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ChrisJBrady New Radio Ballad Show - Regent's Canal (1) New Radio Ballad Show - Regent's Canal 24 Aug 12

West End Extra

New Radio Ballad - The Regent's Canal

'Regent's Canal show must go on'

Published: 23 August, 2012

MUSICAL writer Rob Inglis is having to finish his latest offering, about the building of the Regent's Canal, from the confines of his hospital bed a week before it opens.

During rehearsals the former Royal Shakespeare actor, who has been awarded a £16,000 Arts Council grant for the show, was admitted to University College London Hospital last weekend.

He has a serious leg infection which developed after a fall.

Doctors in the acute ward where he is being kept under observation say the swelling is slowly going down and Mr Inglis should be released this weekend.

Several consultants and members of the nursing staff will be attending the first night of Regent's Canal, A Folk Opera, when it opens at Kings Place on August 31. It is also set to be performed at the Canal Café Theatre in Little Venice.

The story, mostly told in song, celebrates the 200th anniversary of the digging of the eight-mile canal, which links the Grand Union Canal in Westminster with Limehouse and the Thames in the east.

Although he has written a musical, Mr Inglis has stuck rigidly to the history of the project.

Characters include the famous local architect who designed the scheme, John Nash, and the Prince Regent, who gave the canal its name.

The canal was praised as a technological achievement at the time which reduced horse and cart traffic jams in overcrowded 19th century London.

But the project, built between 1812 and 1820, would not have been possible without the blood, sweat and tears of 400 Irish navvies many of whom died during the tunnelling.

Mr Inglis said: "I've written 31 songs for my current show and I hope the audiences will sing along.

"The Regent's Canal was certainly a great achievement, but its uses for transporting freight were overtaken by the trains. Today, however, there is a new mood among the public to turn this underused backdoor London resource into a place of recreation."

• Script and songs by Rob Inglis, musical arrangements Bob Stuckey, direction John Dunne. The folk opera will be performed on September 14 & 15 at 7pm at Canal Café Theatre, Delamere Terrace, W2.

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