A&O staff produce Cockney knees-up charity spectacular

The sartorial choices of Allen & Overy (A&O) partners would not normally raise many eyebrows, but in the coming months some of the firm’s lawyers might ditch the pinstripes and brogues for sequined tights and tap shoes.


Beverley Vara
Beverley Vara

That is because they plan to write, compose and star in a new artistic venture entitled Bethnal Green: the Musical.

The project, which is being spearheaded by property litigator Beverley Vara, is an attempt to raise money for Oxford House, a Bethnal Green community centre facing funding difficulties. The centre is situated a stone’s throw from A&O’s headquarters.

The organisers will hold creative workshops involving local residents, who will drive the ­musical’s content. “Nothing’s ruled out,” promised Vara, an Oxford House trustee. Even two of the neighbourhood’s most notorious former sons, Ronnie and Reggie Kray, are not excluded.

“Living cheek by jowl with the Krays is part of Bethnal Green’s history,” argued Vara. But she went on to caution that the production has “got to hang together in a way that’s not scandalous”.

The event is primarily intended to raise money for the centre, while showcasing the space, which includes a theatre, dance studios and an art gallery.

“This musical’s not intended to go to the West End, but who knows – the sky’s the limit as far as A&O’s concerned,” said Vara.