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Salad Days
21st - 26th Oct 2024

Witham Public Hall

Director: Emma Loring

Musical Director: Frankie Garland

About the Show
salad days poster.jpg

For our next show we are presenting “Salad Days” with with music by Julian Slade, and with book and lyrics by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade.

 

Jane and Timothy Dawes meet in a park, soon after their graduation, to plan their lives. They agree to get married, and do so in secret, but Timothy's parents have urged him to ask his various influential uncles — a Minister, a Foreign Office official, a General, a scientist — to find him suitable employment. He and Jane, however, decide that he must take the first job that he is offered. A passing tramp offers them £7 a week to look after his mobile piano for a month, and, upon accepting, they discover that when the piano plays it gives everyone within earshot an irresistible desire to dance!

After attempts by the Minister of Pleasure and Pastime (Timothy's Ministerial uncle) to ban the disruptive music, the piano vanishes, and Timothy enlists his scientific Uncle Zed to take them in his flying saucer to retrieve it. When it is found, the tramp reappears to tell them that their month is up and the piano must be passed on to another couple. He also reveals that he is a hitherto unknown uncle of Timothy (whose parents had referred to "the one we don't mention"). Timothy and Jane look forward to the future with confidence.

Salad Days wears its years lightly. It still has the silliest storylines and awful puns that composer Julian Slade and lyricist Dorothy Reynolds wrote, but also all the charm and feelgood factor that made it such a success before the face of musical theatre changed forever with West Side Story.

 

The lightweight story, about young, spoilt Henrys and Henriettas just down from Oxford without a clue about what to do with their lives but getting involved with a magic piano that gets people dancing as soon as anyone strikes up a tune on it, is even dafter than it sounds.

But you don’t get to play 2,283 performances and last six years in the West End – the longest-running musical until Oliver! came along in 1960 – without having something more to it and Salad Days still has an old-fashioned sweetness and positivity that sends people home happier than when they arrived.

It was this show that inspired the then seven-year-old Cameron Mackintosh to fall in love with the theatre, entranced by the whimsical idea that a piano could make people sing and dance, and it is easy to see why.

Salad Days grows on you and is meatier than you first thought.

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