'A Musical Romance' by Ivor Novello
Sundays and Mondays, 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 September 2011
Part of the Finborough Theatre's Celebrating British Music Theatre series
This rediscovery is the first professional London production in more than 25 years, and also commemorates the 60th anniversary of the death of composer Ivor Novello.
Spanning the Regency, Victorian and post-war eras, and featuring a score filled with some of Novello’s most ravishing songs including Love is My Reason, When I Curtsied to the King, A Woman’s Heart and the classic We’ll Gather Lilacs, Perchance to Dream is a classic Novello musical – an escapist ‘musical romance’ whose original 1945 run in the West End played for 1,022 performances.
In 1818, Sir Graham Rodney, an impoverished womaniser, is the owner of Huntersmoon, a magnificent old country house, but seeks relief from his life of leisure by masquerading as the dread highwayman “Frenchy”. Just at the moment when he finally finds love, the law runs him to ground with tragic results. A generation later, his estate has passed to the wrong side of the family and tragedy strikes a second time. More than a century must go by before the ghosts of Huntersmoon can finally be laid to rest…
About The Playwright Ivor Novello
Welsh-born composer, author and actor Ivor Novello (1893-1951) was one of the most eminent British entertainers of the 20th century. As a composer, he trained in Cardiff, Gloucester (alongside eminent British composers – Ivor Gurney and Herbert Howells) and at Magdalen College School, Oxford. His musicals include Glamorous Night, Careless Rapture, Crest of the Wave, The Dancing Years, Gay's the Word and King's Rhapsody; his more than 250 songs include Keep the Home Fires Burning, I Can Give You the Starlight, Waltz of My Heart, And Her Mother Came Too, The Land of Might-Have-Been, Why Isn't It You and Primrose. His plays include Symphony in Two Flats, I Lived With You and The Truth Game. As an actor, he was one of Britain's first major film stars, appearing in over twenty films including The Call of the Blood and playing the title role in the original silent version of Alfred Hitchcock's The Lodger; while his long stage career included many of his own plays and musicals. Novello's musical legacy is commemorated in the Ivor Novello Awards, established in 1955 to honour excellence in British music writing. This production commemorates the 60th anniversary of his death.
About The Director Max Pappenheim
Director Max Pappenheim recently assisted on Beating Heart Cadaver and The Goodnight Bird at the Finborough Theatre. Directing includes The Charmed Life (King's Head Theatre), An Evening With Opera (Southwark Cathedral), Arcadia and Sweeney Todd (Rugby School), and, as Musical Director for Open Door Opera, The Enchanted Child (Edinburgh Festival and St John's, Smith Square).
About The Musical Director Ross Leadbeater
Ross Leadbeater is a Musical Director, pianist, singer, arranger and vocal coach from South Wales. He trained at Trinity College of Music, specializing in piano, voice and conducting and studied English at the University of Warwick. Recent Musical Direction includes A Feast of Snacks (Kings Head Theatre), Fred and Gladys (Landor Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (Borough), Maya (Barons Court Theatre), Peak 10 (Greenwich Theatre) and as Assistant Musical Director on HMS Pinafore (Battersea Barge and Kings Head Theatre). Ross also works as a Vocal Animateur for Welsh National Opera MAX Department and was Assistant Director to John E. McGrath for the inaugural production of National Theatre Wales. As a performer, Ross created the role of Richard Lewis in the world premiere production of My Land's Shore, directed by Craig Revel Horwood and is a member of the Classical BRIT award-winning choir Only Men Aloud. He has sung with the choir at a host of events including the Royal Variety Show, Children in Need, Proms in the Park and two critically acclaimed sell-out UK Tours.
