Cat and Mouse with Cheryl and Andy




Vermin have been found all over Theatreland and I'm not talking about ticket touts.

"Tonight, over 600 actors and stage managers will go to work knowing that they will probably see and smell vermin, both living and decomposing, in their workplace," were the stark words of Christine Payne of Equity, the actor's union which ran a survey on infestation in West End theatres.

Mice seem to have a particular thing for leading ladies: one had her lipstick used; another found her top had been chewed.

You can understand the yeuch! reaction to these intrusions, but it could be the rodents are just being friendly. In all likelihood they feel empathy for the actors and think that a little playfulness will help steady the nerves.

See where I'm going here? A musical set back-stage in a provincial theatre where a performer on the way up is in love with a bounder who treats her bad and holds her back.

Off the top of my head their names could be Cheryl and Andy. Enter Simon the Rat, with a nice, if slopey, shoulder to cry on. His large, if disgusting, family helps her escape via the sewerage system, from which she emerges, blinking into the footlights of a big West End show. Cats, obviously.