The story behind one of the greatest Hollywood pictures

David O Selznick (Tim Willis), Ben Hecht (Oli Jones), Miss Poppenghul (Sam Harris) and Victor Fleming (Chris Gilbey Smith)
David O Selznick (Tim Willis), Ben Hecht (Oli Jones), Miss Poppenghul (Sam Harris) and Victor Fleming (Chris Gilbey Smith)

A sharp and comical homage to the golden age of Holywood starts a run at the Loft Theatre in Leamington tomorrow (Saturday).

Moonlight and Magnolias is set 1939. It follows the story of legendary producer David O Selznick, who has shut down production of the most eagerly anticipated movie in history – his version of Margaret Mitchell’s bestselling novel Gone With The Wind – because the script just isn’t working.

While fending off the film’s stars, gossip columnists and his own father-in-law, Selznick sends a car for famed ‘script doctor’ Ben Hecht. He also pulls Victor Fleming from the set of The Wizard of Oz . Summoning them both to his office, he locks the doors, pulls down the blinds, and – on a diet of bananas and peanuts – the three men labour over five days to fashion the screenplay that will become the blueprint for one of most successful films of all time.

As well as directing the production, Tim Willis also takes on the role of David O Selznick. Sam Harris is his long-suffering secretary Miss Poppenghul, with Oli Jones as Ben Hecht, and Chris Gilbey Smith as Victor Fleming.

The play was written by Tom Hutchinson, who was raised and educated in Coventry. It runs at until Saturday April 16, with no performance on Monday.

Visir www.loft-theatre.co.uk or call 0844 493 4938 between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday to book.