The Press on Perchance To Dream
“Enchanting” Giles Cole, WhatsOnStage
“The Finborough have unearthed quite the little gem here: hugely witty, extremely tuneful and full of heart.” Ian Foster, The Public Reviews
“A large and ambitious confection.” Don Grant, Kensington and Chelsea Today
“Somewhat eclipsed in terms of popularity by his contemporary Noël Coward, Ivor Novello’s works get far less exposure than his name would suggest. A revival at the Finborough Theatre...proves this to be a rather gross injustice.” Joe Miller, A Younger Theatre
“Director Max Pappenheim (who also played the piano at the performance I attended) resists the temptation to put an ironic spin on the proceedings, allowing Novello’s enchanting music and witty libretto to work its own magic, delivered by a very winning ensemble.” Julia Rank, Exeunt Magazine
“A gem of a venue, with a healthy history of putting on, not just new plays, but also reviving forgotten musicals from the 19th and 20th centuries, under the directorship of the inspirational Neil McPherson.” Don Grant, Kensington and Chelsea Today
The Celebrating British Music Theatre Series
In 2006, the Finborough Theatre began the Celebrating British Music Theatre series with a sell-out production of Leslie Stuart's Florodora. Productions since then have included sell-our rediscoveries of Lionel Monckton's Our Miss Gibbs, Harold Fraser-Simson's operetta The Maid of the Mountains, A "Gilbert and Sullivan" Double Bill featuring Gilbert's play Sweethearts and Sullivan's opera The Zoo, Dame Ethel Smyth's opera The Boatswain's Mate, Sandy Wilson's The Buccaneer, Oscar Asche's Chu Chin Chow, and Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley's The Roar of the Greasepaint – The Smell of the Crowd.
Edgar Pell / Bow Street Official / Thomas
Trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Theatre includes All Male Iolanthe, The Pirates of Penzance (Wilton’s Music Hall), In Touch Workshop (Arts Educational Schools), Alice in Wonderland (Italian Tour), Zaide (Sadler’s Wells and National Tour), All Male Iolanthe, The Pirates of Penzance, Sweeney Todd (Union Theatre), The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (New Vic Theatre, Staffordshire), Mathilde (Embassy Theatre, Central School of Speech and Drama) and What’s on Stage Awards 2010 (Prince of Wales Theatre).
Film includes This is Arthouse.
Television includes Last Choir Standing.
Clare Louise Connolly
Dancer / Letitia / Dance Captain
Theatre includes Six Characters in Search of An Author (National Tour for Headlong), Next Door’s Baby (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond), Hello Dolly! (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Mary Poppins (Prince Edward Theatre), The Famous Five, Stig of the Dump (Tabard Theatre), Oliver! (International Tour), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (Theatre Royal Haymarket), Snoopy! The Musical (New Players Theatre), Beauty and the Beast (National Tour) and Peter Pan (Orchard Theatre, Dartford).
Film includes Mamma Mia! The Movie.
Television includes The Crimson Petal and The White, Christopher and his Kind, Heartbeat, Linda Green and Alice in Wonderland.
Radio and Recording includes Writing the Century – The Iron Curtain, Sapphire and Steel, Doctor Who and Oliver!
Aiken / Leader of Ladies’ Choir
Trained at LAMDA.
Theatre includes Daisy Pulls It Off (Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith), Touched, Hedda Gabler (Tricycle Theatre), Romeo and Juliet (National Tour and Tokyo), Two Rooms, Into The Woods (Linbury Studio, LAMDA), and Be My Baby (Edinburgh Festival)
Film includes A Fist Full of Lipstick.
Dancer / Lavinia
Trained at Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes Zipp! (National Tour), The Light in the Piazza (Electric Theatre, Guildford), Her Naked Skin (Bellairs Theatre, Guildford) and The Ballad of Benny Junior (Riverside Studios).
Film includes Pose Down and One Evening.
Trained at Guildford School of Acting.
Theatre includes Evita (National and European Tour), Grease (Piccadilly Theatre), Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (National Tour and Theatre Royal Haymarket), Jekyll and Hyde (National Tour) and Spirit of Broadway (China Tour).
Television includes West Side Story in Howard Goodall’s 20th Century Greats and backing vocals for Enya.
Lady Charlotte Fayre
Trained at Oxford University, LAMDA and Café La Mama, New York City.
