Salad Days

The adventures of two students who look after a tramps' magic piano which makes everyone dance when it is played. Featuring the songs Oh, Look At Me, I'm Dancing; The Things That Are Done By A Don. Music by Julian Slade with lyrics and book by Dorothy Reynolds and Julian Slade.

Original London West End Production 1954

1st West End Revival 1961

2nd West End Revival 1976

3rd West End Revival 1996

Salad Days - Original London West End Production 1954

Opened 5 August 1954, Closed Saturday 27 February 1960 at the Vaudeville Theatre

A transfer from the Bristol Old Vic Theatre. The original cast featured Newton Blick as 'The Tramp', Eleanor Drew as 'Jane', John Warner as 'Timothy', Michael Aldridge as 'Mr Dawes', Dorothy Reynolds as 'Mrs Dawes' and Bob Harris as 'Troppo' with Joe Greig, James Cairncross, Michael Meacham, Pat Heywood, Yvonne Coulette and Christine Finn.

Directed by Denis Carey with choreography by Elizabeth West, sets by Patrick Robertson and costumes by Alvary Williams.

Salad Days - 1st West End Revival 1961

Opened 26 December 1961, Closed 27 January 1962 at the Princes Theatre (now Shaftesbury Theatre)

The cast featured Alan Hockey as 'Tramp', Sheila Chester as 'Jane', Derek Holmes as 'Timothy', Michael Darbyshire as 'Mr Dawes', Joyce Grant as 'Mrs Dawes' and Bob Harris as 'Troppo' with Daphne Goddard, Kenneth Waller, Henrietta Holmes, Richard Fraser, Roddy Maude-Roxby and Patricia Michael.

Directed by Julian Slade with choreography by Diana Murdoch.

Salad Days - 2nd West End Revival 1976

Previewed 13 April 1976, Opened 14 April 1976, Closed 7 August 1976 at the Duke of York's Theatre

The cast featured Elizabeth Seal as 'Lady Reaburn' with Bill Kerr as 'Tramp', Christina Matthews as 'Jane', Adam Bareham as 'Timothy', David Morton as 'Mr Dawes', Sheila Steafel as 'Mrs Dawes', Louis Hammond as 'Troppo', Tricia George, David Alder, Colette Kelly, Ian Talbot, Osmund Bullock, Michael Rennie and Melanie Parr.

Directed by David Conville with choreography by Wayne Sleep, designs by Tim Goodchild and lighting by Brian Benn.

Salad Days - 3rd West End Revival 1996

Previewed 17 April 1996, Opened 18 April 1996, Closed 24 August 1996 at the Vaudeville Theatre

This revival toured extensively before moving into the West End and was promoted as being the '40th Anniversary Production'. The cast starred the cabaret duo Kit and the Widow (real names: Kit Hesketh-Harvey and Richard Sissons).

The cast featured Kit Hesketh-Harvey as 'Mr Dawes' and Richard Sissons as 'Troppo' with David Morton as 'Tramp', Nicola Fulljames as 'Jane', Simon Connolly as 'Timothy', Elizabeth Counsell as 'Mrs Dawes', Gay Soper as 'Lady Raeburn', Edward Baker-Duly, Chris Dickins, Gary Fairhall, Doug Fisher, Sarah Mortimer, Diane Parrott and Nova Skipp.

Directed by Ned Sherrin with choreography by Lindsay Dolan, designs by Patrick Connellan, lighting by Bill Bray and sound by Simon Whitehorn.

Simon Connolly's London theatre credits include the role of 'Arpad Laszlo' in Scott Ellis' revival of the Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick musical She Loves Me at the Savoy Theatre in 1994.

Gay Soper's London stage credits include the original cast of Vlado Habunek's production of the Nevill Coghill and Martin Starkie musical version of Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales at the Phoenix Theatre in 1968; and the original cast of John-Michael Tebelak's production of Stephen Schwartz's Godspell at the Roundhouse in 1971, and transfer to the West End's Wyndham's Theatre in 1972.

"The revival of Salad Days at the Vaudeville certainly takes you back. Whether, of course, you wish to return to the era when the British musical offered such a whimsical plot, such twee jokes and such an air of almost pre-pubertal innocence is entirely a matter of taste... Every time the story looks like expiring of anaemia, which is roughly every 10 minutes, we get an interpolated revue-sketch which aims at a more worldly sophistication. Most of these are wiltingly unfunny... To be fair Julian Slade, whose professed aim was to write 'insultingly simple music', succeeded admirably in his task. Even though I find the show's arch humour easily resistible, I must confess that many of the songs are insidiously hummable. One just wishes that Mr Slade's undeniable melodic gifts were tethered to a narrative that engaged either the intellect or the emotions. Time has also changed both the show and our attitude towards it. What seemed hopelessly innocent in 1954 has now acquired the patina of camp... What was once charmingly naive has acquired in this production the air of something cosily roguish. The most palatable aspect of a dim evening is Richard Sisson's engaging performance as the piano's mute minder, Troppo. Simon Connolly and Nicola Fulljames as the romantic leads also dutifully strut their stuff." The Guardian

"I sat through this show with a growing sense of incredulous astonishment. Thus some grizzled archeologist of old would have sat in the middle of some godforsaken tundra, scraping bits of earth and dried yak droppings off some ancient fragment of pottery, gazing at it in disbelief. Could this thing have actually been handled by human beings? Or been of any use to them? Was it once a toenail cleaner, or a receptacle for cough sweets? Julian Slade's 1954 musical gives you just this sense of dazed curiosity, with its inane little plot, wholesome characters, tinkly-winkly music and frightful jokes, all about Oxford graduates of various sexes, plus a piano that makes people dance. It is directed with benevolent expertise by Ned Sherrin... There'll always be an England, and England shall be twee. The audience loved it." The Sunday Times

"Casting the cabaret act Kit and the Widow in the sweet Julian Slade and Dorothy Reynolds musical Salad Days sprinkles a fresh new dressing on a 42-year-old piece that has not been seen in London for 20 years. The story, about a magic piano that makes everybody dance, is pure twaddle, but the songs are pretty, Kit Hesketh Harvey wrings maximum laughs from some soppy jokes and the Widow contributes an enchanting Marxist-Harpo, that is - performance as the mute spirit of the old joanna. Charming and great fun." The News of the World

Salad Days in London at the Vaudeville Theatre previewed from 17 April 1996, opened on 18 April 1996 and closed on 24 August 1996