pop buff. And actually just to go back very, very quickly, the dance routines weren’t as good as they could be but I thought it was an absolute joy in the Macmillan play to hear the full-length version of Shaking All Over by Johnny Kid and The Pirates, which is something you don’t get nearly often enough in my view. And it was a very well chosen song as well. Jersey Boys, I’ve never been much of a one for the Four Seasons, I actually on record find Frankie Valli ’s famous falsetto de trop really and a little of it goes a long way for me. I saw this show in New York and where of course New Jersey is just across the boarder, or the river, not the border…

Matt Wolf: It’s a border now, everything in New York has a border now.

Charles Spencer: And I liked it there and I liked it just as much here. I still can’t quite see why I liked it so much in that it’s a very old-fashioned juke box musical, it’s the kind of juke box musical that Bill Kenwright used to do about Roy Orbison and Patsy Kline and, you know, it just tells the story. The story is an interesting one, you know, because you’ve got the mob connections and things and the songs are very good in the theatre, they work fantastically, I mean which is not always the case, they do work well as theatre songs, don’t they? But I still can’t quite see why I liked it so much but I did and I think, just the big question now is whether there will be enough sort of people, Four Seasons fans who will go and see it here. Though I have to say I didn’t go on the first night, I went on a Saturday night before it opened — with permission — and it was getting a kind of blue collar audience which is what you, they seem to be a very blue collar band, I mean that’s makes a lot of that there. It was the kind of Essex audience and we all know what the Essex audience have done to We Will Rock You, and I think actually it might have much longer legs that people are suggesting.

Mark Shenton: Although Queen are bigger obviously than Frankie Valli, but…

Charles Spencer: Yes.

Mark Shenton: But the thing is we’ve seen so many of those terribly bad compilation musicals over here and I think that’s the thing…

Charles Spencer: It’s well written.

Mark Shenton: That it’s well written and very well produced. It’s, I mean compare it to Buddy, which is shamefully lacklustre dramatically, but then of course you get the payoff with the big songs. But it, and I suppose Buddy, because he’s dead, has a bigger legacy. I mean these guys, you know, both Frankie Valli and Bob Gardier were sitting in the theatre the other night. But I think that’s part of the reason for its success. Matt, you saw it on Broadway too.

Matt Wolf: Yes. Well it’s fantastically well directed, I mean Des McAnuff’s direction of this does bear a comparison with Michael Bennett’s direction of Dream Girls, and that is saying a lot. And it has that same sort of quicksilver energy and almost cinematic cuts, and it’s just sentimental enough to get the women in the audience on its side, but it’s also got a kind of macho gristle to it which gets the blokes on its side. It’s quite a blokey show.

Charles Spencer: Oh it is, yes.

Matt Wolf: And I think that will work on its behalf here as it has on Broadway. I mean I suppose inevitably, coming from New York, it seemed to me here to be kind of a facsimile of the thing rather than the thing itself. I didn’t go to the press night either, I went to the Monday night preview, and it was very odd because they were coming out on stage saying things like, ‘Hey, New Jersey’, you know, a cue for a huge ovation from audience — dead silence. And you thought, Oh-oh, they really had to be goosed along. But then all of…

Charles Spencer: Perhaps they should pretend the Jersey Boys came from Epping Forest and it would be, then becoming a very…

Mark Shenton: Or Guernsey.

Charles Spencer: Guernsey.

Matt Wolf: Exactly, or Old Compton Street, the boys’ bit. But, you know, as soon as you have the kind of incredibly muscular intro to ‘Walk Like a Man’, or all of a sudden the swooping sort of explosion of ‘Cherie’, it’s really exciting on a very visceral level. Although for me this cast doesn’t really get it from the inside the way the New York cast does, but I think that’s probably inevitable.

Mark Shenton: It does take a long time to get going actually, the show, I mean there’s a good forty-five minutes before you get in to it, Cherie’s at the launch of the Jersey Boy’s…

Charles Spencer: But I think that’s a sign of its courage actually, and I find all that stuff about, I mean bands are always more interesting before they make it than when they have made it. And I find all that sort of stuff, I mean keep going to prison and trouble and sort of bungled robberies and false murder, you know, false murder facades and really terrible stuff. The only disappointing thing is they don’t feature nearly enough Bob Gardier’s ‘Short Shorts’, which not many of you will know. It was a hit here covered by Freddy and The Dreamers, I’m sorry to go into all of this detail, and is actually one of the great camp songs of all times with going, ‘I like short shorts, do you like my short shorts?’ It’s a fantastic song, and it’s only mentioned en passant.

Mark Shenton: Well they couldn’t include everything, could they? But one of the slightly misleading things they do is in the show you get the sense that Bob Gardier wrote everything, and in fact actually look in the credits he actually didn’t write a great deal of these songs, or co-wrote them with a guy who’s a camp aside.

David Benedict: I mean I do think that, I mean I have not seen the show in London but I, like Matt, saw it in New York. I am slightly mystified by this because everybody says, ‘Oh it’s so well written’, and I’m really puzzled as to why it is. I think it’s extremely competently written, I mean that in a positive way. It sounds like damn praise, I think it’s extraordinarily efficient but I’m not sure it’s anything more than that. And watching it in New York, I began to get worried. I mean all around me, I went on a Saturday matinee months in to the run and, as you say, the Jersey lines come up and the audience just, you know, has an orgasm, it’s fantastic, it’s local boys made good. And on at the Prince Edward on Old Compton Street, local to where? And I do worry that whilst I too love ‘Oh What a Night’ and plenty of other Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons numbers, how many people are willing to risk, you know, two of you go, that’s a hundred quid and…

Mark Shenton: Hundred and twenty, sixty pounds a head.

David Benedict: Yes, thank you, a hundred and twenty quid to go and see this. Well actually you could download a couple of the tracks from I-Tunes, whack your stereo up and have a damn good time listening to them.

Matt Wolf: Well the funny thing about Jersey Boys here compared to Broadway is that there are many more shows of its sort here, that whole genre has been pioneered or some would say bastardised largely by producers we could name on the West End, and that sort of show doesn’t get a look in in New York. I mean Buddy famously flopped out of the Schubert Theatre after about what, eight months, and it’s been playing here for decades.

Mark Shenton: And Lennon and Good Vibrations came and went within seconds.

Matt Wolf: Yes, although I did manage to see it. So I wonder whether in New York it doesn’t represent something a bit more novel and unusual, whereas here people are going to just think, Oh not another one.

David Benedict: And I think that’s true, I mean I took a New Yorker to see Jersey Boys and she just, she was completely bamboozled by the whole thing. You know, she was like but, and I’m not quite sure what they’re doing. I mean maybe we’ve reached a point where the term ‘musical’ simply isn’t enough because what you and I might think of a musical and what two other people might think of as a musical may be and indeed are completely different things and that this kind of compilation show, the stitched together history in which the songs get played out, is a very different thing and that, as you say, we’ve cornered the market in that. That there’s been Roy Orbison shows and virtually ever single person, and there are many more circuiting and ready to come in. We were promised a Tina Turner one from Ben Elton, which hasn’t actually seen the light.

Matt Wolf: I would love that one…

David Benedict: Yes, obviously. And there’s a Dusty Springfield one waiting in the wings, you know, there isn’t anybody that’s had more than four hits is clearly ready and waiting for an impersonator.

Charles Spencer: Well my Janice Joplin musical is in the bottom of the drawer and it’s been…

David Benedict: Will you be giving us your Janice?

Matt Wolf: Oh hey, I’m ready for that one.

Mark Shenton: Well I think on that note, thank you David, Charlie and Matt.