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Orvin - Champion of Champions

A musical play by Alan Ayckbourn. Music by Denis King

Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough - 8th August, 2003


An epic musical of accidental heroism. The chorus of gods set out to relate the tale of the Great Ulmar, legendary warrior and champion of Sollistis. But their narrative suffers a major techinical hitch when Orvin, Ulmar's hopeless squire, oversleeps on the eve of battle. What follows proves a challenge even to such seasoned storytellers as the gods themselves as they vainly attempt to re-write history with only the help of Orvin, the unlikeliest, most reluctant of last-minute replacement champions.


by Alan Ayckbourn

The play begins with a sword fight between Ulmar of Sollistis and Walmund of the Varne. At the end of the battle only Ulmar and Walmund are left standing. Walmund, already fatally injured, is over-powered by Ulmar, however Ulmar is interrupted by his clumsy squire, Orvin, he looses his concentration and is killed by Walmund who also then dies from his injuries.

The Gods, the musical narrators of the play, condemn Orvin, who is left alone on the battlefield alone on the battlefield, for disrupting their legend. After a brief discussion it is decided that Orvin should take Ulmar’s place as the victorious warrior.

While Orvin is being carried in triumph to Presupposia, Prince Dedrick and his servant Skeets are plotting to prevent the arranged marriage of his beautiful sister Delcine and Ulmar as this would make her Queen and therefore destroy his chance of ever becoming King. His scheming is made easier by his sister’s love for another man, the vain Lord Varian.

Orvin, under the pretence of being his master Ulmar, rides to the castle to meet the Princess for the first time, but after taking one look at him she almost faints with disgust. The two are left alone and continue to exchange insults until Delcine, agitated and offended, leaves to persuade her father he is not a suitable husband. While she is gone Orvin become acquainted with her maid, Ola. They soon become friends but romantic tension between the pair is clearly present.

Delcine returns and explains that her father has ordered her to marry Ulmar, considering the consequence of disobeying this command being death she reluctantly obliges. Orvin's mind remains on Ola as Delcine desperately attempts to convince Orvin to woo her, as tradition dictates should happen. Once realising he has little interest in her she takes to wooing herself with an amusing song about her own beauty at the end of which she kisses Orvin who, still unimpressed, is secretly committing himself to winning Ola, nevertheless Lord Varian sees the kiss and challenges Orvin, Orvin refuses and continues to be comically rude to the demanding Princess.

A brief but intense meeting between Ola and Orvin follows but is sadly interrupted by his dictated wedding to Delcine. At the wedding Orvin becomes inappropriately drunk. Ola offers to care for him, however Varian goes in pursuit of the couple and is convinced that he is betraying Delcine. He promptly notifies Dedrick, and once again Orvin is challenged to a duel.
Shortly after this Delcine finds out about her brothers plan to kill both Orvin and Varian after enlightening them, a series of interesting and immoral plots are concocted by each of the different characters.
Consequently an immense duel takes place and bodies soon being to mount. Entirely through luck Orvin is victorious and once again labelled the hero, this time however it is through he own personal achievement. Orvin is crowned king with his new wife Ola as his Queen and the couple live happily ever after.

Musical Numbers

  1. Chorus One
  2. I'm Your Man
  3. Delcine
  4. Ola's Song
  5. 'Till Death
  6. The One I Want To Die For
  7. Everything In Hand
  8. Bavarois de Fromage Blanc
  9. Since I Was a Child

The Cast

M16 F8. Chorus