TV favourites Brian Capron and Lisa Goddard are heading up a national tour of the classic comedy The Smallest Show on Earth which comes to Wycombe Swan in October.
The show, being produced by Mercury Theatre, Colchester, is based on a 1957 British Lion film about a couple who inherit a fleapit cinema.
It was written by William Rose and starred Peter Sellers and Margaret Rutherford. Now the comedy has been lovingly adapted to include some of Irving Berlin’s greatest songs.
Here Brian, who plays projectionist Mr Quill, and Lisa (manageress Mrs Fazackalee) chat to Stage Review about the production.
Brian couldn’t believe his luck to be offered the Peter Sellars role in the stage adaptation.
He said: “I was lucky enough to be offered the part of Quill. I then read the script, which revealed a lovely, rich character, which had been originally played by Peter Sellers, in a charming musical with the fabulous songs of Irving Berlin, all backed up with a brilliant creative team.
“Lucky old me, I thought!!
“I was vaguely aware of the narrative element of the film – ie bringing a cinema back to life – but nothing of its characters.
“I have two solo songs in the show. The first is a gentle song Don’t Be Afraid of Romance which he sings to Tom, the son of Mrs Fazackalee (who he has secretly loved for many years).
“The second song is called Don’t Brush Me Off, where he tells Mrs Fazackalee that she’s not brushing him off, she going to have to settle down with him or else!”
The musical is all about a small cinema fighting against being taken over by the bigger chains, something Brian remembers well.
“I grew up on an estate in Stanwell, near Staines. In Staines there were three cinemas, the smallest was indeed called ‘the flea pit.’
“My mother knew an usherette there and during the holidays she would allow me to sit at the back while my mum worked at Marks and Spencer, sometimes even when it was an A film, which I was too young to see!”
Lisa said she was delighted to be stepping into Margaret Rutherford’s shoes.
She said: “I remember seeing the film and it is such a charming one. However it differs greatly from this new adaptation.
“I am taking singing lessons – those Irving Berlin songs are marvellous but they are deceptive. They sound as if they should be easy to sing but they aren’t.
“I have three songs at the minute – Isn’t This a Lovely Day, When Winter Comes and a duet with Brian which is a bit of a showstopper”.
The Smallest Show on Earth comes to Wycombe Swan October 19-24.
UK Tour Dates
September 25-October 10, Mercury Theatre, Colchester October 13-17, Belgrade Theatre, Coventry October 19-24, Wycombe Swan October 26-31, Theatre Royal, Glasgow November 3-7, Theatre Royal, Plymouth November 9-14, Lyceum Theatre, Crewe November 16-21, Grand Theatre, Swansea November 23-28, Malvern Theatres