commentary by Judy Harris

with factual help from Paul and Andrew Tracey and Nigel Pegram

visit my home page at  http://www.bestweb.net/~foosie/index.htm

or E-mail me at Foosie@bestweb.net

click here to go to Act 1

Broadway playbill Broadway LP British cast
April performing rose dance Michel, Nigel, Andrew & Barbara singing I GAVE MY LOVE A CHERRY April doing GRETL'S COW mime
Nigel, Andrew and Paul doing Eine kleine bombardonmusik Nigel & Andrew performing LALIRETTE April's TOUR DE FRANCE dance
Nigel performs A PIECE OF GROUND Nigel as Chairman, Paul as Professor Piercing Nigel, Helene, Andrew and Paul perform COOL
Nigel, Andrew and Paul perform WEE COOPER O'FIFE WEE COOPER O'FIFE from different angle April, Nigel and Andrew perform CHUZI MAMA
April and Kendrew perform ON GUARD Kendrew and April perform OPENING KNIGHT Inside the Broadway programme
kalimba   London Programme Cast Photos  South African LP
Barbara Tracey


Nigel, Andrew and Paul are dressed in Royal Stuart tartan kilts, scarlet jackets, plaid knee socks, white spats and black shoes. Paul wears a tall black bearskin on his head while Andrew and Nigel wear red and white checked glengarries. They are all playing bagpipes, crossing back and forth past each other, first to the tune of Coming Through the Rye and then to The Skye Boat Song. Michel enters dressed in a shorts set with a baseball cap, knee socks and dark shoes, wearing glasses and carrying a camera. He gets into everyone's way as he tries to photograph them; unable to get the pipers to stand still, he starts off, only to run into Kendrew (in a paisley ascot, grey sweater, green kilt, plaid knee socks and dark shoes), carrying a caber. Mich starts to run away and Ken, follows in hot pursuit, still carrying the caber.

There is an skit here not in the Playbill with Kendrew and April, who is wearing a grey flecked sweater, mini kilt , plaid socks and dark brown loafers (which she still owns!). They enter holding hands. Ken tries very earnestly to talk to her, but the bagpipes drown him out. April looks off into space away from Ken. He gets angrier and angrier; the cords of his neck stand out. He finally grabs her which makes her angry; she rubs her bruised arm and rushes off. Ken starts to follow, shouting out just as the bagpipes stop: "I love you". Andrew turns to Ken with a "Who, me?" look on his face. (blackout).

The Wee Cooper o'Fife

Like Lalirette, this is one of those politically incorrect songs that are more enjoyable when you don't understand the lyrics. This is a song about wife beating, but it is so humorously done and the chorus nonsense lyrics are so funny, it's hard not to enjoy it anyway.

Nigel, Andrew and Paul are dressed as in Tunes of Glory. The deeper into the song they get, the more hysterical and high pitched Paul sings, while Andrew and Nigel drone (that's Doric Diddling, I'm told) the chorus.

There was a wee cooper wha' lived in Fife
          Nickety nackety noo noo noo

And he hadn't gotten a gentle wife

          Hey, Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougall

          A lane quo rushity roo roo roo

Andrew and Nigel continue to drone this and the other choruses:

          Hey, Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougall
          A lane quo rushity nickety nackety

          Hey, etc.

She wadnae bake and she wadnae brew
          Nickety nackety noo noo noo

For spoilin' o' her gentle hue

          Hey, Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougall

          A lane quo rushity roo roo roo

The cooper has gone to his wood shack
          Nickety nackety noo noo noo

And put a sheepskin on his wifie's back

          Hey, Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougall

          A lane quo rushity roo roo roo

I wouldnae thrash my ain' dear kin
          Nickety nackety noo noo noo
But I would thrash my ain' sheepskin

          Hey Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougal

          A lane quo rushity roo roo roo

Now ye wha' hae gotten a gentle wife
          Nickety nackety noo noo noo
Just send ye for the wee cooper o' Fife

          Hey, Willy Wallacky, ho John Dougall

          A lane quo rushity roo roo roo

The last occurrence of the line "wee cooper o'" ends in just a slurpy sound as everyone takes a united breath.

Imagine my surprise when watching a scene from Hitchcock's THE BIRDS in a documentary about the director, that I heard the "nickety nackety" lyric in the background of the scene where the birds ominously perch on a jungle gym in a school yard.  In November 2006 a book entitled HITCHCOCK'S MUSIC by Jack Sullivan published by Yale University Press calls this number RISSELDY ROSSELDY and claims it was suggested by the children of script writer Evan Hunter,  According to Sullivan this is a Kentucky folksong but the lyrics didn't go on long enough for the BIRDS sequence so Hunter had to write additional lyrics.

Click here for a photo of Nigel, Andrew and Paul singing WEE COOPER OF FIFE, taken during the last weeks of the Sydney, Australia tour.  Click here for another angle (photos copyright WAIT A MINIM).

Somewhere along the way, portions of the anonymous Scottish ballad THE GABERLUNZIE MAN, which appeared by itself on the MINIM BILI album, got incorporated into The Wee Cooper o'Fife ("gaberlunzie" means beggar); you can only catch the occasional word instead of the "nickety nacketys". I have found it printed in several books with different spellings, so the following is a combination of these spellings of the stanzas of the ballad as it was done by itself in MINIM BILI:

The night was cauld, the carle was wat,
And down ayont the ingle he sat;

My dochter's shoulders he 'gan to clap

And cadgily ranted and sang.

