Steppin’ out with comedy gem, The Smallest Show on Earth

Brian Capron and Liza Goddard in The Smallest Show on Earth. Image Colin Bell.
Brian Capron and Liza Goddard in The Smallest Show on Earth. Image Colin Bell.

It was a hit film for the late, great Peter Sellers and Margaret Rutherford and now The Smallest Show On Earth is set for a big revival on stage.

Thom Southerland and Paul Alexander have written a treatment for theatre and given it a score by Irving Berlin.

The comedy gem will star Liza Goddard and Brian Capron and will premiere at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester this September.

The stage show contains some of Irving Berlin’s greatest songs, including Blue Skies, Shakin’ the Blues Away, Let Yourself Go, Steppin’ Out with my Baby and How Deep is the Ocean, as well as some rediscovered gems.

Director Thom Southerland said “Berlin’s music provides the perfect accompaniment to our 1950s story, not only in lyric, but in style and period too.”

The Smallest Show on Earth - poster

Newly-weds Matt and Jean Spenser inherit a cinema and think their fortune is made. But the Bijou, better known as the fleapit, is the victim of a dirty tricks campaign from its rival flashy neighbour The Grand.

The Bijou’s benevolent manageress Mrs Fazackalee and unreliable projectionist Mr Quill combine with Matt and Jean to outwit the opposition and restore the Bijou to its former glory.

The Smallest Show on Earth was a 1957 British Lion film written by William Rose (Genevieve, The Ladykillers) and directed by Basil Dearden (Blue Lamp, League of Gentlemen).

It starred Peter Sellers as Mr Quill and Margaret Rutherford as Mrs Fazackalee, along with Virginia McKenna and Bill Travers as Matt and Jean.

Liza Goddard (Take Three Girls, Bergerac, Grandpa in my Pocket) will play Mrs Fazackalee and Brian Capron (Coronation Street, Where the Heart Is, Grange Hill) will be Mr Quill.

Also in the cast will be Haydn Oakley and Laura Pitt-Pulford as Matt and Jean; Ricky Butt, Philip Rham, Christina Bennington, Sam O’Rourke, Matthew Crowe, Leo Andrew, Jacob Chapman, Matthew Dale, Nova Skipp and Leah West.

The UK tour of The Smallest Show on Earth – A new Irving Berlin Musical is produced by Brian Eastman, Christabel Albery and Mercury Theatre, Colchester, by special arrangement with StudioCanal.

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

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