Shows "C"

THE CHOCOLATE SOLDIER Music by Oscar Straus. Book & Lyrics by Stanislaus Stange. Adaptation by Agnes Bernelle, Adam Carstairs and Ronald Hanmer. Based on the play Arms and the Man by George Bernard Shaw Lyric Theatre, New York - 13 September, 1909 (296 perfs) Lyric Theatre, London - 10 September, 1910 SYNOPSIS When Lieutenant Bummerli, a Swiss mercenary in the Serbian army, takes refuge from his Bulgarian enemies in the house of a Bulgarian general - to be precise, in the daughter's bedroom - he sets hearts a-flutter, almost compromises three ladies and then ruins the daughter's wedding to a Bulgarian soldier-hero by being recognised as the fugitive! This is just as well because he and Nadina, the daughter, were destined for each other anyway. This new English version should help to restore this formerly well-loved operetta to the repertoire. STORY ACT 1 Serbia and Bulgaria are at war, and the wife and daughter of the Bulgarian Colonel Popoff are missing their menfolk – the Colonel himself, and Major Alexius Spiridoff, who is engaged to the daughter, Nadina. Mascha, a young cousin of Nadina who is staying at the Popoff 's residence, also hero worships Alexius. Alone in her bedroom, Nadina clutches her sweetheart's photograph and sings of her admiration and love for her "brave hussar" and longs for his return. An intruder (Bumerli) climbs in through her bedroom window. He is a very ordinary person, nothing like the ideal hero Nadina has been worshipping. In fact he has escaped the battle taking place nearby by climbing the Popoffs' drainpipe. He is in Serbian uniform, but responds to Nadina's patriotic posturing by revealing that his is actually Swiss, and is serving in the Serbian army as a mercenary. When she threatens to call for help he briefly threatens her with his revolver – but soon puts it down. When she picks it up and threatens him he laughs at her – he uses his ammunition pouch to carry chocolates and has no cartridges to load his weapon. In spite of herself Nadina is amused and charmed by this "Little Chocolate Soldier". He recounts an incident in battle when a foolish Bulgarian officer lost control of his horse, thus leading an inadvertent cavalry charge against Serb guns that happened to have been supplied with the wrong ammunition and were thus overrun. Nadina is furious to realise that the officer concerned was her Alexius, and orders Bumerli to leave at once – when he starts to leave she calls him back. Just in time, as a squad of bumbling Bulgarian soldiers, led by Captain Massakroff, arrive in pursuit. Fortunately Bumerli has had time to hide behind the bed curtains, and Nadina assures them that she has not seen the intruder. While the Bulgarian soldiers search the rest of the house, Aurelia, Nadina's mother, and young Mascha come to the bedroom. They are sure something is going on, and when they spot Bumerli's revolver the secret is out. By the time the soldiers have left the house and Nadina opens her bed curtains Bumerli is asleep, and the lonely women are all very taken with him. They awaken him with their chatter, but he is exhausted and only wants to go back to sleep again. They ransack the house for civilian clothes to enable him to escape – each, unknown to the others, slipping a photograph of herself into the pocket of his jacket – a favourite house coat of the Colonel's.