Tag Archives: A Private Function

Betty Blue Eyes

by Viv Wilby

Cameron Mackintosh must be a confident man. Exit the theatre after a performance of his latest production, Betty Blue Eyes, and you’re accosted by the front-of-house staff trying to flog you tie-in merchandise. Red t-shirts bearing that suddenly ubiquitous wartime slogan ‘Keep calm and carry on’ amended to spell out quotes from the show. ‘Sexual intercourse will be in order’ and something I didn’t quite make out about pork. Surely it took years for the likes of Cats and Phantom to build up that kind of cultural capital. Betty Blue Eyes is only just out of previews.

It’s all a bit redolent of the way the show itself feels like a marketing exercise. An adaptation of the 1980s Alan Bennett-scripted film A Private Function, it concerns the efforts of Yorkshire townsfolk to overcome the privations of austerity Britain in order to celebrate the upcoming royal wedding. ‘Sound familiar?’ the posters ask, somewhat archly. Well, yes.

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