Theatre includes The Fastest Clock in the Universe (Hampstead Theatre), Blithe Spirit (Theatre Luberon, France), The Comedy of Errors, Twelfth Night (Royal Shakespeare Company), Pillars of the Community, Honk! The Ugly Duckling (National Theatre), The Dresser (Duke of York’s Theatre), Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell (The Old Vic, Apollo Theatre and Shaftesbury Theatre), Noël and Gertie, Noël Coward Tonight, Jermyn Street Blues (Jermyn Street Theatre), Bedroom Farce (Upstairs at the Gatehouse), They Liked Me (Bloomsbury Theatre, King’s Head Theatre, Jermyn Street Theatre and Pizza on the Park), Edward lll, Paris Match, 1688 (Clwyd Theatr Cymru), Rocket To The Moon (Hampstead Theatre and Apollo Theatre), The Duchess of Malfi (Oxford Playhouse), Good Fun (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield), Bus Stop (Palace Theatre, Watford), The Promise, Ghosts, A Flea In Her Ear (Bristol Old Vic), Once A Catholic (Tricycle Theatre), The Philanthropist (Mayfair Theatre), Spokesong (King’s Head Theatre and Vaudeville Theatre) Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Oedipus Rex, The Taming of the Shrew, Wakefield Nativity Plays (The Young Vic), Hair! (Shaftesbury Theatre, nominated Actress of the Year – Evening Standard Awards) and which she also performed in French at the Theatre de la Porte Saint Martin, Paris.
Film includes Camille and Ben, Wimbledon, M. Butterfly, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, Shock Treatment, Defence of the Realm, A Business Affair, Work Experience, Alive and Kicking, Every Home Should Have One, Le Mur de l’Atlantique and Aisling.
Television includes New Tricks, Lennon Naked, Ian Fleming, North Square, Touching Evil, Lawyers, London Bridge, A Touch of Frost, Alas Smith and Jones (first series), Penmarric, Verite, The Rag Trade, Mussolini, Minder, Bergerac, Strike it Rich, Hugh and I Spy, Second City Firsts, The White Rabbit, The Pearcross Girls, Executive Stress, Boon, Casualty, Doctors, You’ve Made Your Bed and Van Der Valk.
Radio includes Final Demands.
Annabel was a founder member – with Gaye Brown and Diane Langton – of the three-woman rock group Rock Bottom, on which the award-winning series Rock Follies was based.
William Fayre / Bill
At the Finborough Theatre, James is a member of the Finborough Theatre Literary Ensemble.
Trained at Drama Centre.
Theatre includes The Straits (National Tour and 59E59 Theaters, New York), Four Play, Three More Sleepless Nights (Tristan Bates Theatre) and The Same...But Different (Pleasance Edinburgh).
Television includes Waking the Dead, Totally Frank, All About George, Lie With Me, Blackbeard, Surviving Disasters, Dream Team and The Bill.
Film includes Lake Placid 3.
Margaret / Member of Ladies’ Choir
Trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts.
Theatre includes Oliver! (Theatre Royal Drury Lane), Merrily We Roll Along (Chelsea Theatre) and The Life (The Albany).
Ned Failsham / Vicar
Theatre includes Utopia Limited (Buxton Opera House), The Pirates of Penzance (Kilworth House Theatre, Leicestershire), Little Shop of Horrors (White Bear Theatre), Much Sound and Little Sense (Opera Della Luna), The Falsetto (Edinburgh Festival, The Pheasantry, Buxton Festival and King’s Head Theatre), Thursford Christmas Spectacular (Thursford), Crazy For You (Kilworth House Theatre, Leicestershire), The Pirates of Penzance (National Tour for Carl Rosa Opera Company), Promises and Lies (Birmingham Rep), All Male Mikado (Union Theatre), Iolanthe, The Mikado, The Pirates of Penzance (The Carl Rosa Opera Company at the Gielgud Theatre), Tosca and Il Trovatore (Opus 1 Opera National Tour), La Boheme (Soho Theatre) and The Yeomen of the Guard (The Tower of London).
Television includes Gilbert and Sullivan: A Motley Pair, The Andrew Marr Show, Popstar to Operastar, Songs of Praise and The Welsh in the West End.
Radio includes Solo Jingle Singer for Roberts Jewellers.
