Underneath the Arches
Music by various composers. Book by Patrick Garland, Brian Glanville and Roy Hudd in association with Chesney Allen; The story and music of the Crazy Gang: an affectionate celebration of the beloved comedians Flanagan and Allen, Naughton and Gold and Nervo and Knox.
Prince of Wales Theatre, London - 4 March, 1982
Underneath the Arches tells the story in songs and sketches of two of Britain's most popular entertainers, the lovable, wicked Bud Flanagan, and the handsome, urbane Chesney Allen, and their association with a bunch of knockabout comedians known collectively as "The Crazy Gang" (Nervo and Knox, Naughton and Gold, and "Monsewer" Eddie Gray).
Underneath the Arches begins before the curtain rises with the
Crazy Gang running amok among the audience. Order is restored by Ches
and the Company, who assure us the evening is Just For Laughs.
Chas tells us of his and Bud's early years and of Bud's first stage
appearance at an "extra turn" matinee. All sorts of peculiar acts are
seen, including a precious young man who sings, to howls of indifference, The Boers
Have Got My Daddy. Bud's stage debut is no worldshaker and he decides
to work his passage to America. He is welcomed on board ship by the entire
Company singing Say Ta-Ta to Your Tar and to America by the same
Company, in different hats, singing Franklin D. Roosevelt Jones.
Bud's American show business career is rudely interrupted by World War I and the Company singing If a Grey Haired Lady. In a little cafe behind the lines, Bud meets Ches for the first time. The War over, depression sets in and the Company join Bud and Chas to sing Umbrella Man. Bud and Ches chat about their futures and part again agreeing We're Always on the Outside.
Bud meets Curly, they marry and Curly assures Bud she has found Mr. Right.
Bud gets an appointment to see the great Music Hall star Florrie Forde and he watches her sing a selection of her choruses, Has Anybody Here Seen Florrie?, Flanagan, Hold Your Hand Out You Naughty Boy, The Old Bull and Bush. Florrie tells Bud her manager is looking for a comedian to play opposite him and Bud is delighted to discover her manager is none other than Chesney Allen. They form a double and we hear three of their greatest hits, Hey Neighbour, Home Town and Underneath the Arches.
The second half starts with Chas remembering his years in Pantomime
and Bud and the Crazy Gang bring the fairy story heroes tottering on stage
as the Principal Boys.
Bud and Chess love of horseracing is illustrated by the Company singing Well Done Gordon. Bud and Chas battle on as a double act and more of their story is told in Free.
The formation of the Crazy Gang is introduced by the boys singing We're the Palladium Crazy Gang and the changing times are shown when Bud and Chas sing They're Building Flats Where the Arches Used to Be. Bud and the Crazy Gang as Piccadilly flower sellers entertain with Five Little Broken Blossoms, but the song is interrupted by one A. Hitler and the Gang lead the audience through the Second World War with Siegfried Line, Run, Rabbit, Run and Maybe It's Because I;m a Londoner.
It is now 1945 and an exhausted Ches tells Bud he has to leave the act.
Bud is shattered, but Chas persuades him to carry on alone Just For
Bud hears his and Curly's beloved son, Buddy, has died in America, but the show must go on and he sings Music Maestro Please.
Bud and the Crazy Gang get together again and assure us everything they did was Just For Laughs.
To say goodnight, Bud, Ches, the Crazy Gang and the entire Company come together for Strolling.
2 female, 7 male
Reed I (alto sax, clarinet), Reed II (tenor sax, clarinet), trumpet, trombone, percussion, guitar, piano, bass