Between the twa they made a plot;
They raised a wee afore the cock,

And wilily they shot the lock

And fast tae the bent are they ran.

Some rade upo' horse, some ran a-fit,
The wife was mad, and out o' her wit:

She cou'd na gang, nor yet cou'd she sit,

But she curs'd ay and she bann'd.

Meantime, far 'hind out o'er the lea,
Fu' snug in a glen, were nane cou'd see,

The twa, with kindly sport and glee,

Cut frae a new cheese a whang:

Sae feegar aye and feegar out
The wrinklin bolloch glabber and alout
Tae dicht me glaber up his spout
But 'twas nae bloody guid.

There is a skit at this point not identified in the Playbill. April enters from the right and Ken from the left; they meet in the middle of the stage and join hands.

Kendrew: Ah, Jeannie, I just wanted to say I love you, Jeannie; let's have a walk in the glen; we can...

The bagpipes start up again. Aggravated, Ken and April turn away from each other. Michel comes on with a huge caber, his clasped hands supporting the base resting on his crotch. April turns to look at him and then turns to look out at the audience. Her eyes go wider and she quickly looks back at the caber and slowly lets her eyes go from its base all the way up its length till it disappears out of sight, her mouth opening with amazement. (Nigel reveals that if April thought dirty, she never got a laugh, but if she thought, "My! What a small man with such a large caber!" the audience would go hysterical with laughter.) She whistles at Ken to take the caber, which he does. April and Michel go skipping off together, while Kendrew, under the weight of the caber, staggers off backwards (into the wings).

Red, Red Rose

Paul is dressed as in Tunes of Glory and sings a capella; interludes between verses he accompanies himself on the flute.

Oh, my love is like a red, red rose
That's newly sprung in June

Oh, my love is like a melody

That's sweetly played in tune

As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
So deep in love am I

And I will love thee still, my dear

Til a' the seas gang dry.

Til a' the seas gang dry, my love
And the rocks melt with the sun

And I will love thee still, my dear,

While the sands of life shall run.

But faretheewell, my only love,
And faretheewell a while

And I will come again, my love,

Though it were ten thousand mile.

There is another appearance here of Kendrew as the Tuba Man. He is dressed all in black with a black floppy hat ; he shuffles on carrying a tuba and stops in the middle of the stage, gives the audience that demented grin, and shuffles off.

HAMMER SONG   (Click here for a YouTube version of the HAMMER SONG)

Andrew, Nigel, Paul and Michel are in ordinary basic costume. Andrew plays an mbira in a calabash, Nigel plays a guitar, Michel plays a drum and Paul plays a bull fiddle.

Andrew sings:

If I had a hammer, I'd hammer in the morning
I'd hammer in the evening all over this land
I'd hammer out danger, I'd hammer out warning

I'd hammer out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land.

Nigel sings:

If I had a bell, I'd ring it in the morning
I'd ring it in the evening all over this land

I'd ring out danger, I'd ring out a warning

I'd ring out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land.

Michel sings:

If I had a drum, I'd beat it in the morning
I'd beat it in the evening all over this land
I'd beat out danger, I'd beat out a warning
I'd beat out love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.

Paul sings:

If I had a song, I'd sing it in the morning
I'd sing it in the evening all over this land

I'd sing out danger, I'd sing out a warning

I'd sing out love between my brothers and my sisters

All over this land.

Then everyone sings his appropriate line and all join in at the end:

Well, I've got a hammer
          Well, you've got a hammer

And I've got a bell

          And you've got a bell

And I've got a drum

          And you've got a drum

And I've got a song

          And we've all got this song we sing all over this land.

It's the hammer of justice, it's the bell of freedom
It's a song about love between my brothers and my sisters
All over this land.


This talking blues song is the last of the Jeremy Taylor songs in the show. This song is meant to be sung by a caricature of a Western American - sort of a folksy, Texan type. When the show started out in South Africa, it was called Joburg Talking Blues and had different lyrics but concerned a similarly fish out of water outside observer of the political foibles of Johannesburg. It was not rewritten (beyond a few lines) when the show came to New York and then went on to Australia, presumably because Jeremy Taylor was no longer in the cast to rewrite it and also presumably because London is sufficiently well known for the references to make sense even to people who had never been there.

Nigel wears ordinary basic costume, with a cowboy hat and boots. He plays the guitar and has a linguaphone (harmonica) in an apparatus around his neck like Bob Dylan. It's hard to believe anyone else could do this number as well as Nigel. He could do so many accents, and was so musically gifted and funny as well. His timing in this number is just impeccable too.

The "cowboy dressed up something swell" refers to one of the Queen's Horse Guards. Between verses Nigel tries yodeling, but quickly decides it's a bad idea and goes back to the harmonica (At one point, he plays a little bit of Land of Hope and Glory). Nottinghill Gate got a big laugh in London, because that was a very black neighborhood, mostly Jamaicans.

I was breezing along highway M-1
Doing about a hundred and forty-one

And I seen a sign saying London town

And thought it was time to slow down

--Give my horse a rest.

So went along Pall Mall, saw a cowboy dressed up something swell
He had a bright red coat, brass hat, shiny black boots, white spats

--Zippety doo dah

I said, "Hi, fella", as he rode by, but he didn't even make a reply
--Must have been a bad guy.

So I went on out to Trafalgar Square
Saw crowds of people standing there

They was waving flags and banners and all

And everyone was having themselves a ball

--Said it was a protest.

