Following a critically acclaimed run in London’s West End in 2011, Betty Blue Eyes will tour the UK in 2014, it has been announced today.
Written by George Stiles and Anthony Drewe and based on the Alan Bennett film A Private Function, the musical is a new co-production between Mercury Theatre Colchester, Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse, Salisbury Playhouse and West Yorkshire Playhouse.
Betty Blue Eyes was originally produced by Cameron Mackintosh, but the writers have now updated the show ahead of this regional première, directed by Colchester Mercury’s Artistic Director, Daniel Buckroyd. The production will feature choreography by Andrew Wright, design by Sara Perks and musical direction by Richard Reeday.
Buckroyd is relishing the chance to work on the show: “I fell in love with Betty the moment I heard George and Anthony’s wonderful witty score, and read Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman’s brilliant adaptation. They’ve somehow managed to capture all of the charm and drama of Alan Bennett’s wonderful screenplay, while adding a real theatrical sparkle to the story.”
He’s also advising theatre-goers not to expect a clone of the original production “We’re planning to take quite a different approach to the West End production – looking to bring out the ‘make do and mend’ feel of post-war Austerity Britain, so audiences can expect a real ensemble show with our very own piggy star at its heart.”
For creators George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the chance to refine the show has been one they’ve jumped at; “We’re tickled pink that these wonderful regional theatres have come together to produce the first ever tour of Betty in the UK. Ron, Dan, Ants and I were always delighted by the London audience’s reaction, but since the show closed we’ve been itching to hone the script and score a little further. We can’t wait to see what Daniel and his creative team make of our brand new version of this quintessentially British tale.”
Betty Blue Eyes will open at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester on 14 March (press night 18 March) before touring to the New Wolsey Theatre Ipswich, Salisbury Playhouse, Norwich Theatre Royal, West Yorkshire Playhouse and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.