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Original Cast Album SleeveBUDGIE

Music by Mort Shuman: Lyrics by Don Black : Book by Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall

Cambridge Theatre, London - October 18, 1988 - (3 months)

Synopsis

Act I

The time is the late 'sixties' and the place is Soho's sleazy world of strip-clubs, sex-shops and porno bookstores. Budgie Bird, small-time thief and would-be con-man, is employed by Soho's porn-king, Charlie Endell, to inveigle punters into the Naughty Nighties strip-club. Together with his fellow-barkers he invites customers inside.

Maurice Khan, a psychopathic villain, seeks refuge inside the strip-club but is arrested by the bribable Detective-Inspector Bryant and his eager assistant, Detective-Constable Leadbetter. Before Khan is apprehended, he manages to pass on a brief-case to Budgie who secretes it in the club. Charlie enters and warns his staff of the dangers of mixing with men like Khan.

Budgie's live-in girlfriend, Hazel, arrives and tells Budgie that she needs money to pay for the housekeeping, rent, and in order to provide for their two-year-old son. Budgie fobs her off with excuses and proclamations of love. Later, alone in the club, Budgie examines the brief-case and finds it full of folding money.

Inside the Bella Napoli Restaurant, Laughing Spam informs the three waiters that Charlie is intending to honour them with a visit and they scurry around, preparing a meal fit for Soho's king. Hazel enters and tries to borrow money from Charlie but he has a better idea - a scheme which he will outline to her and Budgie the following evening in Poppy's Club, a seedy drinking establishment he has recently acquired.

Budgie, without telling Hazel about his new-found wealth, is dubious about the meet with Charlie, and Hazel begins to wonder about her relationship with Budgie. Hazel flounces off and Bryant and Leadbetter arrive to question Budgie about the missing brief-case. Later, three strippers from the Naughty Nighties reminisce about days gone by and the innocence of youth. The next evening, in Poppy's Club, Charlie makes Hazel and Budgie an offer they can't refuse. He will employ them to run the club on a full-time basis. Hazel is delighted and even Budgie can see the potential. Budgie's estranged nymphomaniac wife, Jean, arrives and strikes up a friendship with a gin-soaked member, Connie. They sing about their separate worldly desires. Inga, a heavily pregnant stripper enters as her labour pains begin. Budgie, Connie and Jean hustle Inga out of the club. Hazel is left alone to consider her future again.

Having despatched Inga to the nearby Greek Street Hospital, Budgie nips into King's bookmaking shop. But his luck is out. He loses a sizeable chunk of Khan's money. Budgie brightens - there is always more in the briefcase. The rejoicings are cut short by the arrival of Wossname who has a vicious razor-cut down one side of h is face. He bears the grim news that Khan has escaped and is looking for Budgie.

Act II

In the hospital waiting-room, the three strippers discuss the dismal future facing the child that Inga is about to bring into the world, If That Baby Could Talk (Fifi, Lulu, Helga). They are interrupted by a nurse who tells them that the baby has arrived and mother and daughter are both well.

Inside the back-office of the Pornorama Bookshop, Budgie confesses to Charlie that he has gambled away £800 of Khan's money. Charlie is horrified at Budgie's stupidity.

Budgie dodges an encounter with Khan and pauses outside the hospital to consider his plight. He encounters Leo King, the well-heeled Soho bookmaker. King is in a state of mild shock, having just been given the news that his young wife has lost their first child in maternity. Budgie, ever an eye for the main chance, tells King that he can help him out by providing a substitute baby (Inga's) that King and his wife may pass off as their own. King departs, heartened. Hazel enters and questions Budgie's proposed visit to Inga. She assumes that Budgie is the father of Inga's baby. As Hazel exits, Inga appears on an iron-wrought balcony and is delighted at the proposition put forward by Budgie. But Budgie does not tell Inga that there is money to be had from King.

In the Soho streets, on a quiet Sunday morning, Inga's baby is duly handed over, by Budgie, to Mr & Mrs King. Budgie not only picks u p a cool £1000 for the baby, he also sells King the idea of holding a celebratory party in Poppy's Club. Budgie gives Hazel the good news that they are to host a "toffs" party in the club and hands her a fistful of notes to treat herself to a new dress.

Hazel's delight is short-lived, She meets up with Inga and Jean in the Bella Napoli Restaurant - both of them have different ideas about Budgie's new-found wealth. At the Poppy's Club shindig, King is well-pleased at first at all of Budgie's efforts on his behalf. But things soon begin to get out of hand. Both Jean and Inga gatecrash the party and lambaste Budgie. Khan also arrives to wreak his revenge. Bryant and Leadbetter turn up to add to the confusion. It is left to Charlie to sort out everything to everyone's satisfaction - with the exception of Hazel who announces her intention of leaving Budgie.

As he comes out of Poppy's Club and into the empty Soho Street, Budgie encounters an angry Laughing Spam who has been ordered by Charlie to punish him for past misdemeanours. Laughing Spam smacks Budgie hard. Budgie, alone and friendless, considers an empty future. Hazel arrives and the two embrace and have each other at least. As Hazel goes off to prepare their supper, Budgie takes on his barker's duties again. Life goes on as always in Strip Alley.

Keith Waterhouse & Willis Hall

Cast:

Budgie Bird - small-time thief
Charlie Endell - Soho's porn-king
Maurice Khan - a psychopathic villain
Detective-Inspector Bryant - a bendable copper
Detective-Constable Leadbetter - an upright one
Hazel - Budgie's live-in girlfriend
Laughing-Spam
Jean - Budgie's estranged nymphomaniac wife
Connie
Inga - a heavily pregnant stripper
Wossname - A barker
Leo King - A Soho Turf-Accountant
Inga - a stripper on maternity leave
Fifi, Lulu, Helga - Soho strippers

Musical Numbers:

They're Naked and They Move (Budgie, Laughing Spam Fritter, Wossname & Company)
Thank You Mr Endell (Charlie, Budgie, Laughing Spam Fritter, Wossname, Fifi, Lulu, Helga).
There Is Love and There Is Love, (Budgie)
If You Want To See Palermo Again (Laughing Spam Fritter, Luigi, Rinaldo, Giuseppe).
In One Of My Weaker Moments (Hazel)
Mary, Doris And Jane (Fifi, Lulu, Helga)
Why Not Me?(Budgie, Hazel)
If It Wasn't For The Side Effects (Jean, Connie)
Old Compton Street (Budgie & Company)
If That Baby Could Talk (Fifi, Lulu, Helga)
Winners And Losers (Charlie, Budgie)
Old Compton Street, reprise (Budgie)
There Is Love And There Is Love reprise (Budgie, Hazel)
I Like That In A Man (Hazel, Inga, Jean)
Budgie, (Company)
In One Of My Weaker Moments, reprise (Budgie)

Orchestration:

Keyboard/synthesiser: Bass Guitar; Drums: Percussion: Violin I, II, III, IV; Cello I, II; Trumpet I, II, III; Trombone; Reeds I, II, III.

Discography: -

Original London Cast - MCA 6035