A CONCORD THEATRICALS TITLE

The Grinning Man

Full-Length Musical, Dark Comedy  /  5f, 7m

Book by Carl Grose / Lyrics by Carl Grose, Tom Morris, Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler / Music by Tim Phillips and Marc Teitler / Based on the novel The Man Who Laughsby Victor Hugo

The Grinning Manis a fairy-tale love story streaked with pitch-black humour, lashings of Gothic horror and swashbuckling adventure. It opened at Bristol Old Vic in 2016 to great acclaim and transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios in 2017, where it achieved cult status and rave reviews.

  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 7m
  • Duration
    Duration
    More than 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Subgenre
    Fantasy, Adaptations (Literature), Fables/Folktales
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    Appropriate for all audiences
Licence details
  • Licensing fees and rental materials quoted upon application.
The Grinning Man

Details

Summary
A strange new act has arrived at Trafalgar Fair’s freakshow.

Who is Grinpayne and how did he get his hideous smile?

With the help of an old puppeteer, his pet wolf and a blind girl, Grinpayne’s tale is told. When word spreads across the capital, everything changes. Desperate to know the terrible secrets of his mysterious past, Grinpayne leaves his true love behind and embarks on a journey into an even crueller world – the aristocracy. 

The Grinning Man is a fairy-tale love story streaked with pitch-black humour, lashings of Gothic horror and swashbuckling adventure. It opened at Bristol Old Vic in 2016 to great acclaim and transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios in 2017 where it achieved cult status and rave reviews.
History
The musical premiered at Bristol Old Vic in 2016, with previews opening on 13 October and press night on 20 October, with a production directed by Tom Morris. Following the success of the Bristol run, the show transferred to Trafalgar Studios in the West End from 5 December 2017.
Cast Attributes
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Expandable casting
  • Flexible casting
Performing Groups
  • College Theatre / Student
  • Community Theatre
GRINPAYNE – the grinning man
DEA – a blind girl
URSUS – an old man
MOJO – his wolf (a puppet)
ANGELICA – a princess, then a queen
JOSIANA – a duchess and Angelica’s half sister
DAVID DIRRY-MOIR – a lord and Angelica’s half brother
BARKILPHEDRO – a servant clown
KING CLARENCE – a tyrant monarch (mostly dead throughout)
OSRIC – the freak-wrangler of Trafalgar Fair
QUAKE – an inspector of nuisances
KUPSAK – an archbishop
A HANGED MAN/HAZLITT TRELAW – a rebel lord
MOTHER/LADY ELIZA TRELAW – Trelaw’s wife 
A WOMAN IN THE SNOW
HER BABY (a puppet) 
SPIKE – a court assistant / part-time torturer
HANS – a court musician / member of the band

OTHERS: 
PEOPLE OF THE FAIR
FREAKS
SAILORS
PASSENGERS
LORDS


A Possible Guide to Doubling/Puppeteering from the Authors:
In our production, the performers playing GRINPAYNE and DEA puppeteered their smaller puppet selves. Two puppeteers did MOJO, who, as performers, also doubled as THE WOMAN IN THE SNOW/CHORUS and KUPSAK/CHORUS. The performer playing MOTHER/ELIZA TRELAW also doubled as QUAKE and the performer playing HAZLITT TRELAW/HANGED MAN doubled as OSRIC. The performer playing URSUS also doubled as KING CLARENCE in an earlier iteration of the show, which worked well. If you’ve got a larger company, you will be able to allocate the roles more widely, but bear in mind, performers will have less to do.
In the West End production of THE GRINNING MAN, the Violin 1, Violin 2, Cello and Accordion parts were played by off-stage actor-musicians. The Violin 1 and Cello parts are likely substantial enough to include individually as part of your orchestra, however it may be sensible to combine the Accordion and Violin 2 parts which do not play simultaneously, so that a single player covers both of those parts. Alternatively, you can cast actor-musicians as per the original casting.
  • Setting Once upon a time, in the city of Lonnnndonnnn.
  • Additional Features Puppetry
  • Duration More than 120 minutes (2 hours)

