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The Amazons

Cover to Cast Recording

A musical in two acts by Michael Stewart based on the play by Arthur Pinero. Lyrics by David Heneker. Music by John Addison. Directed by Philip Wiseman; Musical Direction by Denys Rawson; Choreography by Irving Davies; Scenery designed by Robin Archer; costumes by Michael Stennett

Produced at the Playhouse, Nottingham under the management of the Nottingham Theatre Trust 7 April, 1971 for a season of 21 performances to 8 May, 1971.

Original Cast

Bishop - Alan Hockey
Lady Castlejordan - Elizabeth Wade
Lady Noeline Castlejordan - Elizabeth Counsell
Lady Williamine Castlejordan - Sandra Scriven
Lady Thomasine Castlejordan - Fiona Mathieson
Sergeant Shuter - Joan Turner
Turbot - Emyr Green
André de Grival - Geoffrey Davison
Lord Tweenwayes - Harry Dickman
Lord Utterly - Robert Coleman
Passenger / Parlourmaid /Miss Ebbworthy - Clare Herbert
Child/Scullery Maid - Olwen Hughes
Traveller/Cook/Mrs Ebbworthy - Audrey Leybourne
Traveller/Ladies Maid - Rosemary Lyford
French waitress/English waitress/ Parlourmaid/Lady Plenshaw - Myra Sands
Harassed lady/Miss Welkin/Mrs Lansdowne - Chris Melville
Station porter/Sailor/Kitchen boy - Michael Ensigt
French traveller/Second Footman/Orts - John O'Flynn
Traveller/Stokes/Sir Wilfred - Chris Molloy
Customs Official/Youatt/Mr Ebbworthy - Dudley Owen
Sailor/Customs Official/First Footman/Kitchen Boy - Cameron Ross
French traindriver/English traindriver/Fitton/Dr Motley - David Wheldon Williams

Synopsis

ACT ONE

In the confusion of the noisy Gare Maritime at Calais stands the only sane figure in The Amazons, - the Bishop of Karachi. Contentedly, he knows that soon he will once more be in a country of order, tranquillity and perfection. Arriving in England he proceeds to Scrumleigh West and reaches Overcote Hall where he is seized by rustics. Lady Castlejordan is mortified that they have captured her beloved uncle. She explains that traps are set throughout the grounds because of the human instinct to gape at her sons, Noel,Thomas and little Willy.

The Bishop is shocked when he meets the three 'boys' as they are three girls, brought up as 'boys'. Why? As a memorial to Lady Castlejordan's late husband who died heartbroken at never having managed to produce a son. Noel,Tommy and little Willy have been away from Overcote Hall for a few days. Whilst staying in the country,Tommy and Willy met two suitors: Lord Tweenwayes and Andre de Grival. Tommy and Willy explain to Noel that although they think two chaps fancying one another is a bit dodgy, they have both fallen for their suitors. Noel is alarmed, but tells them that she too has met a gentleman in London, and during the encounter has lost the Castlejordan ring. Lady Castlejordan, fearing her 'boys' look pale and sickly, commands their PT instructor Sergeant Shuter (also a woman - but 'Army all down the line') to cure their holiday excess. Much to the annoyance of Noel,Tommy and Willy, Shuter gives the 'boys' a quick drilling before taking them jogging through the woods.

A telegram arrives for Lady Castlejordan, with news of Noel's conduct in London. Her departure for the metropolis provokes frenzied discussion and alarm.Two strangers are discovered in the grounds of OvercotePark, Lord Tweenwayes (an ineffectual aristocrat), and Andre de Grival, (a Frenchman who thinks he is English) —Tommy and Willy's suitors. Lord Litterly alights from a bi-plane and explains that he has also travelled to Overcote Hall to search for someone he picked up in London, but he is unsure if his 'whatever it is' is a boy or a girl.They decide to work as a team and hide as Shuter marches Noel,Tommy and Willy through the woods. The three men make it known to Noel,Tommy and Willy that they are in the woods, but their discovery is hidden from Sergeant Shuter.The company express the sense of turmoil.

ACT TWO

In the woods of Overcote Park, Shuter puts the 'boys' through drill. Left alone, Noel is discovered by Lord Litterly.They are instantly attracted to one another, and he tells her of his meeting with a likeable young man in London.They both know that the 'fellow' is Noel, but she denies all knowledge and is ready to throw Litterly out of Overcote Park when he reveals the Castlejordan Ring, which she retrieves.They are about to embrace when Tommy and Willy are found with two strange men by the Folly. Tweenwayes and De Grival ask Tommy and Willy to marry them. The girls reluctantly decline, as they know that their mother would never allow it. Tweenwayes suggests that Tommy and Willy persuade their mother to hold the Scrumleigh Charity Ball at Overcote Hall, where they will prove to her that they are suitable sons-in-law. Tweenwayes and De Grival give them their first dancing lesson.

