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Valerie Hobson


Swithin
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Last week in London, I saw Andrew Lloyd Webber's new musical, *Stephen Ward*. The show, which opened in December to very mixed reviews, will close at the end of this month.

 

I loved it. It's about the Profumo scandal, Christine Keeler, Mandy Rice-Davies, et. al., and is centered around Stephen Ward, the osteopath who was a sort of catalyst for the whole operation. Profumo's wife, the actress *Valerie Hobson* ( Bride of Frankenstein, Werewolf of London, Great Expectations , et. al.) is beautifully played by Joanna Riding and has one of the best songs in the show, which she sings to Profumo after he confides that he's been a naughty boy.

 

Too bad this show is coming off. It's not for kids or tourists seeking a jolly musical but has a lot to offer. Maybe it will return some day. In the meantime, here's Valerie Hobson's song.

 

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It still part of the public consciousness in the UK, after all it did help to bring down the Macmillan government. And it's a good story (sex, politics, high society, a Soviet diplomat, Lord Astor, etc.). The best song, sung at an ****, is "You've Never Had It so Good, You've Never Had It so Often," the title of which comes from Macmillan's campaign slogan and a Private Eye riff on it.

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It's not a musical comedy, and it's definitely not family fare. After all, Ward kills himself with pills and liquor at the end of the show! But I think it might be well received here in a smaller concert performance situation. I found it curiously moving. Ward is a sort of fall guy -- the Tory government wanted revenge and got him on a charge of benefitting from prostitution, which he probably didn't do.

 

Here's the one good mainstream press review that the show received:

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/theatre/theatre-reviews/10528838/Stephen-Ward-review.html

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