Theatre Royal Drury Lane
The West End faces two existential crises as winter approaches. First, there is the obvious economic one. There are few “angels” with the money to invest in productions, the venues are having to pass on rising fuel bills, and the punters increasingly see theatre tickets as an unaffordable luxury. The second is what I can only describe as constipation, by which I mean that every one of the big venues now has a long post-pandemic backlog of productions waiting to get in.
The producers of Treason took matters into their own hands and hired the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on a single hot August night to show off their production to the critics. It’s a good, efficient account of the Gunpowder Plot directed by Hannah Chissick with some rousing songs and two rather delightful turns from Daniel Boys as King James and Les Dennis as his much put-upon advisor Robert Cecil.
In normal circumstances it’s the sort of thing that would have found a stage quickly enough and held on to it for months. These are not, however, normal circumstances. This winter is going to be a tough one for the West End and all I’d say to the theatre owners is to be pretty damn sure that the shows they’ve got waiting to come in are tried and tested.