I said, "What you protesting about" and they said,
"Oh, we're protesting about all them there and all those um..."

Now, pretty soon a fight broke out
And everyone started to run and shout

The police arrived and quick as can be

They grabbed the fellow standing next to me

--Tough luck; he just come to feed the pigeons.

I was walking along a busy street
And a cat ran right beneath my feet.

A little old woman standing 'round

Whipped up her umbreller and knocked me down.

--She said I was a brute.

Well, I didn't want her thinking a thing like that
So I got up to help rescue the cat.

And just as I was a-gaining on him,

He dashed up atop of Nelson's column

--I ran smack into it, broke my nose, collar bone.

--They sent for an ambulance..and took the cat to hospital.

Now, Hyde Park Corner day or night
You can hear 'em shouting about civil rights

And it's the same thing in the United States

We got two things here that everybody hates

--One's segregation and the other's Negroes.

But England's a multiracial state
They don't have no apartheid

'Specially 'round Nottin'hill Gate

--They got two-way traffic up there

--The blacks movin' in and the white's movin' out.

Now, London town's a dirty old town
The rich men float, the poor men drown

So a friend of mine gave a tip to me

And said invest your money in property

--Lots of it

--Sit back and collect the rent; retire to sunny South Africa.

--Mighty fine climate; no servant problem. Everybody call you "sir"

--Hot dog! Maybe I'll see you there...

Nigel starts to exit stage right. And then drums come up very loudly from that direction. Nigel shoots an alarmed look at the audience and continues:

---Maybe I won't.

He exits quickly stage left.


Kendrew is in a blue and white striped shirt, a black straw gondolier's hat with a red ribbon and blue pedal pushers. He mimes being a gondolier moving a long pole in time to the music. April is in a short pale blue seersucker jacket, matching hipster shorts and cap; her midriff is bare. (Nigel discloses she designed this outfit herself.) Michel, wearing glasses, is in a shorts set, baseball hat, argyle socks and loafers. Michel and April are an American couple taking a ride in Ken's gondola.

Kendrew sings a romantic number in Italian and flirts with April who responds. Michel joins in the song , annoying Ken as well as April. Ken gives up singing and is tempted to hit Michel with the pole. He finally taps Mich on the shoulder and offers him the pole, showing him how to steer the boat, and joining him in a note or two.

Michel takes over steering, while Ken sits down and cuddles with April. He mimes jumping overboard, and she nods, so they leap out of the boat and swim away. Michel is so caught up in singing, he doesn't even notice they've left; when he does, he shakes his fist and then the pole after them, and finishes the song, sobbing the end of his aria.

Amor s'en vien, e l'ora gradita
Senza il tuo ben

Dimmi come fai, Lolita.

Olezzia il fio, piu non tardare
O mia Lolita,

Vien al l'amor

Ah vien diletta, piu non tardare
Che al seno stretta ti vo'

Baciar, Baciar

Ah vien diletta Lolita, vien
Che morire mi farai

Se tu non vieni.

Kendrew crosses again dressed in his black Tuba Man outfit. He stops center stage, makes as if to play the tuba. Doesn't. Then exits.

FOYO   (Click here for a YouTube version of FOYO)

Paul, Nigel and Andrew are in ordinary basic costume. Paul plays a kalimba, Nigel plays the bull fiddle and Andrew plays the guitar. This is a really beautiful number, a lullaby, and Nigel's voice is almost feminine, it is so soft and sweet singing backup.

Paul's voice is very remarkable also and his success in pursuing a subsequent singing, song writing and performing career does not surprise me. So many Brits (like the Beatles, for instance) lose their British accent when they sing; but it is always apparent in Paul's singing and part of the pleasure of hearing him - the precision with which he pronounces each syllable. (He is also really excellent at physical comedy, with his long, slender body and his thin arms and legs. I think he prefers humor that emerges out of music [which often goes over my head, I'm afraid] such as the ascending and descending intervals in the following number, COOL ;but, in fact, he really is a riot at physical comedy.)

Foyo is in a patois French sung in Haiti about a woman who has a sick child. She pleads with the medicine man (gongon) named Foyo to save her child's life.

Foyo sauvez la vie muai, la mézé m'ayer o
Foyo sauvez la vie muai, la mézé m'ayer o

Petite muai malade m'aller caille gongon sémélo

Petite muai malade m'aller caille gongon

Si on bon gongon oua sauvez la vie maui
La mézé m'ayer o.

Sauvez la vie, muai foy
Sauvez la vie, muai foy

Sauvez la vie, muai foy

Sauvez la vie muai...

Foyo sauvez la vie muai, la mézé m'ayer o


This is nearly wordless satire on hipness. Dana wears a black turtle neck shirt and black slacks and sits on a ladder. Paul is in a short sleeved shirt and dark slacks. He's wearing dark glasses and plays a flute. Nigel is in ordinary basic costume, looking very glum; he plays the bull fiddle. Andrew is in ordinary basic costume and plays a guitar. There's a metronome prominently on stage.

