Captain Moonlight: Law turns musical into a West End farce

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SO, Sir Nicholas Lyell, the Attorney General, obtains an injunction against a musical about Robert Maxwell days before it is due to open, on the grounds that it will prejudice the forthcoming fraud trial of Kevin and Ian Maxwell. Sir Nicholas had known about Maxwell: The Musical since its producer, Evan Steadman, a former Maxwell associate, began to talk about it last summer. Correspondence from Sir Nicholas began not long thereafter. If Sir Nicholas had applied for his injunction before the musical's first run-through, in the autumn, Mr Steadman would have lost pounds 100,000. As it is, he has lost pounds 550,000. You might think that Mr Steadman would be entitled to sue Sir Nicholas for the difference. Wrong. Mr Steadman cannot sue the Attorney General. It is not allowed. Perhaps Sir Nicholas has a good reason for the delay. I left a message with his office, but no one deigned to reply. True, a reason was given in court. But the judge, Mr Justice Bell, ordered that the proceedings could not be reported. Whatever it is, an informed legal source close to the affair maintains that Mr Steadman has a right to feel aggrieved. Mr Steadman himself, justifiably nervous, will only say that there may be those on the planet who might agree with that view. Sir Nicholas is the man who brought you the Matrix Churchill farrago (his advice led to the trial) and the Maastricht fiasco (you will remember his apparent confusion about the effect of rejecting the social chapter). Bernard Levin has suggested that he 'doesn't know his arse from his elbow'. Mr Steadman has not ruled out putting Maxwell on after the trial. Meanwhile he is looking for something to put on at the Criterion in its stead. He is interested in Macbeth but worried lest any murder trials involving the Scottish aristocracy are upcoming at the Old Bailey. Sir Nicholas, for his part, will be appearing before the Scott inquiry in March. Lyell: The Matrix Review is expected to be particularly entertaining.

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