Click Below to Play a Sample
*All titles of songs are in CAPITAL letters.
The time, June 1897, the place is London. It is the eve of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee. England is at the height of her world power and visitors from all over the world have come to participate in the Jubilee celebrations.
Act one opens in Shepards Alley, a favourite haunt of streetwalkers who are anticipating a boost to their trade with
so many tourists and prominent Government figures enjoying all that Victorian London has to offer.
A beggar calls them to (REPENT THEIR SINS) while the whores boast of their 'goods' (THE WHORES ENTICEMENT).
Lord Charles Farthing (an Undersecretary in the Foreign Office) has come to seek out Lucy, his favourite lady of the night and is sadly interrupted in his quest when his trusted butler seeks him out to inform him that a mutiny has occurred on the frontier in India. His plans for the evening are quite ruined!
The following morning, the Farthing household is busy preparing for the days celebrations. Sara, a young disgruntled housemaid sings of her never ending despair at the thought of a life in service. (ALL IN A DAYS WORK).
Higgenbotham, a faithful butler reprimands her (IN THE HOME OF AN ENGLISH LORD).
Meanwhile, the 'Upstairs' household are anxiously anticipating the Jubilee Ball to be held that evening. Caroline Farthing hears the clip-clop of horses, flings open the window and joyously sings (LONDON, YOU'RE SHINING TODAY). Charles informs Caroline that he will be delayed attending the Ball and has invited a French diplomat, Phillippe Juneau to escort his wife. Unknown to him, they have already had a romantic interlude the previous year in Cannes.
Busy preparing the guest bedroom for Mungo Farthing (Lord Charles' nephew) Sara admires herself in front of a mirror, longing for a very different life (WHAT A LIFE I WOULD LEAD).
Mungo listens at the door and teases Sara, enticing her to forget her 'place' and enjoy some 'hanky panky' with him
(SAUCY SARA). Too shocked to speak, Higgenbotham drops Mungo's luggage at the open door!
Upstairs, Caroline very agitated at the prospect of Philippe reappearing shortly, paces the room (FRANTIC).
Philippe arrives and begs Caroline to remember their time together in Cannes (MY LOVELY LADY).
Penelope Ashford-Jones, a society gossip and Lord Tweedmouth, friends of the Farthings, call and discuss the problems of costumes for the forthcoming balls. Upon being introduced to Philippe, Penelope with her instinctive intuition casts a wary look at Caroline and explains the joy of wagging society tongues (A LITTLE BIT OF GOSSIP).
Downstairs, the servants directed by Higgenbotham, present a tableau for the upstairs household. (SIXTY YEARS A QUEEN).
The whole household join together in their patriotic feelings (OH WE NEVER FELT SO GLORIOUS).
The downstairs staff are given a half day off and Mungo invites Sara to join him and stay out the whole damn night! (LET'S TAKE A WALK DOWN PICCADILLY).
Later the same day, Philippe begs Caroline to be his lover again. One day a week is all she agrees to and Philippe, a true Frenchman, exaggerates his fate (EACH TUESDAY AT TEN).
He picks up Caroline and carries her upstairs! Sara meanwhile has been promised by Mungo that he will introduce her to a friend who is a dancer and change her life's direction. He takes her to his friend’s empty house, goes to the wardrobe and urges her to try on a Spanish gypsy costume (DANCE FOR ME).
Sara has the distinct feeling that she will never forget this Jubilee! Charles who has previously informed Caroline that he is temporarily impotent is beginning his early celebrating with Lucy, his favourite whore and has promised to get her a position at the exclusive Adam and Eve Club for gentlemen.
A reception room in the Palace is charged with mounting excitement as the Queen appears, flanked by two East Indian Guards, one of whom is Munshi, Lucy's lover who has stolen a locket belonging to the Queen and given it to her as a gift. The Queen reflects on her sixty years on the throne (THE QUEENS SOLILOQUY).
The Ball begins to the strains of the 'BUTTERFLY WALTZ'. Two hours later, Caroline and Philippe plan their weekly rendezvous and he renews Caroline's feelings for him (I REALLY LOVE YOU).
Upon returning home after a glorious evening of dancing with Philippe, Charles notices Caroline's flushed face. In his usual diplomatic way, he enquires whether she is ill. She realizes that Charles is too concerned and blames her unusual gaiety and the flush of her face on the results of a little too much liquor (IT MUST HAVE BEEN THE WINE).
Charles rather cynically agrees but nevertheless, seeing her in such a radiant mood insists that his impotence has vanished and he cannot resist sleeping with her tonight!
