Il National Theatre has cancelled the official opening night for the current run of its major festive musical Hex, which has been “blighted by Covid”, said its director and lyricist, Rufus Norris.
Hex, a new version of Sleeping Beauty, began preview performances in the Olivier theatre in December and company illnesses meant that almost every performance in its first week had a different combination of understudies and stand-ins, said Norris in a statement on Thursday. Three weeks of performances were then lost due to illness. The original press night was set for 15 December then postponed to 21 December and then postponed again.
“We had hoped to emerge into a clearer situation in January,” continued Norris, who is also the National’s artistic director, “but while we have started performances again, fresh cases are still emerging and the creative team have had to disperse to other projects.” The planned NT Live broadcast has been cancelled.
Hex will end, as planned, su 22 January but the National has announced that it will restage the musical in November “to give it the chance to have a full run” and an official opening night. Norris said that “it will take us a long while to understand the full and ongoing impact of Covid, and we will no doubt be in a state of constant adaptation for some time yet”.
Lo scorso mese, the National also cancelled performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time at Troubadour Wembley Park theatre. Over the Christmas period, productions around the UK were beset by last-minute cancellations and postponements caused by Covid-related absences in what is usually theatre’s most profitable period.
The new West End musical Moulin Rouge! has also postponed its opening night more than once due to Covid. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new musical, Cenerentola, has suspended performances until next month to “avoid more disruption and to protect the quality of the show we give our audiences” after the impact of the Omicron variant. On Tuesday it was announced that this year’s Vault festival, the London fringe spectacular comprising 600 Spettacoli, has been cancelled. It was due to start later this month.
In dicembre, a highlights audio recording for Hex, billed as a “mythic, big-hearted musical”, was released. Hex stars Rosalie Craig and has music by Jim Fortune and a book by Tanya Ronder whose plays include Dara and who is married to Norris. It has been an unprecedented time in theatre, added Norris, who said “I certainly have never made a production without an opening night”. A novembre 2020, the National’s production Death of England: Delroy both opened and closed on the same night as England entered its second national lockdown.