The Stage / Shenton's View / Ken Campbell, RIP....:
But alongside the epic and improvisatory works for which he became best known - including Illuminatus!, an eight-hour work that was the first show to play in the National’s Cottesloe auditorium in 1976 and the 10-hour The Warp — he was also a noted actor (appearing in films like A Fish Called Wanda and Derek Jarman’s version of The Tempest, as well as onstage in Art in the West End in 2000), and even more notable mischief maker.
According to Coveney, he pulled off a magnificent hoax when “the theatre world was flooded with invitations from Trevor Nunn to come aboard the newly formed Royal Dickens Company in the wake of the RSC’s hugely successful Nicholas Nickleby”. As Coveney writes, “Shakespeare was being dropped for Dickens, and offers were made on meticulously reproduced company notepaper, all apparently signed by Nunn (“Love, Trev”). Nunn’s embarrassment was compounded by the fact that a lot of people had written back to him refusing, or even more disconcertingly, accepting his gushing ‘offers’ of work on Snoo Wilson’s Little Dorrit or Michael Bogdanov’s equally specious Sketches By Boz. After a couple of weeks of panic and speculation in the press, Campbell owned up.”