Shows B

BILLY Music by John Barry, lyrics by Don Black, book by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais based on Billy Liar by Keith Waterhouse and Willis Hall Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, London 1 May, 1974 (904 perfs) Billy Fisher lives with Mum, Dad and Gran in Stradhoughton and is an undertaker’s clerk - but in his mind he is President of Ambrosia, a film star, a scriptwriter - and anything else glamorous that happens to occur to him! However, nobody else believes him, certainly neither Barbara nor Rita, to both of whom he has promised marriage, though there is only one engagement ring! He frantically tries to lie his way out, so he can run away with Liz, the only girl who understands him, but we know he’ll never quite make it. Available for the first time on general release, Biiiy has a strong, funny and tast-paced book, with outstanding songs such as “Ambrosia” and “Some Of Us Belong To The Stars”. STORY (PLAY) Billy, a lower middle-class lad from the North East has big ideas of fame and fortune but has neither the intellect nor the courage to make anything of himself. His family and employer, an undertaker, have to suffer the consequences of his fantasies and habitual lying, things coming to a head when he becomes engaged to two girls at the same time. Barbara, his `official’ fiancée, whom he tries unsuccessfully to seduce, comes to tea with the family and announces wedding plans, but unfortunately her visit coincides with both the death of Billy’s grandmother and a visit from his other `fiancée’ Rita. A fight ensues. Arthur, a friend, tells Billy that Rita’s brother is after him, and Billy plans his escape to London to be a TV scriptwriter with Liz - yet another girlfriend. Mum and Dad have strong ideas about all this. Throughout the play, Billy finds refuge from his problems in vivid daydreams in which among others he becomes a doctor, a politician and a general. Principals: 5 female, 4 male • Billy Fisher - A Northern lad whose day-dreaming and constant fibbing causes him endless problems • Geoffrey Fisher - Billy’s dad, a brusque man in his early 50s who uses the word “bloody” so frequently thatit becomes completely meaningless • Alice Fisher - Billy’s long-suffering mum - a typical housewife • Gran Fisher - Billy’s Gran; an old lady in her 80s who talks constantly to herself - and to the furniture • Arthur Crabtree - Billy’s best friend and fellow employee at Shadrack and Duxbury’s Funeral Parlour • Shadrack - In his late 30s, but prematurely aged with the necessary obsequiousness required for running a funeral parlour • Stamp - An emplyee at Shadrack and Duxbury. An unpleasant and unattractive youth and no friend of Billy or Arthur. • Councillor Duxbury - An aged Town Councillor who nostalgically recalls how much better it was in the old days • Liz - Billy’s girlfriend and the only person who really understands him. • Barbara - Billy’s “fiancéee”, a simpering, orange-eating little homemaker. • Rita - Billy’s other “fiancée”, the person for whom the word “common” was invented - a monstrous concoction of plastered make-up, high heels and bad language. • Mrs Crabtree - Mother of Arthur and bearer of the brunt of some of BIlly’s more inventive fibs. Chorus members and extras: Small boy, bandleader, ticket collector, Ambrosians, Shoppers, Funeral Bearers, Housewives, Football crowd, Dance Hallers