I was Company and Stage manager for Vaclav Havel’s Temptation at the Westminster Theatre in London’s West End in 1990. Produced by Hugh Steadman Williams for Westminster Productions Ltd, directed by James Roose-Evans with set design by Bruno Santini, costumes by Ian MacNeil, lighting by David Lawrence. The brilliant Kevin Malpass designed the music and sound design. Starring Rula Lenska, Sylvester McCoy, Frank Middlemass and Robert Longden. This play is remembered in British history as the show that:
- closed the Westminster Theatre (it was too overtly sexual for the theatre owners);
- it changed the rules with the musicians union after I won a very public battle to allow prop radio music not requiring live musicians;
- it was at the height of the divorce of Rula Lenska and Denis Waterman with intense daily press intrusion and offers of bribes to me and others in the company from press for stories of photos of Rula;
- it was the first stage appearance of Sylvester McCoy since leaving as Doctor Who;
- the show ended each performance with a carefully executed stage bursting into flames and orchestrated public evacuation;
- the adjoining Phoenix pub bar had a private door for the Westminster crew, and a theatre paging/bell system installed behind the bar which I used nightly for the crew to make their cues on time;
- written by Vaclav Havel, past president of the Czech Republic.
The Westminster Theatre additionally had a secret private royal box and tunnel that could only be accessed from across Palace Road under the Royal Mews inside the grounds of Buckingham Palace. One drunken night with staff from the Phoenix pub, some of the cast and I, working our way from the balcony box, only got as far a giant steel barrier gate under Palace Road. The St. James Theatre has now been built on the old site.