David Benedict on theatre

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Indy Lifestyle Online
The scenario runs something like this: the show opens, the reviews are good, someone vaguely connected with a producer's office sneaks in to see it and suddenly everyone's talking 'West End transfers'.

Sadly, even when the rumours have substance, the number of shows that survive the negotiations and make it into town is tiny. Any number of things can go wrong. The actors may be committed elsewhere, as with Kevin Elyot's My Night with Reg, a runaway hit at the Royal Court. The good news is that the original cast is to be reassembled at the Criterion later this year.

Often, a suitable theatre cannot be found; the set is too big, the orchestra pit is too small, there aren't enough seats to make a profit. . . It all comes down to money. Investors may not expect huge profits, but neither do they want to incur Lloyds-style losses.

Described in this paper by Clare Bayley as 'a thumping good melodrama of the pre-Chekhov variety', 900 Oneonta (with Leland Crooke and Susan Tracy, above) is the latest player in the transfer game. This steamy slice of Southern Americana - sex, drugs and grand guignol - has moved from success at the Lyric Hammersmith Studio to the Old Vic, a theatre 10 times the size. It is also a first for the West End Producer's Alliance, which is collaborating to keep production costs - and ticket prices - way below the norm. What next. . .theatrical price wars?

The Old Vic (box office: 071-928 7616)

(Photograph omitted)