British Musical Theatre

You are here: British Musical Theatre > Arcadians > Synopsis

The Arcadians

Synopsis

by Fraser Charlton

The Arcadians was composed by Howard Talbot and Lionel Monckton, the most successful songs writers of the age. The book was by Mark Ambient and Alexander M Thompson and the lyrics by Arthur Wimperis. The show opened the 28th of April 1909 at the Shaftesbury theatre, where it ran for a total of 809 performances.

ACT ONE
Act I, in Happy Arcadia

Act I, in happy Arcadia.

In happy Arcadia, the Land that Time forgot, Sombra is troubled by reports of a place beyond the sea where 'monsters' live in cages of brick and stone and never tell the truth - a place called London! When Father Time appears, the Arcadians beg him to bring them a Londoner. He reluctantly agrees, and causes restaurateur James Smith's aeroplane to crash land. Not long after he arrives, he attempts to seduce Sombra by telling a lie. The populace are so shocked that they throw him into 'The Well of Truth'. He emerges a transformed man - he is now a youthful Arcadian, and will remain so until he tells a lie. Giving him the name 'Simplicitas', Sombra and her sister, Chrysaea, take him back to London to convert all people to their vision of Truth and Rustic Simplicity.

ACT TWO

It is Cup Day at Askwood Racecourse. Jack Meadows has been thrown by his temperamental horse 'The Deuce', and has to rely on the hopeless jockey Peter Doody to ride it. His luck improves when he meets Eileen Cavanagh, a young Irish woman who is also sought after by another racehorse-owner, Sir George Paddock. In a sudden burst of thunder and lightning, the Arcadians arrive, much to everyone's amazement. Smith finds that his wife, Mrs. Smith, doesn't recognise him as Simplicitas, and is able to flirt outrageously with her! He agrees to help her open up an Arcadian restaurant in London. Meanwhile, Peter Doody has been savaged by The Deuce, leaving no rider. Sombra saves the day by talking to the horse, who agrees to win the race with Smith fast asleep on his back!

The Arcadian Restaurant
The Arcadian Restaurant
ACT THREE

The Arcadian Restaurant is a great success, with all fashionable London flocking to eat there and Smith having the time of his life. Unfortunately, Jack's fondness for the free-thinking Arcadian girls has caused great problems between himself and Eileen, and it is necessary for Sombra to bring them back together again. Mrs. Smith and Doody, becoming increasingly suspicious of Simplicitas, trick him into telling a lie. He falls into the ornamental well at the restaurant, only to re-emerge, with some relief, as old James Smith again. Sombra and Chrysaea, realising that their mission to make all London tell the truth has failed, return to Arcadia - but they do leave two happy couples behind!



Page created 22 August 2004