A SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD. TITLE

Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be

Lionel Bart, Frank Norman

Full Length Musical, Drama  /  4f, 9m

Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be (libretto)
Book by Frank Norman
Music and lyrics by Lionel Bart

Fred Cochran, the hero, is a down-at-heel gangster, trying to make a comeback. Lil Smith is his loyal moll, a tart with a heart of gold, who longs for respectability and keeps a marriage licence ready for her lucky day.

License Estimator

Use this tool for cost estimates based on your specific needs.

OVERVIEW

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    4f, 9m
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Adult
    • Senior
    • Teen (Age 14 - 18)
Description

Fred Cochran, the hero, is a down-at-heel gangster, trying to make a comeback. Lil Smith is his loyal moll, a tart with a heart of gold, who longs for respectability and keeps a marriage licence ready for her lucky day. Fred's shpieler (gambling den) provides a refuge for the failures of the underworld: Paddy the gambler, Tosher the ponce with his girls Betty and Rosey, and Redhot, a sad little burglar who never manages to get warm. They all look to Fred for a living and when he wins on the horses it seems the gang may be back in business. Fred redecorates his place, all contempery and at the opening the Horrible Percy Fortesque comes to gamble and a rival leader, Meatface, is beaten in a razor fight. The play ends with a wedding - Lil and Fred are giving up crime to go straight; handing over the shpieler to the constable on the beat who has long wanted to go crooked!

The author admits that the final published version of Fings owes much to the improvisation that took place during rehearsals by the Theatre Workshop Company who originally staged it. It was conceived as a straight play with music rather than a musical play; but it does provide opportunities for extras and for some lively ensembles. The music is all in unison and the play is therefore specially suited to the dramatic society looking for a musical show.

Considerations

Performing Groups
Cautions
  • Mild Adult Themes

Licence details

  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.

Specifics

Details

  • Time Period: 1960s

Casting

4f, 9m
Cast Attributes
  • Expandable casting

Music

  • Vocal Demands: Easy
  • Orchestra Size: Small/Combo

Materials

Scripts

Rehearsal Resources

Music Material Rental Packages Glyphs / UI / Tooltip

Full Package:

15 Vocal Scores
Band parts are not available

Additional Resources And Services Available

Press

ON BREAKING CHARACTER

8 Classic British Musicals to Perform
by Cathy Thomas
August 5, 2019

More

Authors

Lionel Bart

LIONEL BARTBorn in London in 1930, Lionel Bart was educated in his native East End before gaining a scholarship to St. Martin’s School of Art. In 1956, he joined some friends in a skiffle group called the Cavemen, featuring Tommy Steele. With the Bart song ‘Rock With the Caveman’, Steele lau ...

View full profile
Author

Frank Norman

Now Playing

Community Experiences