What looks good on the page can lose everything on stage. Casting is about chemistry, and even good actors can fail if they have to work with a badly designed set or a lazy director. In a business where about the only things to make serious money are large-scale musicals, producers have to have very deep pockets... or Maggie Smith.
Not only is Smith a great actress, she's that excessively rare thing: a box-office guarantee.
Combine that with the fact that she's appearing in the latest play by Alan Bennett (above) and you have a box-office stampede. If you haven't already booked do so immediately.
In preview, "The Lady In the Van", Queen's Theatre, London W1 (0171- 494 5040), pounds 12.50-pounds 30Reuse content