Ace of Clubs
a musical play in two acts by Noel Coward. Produced at the Palace
Theatre, Manchester 16 May, 1950 (3 weeks): Liverpool Empire (2
weeks), Birmingham, Alhambra (2 weeks). Opened Cambridge Theatre,
London 7 July, 1950
(211 perfs closing 6 January, 1951).
The Ace of Clubs is a Soho nightclub ran by Benny for the owner Rita. When the show opens Felix, the compère, is introducing the Ace of Club's girls in their opening number. Meanwhile Benny is with the petty crook, Smiling Snyder, planning the pickup of a parcel to be left in a raincoat at the cloakroom.
Later on stage Pinkie, the star, sings 'My Kind Of Man' and, as she moves from table to table, Snyder forcibly kisses her. Harry, a sailor, comes to her rescue, punches Snyder who goes for his gun. Pinkie escapes with Harry taking the raincoat to cover her flimsy costume.
In Soho Square they get to know each other. They discover the parcel and put it back in the raincoat. However, it falls out and is found by Harry when Pinkie leaves. When Pinkie arrives bark of the club the raincoat has already been missed and they discover the parcel missing. Rita has heard the shots and realises Benny is mixed up with the Snyder gang. It becomes obvious that she is in love with him as he storms out.
At the next afternoon's rehearsal Harry arrives to see Pinkie and while waiting for her amuses the other girls. Enter Detective-lnspector Warrilove who is investigating o jewel robbery and the shooting for both of which he suspects Snyder. Benny warns Pinkie about getting involved with Harry. In the square we hear three juvenile delinquents boasting of how easy life is.
That evening Harry goes to the club where Snyder and his side-kick Guy kidnap him during one of the onstage numbers. He escapes and hides until Pinkie and Benny arrive. Pinkie, not knowing Harry is there, promises Benny she will return the parcel if they tell her how Harry is. When Benny leaves Harry and Pinkie are reunited.
Harry returns the next day with the parcel. He believes they ought to give the parcel to the police — Pinkie and he argue and he leaves.
Later that evening one of the girls finds the parcel and, believing it her birthday present, opens it and finds the necklace. Snyder and Gus arrive and the parcel from the safe is exchanged for cash. Rita enters and orders them to leave; she has heard that the stolen necklace has been traced to the club.
At the cabaret the birthday girl is wearing the necklace and is noticed by Warrilove who follows her.
Snyder and Gus return having found the parcel they had been given contained the real birthday present, a pair of falsies, and they are caught by Worrilove. Benny is not arrested and reunites with Rita.
Rexton S. Bunnett.
Cast of Characters
Plain clothes men
Nothing can last forever ( Rita)
I'd never, never know ( Pinkie)
Something about a sailor (Harry)
Chase me Charlie ( Pinkie)
Evening in Summer ( Rita)
I like America (Harry)
My kind of man ( Pinkie)
This could be true ( Pinkie, Harry)
Josephine ( Pinkie)
Sail away (Harry) *
Why does love get in the way? ( Pinkie)
In a boat on the lake with my darling ( Pinkie,Harry)
Three juvenile delinquents (The Delinquents)
* Coward re-used 'Sail away' in his 1961 show of the same name.
Rights Holder - Warner Chappell Music