Several weeks later, Mungo informs Sara that he will be leaving for the countryside soon to attend to his uncle's estate there. Sara realizes that Mungo has been using her and has no intention of continuing their relationship. Sara is furious when Mungo gloats and tries to buy her silence with a five pound note (YOU BLOODY BASTARD).
Wandering alone along the embankment in the dead of night, she reflects on her bewilderment and confusion (DO YOU EVER WONDER WHO YOU ARE).
A group of whores emerge out of the shadows and beckon Sara to join with them. A Bobby warns her of the dangers of roaming the streets at night and reminds her that Jack the Ripper has not been caught (THE BOBBY'S WARNING).
Higgenbotham and Maud, another servant, rush towards Sara and beg her to return to the Farthing household and not to cause a scandal. The following night, inside the Adam and Eve club, Lucy who now works there, beckons Philippe, Charles and Sam, (a business acquaintance of Charles) in, and offers them fig leaves to wear (the usual attire for the gentlemen whilst at the club). They discuss various business plans and then Charles invites his guests to go upstairs and enjoy all the club has to offer. Philippe refuses and leaves.
Charles and Lucy discuss the Queen's missing locket that Lucy is now wearing around her neck. Charles insists upon returning it to the Palace in the hope of being given a promotion.
Caroline visits Philippe and tells him that Munshi had visited her and told her that Charles had been spending time with Lucy.
Realizing that he was far from impotent (especially after the Jubilee night), she feels totally degraded. Charles appears having followed his wife, and angrily assumes his position as a humiliated husband whose wife has committed adultery. Caroline expresses her anger at Charles' deception (ENRAGED).
Charles tries to calm his wife down and reaches an amicable agreement with Philippe and assures him that a civilized solution can be found. He tells Philippe that these spicy and delicate situations are quite common in English upper class society (A MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING).
The following week at Lord Farthing's country home, Sam Kendall, Charles' business acquaintance and founder of a South African Diamond Mine, is talking with Sara who has just arrived and is dressed in regular clothing. Sam is rather taken with her charming looks and winning smile and she tries to convince him that she is descended from Royal blood (I'M THE SIXTH DAUGHTER OF THE SEVENTH DUKE OF CUMBERLAND).
She certainly makes an impression on him which is quickly seen through by the cook who reveals her true identity.
Caroline and Philippe enjoy their country stay by riding horses together. Philippe tries to get Caroline to forget her position in Society, to let her hair down and relax in an intimate duo (A ROMP IN THE STABLE).
Meanwhile, Sam and Sara become better acquainted. He informs her that he was once working class but he decided to
better himself and sings of how success can open doors, no matter which class you are from (IT'S FUNNY WHAT MONEY CAN DO).
Penelope appears and introduces herself to Sam. She has apparently found out that he presented the Jubilee Diamond to Queen Victoria. It is night at the country house. Penelope opens the door of her bedroom to admit Lord
Tweedmouth. She gossips as usual about the goings on at the house (CREAKY FOOTSTEPS).
Back in London, Mungo has discovered that Sara has been seeing Sam and is rather taken aback, hoping that she would continue her indiscretion with him whenever he returned to London. Sam assures Sara that he has no time for the Upper Classes and is a hardworking man who came to London to present the Queen with a diamond but has unexpectedly fallen in love with Sara. He assures her that (LOVE HAPPENS) without any rhyme or reason and insists that Sara agrees to marry him.
Mungo, filled with jealousy, complains to his uncle, all to no avail. Charles is absolutely delighted at the news of Sam and Sara and rings for Higgenbotham to relieve Sara of her duties immediately and to treat her as a guest forthwith. Higgenbotham hardly knows what to say but wishes them every happiness. He realizes that Sara was never really suited for service! The wedding of Sara and Sam takes place while Penelope makes her usual disdainful remarks. Mungo threatens to spoil the wedding but Sam simply knocks him out. Mungo lies on the floor in a stupor as the Vicar performs his duties (FOR BETTER, FOR WORSE).
The ensemble joins together in (LOVE IS EVERYTHING)
A week later, while reading the announcement of Sara's marriage to Sam, Philippe discovers that Caroline is going to have his child. Realizing that the child would be brought up as Caroline and Charles' to avoid another scandal, he tells Caroline that she has brought him tremendous happiness (YOU BROUGHT ME LOVE).
One year after the Diamond Jubilee on Empire Day, May 1898, the Queen's birthday and official end of the Jubilee year, Charles and Caroline are at home receiving the good wishes of friends and guests after the christening of the little girl,Victoria.
Philippe, Sam, Sara, Penelope, Lord Tweedmouth are among the guests that delight in the little child, although Penelope certainly has her suspicions. (A MOST AMAZING YEAR) all the ensemble agree that 1897 has proved such an exhilarating year, filled with events beyond belief and the like of which, they will never see again!.