SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Andrew Lloyd Webber brings cheers

SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE: Andrew Lloyd Webber brings cheers to lockdown Britain with online singalong

The theatres may be closed and silence has descended on Andrew Lloyd Webber’s hit musicals — but the show must go on.

In that great theatrical tradition, the impresario has launched a Composer In Isolation request show on You Tube — and thousands of fans have been tuning in to hear him play their favourite songs.

He may be 72 and a bit arthritic, as he himself confides, but the composer of 13 musicals can still remember all the tunes and most of the notes which he bashes out on his grand piano in his living room.

‘Hi everybody, I didn’t think I would ever get such a response to this little try-out,’ he announces from the keyboard during his first show. ‘Here I am in my enforced self-isolation.’

Andrew Lloyd Webber may be 72 and a bit arthritic, as he himself confides, but the composer of 13 musicals can still remember all the tunes and most of the notes which he bashes out on his grand piano in his living room, writes SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE

The broadcasts are only a few minutes, during which he invites fans to sing along and submit requests and questions via Twitter.

For his first performance, All I Ask Of You, from Phantom Of The Opera, he was even joined by his dog, whom he jokingly reassured: ‘It’s all right, it doesn’t come from Cats!’ Lord Lloyd-Webber admits he’s been overwhelmed by requests for songs from Phantom and that his favourite from the show is Twisted Every Way.

He is currently working on a new musical, Cinderella, which he hopes will open in October, and has promised listeners a preview of one of the songs.

For his first performance, All I Ask Of You, from Phantom Of The Opera (pictured), he was even joined by his dog, whom he jokingly reassured: ‘It’s all right, it doesn’t come from Cats!’

His left hand is shaky and so is his voice — and he apologises to the composer of Hamilton after his rendition of You’ll Be Back. But he is clearly enjoying himself and so is his audience.

His humility has struck a chord, too. After his performance of All I Ask Of You, he declares he played it in the wrong key. ‘The more observant of you will see that I was playing it in C major, because my arthritic fingers couldn’t do it in D flat.’

Hair salons may have shut during the lockdown, but model Georgia May Jagger has not been toying idly with her locks.

The 28-year-old daughter of Sir Mick and Jerry Hall, who co-owns the hair company Bleach London, hosted a virtual party at the weekend and demonstrated how to give oneself an at-home makeover.

In doing so, she transformed her naturally blonde hair into turquoise and lilac — one hue on each side— and described the online gathering which she hosted with the company’s co-owner, Harry Styles’s hair guru Alex Brownsell, as an ‘interactive salon’ for their devotees.

Sharing her new look online, Georgia, who is self isolating in New York where she has relocated to be with her French restaurateur boyfriend, Louis Levy, declared of her make-over: ‘I absolutely loved it!’

Georgia May Jagger transformed her naturally blonde hair into turquoise and lilac — one hue on each side

Hats off to Barry Cryer, who has just celebrated his 85th birthday. The writer and comedian tells me his friend, Alan Bennett, rang to congratulate him. The History Boys playwright remarked, a propos the coronavirus pandemic: ‘My life’s hardly changed at all. I spend most days at home.’ 

Malone at home puts on another breathing tape 

The Duchess of Cambridge’s favourite perfumer Jo Malone — whose Orange Blossom scent Kate loves so much she had candles scented of it burning at her wedding to William in Westminster Abbey — refuses to slow down while working from home.

‘During this time of isolation, I’ve thought up two new businesses. Whether I do anything with them, I don’t know,’ Jo says. ‘Either way, it keeps my mind active and evolving.

‘I’m also a big list-maker. I have my daily disciplines, such as my breathing tape twice a day and pilates sessions.

‘Lists are great in that when you look back at what you’ve done over 24 hours, it’s not a blank canvas — you’ve done something with your day.’ 

Victoria: Malibu won’t take to Meghan  

Lady Victoria Hervey, who splits her time between London and Malibu — where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly moving — admits she’s not a fan of Suits actress Meghan and thinks the couple’s relocation will irk famous neighbours.

‘If they move to LA, it might make other famous residents move out,’ Lady Victoria, 43, tells me. ‘They wouldn’t want the extra scrutiny. You’ve got much bigger stars than Harry and Meghan living there, like Cher. Do they want neighbours that will be attracting that?’

The eldest child of the 6th Marquess of Bristol adds: ‘It seems very much like Meghan didn’t ever want to be royalty, she wanted to be a celebrity.’

Lady Victoria Hervey, who splits her time between London and Malibu — where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are reportedly moving — admits she’s not a fan of Suits actress Meghan and thinks the couple’s relocation will irk famous neighbours, writes SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE

Darling Buds and an injection of sex

Philip Franks, who played opposite Catherine Zeta Jones in The Darling Buds of May, says the remake may be racier than their original adaptation of H.E. Bates’s novel, writes SEBASTIAN SHAKESPEARE

A word of warning to the actress who will reprise Catherine Zeta-Jones’s role in the forthcoming remake of The Darling Buds Of May.

Philip Franks, who played opposite Zeta Jones in the much loved Nineties TV series, says the remake may be racier than their original adaptation of H.E. Bates’s novel.

‘There is a lot of sex in it,’ he says, ‘and they shouldn’t shirk that, because Bates wrote really quite frankly about sex. There is something about the licence of the Larkins.

‘And for anyone taking on the role of Mariette this time, it’ll be far more difficult than any of the other parts,’ says Franks, who played tax inspector Cedric ‘Charley’ Charlton to Zeta-Jones’s Mariette (pictured).

‘The camera absolutely adored her,’ he says of Zeta-Jones. ‘She is a great beauty in the way that Audrey Hepburn or Garbo were — somebody who has an extraordinary extra life with the camera.

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