Slightly-odd Liza Minnelli was detained last night at Heathrow.
No, not because of Class A's in her luggage. Nor was it because of some Diana Ross-style diva fit. This was simply due to sheer incompetence by her team.
Apparently they had failed to arrange her a Work Permit. While the definition of 'Work' might normally mean 'Plumbing' or 'Banking', it also seems to cover 'Being Freakish But Kind-of Fascinating on Stage', as Liza has a few dates around the country as part of her new tour. Londonist wonders whether the permit form is one of those with a series of tickboxes on it - and is 'Star' an option?
In any case, it was left to one immigration officer to stop her and her entourage of nineteen people in their tracks (19?!) and tell her that she would not be performing this evening.
Result: 20 very unhappy people, a blockage in immigration, and some desperate phonecalls that may have included the Home Office and others to smooth over the difficulties and allow for an expedited visa application.
The efforts were successful, so tonight's performance is very much on. A spokesperson for Liza (presumably with a work permit, or else she is now working illegally, no?) tried to blame the length of time needed for a work permit, but we checked and it takes a few weeks - we think that she knew they were coming before then.
One central question remains about all this - isn't paperwork the kind of thing that an entourage is actually for? Nineteen people, and not one could fill the form in before they took off? Obviously among the nineteen there will be a hairstylist, someone to dress her, and someone to make sure there are "fruits and flowers" ready in the dressing room - but doesn't one of the others have a biro and a braincell?
Fed up Liza pic from K'vitsh's Flickrstream