Noel finds the two couples in an embrace and asks the men to leave Overcote Park, but Tommy and Willy insist that they have invited their suitors to tea. Noel agrees, but only if they have tea at the Bent Willow, in the centre of Overcote Maze. Litterly invites himself along too, but when Noel shuns him, he decides to return to his bi-plane and leave. Noel realises she may have lost him for ever. When Litterly quizzes her about her feelings, she recoils and he grabs her wrist to prevent her from running away. On her wrist he sees a tattoo (when Noel,Tommy and Willy were small they tattooed each other on wet days). He persuades her to tattoo him with the letter 'N' for Noel, but she only agrees if he tells her what happened in London. He explains. Noel got into a brawl, fainted, and was picked up by Litterly. She mistook him for her mother and kissed him. Noel slaps Litterly's face. In the Maze, Turbot and the servants are in attendance. Litterly arrives with a swollen arm because Noel accidentally tattooed him with a poisonous snake wort. Litterly embraces her, much to the disgust of Tommy who calls for Shuter. Tweenwayes and De Grival find their way to the centre of the maze and embrace their respective partners just as Shuter enters. She is appalled to see 'boys kissing boys'. To make matters worse, Lady Castlejordan returns from London.

ACT THREE

De Grival and Tweenwayes climb over the rooftops of Overcote Hall. They fall through a window, landing in the Gymnasium, where Litterly joins them. Two hours of gymnastics have been ordered by Lady Castlejordan. Obeying her orders, Shuter sets to work on the girls (Eurythmics). Litterly recognises Shuter as his childhood nanny (Gymnastics). Litterly calls for an impromptu party but Shuter will not allow her 'boys' to drink. Noel insists that if they are 'boys' they will act as boys and declares she will leave home. The Bishop persuades his niece that she has three pretty daughters. When Lady Castlejordan sets eyes on her nephew (Litterly — whom she has despised ever since he was born as the son she should have had) she sees a marked resemblance to her late husband. She relents and allows the suitors to marry her daughters, as well as allowing their 'coming out' at the Scrumleigh Ball. She discovers that Noel is filling Litterly's bi-plane with petrol. Litterly dashes to the plane and jumps on board as it takes of. Noel and Litterly admit their love for one another. The plane runs out of fuel, but they glide to a perfect landing. Preparations are underway for the Ball. All are delighted at the entrance of Noeline,Thomasine, and Williamine - three beautiful young women. Happiness abounds, and the Bishop reasserts his belief in the country of his birth.

Musical Numbers:

    1. Introduction - Calais - Bishop & Ensemble
    2. There's Nothing Wrong with England - Bishop & Ensemble
    3. There's Nothing Wrong with England (Reprise) - Bishop & Ensmble
    4. My Boys - Lady Castlejordan
    5. The West End's the Worst End - Noel, Thomas, Willy
    6. I'm Only Following My Instructions - Shuter, Noel, Thomas, Willy
    7. Knees Up! - Shuter
    8. Whatever Can Have Happened? - Turbot, Shuter, Noel, Thomas, Willy, Lady Castlejordan, Bishop & Ensemble
    9. Let's Stick Together - Litterly, de Grival, Tweenwayes
    10. We Shall See What We Shall See - Litterly, de Grival, Tweenwayes, Turbot, Shuter, Noel, Thomas, Willy, Lady Castlejordan, Bishop, Mrs Lansdown
    11. On Parade - Shuter, Noel Thomas, Willy
    12. A Nice Young Fellow - Litterly, Noel
    13. Don't Follow the Music - de Grival, Tweenwayes, Thomas, Willy and Ensemble
    14. A Nice Young Fellow (Reprise) - Noel
    15. She Hates Me - Litterly
    16. Afternoon Tea - Turbot & Servants
    17. I Thought As Much - Shuter, Noel, Thomas, Willy, de Grival, Tweenwayes, Litterly
    18. The Coast is Clear - de Grival, Tweenwayes
    19. Eurythmics - Shuter, Noel, Thomas, Willy
    20. Gymnastics - Shuter, Litterly
    21. Stag Party - Noel & Comapny
    22. Three Pretty Daughters - Bishop, Lady Castlejordan, de Grival, Tweenwayes, Litterly
    23. A Nice Young Fellow (Reprise) - Noel, Litterly
    24. Whatever's Going to Happer? - Servants
    25. Finale - Litterly, de Grival, Tweenwayes, Bishop

 

Discography:

Original 2002 London Cast - Must Close Saturday Records MCSR 3003