Paul enters. It appears he's about to sit on a small box but he misses it; the others react but Paul doesn't seem to notice. He crouches his very long body very low to the ground and starts the metronome, keeping time with his big toe. Paul, Nigel and Andrew play a few notes and Dana sings, "Someone" (on a descending interval, Paul tells me). Nigel is so laid back, he forgets to join in when it is his turn. Paul has to rise to look directly into Nigel's eyes to get him to play his single note on the fiddle. There is the occasional frantic musical improvisation; Dana sings "One some" (on an ascending interval, for a musical joke, Paul explains). And that's it. It ends very abruptly and everyone walks off stage highly satisfied. (On the MINIM BILI album, Paul is credited with the lyrics!) There are rather more pauses than music, which is the point. Another skit that you really have to see to appreciate.  Click here for a photo of Nigel on bass, Helene sitting on a ladder, Andrew on guitar and Paul crouched over his flute, taken during the last weeks of the Sydney, Australia tour (photo copyright WAIT A MINIM).


This is a skit in which Kendrew plays one of those British Grenadier Guards who pride themselves on never reacting to the public who constantly take their photos outside of Buckingham Palace. He's wearing the Grenadier uniform with a red jacket, maroon slacks with a red stripe, a huge bearskin helmet which almost covers his eyes, standing at ease with a rifle and fixed bayonet. April approaches barefoot, dressed in a a dark charcoal sweater over calf length black tights, an enormous scarlet bow perched on top of her pulled back hair. She carries a low stool which she then sits on. Kendrew snaps to attention as April starts to blow up a large balloon which she takes from her pocket.

Kendrew tries to ignore her, but she makes sure he is aware of her by bouncing the balloon on his bayonet. As she continues to tease him, Ken's whole body is in tune with the balloon and the larger it inflates, the more he reacts, to the point his chest inflates with the balloon, popping his jacket buttons. April noisily deflates the balloon and Kendrew seems to deflate with it. Then she blows it up again. Eventually after April has tortured him with it for much longer than you could believe, she bursts the balloon on the tip of his bayonet, and Kendrew, relieved, says, "Hup, hep" and salutes.

Then April brings out a second balloon and Kendrew collapses in a heap.  Click here for a photo of April and Kendrew, taken in the last week of the MINIM tour in Sydney, Austrlaia (photo copyright of WAIT A MINIM).

Opening Knight

Andrew, Paul, Nigel and Kendrew, like medieval knights, are all in mid-calf length dark grey tunics, all with red nuclear disarmament symbols on white background with lighter grey knitted string (chain mail) sleeves. On their feet are what look like shoes with turned up toes but which Paul tells me were actually extensions of their tights, which were very long. They each wear tall golden helmets with visors, topped with different colored ostrich plumes. Andrew's is blue; Paul's is pink; Nigel's is yellow; Kendrew's are green and orange. Dana, April and Sarah are wearing long black velvet cloaks over ankle length white dresses with billowy sleeves and tall black conical hats with scarlet scarves attached to the tips. Michel is in a black and orange jester's costume with hood, also in black tights and the same turned up toe shoes, carrying a candle and an enormous bunch of keys . (Paul reveals Mich is meant to be a jailer. Andrew discloses he still has the keys and can use some of them in his 1850 house!)

Michel enters singing:

La fleur que tu m'avais jetee
Dans ma prison je suis restee

Comme une fleur

Click here for a photo of Kendrew and April performing OPENING KNIGHT during the last weeks of the Sydney, Australia tour (photo copyright WAIT A MINIM).

One after another the other knights (and occasionally the ladies in their conical hats) cross the stage from right to left, and as they cross they all make a rhythmic clicking noise with their tongue. The faster they walk, the faster they click. I don't know why this makes it funny, but it does. When the ladies cross, they hold up their long skirts daintily with their fingers. Sometime the knights just stick their heads outside the curtain and then disappear again. Michel realizes he is being followed by something or someone who clicks, but because of the timing, he never actually sees anyone. He whips around the corner of the curtain, just as everyone else has disappeared off stage.

At one point, two knights are standing on stage. A third enters and clicks; each of them cocks his head in a different direction, as if to express surprise at the sight of the others. A latecomer slides in on one knee.  The others exit and the latecomer, clicking, starts to walk to the footlights, as if to continue into the audience. He feels around with his foot for the edge of the stage, realizes where he is, turns and heads upstage fast, clicking quickly. As he's just about to walk into one of the panels, it raises just in time to let him through.

Later Michel is actually on stage with a knight, but has his back to him and as he circles around, they never actually make eye contact. Michel crosses the stage with 3 of the knights behind him; a fourth knight (Paul) hurriedly follows, making Pfft, pfft, pfft noises, to catch up.

Finally, three of the knights carry Michel across stage in such a manner that only his head can be seen, closely followed by an executioner (Paul barechested with a hood on his head) taking large strides, brandishing a cleaver.

Kendrew then enters in his knight's costume, carrying the cleaver. He removes his helmet and starts looking around the audience for a victim. Craning his neck forward, he spots someone. He twirls the cleaver, motioning with his head toward the wings, the same almost sexual invitation as at the end of his Dingere Dingale dance. (Blackout)

Sir Oswald Sodde   (Click here for a YouTube version of SIR OSWALD SODDE)

Michel is dressed as he was in Opening Knight. Sarah is wearing a long blue dress with matching conical hat. Andrew wears a black costume with a turbaned hat and plays a lute-like instrument which was, Paul tells me, actually a guitar called a guitute. Paul is in a black costume emblazoned with a mushroom and carries his helmet. Nigel is in a brown baker's hat with a tan and green tunic.

This number is the only one which had to be changed when MINIM played London's West End. The censor made them remove the word "sod", so the song turned into Sir Oswald Clodde (which I think is funnier, but Paul disagrees). Andrew, Sarah and Nigel are all on stage when the song begins, but Sarah and Nigel are behind individual panels that roll up from the bottom when it's their turn to sing. There is a laugh when Nigel's panel rolls up because he looks so forlorn.

