Fellow audience members at the gala performance of Viva La Diva were surprised to find Hollywood megastar Mel Gibson in their midst on Monday night. The Braveheart actor, who was in London on business, clearly enjoyed the all-singing all-dancing spectacle performed by Welsh opera beauty Katherine Jenkins and ballet dancer Darcey Bussell. "They are both amazing talents," he enthused. "I sat there with a smile on my face the whole time."
"Some numbers in that show really took me back," added the screen action hero. "I've loved those songs since being a little boy."
Later, at the show's after-party in Hammersmith's Carling Apollo the 51-year-old, accompanied by a burly bodyguard, was seen talking animatedly to Katherine. The singer, who was given a standing ovation by her proud mum at the end of the show, performed opera pieces made famous by Maria Callas, several Doris Day hits and a new song especially written by Take That's Gary Barlow, as well as displaying her new tap-dancing skills.
Also rubbing shoulders with Mel at the party were fellow celebrity guests Dawn French – who famously danced with Darcey in an episode of The Vicar Of Dibley – Jennifer Saunders, Rolf Harris, Sir Trevor McDonald, cellist Julian Lloyd Webber and Welsh designer Julien Macdonald, who created the show's costumes.
Such is the demand for tickets to see the production – which pays tribute to Katherine and Darcey's favourite divas, from Audrey Hepburn to Marilyn Monroe - that extra dates have been added to the tour next year. There are even plans to take the show to Las Vegas, despite the fact that Darcey and her husband Angus Forbes are moving to Australia with their two daughters Phoebe and Zoe after Christmas.