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Monday, 3 September, 2001, 12:01 GMT 13:01 UK
Sir Cameron: West End 'dowdy'
Lord Lloyd-Webber and Sir Cameron enjoyed success with Cats
West End impresario Sir Cameron Mackintosh has criticised London's theatreland, saying it is in a "terrible, dowdy state".

Sir Cameron, 54, is celebrating the success of his production of My Fair Lady which has successfully transferred from the National to the Theatre Royal.

But a tourism slump is affecting much of the West End - Andrew Lloyd Webber's musical The Beautiful Game, ended on Saturday, blaming poor ticket sales.

A spokesman for the show said that it had lost just under 1m in advance bookings from the US due to the drop in overseas visitors to the capital.

Sir Cameron Mackintosh
Sir Cameron: Cycle lanes "useless"
The main causes are thought to be fears surrounding the foot-and-mouth crisis and the strength of the pound

Sir Cameron has previously warned that the city's transport and crime problems are putting people off coming to the theatre.

The man behind hit musicals such as Phantom of the Opera and Les Miserables told the Radio Times that London needed to be made exciting and attractive again.

"I'm a great one for the regions, and think we should have more theatres there to produce future directors and actors, but London has to be Britain's showcase," said Sir Cameron.

"No other country in the world does everything in its power to stop the public from visiting its centre."

Fiasco He added: "Half the main arteries in London have been cut in half by useless cycle lanes because of a few barmy people who insist, 'We've got to have them.'

"Old-age pensioners are left standing outside for an hour after a show because police move their coaches."

He said Mayor of London Ken Livingstone did not seem to be the right man to stop the capital grinding to a halt.

And he accused London Underground of taking over from the Dome as the nation's fiasco.

Sir Cameron's big break came with Cats in 1981. Although many thought he and Lord Lloyd Webber would fail, Sir Cameron said they both had an "instinct" it would be a success.

His production company currently has five shows on in the West End, including Miss Saigon and the Witches of Eastwick.

Sir Cameron speaks to Tim Rice in Mr Musical, a six-part series on BBC Radio 2.

See also:

28 Feb 01 | Entertainment
West End crisis 'near'
19 Jul 01 | Arts
West End musical chairs
02 Sep 01 | Arts
Murdered youth honoured
11 Jul 01 | Showbiz
Full-time called on Beautiful Game
28 Aug 01 | Showbiz
Les Mis tops musical poll
18 May 01 | Scotland
Mackintosh home blaze 'deliberate'
02 May 01 | Arts
Furore over 'Les Mis II'
15 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Critics honour Beautiful Game
27 Sep 00 | Entertainment
Soccer musical has crowd on its feet
20 Sep 00 | Northern Ireland
Musical premiere boosts Omagh fund
07 Mar 00 | South Asia
Lloyd Webber's Bollywood dream
28 Mar 01 | Arts
My Fair Lady set for sell-out
06 Nov 00 | Entertainment
Hollywood lends West End its stars
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