Andrew sings:

Pray tell me, fair maiden, may I be your lover?
Condemn me no longer to mourn and to weep

Struck down like a hart I lie wounded and panting

So let down your drawbridge and I'll enter your keep

Enter your keep, nonny nonny
Enter your keep

Let down your drawbridge

And I'll enter your keep.

As the chorus is sung, everyone does a little minuet-type dance step that brings them closer to the audience and then back in place again, during which Nigel manages to give the impression that one leg is shorter than the other.

Sarah sings:

Alas, gentle errant, I am not a maiden
But married to Sir Oswald, the cunning old Celt

He's off to the wars for a twelve month or more, sir.

And taken the key to my chastity belt.

Chastity belt, tra la la la
Chastity belt

Taken the key to my chastity belt

Andrew replies:

Fear not, gentle lady, for I know a locksmith
Her majesty's locksmith by royal decree

Chastity belts are his chosen vocation

And he will oblige for a moderate fee

Moderate fee,
Moderate fee

I'm sure he'll oblige for a moderate fee

Nigel, looking extremely woebegone, his big toe sticking out of his left stocking, sings in a Scottish accent:

Alas, gentle lassie, my skill canna' help you
My technical knowledge is of no avail;

I can't find the secret to your combination.

Your husband, dear lassie, has fitted a Yale.

Fitted a Yale
Fitted a Yale

Your husband, dear lassie, has fitted a Yale.

Paul enters, carrying his helmet, and moves downstage in front of the others. When I first saw this, he played it straight but by closing night in Boston, he played it with a speech impediment (inability to say Rs).

I'm back from the wars with sad news of disaster
A terrible thing that has happened to me

As our ship was passing the Straights of Gibraltar

I carelessly dropped the key into the sea.

Carelessly dropped, fiddle diddle
Carelessly dropped, fiddle diddle

Carelessly dropped the key into the sea

Sarah sings:

Alas, woe is me, I am locked here forever
Whatever is going to become of me?

Michel enters, dangling keys. When I first saw this in New York, he was just bright and sunny, but over time, he had fun with this, and changed to entering, dragging his foot, leering and managing, as much as possible without makeup, to look like the Hunchback of Notre Dame. He sings:

Fear not, ma cherie, and have confiance in me
And I will oblige with my duplicate key.

Duplicate key, tra la la la
Duplicate key

I will oblige with my duplicate key

(By the time he did this part in Australia, Michel had changed this to: "Fear not, ma cherie, with my duplicate key, I will oblige if you'll sock it to me". Sock it to me was a phrase popularized by the TV show ROWAN AND MARTIN'S LAUGH IN and usually resulted in Judy Carne, a regular on the show, getting doused with a bucketful of water, but there was a sexual subtext to the phrase even then.)

Sarah exits with Michel, while Andrew, Paul and Nigel draw together and gaze offstage at the departing pair, as they sing:

Cunning old sodde, tra la la la
Cunning old sodde
There's no doubt that that man

Is a cunning old, cunning old, cunning old sodde.

A skit not documented in the Playbill occurs at this point in which Kendrew (dressed in his helmet etc. as in Opening Knight) enters from the left, as April (also in her Opening Knight outfit with an 18 inch long bejewelled cigarette holder) enters from the right. Smoke pours out of Kendrew's helmet. He speaks but it is completely muffled, prompting a baffled look from April. Just as she is about to turn away from him, Ken growls. April turns to the audience and says, "Methinks he hath a Tiger in his Tank". (For those baffled by this line, it was the catch phrase of a hugely successful Exxon gasoline advertising campaign, back when it was still called Esso, and referred to the putative power the gasoline gave to a car engine.) Ken taps her on the shoulder; he removes his helmet and is on the verge of declaring his love yet again, when, offstage, the bagpipes start up, once again drowning him out.

TABLE BAY   (Click here for a YouTube version of TABLE BAY)

Dana is in a pastel flimsy slip-type dress. Andrew, Paul and Nigel are in ordinary basic costume. Andrew plays a guitar, Paul the bull fiddle, Nigel bongo drums. This is a very sexy number.

There is a wind that blows over Table Bay
It blows all night and it blows all day

There is a wind that blows, blows my clothes and hair

It blows me here and it blows me there.

Slowly, slowly falls the winter rain
Oh, how I long for the sun again

There's such a sad, sad feeling in my heart

Since my man and I have drifted apart

So, blow me, wind, blow me far away

Blow me far from Table Bay.

Daar is'n wind wat waai There's a wind that blows
Om die kaap se draai Around the Cape
Hy waai my hier It blows me here
En hy waai my daar And it blows me there

Daar is'n wind wat waai There's a wind that blows
Waai my deurmekaar Blows right through me
Hy waai so sterk It blows so strong
En hy waai my klaar It blows me away

Slowly, slowly falls the winter rain
Oh, how I long for the sun again

There's such a sad, sad, feeling in my heart

Since my man and I have drifted apart.

So blow me, wind, blow me far away
Blow me far from Table Bay

Blow me, wind, blow me far away

Blow me, wind, blow me far away

Kendrew does his last Tuba Man cross at this point. As usual, he stops center stage, takes his time, looks at the audience and actually blows a note on the tuba. He then gives the finger to the audience and stalks off.

