BLESS THE BRIDE
A Musical Show in 2 Acts, 10 scenes.
Book and Lyrics by A. P. Herbert Music by Vivian Ellis
BY WENDY TOYE.
LOUIS LEVY'S THEATRE ORCHESTRA CONDUCTED BY MICHAEL COLLINS. COSTUMES
AND SCENERY DESIGNED BY TANYA MOISEIWITSCH
Produced at the Adelphi Theatre, London, 1947 (886 perfs)
ALICE CHARITY WILLOW - DIANA BEALL
COUSIN GEORGE - STEWART VARTAN
ARCHDEACON GURNEY - GWILYM JONES
LUCY VERACITY WILLOW - LIZBETH WEBB
THE HONOURABLE THOMAS TROUT- BRIAN REECE
ANN FIDELITY - JOAN ELVIN
CHARLOTTE PATIENCE - PAMELA CARROLL
ELIZABETH PRUDENCE - WINIFRED HAMMICK
FRANCES FORTITUDE - MILDRED GRIFFITHS
MILLICENT PUNCTUALITY - NATASHA WILLS
PIERRE FONTAINE - GEORGES GUETARY
SUZANNE VALDIS - BETTY PAUL
AUGUSTUS WILLOW (Lucy's Father) - ERIC FORT
MARY WILLOW (Lucy's Mother) - EDNA CLEMENT
ALBERT WILLOW (Augustus's Father) - JAMES
HARRIET WILLOW (Grandmamma) - HEBE BLISS
NANNY - ANONA WINN
BUTTONS - BABATUNDE MACAULAY
FIRST GENDARME - ALLAN BOURNE WEBB
SECOND GENDARME - VINCENT CHARLES
M. ROBERT (Maitre d'hotel Café des Pommes) - PETER LUPINO
WAITERS - TOMMY HUDSON, DOUGLAS ORR
M. FRONTENAC - EDMUND GOFFRON
MARIE DUVAL - MARIANNE JUER
1st CUSTOMER - GEORGE PRINCE
2nd CUSTOMER - RICHARD AUBREY
In the Victorian year of 1870, on the eve of the Franco-Prussian War,
three generations of Willows occupy the "Grange" at Mayfield-the
grandparents, father and mother and their seven charming daughters. Lucy
Veracity Willow is about to be married by parental arrangement to Thomas
Trout, an unromantic man who, nevertheless, dreams of one day becoming
a hero. Thomas has befriended a French actor and actress, Pierre Fontaine
and Suzanne Valdis. The introduction of Pierre to Lucy is most unfortunate
for Thomas, as they fall in love at first sight.
On her wedding day, just as Lucy is ready to leave for the Church, Pierre
arrives disguised as a doctor. He persuades Lucy not to go through with
the marriage but to elope with him. She feigns illness; he diagnoses
a contagious disease and father rushes off to the church to break the
sad news. This gives Lucy the opportunity to exchange her bridal gown
for the suit of the black page, Buttons, and she elopes with Pierre to
Adopting various disguises, father, mother, Thomas and cousin George
go to France in search of Lucy, and their attempts to look and speak
like French people have amusing results. Lucy, eventually, is found with
Pierre and Suzanne at the Café des Pommes, Eauville. News comes
to the Café that war is declared and Pierre leaves immediately
to fight for France.
Back at Mayfield, the family are preparing for Lucy's twenty-first birthday.
This is no happy event for Lucy, for she has heard from Suzanne that
Pierre has been killed. Thomas, now an officer in the Volunteers, still
hopes that Lucy may forget Pierre sufficiently to accept again his ring.
She tells Thomas she can never forget Pierre but will accept the ring
on the condition he does not hasten the marriage.
The birthday party is dramatically interrupted by the unexpected appearance
of Suzanne, straight from starving Paris. She confesses she had been
embittered against the English and its land of plenty, and had cruelly
written to Lucy misinforming her that Pierre had been killed, but she
is now sorry for her action and tells Lucy she has brought her a birthday
present - it is, of course, Pierre.
Lucy is overcome with joy but Pierre notices Thomas' ring. Thomas, however,
removes the ring from Lucy's finger and hands it to Pierre, and the two
lovers are happily reunited - and Thomas' long-awaited big moment has
For the Chorus
Sufficient work to keep a large musical company busy, with Vivian Ellis
at the peak of his most tuneful form. There are several effective set-pieces
for general company in addition to harmonized versions of some of the
score's hits. The chorus appear as relations and friends of the Willow
family, French bathing beauties and mashers, cafd customers and waiters.
There is a certain amount of dancing, including a short dream ballet
Alice, Ann, Charlotte, Elizabeth, Frances and Millicent - her
Mary Willow - their mother
Nanny, to the Willow girls.
