London stage version of 'Gone with the Wind' blown away: report
Monday, 02 June 2008

AFP, LONDON - The stage adaptation of the classic novel "Gone with the Wind" has closed three months early, becoming one of the biggest flops in the history of London's West End theatre district, reports said on Sunday.

The musical had been due to run until at least September 27, but producers have decided to cut their losses after poor ticket sales, several newspapers reported.

The final performance will be on June 14, with bookings already made for performances after that date to be refunded.

Featuring a former reality TV contestant, Darius Danesh, as Rhett Butler and Jill Paice as Scarlett O'Hara, the four-million-pound (five-million-euro, eight-million-dollar) show opened on April 22 at the New London Theatre amid great fanfare.

But it never recovered from a critical mauling and even a cut in its running time from over four hours to around three failed to save it.

Nicholas de Jongh, critic of London newspaper the Evening Standard, wrote in April: "Connoisseurs of big, bad musicals must rush to catch Gone With the Wind in case it's quickly blown away on gales of ridicule."

The show's producer, Aldo Scrofani, said in a statement quoted by the Observer newspaper: "Despite the critical response, the company have enjoyed much praise from audience members during our run and for that we are grateful. Nevertheless we have made the difficult decision to close the production."

Plans for a New York production are on hold.

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