THEATRE / Theatre

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The Independent Culture
Beautiful Thing, the last show from director Hettie Macdonald, is the only play in the West End featuring a Thamesmead love affair and Mama Cass singing "It's gettin' better." It's a comment that could be applied to the fortunes of the production which went from the Bush to a National tour, the Donmar and finally the West End.

Macdonald took the original script through two new drafts over two months prior to rehearsals. "It's really hard, but I love the editing process. When I began I can't imagine how unhelpful I probably was, but since then I have been very lucky, getting towork on so much new material and with so many writers. Having someone who can talk about where a play comes from is fascinating, and being able to be the eye of the audience for a writer is very exciting."

When Soho Theatre Company offered her Carole Braverman's LWT award-winning comedy The Yiddish Trojan Women, it was with very little development time. She persuaded them to put the dates back, but with less than a week to go, her cast is busy learning newlines. Like the comedienne Brenda (Debora Weston, above), Macdonald is single-minded in her approach. Technical rehearsals have been re-scheduled to accommodate the final re-writes of the last scene which have just arrived by fax from the USA. No one will be able to accuse the production of having grown stale. Hopefully, they'll be too busy laughing.

`The Yiddish Trojan Women' previews from tonight at the Cockpit Theatre. Box Office: 071-402 5081