Book, music and lyrics by Sandy Wilson From the novel by Ronald
Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith - 2 October 1958
York Playhouse, Off-Broadway - 6 October, 1960
Sandy Wilson's vibrant musical of Ronald Firbank's original novel
was seen at the Chichester Festival in 1982 with Bertice Reading, Fenella
Fielding, Doris Hare and Robert Helpman in the leading roles
Mrs Yajnavalkya, the exuberant black masseuse, sets up her establishment
in Valmouth where the aphrodisiac air ensures longevity for all who breathe
it, from the erotic to the exotic, the comical to the incredible. Not
surprisingly, therefore, every season brings an influx of regular visitors
to this fashionable spa to swell the array of dazzling fantastics, among
them the ageing nymphomaniac Lady Parvula. With the help of Mrs Yaj, Lady
Parvula tries to seduce the virile young David Tooke who steadfastly rejects
her shameless advances, while his sister Thetis imagines herself the bride
of Captain Dick Thoroughfare, heir to the wealthy, Catholic, Mrs Hurstpierpoint
of Hare Hatch House. But Dick is secretly married to Mrs Yaj's niece Niri-Esther,
which he announces on the night of the Centenarians' Ball together with
the news that Niri is pregnant. To nearly everyone's horror Mrs Hurstpierpoint
welcomes the girl, fancying her as an infidel convert to Catholicism,
and organises plans for a wedding and christening presided over by Cardinal
Pirelli. But the nuptials are prevented at the eleventh hour by the excommunication
of the Cardinal and the total destruction of Valmouth. Only Niri and Mrs
Yaj survive and back on their native tropical island Mrs Yaj regrets the
passing of Valmouth.
"... this perennially fresh and pertinent musical ... Sandy Wilson's
lyrics include, by my reckoning, at least half a dozen potential hits
beside 'Big Best Shoes'. Valmouth, in short, bewitches by its riches
as the opening chorus swore it would..." Plays and Players
The Chorus: Inhabitants of Valmouth. Guests at the Ball. Wedding
Lady Parvula de Panzoust.
Captain Dick Thoroughfare.
Lieutenant Jack Whorwood.
Nit: the footman.
Sir Victor Vatt.
Ffines: the butler.
Carry: Mrs Yaj's maid.
Madam Mimosa: Valmouth's demi-mondaine.
Fowler: Mrs Hurstpierpoint's maid.
The road to Valmouth.
- Valmouth Market Square.
- The banks of the River Val.
- Hare Hatch House.
- The Nook.
- Hare Hatch House gardens.
- Outside the chapel.
- Opening / Valmouth - Company
- Magic Fingers - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
- Mustapha - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
- I Loved a Man - Thetis Tooke
- What Then Can Make Him Come So Low? - Niri-Esther
- All the Girls Were Pretty - Mrs Hurstpierpoint, Lady Parvula, Mrs Thoroughfare
- Just Once More - Lady Parvula
- Lady of the Manor - Niri-Esther
- What Do I Want With Love - David Tooke
- My Big Best Shoes - Mrs Vajnanalkaya, Grannie Tooke
- Niri-Esther - Jack Whorwood, Captain Dick
- The Cry of the Peacock - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
- Little Baby Girl - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
- The Cathedral of Clemenza - Cardianl Pirelli
- Only a Passing Phase - Lady Parvula
- Valmouth - Captain Dick
- Where the Trees Are Green With Parrots - Niri-Esther
- My Talking Day - Sister Ecclesia
- I Will Miss You - Grannie Tooke, Mrs Vajnanalkaya
- Finale / Valmouth - Company
Woodwind I Flute, Woodwind II clarinet, Bass/Bass Guitar, Guitar, Percussion,
Chichester Festival Theatre
Production starring Bertice Reading, Fenella Fielding, Doris Hare,
Robert Helpmann and Mark Wynter - TER 1019