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  • Writer's pictureSarah

Interview with Stuart Brayson about his new show in development – 'The Dolce Vita' 

One man in black tie and one in a lounge suits at a theatre opening night
Stuart and Sir Tim Rice at the opening of From Here To Eternity in the USA.

A couple of months ago we were thrilled to interview Stuart Brayson. A composer and writer who has a staggering 27 musicals, books for the shows, and 1500 songs under his belt.   London Born and Bred knew him from his collaboration with Tim Rice on ‘From Here to Eternity,’ which we saw at the Charing Cross Theatre last year. Stuart also told us that there is going to be an album coming out from 'Here to Eternity' and it is going to be start of something big.  

Men and women around a nightclub table in early 1930s clothing. The men are the Rolling Stones
The Rolling Stones at ‘ La Dolce Vita’ in Newcastle circa 1965.

His current project is called 'The Dolce Vita', set in his native Newcastle. Stuart decided to work with the Tyne Theatre, which is the second oldest theatre in Newcastle, which looks rather beautiful. He fell upon the idea of writing about 'The Dolce Vita', a real club which was big in Newcastle in the 1960s. Although he had not there personally being too young, his older sister and family members had been frequent attendees at the club. It was the place to go for bands wanting to relax, for well-known artistes to have a drink, but it was also for ordinary people. 

Cast and Creatives of The Dolce Vita, on the stage at theTyne Theatre. Newcastle
Cast and Creatives of The Dolce Vita, Tyne Theatre. Newcastle

Stuart has written the musical story about two brothers. One brother is cool, and the other is anything but cool. The one not doing so well got involved with wrong type and gave a percentage of the clubs to the mob. The other brother was involved with a London mob.   This is what caught our interest at London Born and Bred.

The two brothers are involved with two contrasting girls, one very posh and the other very working class, these girls do not have a good relationship with each other at all.  Watching that dynamic promises to be great fun, there are sure to be sparks flying.

The Krays & heavyweight champion Joe Louis at ‘La Dolce Vita’ Newcastle in the 60’s
The Krays & heavyweight champion Joe Louis at ‘La Dolce Vita’ Newcastle in the 60’s

The club attracted the interest of some gangsters from London. Now, whilst they might not be called the Krays in the musical, they are they're clearly based upon the Kray brothers, who were thinking about taking over the north-south divide. The Krays did actually came up to visit the club in 1964 in real life, along with boxer Joe Louis. So, this is 'almost' a true story.  

Stuart assured us that 'The Dolce Vita' is not a jukebox musical (not my favourite genre, so a relief). These are all new songs with the musical written up in metre. It has a beat but is not a rap. You feel like you know what is coming, but you do not. It has pathos and comedy.  It has a realness about it and something that people can relate to. 

We're promised that is going to be a delightful story that people can relate to and that you don't need to be a Geordie to 'get it'. Stuart is hoping that, like 'Blood Brothers', 'The Dolce Vita' will have a universal appeal, even to Londoners Born and Bred! He has ambitions for the show to get a tour.

Personally, Stuart found it was nice to be home and be able to use hear and use Geordie accents in the musical. He feels it is something regional theatre needs, more homegrown stories. And with more homegrown talent, less imported from Broadway or the West End. Stuart's deeply passionate that the regions should put on shows with regional feel. 

One workshop has been done and then another one is due.  'The Dolce Vita' will have a proper run sometime during 2024.  

'The Dolce Vita' sounds really exciting and a really positive thing to be happening in the North East of England and we look forward to seeing The Dolce Vita. Watch this space!


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