The lion king

When theatres reopen they’ll resemble prison camps

‘Give us a date, mate!’ That was the sound of Andrew Lloyd Webber begging Boris Johnson to announce when the West End can return to normal. He made his plea at the London Palladium on 23 July, where he was testing a new set of Covid-compliant measures during a one-hour solo show by Beverley Knight. It was the first indoor live performance in the capital since lockdown began. The impresario’s advance preparations had been exhaustively thorough. He arranged for the entire venue to be hosed down with an anti-viral fluid that kills the bug for up to four weeks. Every door handle had been fitted with a special cover that