Chuzi Mama Gwabi Gwabi  (Click here for a YouTube version of CHUZI MAMA GWABI GWABI)

These are two different songs by the same composer, George Sibanda from Bulawayo, which the MINIM team combined. The prompt script calls these "Kwela" numbers; Andrew and Nigel inform me Kwela is African township dance music, popular in the '50s, accompanied by guitar and pennywhistle. Andrew explains Chuzi Mama means "excuse me, Mama," while Gwabi Gwabi is a game played, holding buns, bananas and sweets behind one's back, making a friend guess which hand is holding what

This number was originally done with Dana and Michel; when Dana left the show, Helene didn't move well enough to do the lively dance that was required, so the number was given to April.  Click here for a photo of April, Nigel and Andrew performing CHUZI MAMA during the last weeks of the Sydney, Australia tour (photo copyright WAIT A MINIM).

Dana wears a two-piece beaded red costume with a bare midriff and a Basuto hat; Michel wears his Ndinosara Nani costume. Nigel, Paul and Andrew all wear ordinary basic costume; Nigel plays the penny whistle, Paul the bull fiddle and Andrew a guitar.

Dana sings:
Sono sami, sono sinye                                    My sin, one sin,
Sesono semali                                             Is the sin of money

Ah, well, I went down town on a Saturday night
To meet my boy on the market square

He was dressed on a khaki shirt

For the ragtime melody.

Ho, chuzi mama, chuzi mama,
Chuzi mama, chuzi mama

When I die my money will go

For the ragtime melody.

Michel sings:
Gwabi gwabi kuzwa ngile ntomb yami Choose, chose, here's my girlfriend
Uhlale ku jubeg sure I love her She lives in Joburg, sure I love her
Ngizokutengel amabanzi I will buy you buns
Iziwitshi le banana Sweets and bananas

Dana sings:
Ang kathali                                                 I don't care
Ang la sono                                       I'm not a sinner

Both sing:

Ragtime melody, plenty of money - nothing spent
When I die my money will go

For the ragtime melody

Chuzi mama, chuzi mama
Chuzi mama, chuzi mama

When I die my money will go

For the ragtime melody


At the end of this number, Nigel, with the penny whistle still stuck in his mouth, looks lustfully at the departing Dana, and says in an Afrikaans accent: Hey! That's terrific!


This first speech of Nigel's varied over time as well, at least the line about "buy our pineapples". Sometimes he said "buy our lobster tails" and sometimes "buy our margarine". Before Nigel's speech, Paul, playing melodica and Andrew guitar, play a short musical piece, during which April hops across the stage in her Ndinosara Nani costume. The melodica sounds a bit like an accordion, which is a typical folk instrument for Afrikaaner music, according to Paul. Then, during Nigel's speech, Paul and Andrew play a lovely, haunting tune from the 1961 film GREENGAGE SUMMER.

Nigel (in a South African accent): This is South Africa. My friends, since arriving in your country, I've been both surprised and hurt to discover that our beautiful land of South Africa has become a target of much antagonism and serious misrepresentation; and it is my duty and privilege tonight to put you right, to correct a few of these errors and to encourage you to buy our pineapples. Now, geographically speaking, South Africa's situated at the very tip of Darkest Africa.

Paul and Andrew: In this world of darkness, let my candle shine. (Kendrew with a candle crosses stage miming trying to see in the dark.)

Nigel: Now, politically speaking, we are perhaps one of the most misunderstood countries in the world, and we feel that overseas foreigners simply do not try to understand us or to appreciate the merit inherent in our national way of life.

The prompt script indicates Paul and Andrew play "Vat jou goed" music behind the next bit. Andrew says this is an Afrikaans folk song.

Michel runs on shouting, "Baasie! Baasie! Baasie!" and Kendrew shoots him.

Nigel: Rhodesia, our closest neighbor, influenced as she is by Great Britain, is developing a completely different way of life.

Michel runs on shouting, "Baasie! Baasie! Baasie!". Kendrew, Paul and Andrew tip their hats; then Kendrew shoots Michel.

Paul and Andrew sing:
Shay' izicatulo, Shay' izacatulo Beat those boots, beat those boots
Woza mfana bazojabula bonke abantu Come boy, everybody will be happy

South, South, South Africa, Africa!
South, South, South Africa, Africa!

South, South, South Africa, Africa!
Br-r-r-, white man!

Nigel: Further north, of course, people have yet another way of looking at things.

As Paul and Andrew sing the following lines, Michel strolls by in a top hat, socks, garters, shoes and a rather skimpy loincloth the prompt script calls a Moochie. He carries a rolled umbrella and a briefcase.

Hau, great leader, where you been?
He been to London to see the Queen.

It's true, yebo, sure!

During Sarah's next speech, Paul and Andrew play Rule Britannia to underscore the fact that she is portraying Queen Elizabeth.

Sarah: Here today at this freedom celebration of yet one more prosperous and peacefully self-governing African nation, my husband and I would like to extend our heartfelt good wishes and this gesture from the British crown.

Sarah wipes her hands ostentatiously, as if to say, it's all yours and welcome to it.

Paul (in a deep voice, licking his lips): Yes, my delightful friends, people are good for you!

Nigel: In keeping with our democratic way of life, we in South Africa have always upheld the tradition of keeping our citizens well informed of the country's affairs and we object very strongly to the suggestion that our news bulletins are in any way slanted.

Paul comes forward as a news reader and stands leaning way to the left.

Paul: At breakfast this morning, our beloved minister reaffirmed his determination to stem the rising tide of Communist-inspired requests for employment.

