Yorkshire pub gets first sight of a musical journey through life of Blunkett

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The Independent Online
FRIDAYS AT the Grey Horse Inn near York tend to centre on Black Sheep ale and a plateful of home-made beef lasagne. But they were seasoned last night with a story of one man's experience of intrigue, infidelity, tragedy and power which is soon to grace a West End stage.

It was told in David Blunkett: The Musical, written by the journalist Ginny Dougray, dramatising the former home secretary's tangled love life with The Spectator publisher Kimberly Quinn and his tearful resignation over the "Nannygate" visa scandal.

Its arrival at the pub, for a sneak preview of some of its songs, came courtesy of a friendship between co-producer Martin Witts, who is based in York, and the Grey Horse licensee, David Forster.

The full, musical depiction of Blunkett's journey from humble roots as a Yorkshire gas worker's son to the corridors of power and his dramatic downfall at the hands of his amour is being reserved for the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, in August, after an invitation-only preview at a West End theatre in London in April.

But the Grey Inn pub got a flavour of the jazz, rap, opera and R&B created for the one-hour show by its American composer MJ, when both MJ and Dougray, took their positions at the Grey Horse's piano.

The main characters - Mr Blunkett, Ms Quinn, The Spectator editor and Tory MP Boris Johnson, and his alleged former lover, the socialite Petronella Wyatt - each have their own song style in the musical and are to be accompanied by a Greek-style chorus.

Producers for the show have already said that a "well-known rock star" has been lined up to play the former home secretary.

Mr Witts, who produced the Edinburgh Festival award-winning play, Hurricane, said the work was "not a knocking piece" but "a tribute to one of Sheffield's heroes".

"It was supposed to be a low-key performance, with Dougray and MJ playing the piano and singing some songs, but it's created quite a bit of interest," said Mr Forster, as he stumbled over wires laid out by television crews.

Mr Witts said recently that the details of the show's finale had not yet been decided. Ms Quinn gave birth this week to a boy whom he says is his.

Mr Witt conceded that the plot could well end up with Mr Blunkett's re-election. "The story is continually happening. There's a new episode every day," the producer said.