The Play That Goes Wrong to return to London’s West End – and risk a loss

Producer of the Olivier award-winning hit says costs can ‘just about be covered’ when it restarts as a socially distanced production – but significant financial risks remain

The hit farce The Play That Goes Wrong will return to the West End in November, and receive a Christmas run at the Theatre Royal in Bath, but its producer acknowledges it is “unlikely to be able to make a profit” by playing to a reduced capacity.

The Olivier award-winning show will be back as a socially distanced production at London’s Duchess theatre, its home for the last six years, from 19 November. The costs can “just about be covered” said producer Kenny Wax, and will provide employment for roughly 60 staff across the two productions. But Wax said it still posed a significant financial risk “without a government-backed insurance scheme to cover further business cancellation due to Covid-19”. Until such a scheme is in place, and social distancing is fully lifted for indoor performances (stage five of culture secretary Oliver Dowden’s roadmap to reopen venues), most West End shows and certainly larger-scale musicals will not return a profit.

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