Darius brings the house down

Pop Idol star Darius Danesh received a standing ovation for his performance as Rhett Butler in the new West End production of Gone With The Wind.

The 27-year-old Glasgow-born singer stars opposite US performer Jill Paice in the Trevor Nunn show. A star-studded audience turned out to watch Danesh take on the role made famous by Clark Gable in the 1939 film.

The first preview of the adaptation of the 1936 Margaret Mitchell novel ran to a mammoth four hours. But the US civil war epic had been cut down to three-and-a-half-hours, including the interval, in time for opening night.

Actresses Joan Collins and Barbara Windsor, broadcaster David Frost, comic and writer Ben Elton, model Twiggy, ex-Blue singer Duncan James and Strictly Come Dancing judge Arlene Philips turned out to watch the musical adaptation, which cost a reported £4.5m to stage.

Danesh said afterwards: “I had a blast, it was my first opening night and it was great to cut my teeth with the inimitable Trevor Nunn.”

Of the length of the production, he said: “We are still shorter than the film.”

The production is the first play written by US mother-of-three Margaret Martin, who took the idea to director Nunn after gaining the rights to the story.

Danesh previously played Sky Masterson in Michael Grandage’s production of Guys and Dolls and was the youngest actor to play Billy Flynn in Chicago.

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