Private Eye appears to be entranced by the former Daily Mail theatre critic Michael Coveney – I never did quite understand why Dacre axed him – and with his lively whatsonstage blog.
He recently described AA Gill as “talking and walking like a homosexual male model” – in revenge for Gill’s manufactured rant against theatre critics (dead tree zombie controversy, yawn) – which regrettably betrayed Coveney’s ignorance of male models. All of them, straight or gay, walk like John Wayne as per their training, though one or two may mince off post-runway and have anal intercourse with sundry lovers. All sorts of things happen, I guess.
Now it appears Coveney is embroiled in another row after making rude comments about Blanche Marvin, 82, a veteran theatre-goer fag hag who’s a fave with gay critics – they are planning to unleash a terrible revenge on her attacker. Perhaps a whoopee cushion will be put to good use one night before the curtain rises.
All this reminds me of the late theatre critic and Noel Coward aficionado Sheridan Morley, who, like all his colleagues, was a shameless and accurate gossip. A little while before his premature death, I popped round to his lovely home in Chelsea Harbour – before he moved to Battersea – and he talked some about Coveney.
“I shouldn’t be telling you this," he said, promisingly, "but that book Coveney wrote about Andrew Lloyd Webber (The Andrew Lloyd Webber Story, standing currently at about 405,000 in the Amazon hit parade) – well, Andrew went ballistic when he read one chapter – he sort of had fact approval – which suggested that one of the reasons why Andrew and Tim Rice broke up was because of Andrew’s intense feelings for Rice which were not reciprocated. Andrew absolutely demanded the removal of the chapter or else he would withdraw all cooperation. So the chapter was removed. I really shouldn’t be telling you this.”
I have no idea whether Sherry was being mischievous - and I would not wish to put any construction on these "intense feelings" which strike me as indicative of a healthy emotional life - but I’ll ask Coveney whether it’s true or not.