It’s not quite on the same level as 2004’s Dorian Gray musical, which shut up shop immediately after dire reviews. But that was at a fringe venue, whereas Mask is at the central Duchess Theatre.
The closure is officially being blamed on the current crisis in the West End. And, it is true that many producers are complaining about a fall-off in business after the London bombings. However, most theatre-watchers are attributing the show’s premature end to its dreadful notices.
Sheila Ferguson, Robert Fardell and Mark McKerracher star in Behind the Iron Mask. The show tells the story of the famous Man in the Iron Mask. In 1669, the mysterious masked man was thrown in prison for life by France’s Louis XIV. Although he was held in four different jails, he was always attended by the same jailer — Monsieur St. Mars. The jailer was sworn to secrecy. In the show, however, his indiscretion leads to a gypsy becoming entangled in the relationship between the two men.
Robinson’s other shows include a musical version of “A Tale of Two Cities” for CBS television and the ballet, Alice Through the Looking Glass in Vienna. Sheila Ferguson was the lead singer of The Three Degrees, who won 28 gold and silver records. She has performed with Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and Tom Jones. Most recently, the West End saw her as Muzzy in Thoroughly Modern Millie. Robert Fardell, who plays the prisoner, is a one-time Valjean in Les Misérables at the Palace Theatre.
Tony Craven directs, with designs by Nicolai Hart Hansen, lighting by Tim Mascall and sound by Mark Dunne. Robinson has contributed music, lyrics and original idea, with a book by Colin Scott and Melinda Walker. Alisdair MacNeill is musical director. The show is presented by GBM Productions. For more information call (0)870 890 1103.