I Do! I Do! (1981)

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Poster by Ann King

Book & Lyrics by Tom Jones, Music by Harvey Schmidt

Produced by Pam Lyne

Performances: Fri 15th – Sun 17th May 1981, Prompt Corner


Text about the play




'Based on Jan de Hartog's play, "The Four Poster", "I Do! I Do!" is a musical two-hander. Pam Lyne's weekend production at South London Theatre's Prompt Corner squeezed a very large four poster into a small acting area. The two characters, Michael and Agnes (or He and She) spent much of the time in and over it, and the rest warily stalking each other around it. As you will have guessed, "I Do! I Do!" is the saga of a marriage. They pledge eternal love, have a tiny row (the cloud no bigger than a man's hand), get into bed, consummate the union, find that "love isn't everything" and "nobody's perfect" and watch the little cloud blacken the heavens. So far, so predictable. He is a successful novelist and She doesn't understand him. Someone else does: a younger woman. The union is threatened but ultimately saved by compromise. The kids grow up and get married. He and She leave the four poster for pastures new. End of play. All this could be pretty cloying stuff, especially as lyricist, Tom Jones, (not, pop fans THE Tom Jones but A Tom Jones) has a hit or miss way with rhyming and composer, Harvey Schmidt, can neither read nor write music. As it happened, it was one of Prompt Corner's more enjoyable offerings, shaped as it was by the mercurial, and ultimately sincere performances of Bruce Murray and Ann Mattey, who acted with conviction and sang all the shows 18 numbers as if they meant every word. He presented the type of arrogant, conceited male who is accustomed to riding roughshod over the whims of the little woman, while She gave a study of a more complex being, the vulnerable woman ageing with wary defiance and masking her vulnerability under a smokescreen of bravado. Her vamp number, "Flaming Agnes", was full of the unleashed energy we all remember from the same actress in the Jacques Brel show. But perhaps the best number was a joint effort in which each draws up a catalogue of the other's faults and enumerates them. The was the real face of marriage with the romance stripped away. Jan Pringle on the organ provided the excellent musical accompaniment.'

Don Madgwick - Croydon Advertiser.


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