There was an old fashioned feeling to the Groucho last night, in which diminutive terpsichordist Wayne Sleep and Mexican-speaking beardo Rory McGrath very nearly came to blow, blows sorry. ‘I wouldn’t put my **** anywhere near your mouth’ shouted David at Goliath. How very nostalgic. And Gordon Ramsey was in the brasserie so the food must be improving big time.
One day earlier this year a larger-than-life caricature of a 1950s Broadway producer, cigar, bling, limo etc. swept into our offices seeking advice on staging a Puerto Rico salsa musical his heiress wife had written. The piece was named ‘Murderous Instincts’. (Already the truth is more entertaining than the fiction) His name was Manny Fox, and we’ve just found it in an hilarious piece in the Independent.
Although credited to Terry Kirby, I feel pretty sure that David Lister may have been the one who found the story, not least because Simon Tait was quoted. Simon edits the magazine Artindustry and has a particularly keen eye for this sort of thing. At one time I nicknamed the leading broadsheet journalists who covered the theatre the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse – David Lister at the Independent, Nigel Reynolds at the Telegraph, Nicolas de Jongh at the Guardian, and Simon Tait at The Times…if they were coming for you you knew you were in trouble. But if they did nothing else, they were great at getting theatre into the papers in the front 4 or 5 pages, and were both critics and newshounds.
The idea of Manny Fox bawling out former ‘Return to the Forbidden Planet’ creator Bob Carlton, and firing him twice, in front of a bemused matin�e audience, on the afternoon after the first lukewarm review had appeared in Norwich, is an image to cherish. There, in the stalls, with the punters shuffling off for their interval ices and cuppas. Whether the bizarre ‘Murderous Instincts’ will even open in the West End seems under some discussion. It was written by Manny’s wife, Cinda (!) the heir to the Firestone tyre fortune. While I’d have loved to enjoy the fruits of all that vulcanisation, it now seems all is not well with this musical, and that’s when you’re enormously relieved you didn’t get the job.