Media

"...a wonderfully weird, macabre musical." - The Guardian

"This fanciful musical adaptation of The Man Who Laughs... mixes the comical, the grim and the shimmeringly romantic in its own way." - The Times

"Blackly comic brilliance" - The Telegraph

"...luridly compelling fairy story." - The Independent

"A gloriusly enjoyable show... perfect for your inner child." - The Express

"A gothic, dark world of magic and mayhem... storytelling with plenty of dark magic thrown in." - WhatsOnStage

Videos

  • The Grinning Man | Louis Maskell sings 'Labyrinth' | Bristol Old Vic At Home

  • 'Stars in The Sky' from The Grinning Man

  • The Grinning Man | 'Born Broken' - Audrey Brisson

  • Louise Dearman sings 'Born Broken' from The Grinning Man

  • Harry Enfield sings 'Laughter is The Best Medicine' from The Grinning Man

  • Matt Lucas and Hannah Waddingham sing 'I Have Never Seen A Face Like This' from The Grinning Man

  • The Grinning Man | 'Beauty and the Beast' - Audrey Brisson

More videos +

Music

Song Samples

1. Laughter is the Best Medicine
2. The Mother's Song
3. Hymn of the Hanged
4. Stars in the Sky
5. Beauty and the Beast
6. Something's Going to Change
7. Never Seen a Face Like This
8. Born Broken
9. I Am The Freak Show
10. Josiana's Letter
11. A Scar is Born!
12. Labyrinth
13. Brand New World of Feeling
14. The Smiling Song
15. A New Beginning
16. Finale Part A (Cracked Hearts)
17. Finale Part B (Revenge)
18. Finale Part D (Grinpayne)
19. Stars in the Sky (Reprise)
ACT I

1. Hans (Pre Show) - Orchestra
2. Laughter Is The Best Medicine - Barkilphedro, Company
3. Grinpayne’s Theme/Dea’s Theme Underscore - Orchestra
4. Merciless Eagle Underscore - Orchestra
5. Show Us Your Face/Storm - Passengers, Sailors, Grinpayne
6. The Mother’s Song - Boy, Mother
7. Dea’s Theme Underscore - Orchestra
8. Hymn Of The Hanged - Hanged Man
9. Cry Of Pain - Boy, Hanged Man  
10. Howling Wolf/Grinpayne Underscore - Orchestra
11. Cry Of Pain/Vow Reprise - Boy
12. Stars In The Sky - Ursus  
13. Puppet Transition - Orchestra
14. Blind To Nothing - Young Dea
15. Beauty And The Beast - Young Dea, Young Grinpayne, Dea, Grinpayne
16. Weep O Weep - Company  
17. Something’s Going To Change - Dea, Grinpayne  
18. Hans Underscore - Orchestra  
19. Only A Clown Underscore - Orchestra  
20/21. Dirry Entrance - Orchestra  
22. Never Seen A Face Like This - Dirry-Moir, Josiana  
23. Post Face Underscore - Orchestra  
24. Born Broken - Dea, Ursus, Grinpayne  
25. I Am The Freak Show - Grinpayne  
26. Roll Up - Dirry-Moir, Josiana, Ensemble  
27. You’re Smiling: 1 - People of the Fair  
28. Josiana’s Letter - Josiana, Grinpayne  
29. You’re Smiling: 2 - People of the Fair  
30. A Scar is Born! - People of the Fair, Grinpayne, Osric, Dirry-Moir  

