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Cover to original cast recording

Mr and Mrs

A musical based on the plays of Noel Coward, by JOHN TAYLOR. Book Music & Lyrics by John Taylor: Orchestration by Johnnie Spence: Musical Direction by Derek New: Production adapted, staged and directed by Ross Taylor.

Produced at the Palace Theatre, Manchester under the management of George W. George and Frank Granat - 14 November, 1968 for three weeks.

Opened at the Palace Theatre 11 December, 1968 for a run of 44 performances closing 18 January, 1969.

Original Cast

with Sylvia Vale, Katherine Dyson, Virginia Drinkwater, Brenda Scaife, Janice Bean, Linda Hall, Miranda Willis, Zilpha Becket, Rosemary Page, Nigel Lythgoe, Jack Webster, Peter Walker, Lynton Burns, Brian Jay Smith, John Wyckham-Hall, Minoo Golvala, Chris Dyson, Carl Bohun

Directed by Ross Taylor; Musical Director: Derek New; Choreography by Norman Maen and Ross Taylor; Scenery and Costumes by Alan Tagg


The night of December 11th, 1968 at the Palace Theatre, London, saw a unique event in the history of theatre musicals — the opening of Mr. & Mrs. First-nighters discovered that this was in fact two separate and complete one-act musical plays in which the three leading actors cóvered a total of six roles between them. The theme of both acts was married life: swinging young people with no time for it, lonely old people willing to try again, happily married, middle-aged-people unwilling to disrupt the lives of their families for the passions of extra-marital relationship, and the henpecked husband who finally just ups and leaves the nagging wife, mother-in-law and daughter. The first act, "Mr.", is concerned with the last of these situations.


Stretching almost to infinity is Suburbia, countless houses all looking theSame. In one of them lives Henry Gow, his daughter Elsie, his wife's mother Mrs. Rockett, and his wife Doris. The pattern of years is repeated: as the women squabble and criticise him to his face, Henry eats his breakfast in silence. Doris announces that she is having the front garden put down to concrete (" . . . those roses of his were always tearing my stockings anyway") then proceeds, martyr-fashion, to take credit for creating and leading a happy family.

Elsie is entering a dance competition ' that evening and runs through her routine for her admiring grandmother.

When Henry returns that evening, the women demand that he drives them to the competition. Suddenly he turns on them and tells them exactly what he thinks of them all. Doris struggles to leave the house but Henry pins her in a chair; Mrs. Rockett screams for the police until Henry tells them he's been covering up her kleptomania at the supermarket for years by squaring things at the police station; Elsie babbles and whines incoherently in a corner and when they are all cowed at last, he reminisces "How did I get into all this?" Then, announcing that he's giving them nothing more, he flings off his mackintosh and bowler hat, gets out some suitcases and walks out into the big wide world.

..and MRS"

Milford Junction station is about to be modernised, and steam trains are giving way to diesels. Into the buffet on the platform one day comes Mrs. Laura Jesson. She has something in her eye. Noticing her trouble, a man at one of the tables, a doctor, offers to help and takes out a piece of grit.

Three months later, the buffet has become an island amidst the wreckage of rebuilding all around it. The manageress, who has been there for over thirty years, is Mrs. Myrtle Bagot, a widow. She is telling her friends about her early married life when she was on the stage.

Laura and the doctor, Alec Harvey, come in. Since the day he 'operated' on her eye, they keep meeting accidentally as they both happen to come to town on the same day. But after being together for the afternoon, Alec asks Laura to meet him again next Thursday: just as his train comes in, on the spur of the moment, she agrees.

Three more months go by and it is Thursday November 5th. In a quiet moment when the buffet is empty, Albert Godby, the ticket collector on platform four, comes in. He has been courting Myrtle for years, but only for the last few months has she been regarding him a little more seriously and with an eye to the future.

Alec and Laura, who have been meeting every Thursday, come and have tea at the buffet before spending another day together. That evening after work, Albert and the demolition men, mainly Irishmen, come into Myrtle's buffet for a drink. She consents to another date with Albert that night and puts her assistant, Beryl, in charge of the premises for the evening. Alec comes to the station with Laura to see her off on her train home. They finally have to admit they are now in love with each other. Alec, staying at a friend's flat for the night in town, asks Laura to go back with him.

Later that night, Stanley, Beryl's boyfriend, is trying to get her to close the buffet early as they are going to a new discotheque. Suddenly Laura comes in, soon followed by Alec. It is closing time, but he bribes Beryl to leave them alone in the buffet for five minutes. The unexpected return to the flat of Alec's friend has made Laura realise she cannot make love to him and then just go back to her own husband and family — in fact be two people. They realise they must part, for being together will disrupt too many lives. He then tells her he will take up the offer of a job in a hospital in New Zealand and go in the New Year, but they agree to meet again to say goodbye.

Another three months go by, and the buffet is due for demolition the next day. Albert and Myrtle have just been marrièd and are using the place for their wedding reception. As they leave to catch their train to a new life in the country together, Alec and Laura enter for their final goodbyes. Myrtle gives them the last cup of tea 'on the House', fully aware of what has been going on, and she and Albert go.

Just as Alec and Laura kiss goodbye, Paula Weston, a neighbour of Laura's pushes her way in, hoping to get some tea. She notices them, and not having seen Laura for a long time, sits down with her and Alec and starts to chat. Unable to say proper farewells, Alec has to run for his train. Eventually it is time for Laura and Paula to catch their train and left alone for a minute, Laura wanders around the buffet, remembering, hearing Alec's voice. She leaves alone. The buffet is empty, the lives involved in it gone for ever.

Musical Numbers

  1. Opening - The Company
  2. Millions Of People - The Faceless Society
  3. Happy Family - Doris with Mrs Rocket and Elsie
  4. I Feel I Want To Dance - Elsie
  5. And So We Got Married and No More Money - Henry
  6. Big Wide World - Henry and People
  7. If The Right Man Should Ask Me - Myrtle and 'Dusties'
  8. Father Of Two, Mother Of Three - Alec and Laura
  9. Give Us A Kiss - Albert
  10. Come Thursday - Alec and Laura
  11. I Want To Wet My Whistle - Workmen
  12. Before Today - Alec and Laura
  13. The Electric Circus - Stanley
  14. I'll Be Always Loving You - Alec and Laura
  15. Mr. & Mrs. - Albert, Myrtle and Chorus
  16. Finale - Full Company