First look at new musical comedy The Smallest Show On Earth

'The Smallest Show on Earth Rehearsal

Laura Pitt-Pulford and Haydn Oakley in rehearsal for The Smallest Show on Earth, opening at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester on 25 September and then touring the UK. Picture: Alastair Muir

New images have been released for the new musical comedy based on the StudioCanal Peter Sellers/Margaret Rutherford film The Smallest Show on Earth. The stage show, which has a book by Thom Southerland and Paul Alexander, 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 UK tour of The Smallest Show on Earth will begin performances on Friday 25 September at the Mercury Theatre, Colchester, before playing Coventry, High Wycombe, Glasgow, Plymouth, Crewe, Swansea and Malvern.

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.

StudioCanal’s The Smallest Show On Earth was a 1957 British Lion film written by William Rose (GenevieveThe Ladykillers) and directed by Basil Dearden (Blue LampLeague 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.

The cast of the new musical comedy will be led by Liza Goddard (Take Three GirlsBergeracGrandpa in My Pocket) as Mrs Fazackalee and Brian Capron (Coronation StreetWhere the Heart Is, Grange Hill) as Mr Quill.

Also in the cast will be Haydn Oakley as Matthew Spenser, Laura Pitt-Pulford as Jean Spenser, Ricky Butt as Ethel Hardcastle, Philip Rham as Albert Hardcastle, Christina Bennington as Marlene Hardcastle, Sam O’Rourke as Tom Fazackalee and Matthew Crowe as Robin Carter, with Leo Andrew, Jacob Chapman, Matthew Dale, Nova Skipp and Leah West.

The UK tour of The Smallest Show On Earth will be directed by Thom Southerland (ParadeMack & MabelVictor/VictoriaTitanic) with set and costume design by David Woodhead, choreography by Lee Proud, lighting design by Howard Hudson, sound design by Andrew Johnson, musical supervision by Gareth Valentine, orchestrations by Mark Cumberland and musical direction by Mark Aspinall.

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.


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