Following on the heels of their success with "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off," Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse created this comic fable about English society and the plight of the poor. This score contains the same exuberance of "Stop The World..." but at times it can be extremely muted. Once again, the female ensemble is used to high effect, however Newley does not have the bulk of the musical material. While he does sing quite a lot, it's Cyril Ritchard as Sir that sings some of the wittier songs in the piece. The orchestration is also geared more towards strings and woodwinds than the brassy big-band feel in "Stop The World." It is obvious that Bricusse and Newley were not content to repeat themselves, and they did not. The lyrics also contain more of a sly, caustic wit as opposed to the bouncy, clever lyrics of "Stop..." Sally Smith and Gilbert Price have wonderful voices that are featured wonderfully in some of the myriad numbers for the song. The highlight of the score however is the one that became such a popular standard, "Who Can I Turn To (When Nobody Needs Me)" is such a tender, gentle ballad performed brilliantly by Newley, and is one of the many songs people will leave humming after listening to this score. The opening number, "The Beautiful Land" is also of particular interest as it contains some delicious lyrics including "It's not on top of a mountain, or beneath the deep blue sea, or in London Zoo, or in Timbuktu, or in Timbukthree." Buy this album as a companion piece to "Stop The World - I Want To Get Off," and revel in the uniformly fine performances of the cast throughout as Newley and Bricusse chart new musical territory while occasionally visiting the tone of their previous endeavor.
After seeing the brilliant production of this show at the Finborough Theatre London, in 2011, I was delighted to find this album on Amazon. It's as fresh and exciting as the day it was recorded; a beautiful score, a fine testament to the genius of Newley and Bricusse.
Arguably Anthony Newley and Leslie Bricusse's finest score, one beautifully-arranged '60s standard after another. I was never a huge fan of the duo's somewhat 'Everyman' concept musicals, but they certainly knew how to write songs with timeless lyrics. Newley and Cyril Ritchard - with help from Sally Smith - put the numbers over with zest. A must for the collection of every lover of show music!