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Friday, 12 July, 2002, 12:55 GMT 13:55 UK
Curtain call for Kiss Me, Kate
Kiss Me, Kate
Kiss Me Kate in London: Based on the Broadway revival
London musical Kiss Me, Kate is to close following a fall in box office receipts.

The West End show, based on a Broadway revival, will give its final curtain call on 24 August.

It opened in November and ticket sales have been falling off since January regardless of good reviews, said a spokesman.

Despite its closure, the production will go on with its planned national tour, although a start date has not yet been set.

The summer months should be a busy time for London's theatres with the holiday season bringing a big increase in visitors, particularly from abroad.

But most performances of Kiss Me, Kate now play to half-full audiences at the Victoria Palace Theatre.

Crisis

The poor turn-outs for Kiss Me, Kate are an indicator of a general slump in tourist numbers to the UK.

It is one of a number of high-profile productions to close sooner than expected.

Witches of Eastwick
Witches of Eastwick: Another casualty

Other shows to have been and gone include The Witches Of Eastwick and The Beautiful Game.

Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats and Starlight Express also closed but both had been running for many years.

The noticeable drop in visitors began last year in the wake of the foot-and-mouth crisis.

The fear of travelling by plane, brought on by 11 September, continued the downward trend.

The poor exchange rate also makes a trip to the UK expensive - and therefore off-putting - for many potential travellers.

Awards

Kiss Me, Kate, based on Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew, has an impressive musical score.

Cole Porter wrote the music and lyrics to songs such as Too Darn Hot, So in Love and Brush Up Your Shakespeare.

The West End revival won the best musical title at the London Evening Standard theatre awards and the same title at the Critics Circle awards.

At this year's Laurence Olivier awards, UK theatreland's most revered prizes, it won nine nominations.

The Broadway show was revived in 1999 to rave reviews and picked up five prestigious Tony awards.

But in the wake of 11 September it too saw a severe drop in visitors and the cast and crew had to fight hard to keep the production open.

See also:

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