Exit, stage left: the real theatrics at the Old Vic

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The Independent Online

* The Old Vic has staged many scenes of conflict over the years, but few can be more dramatic than the real-life battle that erupted there last week.

On Wednesday, Robert Altman's production of Arthur Miller's Resurrection Blues was thrown into crisis after a leading lady, Jane Adams suddenly resigned from the cast.

It later emerged that the play, originally hailed as artistic director Kevin Spacey's first major success, would close a week early, leaving the Old Vic empty for almost five months.

Today, through the fog of silence that continues to emanate from Spacey's company, the real story of Adams' departure can finally be told.

I gather that the US actress left Resurrection Blues after an extraordinary backstage dispute with her Hollywood co-star Matthew Modine, left.

Senior sources at the venue witnessed a heated "shouting match" between them, after Modine accused Adams of aggressive behaviour during Wednesday's matinee.

The disputed incident took place during a scene where Modine's character, Skip, is pushed in the chest by his counterpart Emily, played by Adams.

"For weeks, Modine had complained of being pushed too hard," says a witness. "This time he nearly fell off stage. Immediately after the curtain fell, there was the most enormous row."

"After hearing both sides of the argument, the producers said Jane could go, so long as everyone agreed not to discuss the fight. It's one of the biggest cover ups in the history of theatre."

* Sad to discover that Myleene Klass is about to have her fragile heart shattered into a thousand tiny pieces.

Last year, this column revealed that the pop starlet had enrolled on an Open University degree course in astronomy, of all things.

Since then, she has often been touted as a potential replacement for the long-standing "face" of TV astronomy, Sir Patrick Moore.

Yesterday, however, Sir Patrick has broke his silence on the matter. And the news wasn't good.

"I've never heard of Myleene Klass, but quite definitely no," he told me. "People like that should stick to what they do well."

It's bad timing for Klass, since at Monday's launch of the Classical Brit Awards, she suggested that a deal might be imminent.

"I've recently been on top of a roof at three in the morning, looking for Venus," she told me. "It's part of a TV show for the Open University. I've been working with Sir Patrick Moore's producer, and it's something I'd like to do more of."

* In February, I asked Colin Firth if he'd play Piers Morgan in the film version of his Fleet Street memoir, The Insider.

"I'd need rather a lot of time to think about it," came his lukewarm reply. "It would have to be a very good script."

That was just over a month ago. But things have since moved on apace, and Morgan and Firth are making efforts to cut a deal.

"Colin phoned me as I was browsing in a Wandsworth Bridge Road video store (ironically for Fever Pitch), and said he'd love to see a script," Morgan tells me.

"Since he fully supported my stance on the Iraq war he'd see it as a privilege to play me. We're sending him a script as soon as it's finished."

Morgan says he and Firth have much in common: "He's handsome, courageous, debonair, intelligent, very much the thinking woman's crumpet."

* Boris Johnson's lickerish eye has fixed upon the bosom of yet another comely young journalist.

City University's graduate newsletter details his working relationship with alumnus Jenny Evans. Apparently, Evans worked on the "eccentric MP and shadow higher education minister's," BBC2 series The Dream of Rome.

"Boris is a very lovely man, incredibly clever and funny," she says. "He never tires of arguing with me about the morals of Tory ideology. He thinks I'm a 'bloody commie', like his wife.

"The last time I saw him he cycled past me in the night, shouting, 'Why are all the nice women socialists?'

Bet that's what he tells all the girls!

* Marie Helvin, the original and (still) best supermodel, is a walking testament to the virtues of growing old gracefully.

At the age of 53, she has given fans a refreshingly frank insight into the state of her love life.

"At my age, I don't want to sleep with someone every day," she says. "Most guys don't understand this. They think, 'Why don't you want to wake up with me?' But I want to spread out in my own bed, I don't like sharing."

With this in mind, it's hardly surprising that Helvin currently finds herself unable to snare a willing boyfriend.

"I wouldn't mind more sex, but that would be it. Sex the way I want it: no ties, and I'm not interested in boys. I prefer grown-up men."

Lucky them.