The Whingers hear lots of idle tittle tattle but they rarely bother to write about it either for complex legal reasons or more often through laziness. For the price of a drink they will usually end up passing on such titbits by oral means to anyone who will listen with the pre-amble “We didn’t tell you this but..”.
However some news is just too darn extraordinary not to broadcast and our extremely reliable showbiz mole (no, not Baz B.) has furnished us with something of an exclusive – just remember that you heard it here first.
Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it? That’s what we thought. But to be fair that’s what people said when Andrew Lloyd Webber first mooted a musical based on T.S. Eliot’s Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats. The idea of Jerry Springer the Opera was greeted with equal scorn, and who would argue that Too Close To The Sun based on the last 24 hours in the life of Ernest Hemmingway was anything less than memorable?
With Michael Ball unavailable due to his Sweeney Todd commitment at Chichester (hopefully with Imelda Staunton!) SFP have apparently set their sights on Brian Conley who is said to be on the verge of signing up to play the lead role of Johnny “Rooster” Byron.
But you ain’t heard nothing yet.
The most bizarre aspect is that this will be a musical sequel to Jerusalem and rather than being set in England’s green and pleasant lands the action will mostly take place in Wales!
Four authors are said to be adding the finishing touches to the story in which Rooster is finally evicted from his caravan after it catches fire in a Calor Gas accident leaving him horribly disfigured. Escaping with other characters from the original play they relocate in a caravan park in Barry Island where Rooster makes a lair for himself on top of the Helter Skelter. Desperate to see his son, he dupes his ex-girlfriend to bring him to come and live with him. Someone dies at the end.
Intriguingly the show will open with a big choreographed Morris Dance number set to a disco adaptation of the William’s Blake’s “Jerusalem”. There is a ballad which Rooster croons from his aerie – “Barry Ha’i” – and the celebratory show-stopper “I’m Just Wild About Barry”.
Other numbers refer wistfully back to Rooster’s days in Wiltshire and include “Oh! What a Lovely Warminster!”, “Trowbridge Over Troubled Water” and “Go Westbury”. There is an obligatory comedy number about the tribulations of doing one’s laundry in a caravan park called “Pants Never Dry”.
Both music and lyrics are being penned by US alternative rock band They Might Be Giants.
In other news, we are still unable to confirm the rumour that Nicholas Hytner is desperately trying to revive Mike Bartlett’s Cock.