Anglo musical hits bum note as lawyers take centre stage
THE CREATORS of Anglo: The Musical have had to write former Anglo Irish Bank chief Seán FitzPatrick out of the upcoming show and put the puppet that was to portray him into storage on legal advice after being contacted by the Director of Public Prosecutions.
The producers of the musical, which opens November 14th for a two-week run, received a letter from the DPP two weeks ago, asking whether they had obtained legal advice on the content of their script in light of the criminal proceedings against Mr FitzPatrick.
The producers received further correspondence last week from solicitors defending Mr FitzPatrick in the criminal case against him seeking reassurances that their client would not be named or mentioned in the show. Mr FitzPatrick was charged along with two other former Anglo bankers in July for giving unlawful financial assistance in 2008.
Concerns were raised by Mr FitzPatrick’s solicitors that the show could prejudice the criminal proceedings if the show went ahead containing references to him. The show’s producers were advised by solicitors that Mr FitzPatrick could not be mentioned.
Darren Smith of Kite Entertainment, one of the musical’s producers, said they were always going to have the script “legalled” but the letter from the DPP prompted an earlier legal reading.
The show would go on, he said, after the script was reworked by its writer, Paul Howard, who is best known as creator of fictional D4 rugby jock and Irish Times columnist Ross O’Carroll-Kelly.
Mr Smith said the producers had written to Mr FitzPatrick’s solicitor, Michael Staines, giving him assurances that his client would not be named or referred to in the show and that the Seán FitzPatrick puppet would not be used.
“The puppet is going to the old jokes home,” said Mr Smith.
The producers have also given the DPP similar reassurances. They have also had to drop Putting on the Fitz, one of the show’s 16 songs, and rewrite lyrics in other songs that referred to the former Anglo chairman.
Mr Smith said the show’s name would not change and Anglo would still feature in the fictional story of a sleepy island called Inis Dull where the bank sets up a branch.
“This is still a comic tale on the boom and bust years. I don’t think it has been deflated by the changes,” said Mr Smith. “It is still a show that packs a punch. We have to take on legal advice and be responsible. We love comedy but we love our houses as well.”