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Quotes of the week, May 7: Josie Rourke, Alan Ayckbourn, Layton Williams and more

Josie Rourke, Alan Ayckbourn and Layton Williams. Photos: Hugo Glendinning/Tony Bartholomew
Josie Rourke, Alan Ayckbourn and Layton Williams. Photos: Hugo Glendinning/Tony Bartholomew

“The biggest failure I ever had was my first attempt at a musical. It was doomed from the start. People were jumping on board with no previous experience. It was a case of the blind leading the blind. Tim [Rice] had cold feet and Andrew [Lloyd Webber] said I could be the lyricist – “piece of cake”. I remember thinking Hammerstein and Gershwin would be turning in their graves.”
Playwright Alan Ayckbourn on his 1975 musical Jeeves (Guardian)

“Thinking of all the Italia Conti Jnrs. How sad. Some of the best years of my life in this building wearing my smurf uniform!”
Actor Layton Williams (Twitter)

“I returned to my vinyl jazz albums in preparation for City of Angels at the Garrick. If I’m feeling very indulgent, I will allow myself a listen to the score for City of Angels, which was closed a few days before its official opening. I can imagine how much the cast are missing singing those Cy Coleman dazzlers.”
Director Josie Rourke (Telegraph)

“I’m finding myself pretty disillusioned by theatre. You can only make lots of money if you’re prepared to write adaptations of films. Risk is not rewarded and that’s going to lead to a point where we’re not really looking for different ways to tell those stories on stage.”
Playwright Anthony Neilson (Guardian)

“I’m hoping the editors will put together a blooper reel... of the many moments after ‘action’ has been called when an actor stares with strangely blind eyes into the screen and says: ‘Something’s gone wrong’ – perhaps the greatest metaphor of all for society and the effect of Covid-19.”
Actor Olivia Williams on April De Angelis’ play House Party for Headlong’s Unprecedented (Sunday Times)

“Closing down the theatre, furloughing everyone, planning how we’ll adapt and survive while being in the mass-gathering business has been so intensive that I’m trying to be more disciplined in taking time off. ”
National Theatre artistic director Rufus Norris (Observer)

“I’ll miss the opportunity to see the smaller West End transfers. I saw some amazing work there over the years. It will leave a gap in the London theatre ecology.”
Head of Audience Labs at the Royal Opera House Annette Mees on the planned changes to Trafalgar Studios (Twitter)

“Theatre will happen again and sooner than you think so in the meantime shall we shut the fuck up until we know how and when and stop scaring our audiences.”
Producer David Pugh (Twitter)


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