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The Independent Culture
The first 'X' film I ever saw starred Richard Chamberlain (post- Dr Kildare, pre-Thorn Birds) who married Glenda Jackson (post-Boots the Chemist, pre-House of Commons) while dallying with Christopher Gable. Actually, The Music Lovers told us more about Ken Russell than Tchaikovsky, the composer who gave us such enduring masterpieces as Eugene Onegin, the Pathtique Symphony and the Cadbury's Fruit and Nut commercial. A recent Omnibus arrived at the less than illuminating conclusion that all who knew him are dead (surprise, he died in 1893), he died in suspicious circumstances and that there are papers which his estate will not release.

Annoyingly, real life rarely takes dramatic shape. Of course, this has stopped no one, least of all Tim Fountain, whose Tchaikovsky in the Park (with Gary Sefton, above) is about to open. Happily, this is no biopic. "I'm not interested in a meaningless trawl through someone's life."

The play springs from a reference in Poznansky's biography to Edward Zack, a friend of the composer and the inspiration for Romeo and Juliet, who committed suicide. The 10th anniversary of his death prompted Tchaikovsky's longest-ever diary entry, suggesting a relationship of great significance.

With so many details of Tchaikovsky's life and death believed to have been suppressed, Fountain feels he has the freedom to explore. "I'm interested in emotional truth, not fact." A much more dramatic starting point.

'Tchaikovsky in the Park' opens at the Bridewell on Wed (0171-936 3456)

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