Belfast Telegraph

Tit Factory's London debut axed as backer throws a Wobbly

BY AMANDA FERGUSON

In a move that has shocked the UK theatre world the hotly anticipated London debut of Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory was cancelled just hours before the cast was due on stage at the Hackney Empire last night.

The Belfast Telegraph reported on Friday how Belfast writer Paul Boyd's musical was likely to be picked up by West End producers following a showcase on Sunday.

However, theatre sources told this newspaper that late on Thursday night the cast, including veteran musical star Gary Wilmot and Lurgan's Conleth Kane, were informed a financial backer had withdrawn his support at the last moment, leaving the future of the critically acclaimed show hanging in the balance.

The cast then proceeded with a press call yesterday morning only to be told at midday that the show has been cancelled. The actors has been due on stage at 7.30pm.

Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory was a huge hit with critics when it originally ran at the Lyric Theatre Belfast in 2011 before going down a storm at the 2012 Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

The side-splitting show which takes a sardonic swipe at society's obsession with flawless beauty and surgical enhancements was being talked about by critics as the most entertaining, controversial and irreverent show to hit the London stage since Rocky Horror or Jerry Springer.

Last night, Conleth Kane (29), who was reprising the role of Jack he created at the Lyric, said he was gutted the London run was cancelled at such short notice, but that he was hopeful it would make a glorious return at a later date.

"I am stunned," Conleth said.

"My London musical debut and showcase opportunity has been ripped from underneath me.

"Paul is absolutely devastated.

"This is not a creative problem, the band, actors, directors were in place, but a funder has withdrawn his money. I feel so sorry for Paul."

Standing outside the Hackney Empire yesterday evening Conleth said more than a few tears had been shed.

"Sadly this is the nature of the beast," he added.

"I'm going to march to the next audition with my head held high and hopefully Molly Wobbly's will be back.

"I think it has a huge future."

Meanwhile, Ciaran McAuley, Lyric chief executive, said he was very sad to learn the show has been cancelled "so suddenly" and wished the team behind the London production well.

"However, we understand this is a small stumbling block."

FACTFILE

What the critics said:

BELFAST TELEGRAPH **** A garishly colourful explosion of song, dance, one-liners, double-entendre, cross dressing and body horror, acquitted by a note-perfect cast.

BROADWAYBABY ***** Paul Boyd's big, bold and brash musical is a tour-de-force of bad taste hilarity.

ONE4REVIEW ***** A funny script filled with good music.

SCOTSGAY MAGAZINE **** Molly Wobbly's Tit Factory is an impressive spectacle.

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