b y P A U L B O Y D
Molly's Fairy Godfather (he hated that title)
Christopher Malcolm 1946 - 2014
Christopher Malcolm was a Scottish television and film actor, director, and producer. He first achieved notability for his role as Brad Majors in the original stage production of The Rocky Horror Show.
Christopher was born in Aberdeen, Scotland and was brought up in Canada after his family emigrated to British Columbia in the late 1940s. He attended the University of British Columbia where he worked and studied theatre.
After university he returned to the UK and began his professional career with the Royal Shakespeare Company. He appeared in at least ten productions and worked with directors including Peter Hall, Trevor Nunn, and John Barton. Throughout the 1970s, he worked continuously in theatre and film, appearing in many Royal Court productions including The Rocky Horror Show. He appeared in films including The Empire Strikes Back, Reds, Ragtime, Labyrinth, and Highlander.
In 1978 Christopher began his producing career with Pal Joey, which successfully transferred to the West End in 1980 and was nominated for best Musical Revival in the Laurence Olivier Awards. He followed this success with the Best Comedy award in 1981 for Nell Dunn's Steaming, which went on to play for two years at the Comedy Theatre and around the world. Other productions in London included Frankie and Johnny, When I Was A Young Girl I Used To Scream And Shout, as well as five Steven Berkoff plays, including Decadence, Greek, and Metamorphosis.
In 1990, Christopher co-produced a new production of The Rocky Horror Show at the Piccadilly Theatre in partnership with Howard Panter of the Ambassador Theatre Group. This Olivier nominated production went on to huge success throughout the UK, enjoying 4 nationwide tours over the next 10 years as well as many productions throughout the world. He oversaw these productions on behalf of The Rocky Horror Company Ltd, a company formed by the producers and the play's author Richard O'Brien to look after this much loved musical. The show finally reached Broadway in 2000 in a Tony Award-nominated production co-produced with Jordan Roth Productions at the Circle in the Square Theatre.
Other British productions throughout this time include The Pajama Game, Footloose the Musical, and the award-winning Single Spies written by Alan Bennett which had a very successful year at the Queen's Theatre. He co-produced the world premiere of Flashdance The Musical which premiered at the Plymouth Theatre Royal in 2008, toured the UK and presented at the Shaftesbury Theatre in 2010. He had maintained his interest in acting as well, appearing on 11 episodes of Absolutely Fabulous as Saffy's father Justin, and in the BBC2 film, Daphne as Nelson Doubleday.
Christopher’s final production as producer was the Olivier Award nominated 2014 revival of the musical Oh, What A Lovely War at Theatre Royal Stratford East, which also enjoyed a successful national UK tour in 2015.
by Paul Boyd, February 2014
All of us in the Molly Wobbly family were saddened to learn of the death of our friend and colleague Christopher Malcolm on Saturday 15th February 2014.
When Chris and I first started talking about the show in 2011 all that existed was a weird, slightly cult-y staged concert the success of which at the Lyric Theatre Belfast had surprised both audience and writer. I really didn’t know what to do with the piece, and then Chris called me - and who better to advise me than the man who had been present at the inception of The Rocky Horror Show, had gone on to produce (and direct) the official Rocky Horror stage production successfully all over the world for decades, and who therefore had an instinct for what made a strange thing like Molly Wobbly tick?
For many months he shaped the production with me through draft after draft (and over whiskey after whiskey), he produced the first rehearsed industry reading of the show in a crowded back room in a Soho studio in early 2012, he planned extensively with the Lyric Theatre for Molly’s future, and he eventually followed the Tit Factory up to Edinburgh in 2012 where, much to my present relief, he finally saw the production in full swing in its festival-scale incarnation at The Assembly Rooms.
That Molly Wobbly exists as a full show today is in no small part thanks to my friend Christopher Malcolm. I know we were all hoping that he would make it to the Staged Concert production planned for March 2014 - I already had a seat reserved for him, auditorium right, on the aisle - but sadly that was not to be. I knew that he would be there in spirit, if that’s not too much of a cliche, because in his own words, “this could be a huge springboard to world domination”.
There is a lyric in Molly Wobbly that I think serves as a fitting tribute to Chris (partly because it is from a song that he insisted needed to be included):
I’ll sing your song,
Attend your court,
You can’t go wrong,
With my support,
For days are long,
But life is short,
That is why it’s only fit,
To celebrate it.
His last piece of advice to me? “Don’t fuck it up, dooshbag”. I will miss you, pal. The whole Factory will. Ithanku.