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Obituary: Kevin Colson – ‘Tony award-nominated for Aspects of Love’

Kevin Colson Kevin Colson

Kevin Colson was a star in his native Australia before he came to London in the mid-1960s. He left behind a burgeoning stage career that began with him playing Hamlet while still at university and regional stardom as compere of television’s hugely popular In Melbourne Tonight.

At a party in his first week in London, he met fellow Australian Keith Michell who was keen to leave Ron Grainer and Ronald Millar’s then West End hit portrait of the Brownings, Robert and Elizabeth. Colson duly replaced Michell as the eponymous poet at the Lyric Theatre in a cast that also included Donald Wolfit.

A spell at the Yvonne Arnaud, Guildford, followed where he was seen in Ted Willis’ first musical, The Ballad of Queenie Swann, in 1967.

The following year, alongside Judi Dench’s Sally Bowles and Barry Dennen’s master of ceremonies, he created the role of Clifford in the first British production of Cabaret at the Palace Theatre.

He went on to appear in the premiere of Benny Andersson, Bjorn Ulvaeus and Tim Rice’s Cold War musical Chess at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1986, having been seen in Stephen Sondheim’s Follies at the Forum, Wythenshawe, the year before.

In 1989, he was thrust into the limelight when he replaced Roger Moore as Uncle George when the Hollywood star abruptly withdrew a week before the opening night of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Aspects of Love at the Prince of Wales Theatre. He followed the show to Broadway in 1990 – where he was nominated for a Tony award – and returned to the UK for its first national tour in 1992.

In Anthony Shaffer’s Sleuth at the Anvil, Basingstoke in 1995, he gave a “virtuoso performance” (The Stage) as the reclusive thriller writer Andrew and was a vital Daddy Warbucks in the 1998 revival of Annie at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

He was last seen on stage as Cardinal Baggio, alongside David Suchet, in Roger Crane’s papal drama The Last Confession, which toured to the US and Australia in 2014.

Kevin Colson was born on August 28, 1938 and died on April 18, aged 79.

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