14 MAY 2002
Madonna took to the stage for the first time in over a decade on Monday night, in the West End debut of Up For Grabs at London’s Wyndhams Theatre. Hundreds of fans had queued in the rain to secure one of the 700 tickets available for the first night performance – and some had even paid touts upwards of £500 for a coveted seat.
The performance, Madonna’s first since she appeared in David Mamet’s Speed The Plow Stateside in 1988, was held under the tightest of security and members of the press were not allowed. Among those not in the audience were Madonna’s husband Guy Ritchie and her young son Rocco, who stopped by earlier in the evening to wish the singer good luck, but left about 30 minutes before the performance.
Throngs of screaming fans greeted the 43-year-old pop music icon as she left the building by the front entrance after the play. And while audience members outside the theatre gave mixed reviews, many thought the star had shaken off the jitters to eventually give a strong performance by the end of the play. “I thought she was a lot better than expected,” said one audience member. “She was excellent.” Another added, “She was nervous to start with but got better.”
The Evita star’s West End debut, which sold out in four days when tickets went on sale in February, had been delayed by technical problems.
Up For Grabs officially opens on May 23, and is set for a 10-week run.