Nigel: Our beloved minister can be compared to the young Dutch boy who kept his finger in the hole in the dike.

Paul (still as the newscaster): Our beloved minister said:

Kendrew appears in a tuxedo (speaking in a very heavy South African accent): Can you imagine what would happen if I pulled my beloved finger out?

Nigel: I believe that here at the United Nations there's been some criticism of our policy of separate development. Let me just say that this criticism is completely without foundation.

Kendrew: Our policy of apartheid is separate but equal.

Michel: But what, master?

Kendrew: Separate but... Don't call me master; this is your territ'ry now.

Michel: Alright, master.

Kendrew: I said, don't call me master.

Michel: Alright.

Kendrew: What did you say?

Michel: I said, alright

Kendrew: Alright, who?

Michel: Alright, master.

Kendrew: That's better, now voetsak. (kicks Michel) You see if you treat them fair then you get them right behind you.

Kendrew turns to go off stage and we see he has a spear in his back.

(Inside the MINIM playbill was a list of words/phrases [such as Baasie meaning Boss], most of which had been excised from the show by the time it got to New York, but "voetsak" is one of the few which had not been cut by the time MINIM got to Broadway; it means, more or less, fuck off. Andrew adds that voetsak is said to be one of the few words still in use which come from a Hottentot [Khoi] language.)

Nigel: Ladies and gentlemen, one final demonstration of togetherness. We hope that what we're about to show you will convince you that we can be jolly good chums together as long as we learn to respect and, indeed, as we tried to do, to share each other's cultures and to practice contact at all levels. Thank you.

Celeste Aida

Although the NY and American/Canadian tour playbills list Celeste Aida, I don't believe this was ever performed, at least during the 2 year period during which I saw the show. The versions of the show performed in Africa, the UK and Australia/New Zealand were much longer in this section, with additional political and sports jokes.

One of the jokes had Michel singing Celeste Aida and being unable to hit one of the high notes. Kendrew shouts out encouragement to him: "Hey, Klaasens, for the sake of the show, man, give it a go!" and when Michel finally manages to sing the note, everyone shouts out "Springbok!", the name of the South African rugby team. (Andrew explains that Klaasens is an extremely ordinary Afrikaans surname, not at all what you would expect an Italian opera singer to be called. He adds that, originally, the cast all shouted: "Vrystaat!", a typical encouragement a rugby fan might call out, but the line was changed to Springbok when the show moved to London.)

This flowed into a skit in which Paul interviewed Kendrew, as a dimwitted rugby player named Stompie Van Jaarsveld (which Paul, in a very British accent, mispronounced Van Arse Felt.  When Ken says it, the emphasis is on the Aars, but when Paul says it, the accent is on the Felt - the past tense of "feel".  Even without being able to visualize how this name is spelled, it is a funny exchange.)  When Paul asks him how he found the other team, Ken says, Oh, I just looked in the scrum and there they were!

Cingoma Cakabaruka

Now it can be revealed that all the programs in all the playbills in which this number was listed as Cingoma Chakabaruka were wrong! and it is actually Cingoma Cakabaruka. In the Tumbuka/Henga language of Malawi, C is pronounced CH. I hope that has cleared that up for you! Andrew explains the title means the useless little drum is broken.

Nigel is in his Chairman's outfit; Paul, Andrew and Michel are wearing sheets and gumboots. Paul has on a top hat, Andrew and Michel feathered hats. Paul plays oil drums; Andrew , Nigel and Michel Lozi drums. April wears a net top, bamboo skirt, bowler hat with a rose in it. Sarah wears a straw hat, a skirt made out of animal skins and a beaded top.

Even Andrew does not have these actual lyrics; below are his phonetic equivalents. Andrew would sing the first phrase, and then the rest of the cast would all chime in "cingoma cakabaruka". I gather from the sheet music that any phrase with the right number of beats might have been dropped into this number at any time, since only Andrew had to sing them; the sheet music contains phrases which I can never hear on the tape of the actual Broadway performance, including "Mimi Trepel", who Andrew says was MINIM's PR person; the phrase "Achati bing bong be-ing", etc. indicates the funny sounds a broken drum makes.

Cingoma ure, cingoma cakabaruka jenga ding
Cingoma ure, cingoma cakabaruka

Ahimwewa chikwamba, cingoma cakabaruka

Ako Mufulira, cingoma cakabaruka Here at Mufulira (a copper mine)

Mmwaye Apweka, cingoma cakabaruka

With mimi trepel, cingoma cakabaruka
Mimi Trepel ufarsin, cingoma cakabaruka
With WAIT A MINIM, cingoma cakabaruka

Achati bing bong, cingoma cakabaruka

Be-ing be-ing bing bong, cingoma cakabaruka

Sarah: Oh, I say, I did enjoy that!

Paul: Super!

Skalo-Zwi   (Click here for a YouTube version of SKALO-ZWI)

Another Xhosa number with lots of clicks. Skalo-Zwi means "lone cry" . This is a very bouncey and upbeat song about a girl who has been deserted by her man, but is putting up a spunky fight for him.

When Dana left the show and Helene took over her role, she was not very graceful in this number, so the original lyric writer, Gwigwi Mrwebe, rewrote the lyrics into something more masculine and Michel took over the number, singing it very forcefully. Alas, this happened after the last time I saw the show, so I never got to see Mich do it, but it sounds very powerful on the tape of the closing performance in Sydney.

