Cameron Mackintosh Confirms MARTIN GUERRE Being Revised for West End Run
MARTIN GUERRE may soon be making a return to the West End.
In a new interview with BBC's Graham Norton, acclaimed producer Cameron Mackintosh confirmed that LES MISERABLES and MISS SAIGON creators Alain Boublil and Claude-Michel Schonberg are still hard at work on a revised version of MARTIN GUERRE, which played at the Prince Edward Theatre back in 1996. The pair are looking to revive the a new version of the musical in London's West End.
Mackintosh said in the interview, which also included updates on the prospects of a MISS SAIGON FILM and MY FAIR LADY remake: "We all decided that this was the time to go back to it after ten years. We get lots of requests to do the show because it's got some of Claude-Michel's greatest music in it - they are now absolutely in the final stretch of having a completely rethought version of it, which will hopefully be ready next year."
Last year, Boublil told The Stage that they continue to work on the show because they "still think it's not finished."
Martin Guerre is a two-act musical with a book by Claude-Michel Schönberg and Alain Boublil, lyrics by Alain Boubliland Stephen Clark, and music by Claude-Michel Schönberg. Written in the operatic style similar to the creative team's previous efforts, LES MISERABLES and Miss Saigon, the bulk of the show is sung-through, with little spoken dialogue between the musical numbers. It failed to match the box office success of its two predecessors.
Loosely based on the real-life historical figure Martin Guerre and the 1982 film The Return of Martin Guerre he inspired, the story is set in early modern France in the anti-Protestant town of Artigat, where young Martin Guerre is forced into an arranged marriage with Bertrande de Rols in order to produce a Catholic heiR. Martin is unsatisfied with the marriage, complicated by the fact that a childhood friend, Guillaume, is secretly in love with Bertrande.
Beaten by the priests due to his failure to consummate the union, Martin abandons his home and Bertrande to fight the Protestant Huguenots, and it is during the skirmishes that he befriends Arnaud du Thil with whom he shares his history, beginning the story at this point, seven years later, in medias res. When Martin appears to die in battle, Arnaud goes to his village to inform Bertrande of her husband's death but, mistaken for the deceased soldier by the residents, he decides to play along with their error and becomes involved with Bertrande.
Aware of Arnaud's deception, Bertrande decides to keep his secret and the two discover a mutual romantic attraction while Arnaud takes the name "Martin Guerre" for himself. Guillaume, who had until now hoped for a chance with Bertrande romantically, becomes envious of the supposedly returned soldier. As Bertrande, secretly converted toProtestantism, also turns Arnaud to her faith, Guillaume uncovers their beliefs and so they are assaulted by a roused mob. Before Arnaud is killed, however, Benoit, the knowing village idiot, reveals that he is not truly Martin Guerre, but rather, an imposter. The authorities arrest Arnaud-still claiming that he is Martin-under charges of deception and at the end of the trial, Martin Guerre himself, having apparently survived the war, appears as the last witness. In prison, Arnaud, however, is freed by Martin who forgives him for stealing his identity, noting the legitimacy of Arnaud and Bertrande's love for each other. The mob, though, sets the town ablaze and Guillaume stabs Arnaud before he can escape. As Arnaud dies in Bertrande's arms, Martin and Bertrande sing mournfully about love and the two part for good. The town contemplates their own xenophobic actions remorsefully.