Theatre people are accustomed to not only wearing their hearts on the sleeves, but speaking out loudly and publicly what others might keep more discreet. An almighty row has clearly been brewing behind-the-scenes of the current Barbican-bound “new” touring version of Les Miserables, with Trevor Nunn putting all his cards (and even his Cairds) on the table about it in an interview in today’s Daily Telegraph.
According to Nunn, the original creative team were neither consulted nor asked to do the revisions themselves and says that “if John Caird and John Napier and myself had been asked to do a revised version of Les Misérables that could tour the country and tour other countries in a way that didn’t involve a revolving stage, which makes the touring very difficult, we would joyously have accepted. We would have kept all of the ingredients that we originally invented, and we would have found slightly different solutions staging-wise. We were not asked. In fact, we knew nothing of it. We were kept in the dark. People who were asked were an assistant director of John Caird’s and mine working on the show and John Napier’s assistant who had worked for John Napier many times in different productions abroad of Les Misérables. Those people were asked to become a new production team. Everywhere [it] is being advertised [as] a new production. It is not a new production. It is a variant production that owes everything that’s good about it to the original production. And everything that’s not so good about it, and is uncomfortable about it, is the work of a group of assistants. Do you gather that there is some unhappiness here?”