Damns Yankees, one of the Landor hit shows.

After 21 years of musical delights

William Russell


Robert McWhir

After 21 years the Landor, home to many a musical new or hold, is closing down and director Robert McWhir, who has presided there for the last 19 years, 15 as director of the company, is leaving hopefully for pastures new yet to be announced. McWhir, a small Scot and a bundle of energy, is “in negotiations.” The pub theatre up the road from Clapham North tube has been the home to some of the best musical stagings on the London fringe in recent years. McWhir was not alone in putting on musicals of quality, but he was up there with the best  who do and as a director his own shows worked wonders within the resources of the room. However fire regulations have changed and the capacity cut from 60 to 50 which makes it no longer viable as a business proposition. But to manage to stage the likes of Follies or Ragtime within the capacity of a distinctly awkward shaped room – it is rectangular with a door in the middle of the back wall of what is effectively the stage as the principal entrance for the players – is nothing short of miraculous. The room lacks the adaptability that the rival railway arch houses had. Directors like Thom Southerland, now reigning over the Charing Cross Theatre, cut their teeth there. The Clockmaker’s Daughter, She Loves Me, and one of the best stagings of Damn Yankees ever are among some of the theatre’s other hit shows.