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Cover to recording Chichster Festival Theatre Production Valmouth

Book, music and lyrics by Sandy Wilson From the novel by Ronald Firbank

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 Guests. 

Singing Principals

Mrs Yajnavalkya.
Grannie Tooke.
Lady Parvula de Panzoust.
Mrs Hurstpierpoint,
Mrs Thoroughfare.
Niri-Esther. Thetis.
David Tooke.
Captain Dick Thoroughfare.
Lieutenant Jack Whorwood.
Cardinal Pirelli. 

Smaller Roles 

Nit: the footman.
Father Colley-Mahoney.
Sir Victor Vatt.
Dr Dee.
Ffines: the butler.
Carry: Mrs Yaj's maid.
Madam Mimosa: Valmouth's demi-mondaine.
Lady Saunter.
Sister Ecclesia.
Fowler: Mrs Hurstpierpoint's maid

The Scenes

  1. The road to Valmouth.
  2. Valmouth Market Square.
  3. The banks of the River Val.
  4. Hare Hatch House.
  5. The Nook.
  6. Hare Hatch House gardens.
  7. Outside the chapel.
  8. Tarooa

Musical Numbers:

  1. Opening / Valmouth - Company
  2. Magic Fingers - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
  3. Mustapha - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
  4. I Loved a Man - Thetis Tooke
  5. What Then Can Make Him Come So Low? - Niri-Esther
  6. All the Girls Were Pretty - Mrs Hurstpierpoint, Lady Parvula, Mrs Thoroughfare
  7. Just Once More - Lady Parvula
  8. Lady of the Manor - Niri-Esther
  9. What Do I Want With Love - David Tooke
  10. My Big Best Shoes - Mrs Vajnanalkaya, Grannie Tooke
  11. Niri-Esther - Jack Whorwood, Captain Dick
  12. The Cry of the Peacock - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
  13. Little Baby Girl - Mrs Vajnanalkaya
  14. The Cathedral of Clemenza - Cardianl Pirelli
  15. Only a Passing Phase - Lady Parvula
  16. Valmouth - Captain Dick
  17. Where the Trees Are Green With Parrots - Niri-Esther
  18. My Talking Day - Sister Ecclesia
  19. I Will Miss You - Grannie Tooke, Mrs Vajnanalkaya
  20. Finale / Valmouth - Company


Woodwind I Flute, Woodwind II clarinet, Bass/Bass Guitar, Guitar, Percussion, Harp


Chichester Festival Theatre Production starring Bertice Reading, Fenella Fielding, Doris Hare, Robert Helpmann and Mark Wynter - TER 1019