Lydia Lyddington / Veronica Lyddington / Iris
Theatre includes Zack (Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester), The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre), A Little Night Music (Menier Chocolate Factory and Garrick Theatre), Chicago (Cambridge Theatre), Desperately Seeking Susan (Novello Theatre), The Rise And Fall of Little Voice (West Berkshire Playhouse), Guys And Dolls (Piccadilly Theatre) and Mamma Mia! (Prince of Wales Theatre).
Workshops include Damsel in Distress (Chichester Festival Theatre), Harriet, Matilda (Royal Shakespeare Company), It’s a Wonderful Life and The Woman in White (The Really Useful Group).
Film includes A Bunch Of Amateurs.
Television includes Waterloo Road, The Accused, Massive and Kombat Opera.
Melinda Fayre / Melanie / Melody
At the Finborough Theatre, Claire appeared in Quality Street (2010).
Trained at LAMDA.
Theatre includes Great Expectations, Tom’s Midnight Garden (Library Theatre, Manchester), Oliver (Larnaca Amphitheatre, Cyprus), When We Are Married, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (West Yorkshire Playhouse), Hamlet (The Factory), Much Ado About Nothing, The Merchant of Venice, As You Like It (Lamb House), High Society (Shaftesbury Theatre), Felt Effects (Theatre 503), Question Time (Arcola Theatre), Kindertransport (Octagon Theatre, Bolton, for which she received a Best Actress nomination in the Manchester Evening News Awards), A Midsummer Night’s Dream, High Society (Open Air Theatre, Regent’s Park), Engaged, The Beggar’s Opera, The Road to Ruin (Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond) and Rosencrantz and Guildernstern Are Dead (Clwyd Theatr Cymru and National Tour).
Television includes The Royal, Doctors, EastEnders, Holby City and Auf Wiedersehen Pet.
Film includes Charlotte Gray.
Sir Amyas Wendell
At the Finborough Theatre, Robert appeared in State Fair (2009), and its subsequent West End transfer to Trafalgar Studios (2010).
Trained at Royal Academy of Music and the Arts Educational School of Acting.
Theatre includes Peter Pan (New Wimbledon Theatre), All The Fun Of The Fair (Garrick Theatre), Fugitive Kind (Donmar Warehouse), Hobson’s Choice (Broadway Theatre, Catford), The Full Monty (Charing Cross Theatre) and Shakespeare Sonnet Walk (Shakespeare’s Globe).
Concerts include Dress Circle Benefit Gala (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Mayor of London St George’s Day Concert (Trafalgar Square), Stephen Sondheim’s Inauguration (Royal Academy of Music) and Music Hall Cabaret (Wilton’s Music Hall).
Television includes the face of 02 commercials as Brian the 02 Guru.
Sir Graham Rodney / Valentine Fayre / Bay
At the Finborough Theatre, James appeared in Miss Lilly Gets Boned or The Rise of All Elephant Elders (2010), Quality Street (2010), and Namaskar as part of Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights (2011).
Trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.
Theatre includes The Importance of Being Earnest (Antic Disposition), Bloody Poetry (White Bear Theatre), The Importance of Being Earnest, Othello (Royal Academy of Dramatic Art for QM2), The Snow Queen (Sherman Cymru, Cardiff), Happy Savages (Underbelly, Edinburgh), Fanshen (Theatre Delicatessen), All Mouth (Menier Chocolate Factory), Days of Hope (King’s Head Theatre) and Myrmidons (Samuel Beckett Theatre, Dublin).
Television includes Lewis.
Dancer / Lucy Bridport
Trained at the Sylvia Young Theatre School.
Theatre includes HMS Pinafore (King’s Head Theatre), The Thursford Christmas Spectacular (Thursford), Toad Hall, Don Juan (The Steam Industry at The Scoop), Oliver Twist (Lion and Unicorn Theatre) and Les Miserables (Palace Theatre, Watford)
Susan Pell / Miss Connors
Trained at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Theatre includes The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s Theatre), Only Men Aloud at Christmas (National Tour) and Calling of Maisy Day (Wales Millennium Centre).
Concerts include Songs from the Shows (St David’s Hall, Cardiff) and Wales in the West End (National Eisteddfod).
Sundays and Mondays, 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, 19, 25, 26 September 2011
Tickets and Times
Approximately 2 and a half hours with interval.