Featuring a campaign built largely on lies, Brexit is now regarded by the majority as an almost unmitigated disaster for the UK economy and its population. Indeed, some of the more critical might question the use of the word “almost” in the last sentence.

However, even its harshest critics might have done a double take on hearing Rufus Wainwright blame the UK’s departure from Europe eight years ago for the early closure of his musical Opening Night.

On the face of it, a new musical in a modestly sized West End house combining the heady musical talents of Wainwright with hot director Ivo van Hove and popular screen star Sheridan Smith could hardly go wrong. To add to the attractions, it was based on a movie, although these days, John Cassavetes may no longer enjoy cult status.

Sadly for all involved, after receiving mixed reviews, the producers have very literally decided to cut their losses and close the show next week, two months earlier than planned, although they might initially have been hoping to extend for months or years.

According to reports in The Guardian, while accepting that the musical “wasn’t perfect by any means,” Wainwright attributes negative reaction to the show in part to the fact that Britain has become more insular since the 2016 Brexit referendum.

Many of us are happy to blame departure from Europe for any number of ills. The economy has been a basket case, travel has become a potential nightmare and it hasn’t done us any favours on the immigration front. In addition, the theatrical community has been damaged more directly, over and above the economic effect, for example when it comes to staffing or the inability to tour across Europe without jumping through more hoops than a circus clown.

Even so, the idea that a much-hyped new musical with a cherished star can blame Brexit for its failure seems a little far-fetched. After all, Ivo van Hove has hardly been missing in action for the last eight years, having chalked up numerous London successes in that period. In addition, Mr Wainwright and the underlying movie have North American roots, while Sheridan Smith is British.

Presumably the main argument is that since Brexit, British theatre no longer favours a European aesthetic. Additionally, some European visitors have been dissuaded from coming here.

Historically, while it is dangerous to generalise, the British have favoured well-made, plot-driven plays that, taken to extremes, are ideally set in Hampstead living rooms. As such, they have always been wary of experimentation or expressionism. In the same vein, when it comes to musicals, the majority of visitors to West End shows are either rich, typically conservative locals or tourists, looking for cosy familiarity and an undemanding night out.

Ivo van Hove has always been an acquired taste, offering something very different from the typical British director. To the extent that his vision is European, that mirrors many other inventive theatre directors across past decades who have come a cropper when attempting to transfer something stunning from the European mainland to this sceptered isle.

One always feels for those who put on what they believe to be a stunning experience then catch a metaphorical cold. The good news is the key people involved with Opening Night on the creative side are experienced artists who will bounce back very quickly, while producers Wessex Grove have invested in a wide range of shows so should also weather the bad experience.

It is a sad fact that when it comes to musical theatre, the market is all. If you cannot either get rave reviews or persuade potential punters that they are willing to shell out a three-figure sum to watch a big-name star, a favourite movie recreated in a new format or some other marketable attraction, then your show’s fate is as predictable as voting in a referendum on the basis of cast-iron promises from Boris Johnson.