Stizanne Valdis, an actress.
Pierre Fontaine, an actor
Albert Willow, Lucy's grandfather
Monsieur Robert, maitre d'hôte
Harriet Willow, grandma.
Buttons, a page-boy.
Arch Deacon Gurney.
M. Frontenac and M. Martel, Singing Waiters.
Scenes and Settings - Period 1870
Scene 1 Grange, Mayfield. The lawn of the Willows' home,
Scene 2 Grange, Mayfield; A shrubbery (front drop).
Scene 3 Grange, Mayfield; The Hall (full set).
Scene 4 - Lucy's Nursery (inset)
Scene 5 Hall
Scene 6 - La Plage, Eauville.
Scene 7 - A street, Eauville (front drop).
Scene 8 Café des Pommes, Eauville (full set).
Scene 9 Grange, Mayfield; The kitchen of the Willows' home, 1871 (front
Scene 10 Hall (as in Act 1)
- To OPEN SCENE I (The Company) Croquet,
Croquet - "Croquet! Croquet!"
- SONG (Thomas Trout with Lucy) - Too
Good to Be True - "I'm a considerate fellow"
- SONG (Lucy) & DANCE - Any Man
But Thomas T - "My dear parents"
- TRIO (Suzanne, Pierre and Thomas with Chorus) - En
Angleterre, les Demoiselles - "En Angleterre"
- FINALETTO—SCENE I (Augustus, Mary and
Lucy with Chorus) - Oh, What Will Mother
Say - "Here's a game"
- REPRISE (Chorus) - Croquet, Croquet -
- To OPEN SCENE II - Any Man But Thomas T - " My
- TRIO (Lucy, Pierre and Suzanne) I
Was Never Kissed Before - "I
was never kissed before"
- CHANGE OF SCENE
- SONG (Augustus with Family and Chorus) - Where
Is the Times? - "Where is the Times?"
- CHORUS SONG - Come, Dance, My Dear (Marry
Me) - " Come, dance,
- SONG (Lucy) - The Silent Heart - "I
- SONG (Pierre with Chorus) - Ma Belle
Marguerite - " In September, whent he grapes
13a ENCORE (Pierre with Chorus) - Ma Belle
"Ting a ling"
- CONCERTED NUMBER (Augustus, Mary, Nanny and
Lucy with Chorus) - God Bless the Family -
"Father and Mother, to a day that is holy)
14a REPRISE (Chorus) - God Bless the Family -
"God Bless the Family"
- SONG (Nanny) - Ducky - "If only they'd
leave us alone"
- FINALE SCENE IV (The Family and Chorus) - Bless the Bride - "We grimly dress as for a sacrifice"
- OPENING (The Company) Bobbing—Bobbing -
" Bobbing, Bobbing"
17a CHORUS (Girls with Lucy) - Bless
the Sea - "Bless
the Sea !"
- TRIO (Suzanne, Lucy and Pierre) - Mon
Pauvre Petit Pierre - "To your young lady"
18a ENCORE (Pierre with Chorus) Mon Pauvre Petit
Pierre - "To your young lady"
- CHANGE OF SCENE - I Was Never Kissed Before
- QUARTET (Mary, Augustus, Thomas and George) - The
Englishman - " When Earth in Eden did awake"
OF SCENE - Ma Belle Marguerite
- To OPEN SCENE VIII (Waiters and Two Customers) - Un
Consommé - "Un Consommé, potage pour
- SONG (Pierre) - A Table For Two - "Give
me a table for two"
- REPRISE - Un Consommé - "Vive la paix"
- DUET (Lucy and Pierre) - This Is
My Lovely Day - " This
is my lovely day"
- CONCERTED NUMBER (Mary, Thomas, George, Robert,
Waiters and Crowd) The Fish - " C'est
- SONG (Lucy with Suzanne) & DANCE - This
Man Could Never Be a Spy - "This man could never be a spy"
- DANCE - I Was Never Kissed Before
- FINALE SCENE VIII (Pierre with Chorus) - To
France - "To
France, the queen of golden life"
28a EXIT MUSIC
- REPRISE (Lucy) - This Is My Lovely
Day - "I'll remember"
- SONG (Nanny with Sisters) & DANCE - Twenty-one
Candles (Ducky) - "Twenty-one candles today"
- SONG (Thomas) - My Big Moment - "If I'd
only done the things"
- SONG (Lucy) Summer - " The summer
- REPRISE (The Sisters) - Here's a Kiss
for One and Twenty - " Here's a kiss"
- MELOS - I Was Never Kissed Before
- FINALE (Pierre, Lucy, and Full Company) - This
Is My Lovely Day - "This is our lovely day"
- GRAND FINALE