‘You’re inside an incinerator. The cockpit is on fire. You are burning. You can see bits of your body melting off. And you are struggling to get out.’ This is Andrew Doyle, the creator of Titania McGrath, describing to me the experience of an RAF pilot trying to escape from a stricken plane during the second world war. He explains that the injured airmen were treated by a New Zealand surgeon, Archibald McIndoe, who developed new methods for repairing skin damage at a specialist burns unit in the 1940s. And this is the subject that Doyle has chosen for a new musical.
It may seem an odd departure for the anti-woke satirist but his passion for musical theatre is long-standing. He has written more than half a dozen song-and-dance shows with various collaborators.