This 1959 musical saw the realization of Bernard Miles' long held dream - the opening of his Mermaid Theatre in the heart of the City of London. Adapted by him from Henry Fielding's bawdy comedy "Rape Upon Rape", the action is set there too - the year 1730, with local young ladies under threat. Rakes roam (hence the title). Will virtue remain unsullied or lechers get their way?
Cue for great fun - tuneful (Laurie Johnson), witty (Lionel Bart, he about to branch out into music himself, "Fings" imminent). "All's Well" sets the scene, a nightwatchman introducing us to the main characters and their dwellings. Outstanding amongst the fine cast are Richard Wordsworth (wickedly funny as randy Judge Squeezum) and Stephanie Voss (beguiling as young innocent Hilaret). Highlights are many - "It Must Be True" (anything in the papers has to be believed), "On the Side", "When Does the Ravishing Begin?", "There's a Plot Afoot", "Mr. Jones", "On a Sunny Afternoon".
Despite the subject matter, all is most moral, the evil Judge destined for gaol - his wife (Hy Hazell) entertainingly unable to contain her glee ("I'll Be There").
With so much that delighted, why not five stars? Sadly this Hallmark reissue comes without notes - except for the numbers listed (curiously twice). Surely the cast deserves a mention? Surely plot details are particularly needed for a musical so little known? Fortunately I had the original LP, its sleeve far more user friendly. It proved a great help.
That reservation apart, warmly recommended - the recording provoked chuckles and gave great pleasure.
on 1 March 2016
The CD doesn't contain the basic information.
This is what I found:
1 All's Well, Robin Wentworth, 3:06
2 A Proper Man, Madeleine Newbury / Stephanie Voss, 1:58
3 It Must Be True, Brendan Barry / John Sharp, 2:31
4 Red Wine & A Wench, Frederick Jaeger / Keith Marsh, 2:13
5 On The Side, Richard Wordsworth, 1:39
6 When Does The Ravishing Begin?, Hy Hazel, 2:12
7 Lovely Lover, Terence Cooper / Stephanie Voss, 2:21
8 Lock Up Your Daughters, Terence Cooper / Frederick Jaeger / Keith Marsh, 2:08
9 There's A Plot Afoot, Company, 2:45
10 Mr. Jones, Richard Wordsworth, 1:39
11 On A Sunny Sunday Morning, Stephanie Voss / Richard Wordsworth, 2:34
12 If I'd Known You, Keith Marsh, 1:36
13 'Tis Plain To See, Chorus / Frederick Jaeger / Stephanie Voss, 2:00
14 Kind Fate, Chorus / Terence Cooper / Stephanie Voss, 2:02
15 I'll Be There, Chorus / Hy Hazel, 2:20
16 Finale, Company / Stephanie Voss, 1:54