The cast is dressed as they were for Cingoma Cakabaruka. Andrew plays the 12-string guitar; Paul the bull fiddle. Dana is in a blue flowered costume; and Kendrew wears a red vest, a red skirt, gumboots and feathered arm bands. Everyone surrounds Dana and plays the 2 note Pedi Pipes (14 notes in all), moving toward her as they play their note(s), and then away from her.

Yo qobosha, qobosha Hey, big guy, watch out
Shenxela phaya impilo yam'
Suyikhataza yo
Yo qobosha, qobosha Hey, big guy, watch out
Phata na nami intliziyo yam'Don't ruin my life
Caca mkhuluwe yo Explain yourself

Ngek' undifumane You'll never get me
Qo nqo ndivulele Knock, knock, I'll open up
Qhoma lo mgangatho Raise your standards!
Qo nqo ndivulele Knock, knock, I'll open up.


This is a Ndau party song from Eastern Zimbabwe. According to Andrew's program notes, the lyrics are mostly nonsense, but Samandoza is the name of a famous liar. Each of the singers has different words.

The cast is dressed as in Cingoma Cakabaruka. Paul, Andrew, Michel and Nigel play drums. The Xs at the end of the lyrics below are the drumbeats which conclude the number and the dots between them are the pauses.

April starts to dance. Sarah tries to join in but Ken pushes her away and starts dancing by himself. April and Ken join up for the rest of the dance.

April and Dana sing:

Ndakanyadziwa yende iye iye woye I was shamed, iye iye woye

Andrew sings:
Ndakarongerwa yende wo iye iye        Troubles piled on me

Paul sings:

Mayowe iye iye, mayowe iye iye

Michel and Sarah sing:

A-ha-ha, A-ha, A-ha-ha, A-ha!

Nigel sings:
Samandoza we iye                             Hey, Samandoza!


Amasalela  (Click here for a YouTube version of AMASALELA)

The cast is dressed as in Cingoma Cakabaruka. Kendrew plays a horn and rattle. Dana clangs together two 9-inch bolts. April and Sarah each clang together two wooden clappers. Paul, Andrew, Michel and Nigel play drums with great intensity and enthusiasm. Andrew says the drumming was loosely based on Lozi drumming from Zambia, and Shona drumming from Zimbabwe, with other ideas thrown in. He explains Amasalela normally would not have drumming, as the Xhosas do not use drums, but Dr. Tracey suggested using this song. I believe it ended every performance of MINIM throughout its many incarnations.
Ndingombe, ndingombe Yo masalela Come on, punch me!
A ndingombe, ndingombe Yo masalela Punch me, hey, you cowards!

Zingabaham' hende Zomasalela Let them go, with their cowardly things
Zingabaham' hende Zomasalela Let them go, with their cowardly things

Zinto, zinto zomasalela Things, cowardly things!
Zinto, zinto zomasalela Things, cowardly things!

Zingabaham' zomasalela
Zingabaham' zomasalela

Ndingombe, ndingombe-e


The last "haaa" coincides with the men giving their respective drums a tremendous bang; Paul knocks his drum over.

There is a pause, which is sort of the equivalent of a curtain call, without anyone having left the stage, after which more drumming occurs, which is introduced by Andrew saying: Manje, tulani umsindo valani umlomo, siyoni. Shayela futhi. Kapere!

The rest of the cast respond: Ha!

Andrew: Kapere!

Cast: Ha!.

Paul tells me every member of the cast did a mini solo at this point, although I confess this went right over my head. Paul's solo was one mighty swing at his big drum during which he lets go a streamer which flies out over the first couple of rows of the audience.

Andrew would babble excitedly in Zulu: Hau unfana, uyasishaya isigubu sabantu abamnjama kudlula bonke abelungu ngibonileyo (or) Hau umfowethu, ufundepi ukushaya nje? Ngiyabona ukuthi ushaya mabongo bongo wama cubana!

...and Nigel would coolly reply:

Nigel: Either you have it or you don't.

(In Washington, he said: No, I got it at the Smithsonian, actually! The prompt script gives the line: Well, I must be doing something right. In Australia he said, Yes, but what is scientology?. [Paul tells me scientology, which Helene practiced, was banned in Australia ].)

Michel: What's new pussycat, woo-oo-oo, What's new pussycat

The rest of the cast looks askance at this.

Andrew: Kapere!

Kendrew: Untini wena?

Andrew: Kapere!

Ken then lethargically shakes out with his rattle "shave and a hair cut" and stomps the "two bits".

Andrew: Why are you look so psychologically disturbed?

Kendrew: Well, how would you like your brother to marry a white man?

Andrew: Kapere! Gahleni - wo! Kapere!

All: Jepfunde!

During the final bows, after the drumming encore, the cast would all cry out the Zulu royal salutation: Bayete! .

These last three numbers more or less flowed directly into each other without anyone leaving the stage, changing costume or the bamboo panels being involved. They are three of the best, most exciting numbers in the show and, thinking back, I can hardly believe the cast had the energy to perform them so late in the performance (and twice on matinee days!). Ah, youth!

At some point in Amasalela, Kendrew performed a dance; he had a rattle which he shook in a sharp downward jerky motion which for some reason I found enormously sexy.

These three numbers were enormous crowd pleasers and sent the audience out on a great high. If nothing else had been captured on video, I wish these three numbers had been recorded for posterity.

go to Act 1

go to MINIM introduction/overview

October 2012:   Nigel came across some black and white photos taken during the 1968 Australian tour, and I have uploaded them here.

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