25th September 2023

At the suggestion of Julian Slade’s family, I have adapted the script of his and Dorothy Reynolds’s 1957 hit musical Free as Air, with the aim of making it suitable for 21st century audiences. Its music is every bit as lovely as that for Slade and Reynolds’s much better-known Salad Days, but the few professional revivals to date have been hampered by the need for a very large cast and, perhaps, an overly 1950s atmosphere. Now, without attempting to make it ‘contemporary’, I’ve tried to refashion the show for 12 actor-musicians, so that its charm and glorious melodies can come alive again. That’s the idea anyway!


7th September 2023

In the middle of their huge success with Guys & Dolls, Nick Hytner’s team at London’s Bridge Theatre have found time to read and listen to The Postman & the Poet. On top of a positive reaction from Nick when he was running the Royal National Theatre, the Bridge’s Head of Development, Will Mortimer, now adds, “We very much enjoyed reading and listening to the work – it’s a terrific story and very beautifully realised in your adaptation.” 


15th June 2023

Delighted, and very proud, to see that Chris Bush won the Olivier Award for Best New Musical on 2nd April. Standing at the Sky’s Edge, which came from Sheffield Crucible to the National Theatre, was a worthy winner. Having followed her work since her childhood, it has been great to see how it has developed all the way to this award. She came to see The Postman and the Poet when it was workshopped at The Other Palace a few years ago and I look forward to seeing her community play, based on Homer’s Odyssey at the RNT soon.

Letts Hope…

19th April 2023

Sunday Times theatre critic and Times columnist Quentin Letts writes to say he likes the idea of the ‘Il Postino musical’, better known to its authors, me and Michael Jeffrey, as The Postman and the Poet. He describes the project as ‘eminently stageable.’ Here’s hoping he gets the opportunity to review it in the near future, perhaps at one of his local theatres, The Barn in Cirencester.


6th April 2023

6th April 2023

News just in: a producer in Santiago, described by friends as ‘the Chilean Cameron Mackintosh’, likes The Postman and the Poet so much he is having the book and lyrics translated into Spanish. What could be better than a musical set in Chile, with a Chilean story featuring the Nobel Prize-winning poet Pablo Neruda, opening in Chile’s capital city? So buoyant are audiences there that theatres have shows queuing to open. Postman is about to become one of them.

Oldham Coliseum

22nd March 2023

18th March 2023

Very disappointed to hear of the closure of Oldham Coliseum theatre. I worked there as an actor, once with Anne Kirkbride (Coronation Street’s Deidre Barlow) in her first job, and it was Kenneth Alan Taylor who mounted the very first production of Alfie the Musical there. It is sad that a theatre that nurtured so many wonderful actors and plays has closed its doors forever.

Remembering Julian Slade

22nd February 2023

I just rediscovered a video of Cameron Mackintosh’s tribute to Julian, recorded at the Bristol Old Vic in 2004, called The Time of My Life, to coincide with the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of Salad Days. It’s beautifully shot and full of stars and great performances, with some orchestrations Julian had never heard before. It reminds me of the happy days I spent writing Love in a Cold Climate with him. You can see more in ‘Projects’ elsewhere on this site. Watch this space!

Going Upmarket

3rd February 2023

Delighted to get a name-check on Petroc Trelawny’s Breakfast programme on BBC Radio 3. He played Jimmy McHugh and Dorothy Fields’s On the Sunny Side of the Street and recalled going to see Dorothy Fields Forever “about twenty years ago”, saying he thought the time is right for a revival. Funnily enough, Petroc, I couldn’t agree with you more! Thanks very much for the endorsement.

Dropping names

1st February 2023

Will Eden ever finish writing his stagehand stories? This is a question he frequently asks himself – and a question kind friends sometimes ask too. If the questions stopped and the writing resumed there may eventually be something worth publishing. There are certainly a lot of names to be dropped. Readers, if there ever are any, may be intrigued to discover how Eden was handpicked by Harold Pinter to operate a lift door made of steel. Or perhaps revel in the night of Noel Coward’s 70th birthday celebration at the Phoenix Theatre, during which he helped out after Sir John Gielgud forgot his lines. There are backstage anecdotes featuring a galaxy of stars, from the Carry On team to Dame Judi Dench. It’s a good read. Or it will be. Honestly.

London’s Victoria Palace

17th January 2023

Eden is still working on his memoir of his days as a stagehand during the 1960s and early ‘70s. During lockdown, Harry Dunbar, Head of Stage at London’s Victoria Palace, kindly showed him round the theatre. Lavishly restored by Sir Cameron Mackintosh, both front of house and backstage, the only thing that hasn’t changed at the ‘dear old VP’ since Eden’s time as head flyman is the fly floor, where he used to run a team of six. Harry, these days unmasked and with smash hit Hamilton to look after, rules the roost there as well as running the stage crew below. Where once the crew used to pop to the pub between almost every cue, drinking during the show is now, quite rightly, a sackable offence.