Sunday, October 16, 2011


This musical opened at the West End in 1980 and closed after 57 performances. The fact that the production flopped could have been the death of the show, but fortunately someone  (Norman Newell) thought they should do a cast recording and at least the score leaves on.

The subject of this musical was similar to the one of MACK AND MABEL and, like that show, the result is a very tuneful score. Written by David (HALF A SIXPENCE) Heneker, who co-wrote the lyrics with Warner Brown, the songs are easily assimilated and catching, with atmospheric orchestrations by Michael Reed & Alan Roper. The cast is also in perfect tune with the era of the silent movies, with Sheila White delivering a terrific performance as Mary Pickford.

Things start with the nostalgic “The Moving Picture Show” and move to the amusing “Working in Flickers”, sung by a shy Mary Pickford. Later, Lillian Gish sings two sad ballads “Every Lady Needs a Master” and “More Than a Man”. The one and only D. W. Griffith leads the company with the epic “Beyond Babel” and Adolph Zukor leads the company at the rhythm of tango with “The Industry”. But there’s more to enjoy, like Mack Sennett’s “I Just Want to Make Him Laugh”. The only odd song is the modern, kind of out of place, “Diggin’ Gold Dust”.

My favorite songs are the delicious “I Like to be the Way I Am in My Own Front Parlour” and the very 20s “Nineteen Twenty Five” and the title song. It’s true, I have a love affair with the music of the 20s and so it’s easy for me to love these songs.

This is true Broadway in its best style; traditional, funny and tuneful! I just hope that one day someone will give this show another chance. Until there, I hope you’ll enjoy the delights of this delightful cast recording.

To listen to samples of the songs just click here.

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