No Condoms, Please, We’re British

Merchandising may be de rigueur now on Broadway, but it’s still relatively new on the West End, especially once you move away from the Mackintosh-Lloyd Webber megamusicals. So imagine one’s surprise at Arthur Smith’s new play, “Live Bed Show,” to find mugs, T-shirts, pens, and – yes – pajamas on sale in the Garrick Theater foyer.

All of this proved too much for the Daily Telegraph’s Charles Spencer, who decried an atmosphere of greed in which “uneasiness curdles into contempt.” Producer Rupert Gavin countered that the merchandise is “all part of the fun.”

Gavin added that he and his team came up with “57 different ideas” of items worth selling, including duvet covers and boxer shorts, all of them in keeping with the play’s emphasis on beds and sex. Condoms didn’t make the final cut. Says Gavin: “The minimum order was so big – something like 10,000 – and I couldn’t see that kind of interest in condoms.”

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