Spectator critics turn down chance of West End glory

By Dominic Ponsford

Spectator drama critics Lloyd Evans and Toby Young have decided not
to “burn their bridges” and turned down offers to transfer their play
Who’s the Daddy? to the West End.

The farce, based on last year’s “summer of love” at the magazine,
finished a sell-out six-week run at the King’s Head Theatre, London, on
Sunday.

And Young said that despite “several offers” it will not be performed again.

The
production ridicules editor Boris Johnson, publisher Kimberly Quinn and
associate editor Rod Liddle for their various extramarital affairs last
year, most notably Quinn’s liaison with David Blunkett.

Young
said: “Me and Lloyd both felt it was one thing to put our colleagues,
and particularly Boris, in the stocks for six weeks during the silly
season. But it would have been another thing altogether to put them in
the stocks for a further 12 weeks in the West End and possibly on
further beyond that.

“We felt a little bit guilty about having
written the play and mounting the production at the King’s Head and we
were made to feel even more guilty when all our colleagues took it in
such good heart. This is the opportunity to assuage some of that guilt
by not exploiting the play any further.

“Another factor was that
we were both unconvinced that the play would do as well in the West End
as it did at the King’s Head. It’s one thing to fill out a theatre with
112 seats for six weeks and quite another to fill out a theatre like
the Duchess which is a 410-seat venue for 12 weeks.

“It wasn’t a
case of wanting to hang on to our jobs, it was much more a case of not
wanting to burn our bridges with Boris, who we have both known for more
than 20 years.”

Young and Lloyd have now decided to concentrate on a farce about the royals for the King’s Head.

Young estimated that a 12-week sellout West End run would have reaped £50,000 for each of them.

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