ACT II

31. Labyrinth - Grinpayne  
32. Torturous Music 1 - Orchestra  
33. Music Of The Past/Death To Trelaw Underscore - Orchestra  
34/35. The Gift Of Life/The Mother’s Song Reprise - Barkilphedro, Lady Trelaw  
36. Torturous Music 2 - Orchestra  
37. Brand New World Of Feeling - Grinpayne  
38. Josiana’s Reply - Josiana  
39. Torturous Music 3 - Orchestra  
40. Garter Music 1 - Orchestra  
41. Angelica In The Tower Underscore - Queen Angelica, Dirry-Moir, Quake  
42. Nearly A Lord Underscore - Orchestra  
43. Garter Music 2 - Orchestra  
44. The Smiling Song - Company  
45. Walking In The Palace Underscore - Barkilphedro  
46. Crimson Tide Underscore - Orchestra  
47. Straighten Up - Orchestra  
48. Two Sides Of A Single Clown Underscore - Orchestra  
49. Mob Instrumental Underscore - Orchestra  
50. Bad Feeling Underscore - Orchestra  
51. Dea Discovers Drugs Underscore - Orchestra  
52. A New Beginning - Dea, Ursus  
53. To Hell With The Fair - Orchestra  
54. Royal Corridors/Singing Portraits Underscore - Orchestra  
55. Finale: Part A (Cracked Hearts) - Dea, Grinpayne, Barkilphedro, Josiana, Queen Angelica, Trelaw  
56. Finale: Part B (Revenge) - Grinpayne, Lady Trelaw  
57. Finale: Part C (Dea) - Dea  
58. Finale: Part D (Grinpayne) - Grinpayne, Dea  
59. Finale: Part E (Change Has Come) - Company  
60. Stars In The Sky (End Reprise) - Company  
61. Curtain Call - Company  
Keyboard 1-Conductor
Reed/Keyboard 2 (Bass Clarinet, Clarinet & Flute)
Dulcimer/Harp (Dulcimer, Harp, Cimbalom & Hurdy-Gurdy)
Double Bass
Percussion (Drum Kit, Tam Tam, Vibraphone, Snake Rattle, Wood Block, Metallic Hit, Cowbell, Tambourine, Snail Spring, Bag of Teeth, Gong, Triangle, Shaker, Glockenspiel, Tubular Bells, Clam Shell, Jangle Shards, Flexatone, Rattle)
Accordion/Violin 2* (Six numbers only)
Violin 1* (Twelve numbers only)
Cello* (Eighteen numbers only)


*N.B. In the original production of THE GRINNING MAN, the Violin 1, Violin 2, Cello and Accordion parts were played by off-stage actor-musicians. The Violin 1 and Cello parts are likely substantial enough to include individually as part of your orchestra, however we have combined the Accordion and Violin 2 parts which do not play simultaneously so that a single player covers both of those parts. Alternatively, you can cast actor-musicians as per the original casting.
  • Vocal DemandsDifficult
  • Orchestra SizeSmall/Combo
  • Chorus SizeSmall

Materials

Music Rentals

Concord offers a full suite of resources to help you put on the show of a lifetime!
25 Keyboard 1-Conductor
1 Reed/Keyboard 2
1 Dulcimer/Harp 
1 Accordion/Violin 2
1 Violin 1
1 Cello 
1 Double Bass
1 Percussion 
25 Keyboard 1-Conductor

Add-Ons

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Authors

Carl Grose

Carl Grose’s plays include Grand Guignol, Superstition Mountain, Gargantua, Horse Piss For Blood, 49 Donkeys Hanged and The Kneebone Cadillac. For the past twenty-five years he has worked with the internationally acclaimed theatre company, Kneehigh, as actor and writer. Writi ...
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Tom Morris

Tom Morris is Artistic Director of Bristol Old Vic and has been Associate Director of the National Theatre since 2004. He was the Artistic Director of BAC from 1995 to 2004 and has worked widely as a journalist, broadcaster and freelance writer, producer and director.

Pro ...
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Tim Phillips

Tim Phillips is an award-winning Canadian/British composer and lyricist. He is a graduate of The Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London. His first foray into musical theatre came after joining forces with Marc Teitler to create their concept album Burn Me Dead, based o ...
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Marc Teitler

Following its successful premiere at the Bristol Old Vic in 2016 The Grinning Man co-written with Carl Grose, Tom Morris & Tim Phillips (dir. Tom Morris) transferred to the West End’s Trafalgar Studios in December 2017. A motion capture version of the theatre show was made by ...
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