Stephen Ward Icon

Aldwych Theatre

Aldwych WC2B 4DF

Stephen Ward

Aldwych Theatre 3D location mapMap ©Silvermaze Ltd 2008 Aldwych Theatre photoPhoto ©Tony Reading 2008

Show Details

Preview 3rd Dec 13
Opens 19th Dec 13
Closes 29th Mar 14

Show Times

Mon - Sat 7.30 pm
Matinée Weds & Sat 2.30 pm
Length of show -

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BAXTER'S THEATRELAND BY NIGHT
A classic viewing of all the Theatreland play houses by night. The authentic commentary, by Ben Shafik - a player himself - gives an authentic feel to the West End's theatres - and is backed by real music.
Next version will be more upbeat as, suggested, to celebrate Britannia's unbeatable heritage.
(Over 6000 viewings and all good reviews to date).
Let us know what you think.


A note from the author

I took these pictures to show off London theatres as they are seen -most often - by theatre goers, at night.

Thanks to Ben Shafik for his lighthearted and informative commentary and Fionn O'Lochlainn for the original music.

Watch out for the new version with current liveries and the names of the theatres as they appear.

Baxter



Cast

  • Alexander Hanson - Stephen Ward
  • Charlotte Spencer - Christine Keeler
  • Charlotte Blackledge - Mandy Rice Davies
  • Anthony Calf - Lord Astor
  • Daniel Flynn - John Profumo
  • Joanna Riding - Valerie Hobson
  • Ian Conningham - Ivanov
  • Chris Howell - Murray
  • Ricardo Coke Thomas - Lucky Gordon
  • Wayne Robinson - Johnny Edgecomp

  • Book & Lyrics - Christopher Hampton and Don Black
  • Music - Andrew Lloyd Webber
  • Director - Richard Eyre
  • Design - Rob Howell
  • Lighting- Peter Mumford
  • Choreography - Stephen Mear
  • Costume - Rob Howell
  • Sound - Paul Groothuis
  • Producer - Robert Fox Limited and the Really Useful Group

STEPHEN WARD

MAKING A NATIONAL ICON INTO POLITICAL SLEAZE

A song and dance indeed!. It was 50 years ago that the Profumo scandal broke out and had serious consequences on taking the establishment down a peg or two from its position of self righteous censorship to having neither leg to stand on. It's long enough ago that some people might need reminding.

Explicit and sensational sex stories about public figures appeared on the front pages of all types of newspaper for the first time.

Here was a real live enactment of any governments' worst nightmare - a scandal that brought a government down. In this case Harold Macmillan, abruptly resigned as Prime Minister to be replaced via Home. by the opposition. Harold Wilson (Labour) won by an miniscule majority of 4 seats in 1964.

Policing of the moral censorship of Britain would hereafter be locking the stable door after the horses had bolted. It was thought to be responsible for lifting theatrical censorship and for less discrimination regarding homosexuality.

Not only sleaze, but also international security - treachery, from the pillow talk angle. The press sure raked through the muck! They milked this story relentlessly until people started to object and cancel their papers. One wonders what else was happening in politics that got little - if any - attention. Could there be but the faintest rumble of a Holmes type conspiracy at the heart of this affair that could make this musical a hit?

And now the main muck-rakers are the famous duo Lloyd Webber and Rice.  If there is a feeling of potential competitiveness between them t would appear to be competing for the most superfluous old dirt to bring out as a West End MUSICAL. This surely marks a turning point in providing a glut of gratuitous human low life to write songs about.

Musicals and musical comedies are supposed to be goodtime family entertainment but it seems they aren't any more. Does this mean that repugnance and sadness are now classed as entertainment? The answer is yes when there is plenty of sex as well. It seems to be too  golden an opportunity to miss  - to be able to name prominent political figures as sexy. rather than stiffnecked stiff collared righteous politicians. That made a big change in those days.

'Stephen Ward' scores higher on the sleaze rating over ''From Here to Eternity' which, however, scores points by having some adrenaline bursting military violence to entertain a thrilled audience of very many men. Of course that can be thrilling to women as well

STORY

Stephen Ward was an eminent London Osteopath with a good reputation. Because of his success he was called upon to fix the ailing backs of many leading politicians. Once effectively relieved of back pain their thoughts turned once more to hanky panky and so Stephen obliged them by introducing them to pretty,girls who had ambitions towards social climbing; using the horizontal approach. He was good at picking out girls who were also sparky enough to provide some fun conversations while they were at it. His reputation spread and for a while he was everyone's favourite....toasted at many a high class party.

He made two mistakes. He was politically inept and shared the same girls between the War Minister and some Russian characters in the middle of the cold war.  Even 50 years on It might be still too raw a subject for the play to be allowed to be a hit.  His other mistake was to try out the skills of the girls himself - for training and quality purposes.  An easy mistake to make.

Too many trousers and knickers were down around too many ankles when people started 'leaking' on each other and one of the girls sold her story to the press upon which all hell broke loose. It was a lot of money.

Stephen Ward The Musical is a very professionally produced and well performed musical as would be expected. It's certainly worth going along just to find out, after all, what the fuss was really all about. The song 'Human Sacrifice' cuts closer to the bone than many people could suspect.

©Covent-Garden.co.uk 2017 Updated 15th Feb 2015