Going, gone: Nunn’s show closes early

LAST UPDATED AT 09:55 ON Mon 2 Jun 2008

Sir Trevor Nunn's West End musical version of Gone with the Wind has been forced to close due to appalling ticket sales and even worse reviews. The backers, among them Patty Hearst, the heiress and former member of the Symbionese Liberation Army, had piled £5m into the production, which began its run in April, but after being almost universally panned by the critics, the producers have decided to let the final curtain come down on June 14.
The musical, which is being staged at the New London theatre in Covent Garden, had been eagerly awaited, but received a mauling from reviewers. One claimed that the actor playing Rhett Butler kissed Scarlett O'Hara like a "frenzied dental hygienist".
The producers turned to a new writer for the score and lyrics, Margaret Martin, whose background is as a public health doctor in California, and it is being claimed that her lack of experience was to blame. However, what annoyed audiences most was the length ­ many felt four hours and 40 minutes was a little too long to spend in a theatre. Later performances were cut drastically, but it was a case of too little to late. · 

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