Shows D

At the palace of All Ben Ali, in the Riff Hills, while a group of captive Spanish dancing girls are being looked over as potential harem material, the courtesan Clementina entertains with a more graphic description of their profession. With his own camp put hors de combat, the Red Shadow has chosen the home of the helpful Ali as the place to bring his captives. Margot has struggled all the way, in the fashion of the best of romantic heroines, but Susan hasn't struggled at all, though she might as well have for, all the good it has done her In fact, as soon as she has been bundled off to the bath, she has a rival, for the amorous Clementina, who has a special taste for weak Englishmen, targets in on Bennie who quickly looks like being 'One Good Man Gone Wrong' before he can have any say in the matter. Bennie takes the first possible chance to get out of this place. When the Red Shadow proposes to send Susan back to Fez to tell Birabeau that Margot is safe, Bennie changes clothes with her, but he is discovered and faced with a dusty death by exposure in the desert as a punishment for his cowardly attempt at escape. Meanwhile, there is discontent in the Riff ranks for the men are unhappy that their raids are being used not to further their cause but to aid their leader in his love affair. The Red Shadow challenges any one of them to dispute his leadership and, when there is no reply, he charges them to hold to their oath and follow him in everything as they have sworn. Ali cannot understand that he should go to such pains for a woman: in his Eastern view a woman and the love of a woman are treasured but ephemeral things. To the Red Shadow, however, there is only this one woman and for her he will risk all. The Red Shadow visits Margot in her room but, when he attempts to woo her in manly style, he is taken aback to hear her say that her heart is given to Pierre Birabeau. She has been cured of her romantic notions. The Red Shadow promises that, if this is so, he will no longer pursue her. She shall leave here as Pierre's bride. When he has gone, Margot agonises over her feelings. By all rights she should stab this man to the heart with the sabre he has laid before her, but she cannot. Is she in love with him? When Pierre appears before her, anxious to claim her as his wife, she tells him that she used him only as an excuse to put her captor off, but she confides in him that she almost wishes the Red Shadow would resolve her dilemma by taking her by force. Pierre retires to take on his alter ego, but, when the Red. Shadow returns to tell Margot that he is taking, her off into the desert, he is brought face to face with General Birabeau whom the treacherous Azuri has led to the palace. The General offers to fight the Red Shadow for Margot's freedom but Pierre is unable to lift his sword against his own father and, before the amazed eyes of his band, he refuses. By this act, he forfeits his rights at the head of the Riff band and is condemned to be loosed alone in the desert to survive or die. Birabeau brings Margot back to Fez to great acclaim but Paul can see in Margot's eyes what has happened and he vows that, in spite of the standing order to capture the Red Shadow alive, he will bring him in dead. Bennie and Susan also arrive back. They have survived an ordeal of two days and nights in the desert and are pale and weak but, it emerges, they have found out one thing. Apparently Susan does have 'It'. Azuri, too, puts in an appearance. She has come to claim her reward and her revenge and she takes both. With the money in her hand she drunkenly reveals to Birabeau the true reason why the Red Shadow would not fight him. The rebel leader is his own son and now, under his orders, Fontaine has gone out to hunt him down to the death. But, like Bennie and Susan Pierre has survived his desert ordeal and made his way safely back to Government House. Since he can no longer lead the Riffs, he has made a plan that will allow him finally to give up the feeble persona he has worn. He presents himself before his father with the clothes and sword of the Red Shadow and announces that he has beaten Fontaine to the blow: he has fought and killed the Red Shadow. But his father knows the truth. This tale will do for the world at large and, now, with Pierre at his side he will work for a better understanding with the local people. Margot, distraught at the news of the death of the hero she loved, faces up furiously to Pierre only to come finally to a realisation of the truth in his arms. Adapted from Gänzl's Book of the Musical Theatre