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Hutch - Riverside Studios

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

HUTCH, a story of illicit love, racism and betrayal at the highest levels of British society, will receive its world premiere at Riverside Studios, where it runs from Tuesday, May 14 to Saturday, June 8, 2013.

“Lady Mountbatten sues over claims of an affair with black singer” ran British newspaper headlines in July 1932. But the truth was even more scandalous…

The music and lyrics of Cole Porter feature heavily in Ruby in the Dust’s new play about Leslie ‘Hutch’ Hutchinson, London’s most popular cabaret attraction of the 20s and 30s.

As Hutch himself admitted: “I was lucky to be in Paris at the time Cole Porter was starting to write his big hits… He taught me how to sing his songs and introduced me to the right people.”

The ‘right people’ (in other words his numerous lovers) included Hollywood stars, debutantes, princesses and duchesses; most famously Edwina, wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten, the Queen’s cousin. But the love triangle of Hutch, Porter and Mountbatten ultimately destroyed him, emotionally, physically and musically.

Born in Grenada in 1900, Hutch moved to New York in his teens, then Paris and London in 1927 when the jazz age was in full swing. He soon became the darling of society and the population in general and was a favourite singer of the then Prince of Wales (later King Edward VIII). As a performer on BBC radio, he had an audience of millions.

As well as being the lover of Cole Porter, Hutch recorded several of his songs, including Begin the Beguine and Porter’s famous list song Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love), to which Hutch made up 70 new verses.

In his later years, Hutch suffered from ill-health and died in London from pneumonia on August 19, 1969. Only 42 people attended his funeral.

Hutch has a book by Joe Evans and will be directed by Linnie Reedman. The cast includes Sheldon Green, Sid Phoenix, Nell Mooney, Patrick Lannigan, Imogen Daines, Andrew Mathys, Jann Yngwe and members of Halbwelt Kultur.

Hutch Gallery

Tickets: £17.50, £15 concessions, previews (May 14 to May 16) all seats £15. Tickets are available from the box office on 020 8237 1111 or online at www.riversidestudios.co.uk/.

Times: Tuesday to Saturday at 7.45pm, Thursday and Saturday matinees at 2.45pm.

Running time: 2 hours (including one interval).

Hutch is suitable for ages 8+.